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Old 05-09-2019, 11:01 PM
 
559 posts, read 52,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonof View Post
And how would rational person be able to determine which passages supposed to be taken literally and which are not?

That's a good question.

When it comes to understanding the Bible, I think that there are really only two choices: Either you believe that the scriptures are the indisputable word of G-d, and therefore entirely meant to be taken exactly as they are written... Or you believe that G-d gave us these scriptures to serve entirely as a metaphor with a deeper than literal meaning.

In either case, the Bible doesn't need to be rational. It only needs to be inspiring.

Last edited by Rachel NewYork; 05-09-2019 at 11:13 PM..
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Old 05-10-2019, 02:51 AM
 
Location: US
27,953 posts, read 15,035,923 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachel newyork View Post
that's a good question.

When it comes to understanding the bible, i think that there are really only two choices: Either you believe that the scriptures are the indisputable word of g-d, and therefore entirely meant to be taken exactly as they are written... Or you believe that g-d gave us these scriptures to serve entirely as a metaphor with a deeper than literal meaning.

In either case, the bible doesn't need to be rational. It only needs to be inspiring.
prds...
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Old 05-10-2019, 06:42 AM
 
559 posts, read 52,589 times
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Originally Posted by Richard1965 View Post
prds...
One doesn't often encounter the term pardes on Internet forums (at least, not many that I've been on). Nice to see you using it, Richard.
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Old 05-10-2019, 07:26 AM
 
Location: NJ
1,377 posts, read 493,645 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel NewYork View Post
That's a good question.

When it comes to understanding the Bible, I think that there are really only two choices: Either you believe that the scriptures are the indisputable word of G-d, and therefore entirely meant to be taken exactly as they are written... Or you believe that G-d gave us these scriptures to serve entirely as a metaphor with a deeper than literal meaning.

In either case, the Bible doesn't need to be rational. It only needs to be inspiring.
I believe that there is at least one other choice -- accept via belief that the entire text of the 5 books of Moses is the word of God but that it comes as part of a tradition that includes explanation as to what is literal and what isn't.
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Old 05-10-2019, 07:38 AM
 
559 posts, read 52,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosends View Post
I believe that there is at least one other choice -- accept via belief that the entire text of the 5 books of Moses is the word of God but that it comes as part of a tradition that includes explanation as to what is literal and what isn't.
That works, too.

"He's right, and he's right? They can't both be right."
"You know, you are also right!"

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Old 05-10-2019, 08:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel NewYork View Post
That's a good question.

When it comes to understanding the Bible, I think that there are really only two choices: Either you believe that the scriptures are the indisputable word of G-d, and therefore entirely meant to be taken exactly as they are written...
In 21st century this is utterly unacceptable. For taking lion share of 613 commandments exactly as they are written one will end up either in a mental institution or in prison.

Quote:
Or you believe that G-d gave us these scriptures to serve entirely as a metaphor with a deeper than literal meaning.
"Scripture is entirely metaphorical" approach makes scripture entirely useless since any kind of objectivity goes out of the window and we end up having billions of subjective, often contradicting interpretations with absolutely no way to have any reasonable idea as for which of those interpretation is actually correct.

Quote:
In either case, the Bible doesn't need to be rational. It only needs to be inspiring.
Being inspired by irrational and without rational considerations is dangerous. That's how you can end up being inspired by child abuse, homophobia, advocating of slavery etc,etc,etc.
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:41 AM
 
559 posts, read 52,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonof View Post
In 21st century this is utterly unacceptable. For taking lion share of 613 commandments exactly as they are written one will end up either in a mental institution or in prison.
I don't know of any Jews these days who hold by the stoning of disobedient children. And I somehow doubt that there were even those back in biblical times who did, either. So I'm more inclined to hold by the metaphorical approach, in that the grievous offense of not honoring one's parents is worthy of the worst possible punishment imaginable. It doesn't necessarily mean that parents actually stoned their own children to death. It just possibly means that the punishment described was used as an illustration of how bad the offense was. That's my take on it, anyway.

But, as Rosends stated here, there is also the tradition (based on the biblical interpretations of generations of learned Jews before us) that explains what is literal and what isn't. Although I suspect that a lot of those interpretations that were handed down to us also took into account the possibility of metaphor.
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:51 AM
 
Location: US
27,953 posts, read 15,035,923 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel NewYork View Post
I don't know of any Jews these days who hold by the stoning of disobedient children. And I somehow doubt that there were even those back in biblical times who did, either. So I'm more inclined to hold by the metaphorical approach, in that the grievous offense of not honoring one's parents is worthy of the worst possible punishment imaginable. It doesn't necessarily mean that parents actually stoned their own children to death. It just possibly means that the punishment described was used as an illustration of how bad the offense was. That's my take on it, anyway.

But, as Rosends stated here, there is also the tradition (based on the biblical interpretations of generations of learned Jews before us) that explains what is literal and what isn't. Although I suspect that a lot of those interpretations that were handed down to us also took into account the possibility of metaphor.
This is how I’ve heard it...Like the eye for an eye meant monetarily...Also that a Sanhedrin That passed a death sentence once in 70 years was considered a murderous Sanhedrin, and none of them wanted to be part of that...
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Old 05-10-2019, 11:40 AM
 
Location: So. Cal.
421 posts, read 189,021 times
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Here is Prager, in his little essay on Reason (pp 234-5):

Quote:
Reason, too, can become a false god. Like love, we cannot live without it; but we need more than reason to lead a good life and make a better world.

Many people believe reason, without faith, is all we need to be moral and to make a moral world. In the words of the prominent American secular humanist and Yale professor of philosophy Brand Blandshard: “Rationality, or the attempt at it, takes the place of faith . . . Take reason seriously. . . . Let it shape belief and conduct freely. It will shape them aright if anything can.”

Blandshard was wrong. The belief that reason automatically leads to moral behavior is itself unreasonable—because reason is only a tool. Once you know what end you wish to achieve, reason becomes indispensable. If you want to build hospitals, you need reason; and if you want to build concentration camps, you need reason.

But reason doesn’t tell you for what ends you should be aiming. If you want to live completely for yourself, reason will help you do that. If you want to live a life of kindness to others, reason will help you do that. But reason doesn’t tell you whether to be kind or to be self-centered. Reason just as easily argues for immoral actions as it does for moral actions.
So he sees the perplexing aspect of Torah study (as did Maimonides) not as literal vs metaphor, but rational or sensible or reasonable vs inexplicable. Prager says there are very few passages that he could not find a reasonable way to understand them.

Philo & Maimonides admit there are esoteric passages that only few can understand & fewer can teach.
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Old 05-10-2019, 02:06 PM
 
69 posts, read 9,449 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel NewYork View Post
I don't know of any Jews these days who hold by the stoning of disobedient children. And I somehow doubt that there were even those back in biblical times who did, either.
So basically you are in the position that Jews don't and never had considered Bible to be an infallible word of god, but rather a compilation of the traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community of bronze edge goat-herders. Or, at very least, completely indistinguishable from such a compilation.

We are in agreement on that.

Now we have a perfect explanation for generations of commentaries, interpretations etc.
Customs, norms, way of life change over time. At some point, barbaric nature of bronze edge way of life becomes painfully obvious. Overwhelmed with cognitive dissonance, new generations are constantly forced to engage in cherry picking, post hoc rationalizations and other form of irrational mental gymnastics to justify their continue to believe what they want to believe.

It's all perfectly understandable, but it has nothing to do with reason, rationality or truth, for that matter.
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