By Benjamin D. Sommer

At as soon as a research of biblical theology and sleek Jewish concept, this quantity describes a “participatory idea of revelation” because it addresses the methods biblical authors and modern theologians alike comprehend the method of revelation and accordingly the authority of the legislation. Benjamin Sommer continues that the Pentateuch’s authors intend not just to show God’s will yet to specific Israel’s interpretation of and reaction to that divine will. hence Sommer’s shut readings of biblical texts bolster liberal theologies of recent Judaism, particularly these of Abraham Joshua Heschel and Franz Rosenzweig. This daring view of revelation places a top rate on human company and attests to the grandeur of a God who accomplishes a providential job throughout the loose will of the human topics lower than divine authority. but, even if the Pentateuch’s authors carry different perspectives of revelation, them all regard the binding authority of the legislation as sacrosanct. Sommer’s publication demonstrates why a law-observant non secular Jew should be open to discoveries concerning the Bible that appear nontraditional or perhaps antireligious.

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Theories that delineate how many sources there are, which verses and chapters belong to which sources, how these sources relate to one another, and how they were put together. The most famous of these theories, known as the Documentary Hypothesis, crystallized in the mid-nineteenth century. According to this hypothesis, there are four main sources within the Torah, which biblical scholars label J, E, P, and D. For our immediate purpose, it will matter only a little whether, as some proponents of the Documentary Hypothesis maintain, these sources can be further split into additional subsources ( J1 and J2; a subset of P to be labeled “H”), and whether, as some speculate, some texts in the Pentateuch are to be attributed to sources or supplements in addition to J, E, P, and D.

As a result of these differences, Bibles variously number the first verse after the Decalogue in Exodus as verse 14, 15, or 18 and in Deuteronomy as 18, 19, or 22. 22. For an authoritative chart distinguishing the private and public traditions, see p. 295 of Breuer’s article or Bible editions published by Mossad Ha-Rav Kook. , those in the JPS Torah Commentaries, the Koren editions of the Tanakh, and most ‫ )תקוני קוראים‬contain an error in the public version. What Happened at Sinai? 18 Nevertheless, regarding aural and visual experience, Exodus 19 seems fairly clear.

30 The job of the biblical critic is to find interpretations of this sort, which seem new to us but in fact may represent much older understandings consonant with the Bible’s original, Near Eastern setting. Similarly, texts that classical Jewish commentators understand in one way are read entirely differently by modern biblical scholars. Dozens of verses in Psalms and Isaiah are read by classical Jewish interpreters as looking forward to a Messiah. The rabbis understand these verses to predict the arrival at the end of days of a descendant of King David who will reestablish a monarchy in the Land of Israel.

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