Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Modern Biblical Scholarship - Two Warnings

"Does Exodus VI, 3, Support the Higher Critical Theory?" So asks Rabbi J.H. Hertz in the Hertz Pentatuech (Additional Notes section of Exodus), written in 1936. Of course, the question is rhetorical, for his purpose is to debunk such a notion, but note how he starts off the essay: "This query, as well as the answer to it, may have little meaning and no interest to the general reader. In that case, he will be well advised to skip the appropriate sections."

Translation: If you study the Higher Critical Theory in depth, you may find my answers unsatisfactory.

Fast forward 70 years to James Kugel, who writes in his introduction to How to Read the Bible (p. xiv): "WARNING: ... there is one group of readers who must be cautioned against its contents. Precisely because this book deals with modern biblical scholarship, many of the things it discusses contradict the accepted teachings of Judaism and Christianity and may thus be disturbing to people of traditional faith... It is up to them to decide whether or not to continue."

Translation: If you study modern biblical scholarship, you'll end up (like me) rejecting fundamental tenets of your faith.

In both cases:
I don't want to be responsible for your kefirah.


Anonymous said...

Nice post. Very insightful.

-suitepotato- said...

In apprehension of the imagined unknown how timid and silly we become.

The Misanthropic Mormon said...

Love Kugel's book. Knocked the faith right out of me.

Frum Heretic said...

Love Kugel's book. Knocked the faith right out of me.

And that is exactly why the Orthodox world (mostly) avoids him.

I wasn't aware that the Christian world is also threatened by Kugel. I would think that Bart Ehrman was enough!