OtherGround Forums Fantastic free online course on Hebrew Bible

13 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 27932
EazyG - 
yusul -
MrHallorannWhatsinRoom237 -

Check out Mauro Biglino, the Vatican hired him to translate their oldest version of the bible in their archives.  Then fired him after he revealed the translation.

he's interesting but wrong. daniel not being eaten by lions, adam and eve in genesis, the prophet elijah and other prophets performing supernatural acts, jonah and the whale, job, etc. if you are talking about taking the bible literally which is what he does, you are saying all the supernatural acts as real. even if yawheh was a person instead of God, then the creator is still mentioned in the old testament. 

 

if you are talking about only the torah literally, then you have a talking reptile and God creating the earth. 

why did they fire him?


no idea. i was just reading his interview. i never heard of him before.

i mean they could have just thought that paying a scholar who says that God isn't mentioned in the old testament is a waste of how they spent their money.

he added on his interpretations to the actual translations.
13 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 50572

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Edited: 13 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 9442
Schlonged Nytrons Cheech -

I like the textual discipline of the Karaites. A lot of dogma perpetuates from tradition seemingly not aligned to the text and context is was written in. 

https://www.karaites.org/about-karaite-judaism.html 

that is interesting.

Professor Cohen mentions the Oral Torah which was supposed to have also been given to Moses by Yahweh on Mt. Sinai.  He admits that one could argue that the rabbis as having pulled a fast one over the people by inventing the Oral Torah which only they know.... 

 

I dont believe that the Oral Torah is mentioned anywhere in the Hebrew Bible.  Certainly not in Exodus or Deuteronomy where they cover Moses on Mt. Sinai

13 days ago
1/9/19
Posts: 4792

as a seeker of knowledge and wisdom.....IN!

 

thanks OP :)

13 days ago
9/22/20
Posts: 159
EazyG -
Schlonged Nytrons Cheech -

I like the textual discipline of the Karaites. A lot of dogma perpetuates from tradition seemingly not aligned to the text and context is was written in. 

https://www.karaites.org/about-karaite-judaism.html 

that is interesting.

Professor Cohen mentions the Oral Torah which was supposed to have also been given to Moses by Yahweh on Mt. Sinai.  He admits that one could argue that the rabbis as having pulled a fast one over the people by inventing the Oral Torah which only they know.... 

 

I dont believe that the Oral Torah is mentioned anywhere in the Hebrew Bible.  Certainly not in Exodus or Deuteronomy where they cover Moses on Mt. Sinai

Jesus/Yeshua actually discussed it a lot. The doctrines and commandments of men was a critique of the oral traditions.

Reading the Christian Bible from a Hebrew perspective really shows the dispute with the Sadducees and Pharisees was almost entirely about dogma. 

13 days ago
11/28/08
Posts: 24568

Karaites are not textual literalists in a Protestant sense of the word. They still have their own traditions, they just don't elevate the Talmud the way the Rabbinic tradition does. They have their own corpus of legalistic and exegetical texts the same as mainstream Judaism does, just with their own presuppositions.

Also, they are a later development that split away from Rabbinic Judaism in the early Middle Ages. They are not some more authentic strain of Judaism that Rabbinic Jews kept secret or something.

Everything is cyclical, though. The Reform Movement then later Zionism kinda re-centered the Tanakh in their own ways. Parshah study is probably the main type of study that exists in progressive (still Rabbinic) Judaism. Which is still important, but always feels like a really truncated version of much larger tradition that progressive Rabbis will be familiar with, but are almost afraid of overwhelming their congregants with.

13 days ago
8/26/05
Posts: 15102
EazyG - 
EKPOGI -

Will check it out.thanks op

I was stunned by how much I learned from the course and Professor Cohen.....

 

He uses the book, How to Read the Bible, by a former Harvard professor, James Kugel.  Its a great book - he explains how the early believers interpreted key passages and how modern Bible scholars interpret the same passages.  Its all about the Hebrew Bible


Kugel is an interesting character
13 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 9847
MrHallorannWhatsinRoom237 -

Check out Mauro Biglino, the Vatican hired him to translate their oldest version of the bible in their archives.  Then fired him after he revealed the translation.

Will do...

13 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 9446
Tahiti Bo -
EazyG - 
EKPOGI -

Will check it out.thanks op

I was stunned by how much I learned from the course and Professor Cohen.....

 

He uses the book, How to Read the Bible, by a former Harvard professor, James Kugel.  Its a great book - he explains how the early believers interpreted key passages and how modern Bible scholars interpret the same passages.  Its all about the Hebrew Bible


Kugel is an interesting character

he seems to be troubled by what biblical scholarship has found versus what he believes as a traditional Jew.

Professor Cohen speaks about this a number of times - it doesnt bother him so much.

13 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 9447
anthonyMI -

Karaites are not textual literalists in a Protestant sense of the word. They still have their own traditions, they just don't elevate the Talmud the way the Rabbinic tradition does. They have their own corpus of legalistic and exegetical texts the same as mainstream Judaism does, just with their own presuppositions.

Also, they are a later development that split away from Rabbinic Judaism in the early Middle Ages. They are not some more authentic strain of Judaism that Rabbinic Jews kept secret or something.

Everything is cyclical, though. The Reform Movement then later Zionism kinda re-centered the Tanakh in their own ways. Parshah study is probably the main type of study that exists in progressive (still Rabbinic) Judaism. Which is still important, but always feels like a really truncated version of much larger tradition that progressive Rabbis will be familiar with, but are almost afraid of overwhelming their congregants with.

What was really interesting to me - I have taken this course and a few other courses on the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), and probably read about 10 books related books as well.  So I have a decent sense of how the Tanakh was put together (as much as one can) and what it says.

But, and this is a big BUT - I do not really understand Judaism as currently practised.  I no nothing of the Rabbinic tradition or the Talmud - and that is a BIG part of modern Judaism I assume?

The main part of the Tanakh was assembled (probably) in the Persian Period after the Babylonian Captivity - fifth and fourth century BCE.  As such there was a Jerusalem Temple and associated priesthood that was the center of the religion of the ancient Israelis. 

It seems like the The Second Destruction (and final) of the Temple by the Romans in 70 CE had a huge impact on Judaism.  The Jerusalem Temple and priests were no longer the center of the religion - so Judaism underwent huge changes on become eventually what we see now.   When did the Rabbinic Tradition and the Talmud start?

I do want to learn more about Judaism from the 3rd century BCE on till today.  I really only have a sense from up until the Tanakh was assembled......  

 

12 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 9463

ANTHONY - waiting for you to drop some knowledge 

Edited: 12 days ago
11/28/08
Posts: 24579

That is a really big question, I'll try to compress an answer into something useful. You probably know some of this already but I'll start from the beginning to stay coherent.

During the late part of the Second Temple period, the three main sects were the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. To over-simplify it, the Sadducees were mostly tied to the Temple elite and their focus was on the sacrifices and such that happened physically at the Temple. The Pharisees were more populist and focused on what you are supposed to do as an individual in your day to day life, and the Essenes were monastic/mystical. After the destruction of the Temple, there wasn't much point in being a Sadducee anymore and the Essenes faded into history, though a lot of their practices were reflected in Early Christianity.

That left the Pharisees, which are the ancestors of the Rabbinic tradition. There were a few steps on the way to creating the Rabbinic tradition, but it might be useful to start out with Hillel and Shamai. They are the proto-typical frenemies that are quoted frequently in the Talmud. Hillel was the more accepting one and Shamai the more severe one. Their two groups of students argued all the time, but Hillel usually won. A Talmudic story that best shows their relationship, and is referenced all the time, goes like this (Talmud Tractate Shabbat 31a):

"There was another incident involving one gentile who came before Shammai and said to Shammai: Convert me on condition that you teach me the entire Torah while I am standing on one foot. Shammai pushed him away with the builder’s cubit in his hand. This was a common measuring stick and Shammai was a builder by trade. The same gentile came before Hillel. He converted him and said to him: That which is hateful to you do not do to another; that is the entire Torah, and the rest is its interpretation. Go study."

But, it is working backwards to call them Rabbis yet, even though they usually are. They were Pharisees. The better starting point for the Rabbinic tradition is with Yohanan ben Zakkai. During the siege of Jerusalem, he snuck out of the city and convinced Vespasian to spare "Yavne and its scholars." So, while the temple was destroyed, there was still a community of scholars to keep the religion alive. There were a bunch of scholars after that, other notable ones were Akiva and Shimon bar Yochai, who were supporters of the Bar Kohba Revolt.

The Talmud itself is made up of two parts. The first part, the Mishnah, was edited and put together by Rabbi Judah HaNasi, who lived in the immediate aftermath of the Bar Kohba Revolt. The Mishna is the Oral Torah that is traditionally believed to have been given to Moses at the same time as the written Torah. A more historicist account was that it was the accumulated oral tradition of Jewish law that had built up over the previous centuries. The Gemara is the commentary on the Mishnah by any number of Rabbis. It usually takes the form of an argument over what the Mishnah actually means, sometimes without ever actually coming to a conclusion. Most of it is about law, but there are also a lot of folk stories and such in there like the one I quoted. Pirkei Avot(Ethics of the Fathers) isn't really laws so much as advice and guidelines. There are actually two Talmuds, the Jerusalem Talmud was made in the Tiberius in the 400s and the Babylonian Talmud, the one that is used more, in what is now Iraq in 500.

If you look at a page of Talmud, you will have the Mishnah on top, Gemara on the bottom, and around the margins there will be other commentaries written by other Rabbis in the intervening centuries.

Jewish religious authority was mostly fairly centralized in Babylon in late antiquity, but by the time of the early Middle Ages it had spread out more. The most commonly read biblical and Talmudic commentator is the Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki) lived in 10th century France. Others in that time period include Maimonides (Moshe ben Maimon) in Muslim-run Cordoba and Nachmanides (Moshe ben Nahman) in Catalonia.

By the time of the late middle ages and definitely by the Middle Ages, most Jews had settled into the two broad categories that exist now. Ashkenazic Judaism, which started in the Rhineland and spread eastward, and Sephardic, which started in Spain but dispersed around North Africa and the Ottoman Empire after the Alhambra Decree and Inquisition, and more or less took over the local communities where they went since Spain was already such an important center of learning. Those are the two big groups, smaller communities come from Italy, Greece, Central Asia, Persia, the Caucasus, and Yemen and do their own thing.

The next development took place within Ashkenazic Judaism. 17-18th century Poland was a rough place to be, as it often has been since then as well. Beginning with the Khmelnytskyi rebellion in 1648, the Swedish Deluge, Ottoman Wars, etc. the region was torn apart several times over and people were really open to some new ideas. So the Baal Shem Tov (Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer) began a the Hasidic movement, which took the principles of the Kaballah and made them more approachable for the average person. They were in conflict with the more traditionalist Rabbis based out of Vilnius.

Then came the Enlightenment. The Jewish version of the Enlightenment was called the Haskallah. The Haskallah was at its biggest in what is now Germany, especially Prussia. It took the humanist, rationalist ideas of the time and mixed them with Judaism. So, 19th century Germany was where the Reform Movement started, which looked at how to have a Judaism that was more modernized and compatible with being a member of a modern nation-state. Services began being conducted in German language, pipe organs, etc. The conservative movement was mostly the same. Modern Orthodoxy and similar movements like the Neologs in Hungary kept the Orthodox framework, but made more allowances for modernity.

Which is basically where we land now. You (reductively) have Ashkenazi Jews from Europe and Sephardi Jews from the Middle East and the Balkans. Orthodoxy is divided into Modern Orthodoxy and Ultra-Orthodoxy, which is itself then divided into Hasids and Litvins, which are themselves made up of dozens of smaller dynasties and traditions. Then Progressive Judaism is divided between Reform and Conservative, and to a lesser degree Reconstructionist, Renewal, and Humanist. That is all under the umbrella of Rabbinic Judaism. Karaite Judaism is a tiny, tiny minority. There used to be a pretty sizeable community of Karaites in Crimea. But then the Holocaust happened, and then after they survived that, they were also Crimean Tatars, which Stalin wasn't a huge fan of. So that community is nearly extinct.

12 days ago
11/28/08
Posts: 24580

How important the Talmud is is kind of a split between Orthodox and Progressive Jews.

Orthodox Jews spend more time studying Talmud than anything else, in large part because there is just so much of it. The traditional way it works is chavruta study. You and a study partner go over the same bit of Talmud, then argue over what it means and how you are supposed to apply it in real life. Tanakh is kinda considered rudimentary. You should know it, but it is the equivalent of the elementary school building blocks you are just supposed to know before you get to the more substantial stuff. Even then, the focus is more on the five books of Torah. The Prophets and Writings are largely reserved for whatever festival they are associated with.

Progressive Judaism refocussed on the Tanakh and Talmud study is largely ignored. If you meet a Jew from one of the Progressive streams, odds are they have never read a page of Talmud in their lives unless they are themselves a Rabbi. Of the minority who have, there is an even smaller minority who have done it in Aramaic, which you are supposed to do it in.

I mentioned that the main form of study in Progressive Judaism is studying the parashot. The Torah is divided into 54 segments, and you go over one each week. This week's is Parasha Noach, which, as you could guess, is the story of Noah.

Daily/weekly study schedules are pretty standard. Here is today's study from Chabad, which is kind of like the Evangelicals of Orthodox Judaism. Their thing is to get less observant Jews to do more Judaism.

https://www.chabad.org/dailystudy/default_cdo/jewish/Daily-Study.htm

You have the daily Torah portion, a Psalm, a bit of the Tanya (a kabbalistic work by the founder of the Chabad movement), Hayom Yom (another Chabad work, a book of daily wisdom), and a portion from Maimonides's Mishnah Torah, which is a simplification of the Talmud.

There is a bit more interest in the Talmud among progressives right now after the start of a new cycle of Daf Yomi, which is a daily study cycle where you study one page of Talmud a day for seven and a half years. This is today's: https://www.sefaria.org/Eruvin.70a?lang=bi Basically, about what to do when one person who lives in a courtyard does not take part in establishing an eruv, which is a space near your house where you are allowed to do certain things on shabbat that you aren't allowed to do elsewhere.

11 days ago
4/24/07
Posts: 44289
Any Habiru theorists here?

If you're unfamiliar it's the theory that parts like the Exodus should be read more like a military campaign from a soldiers POV than the religious story it is. To me it just doesn't make much sense read otherwise.

The Habiru theory is the belief that the ancient Israelites were not just cohabitating with Egyptians but they were a major force in the defense of Egypt.. It makes sense that they would be in Goshen to defend Egypt from attacks from the north. I think they got to be too powerful and Egypt took notice. Enter Exodus 1:8-10. They describe how Egyptians and Pharaoh look upon the Israelites.

Now we get into the topic of the Israelites "slavery". If you read the christian translation it says they're set to slavery building bricks for Pharaoh. Hebrew bible says nothing of the sort. This is a mistranslation. "Avadim" which is the word mistranslated means workman or laborer. It doesn't mean slave. Israelites were most likely set to corvee labor who were not slaves but set to forced labor but still paid.

These Habiru/Israelites were once great defenders and warriors of Egypt who now have been demoted to a common worker. They put up with this for a while. When talking about the Exodus it doesn't make sense that a bunch of slaves would be battle hardened in any way. Yet we are supposed to believe somehow they are and are able to take on the Egyptian army in anyway. Here comes another mistranslation of Hebrew. When Moses and the 12 tribes of Israel form and leave Pharaoh sets after them. However it also explains that Pharaoh gave provisions to the "slaves" like gold and silver. The word used in Hebrew is "Natsal". This does not mean "given". It means to strip, plunder or despoil. Whatever Pharaoh was giving, it was being done at the point of a sword. The Hebrew bible pretty much makes it clear that the Israelites are armed to the teeth. It would make no sense for Pharaoh to give common slaves anything. It makes a lot of sense that the Habiru who were great warriors took the provisions they needed. This would obviously lead to Pharaoh declaring the Israelites be hunted down. This also makes more sense than Pharaoh letting slaves go with gold and silver and then just changing his mind. It even says the Israelites leave Egypt in defiance and boldly.

Anyways I'm going to ramble on and I'm not really checking my typing either. So I might not be doing this theory the justice it deserves but it's quite the interesting theory. I'm not very religious but what I do find interesting is ancient military campaigns. Whomever Moses was, he knew his stuff. He is probably one of the greatest generals of all time if we are to believe the bible.
11 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 9470
anthonyMI -

How important the Talmud is is kind of a split between Orthodox and Progressive Jews.

Orthodox Jews spend more time studying Talmud than anything else, in large part because there is just so much of it. The traditional way it works is chavruta study. You and a study partner go over the same bit of Talmud, then argue over what it means and how you are supposed to apply it in real life. Tanakh is kinda considered rudimentary. You should know it, but it is the equivalent of the elementary school building blocks you are just supposed to know before you get to the more substantial stuff. Even then, the focus is more on the five books of Torah. The Prophets and Writings are largely reserved for whatever festival they are associated with.

Progressive Judaism refocussed on the Tanakh and Talmud study is largely ignored. If you meet a Jew from one of the Progressive streams, odds are they have never read a page of Talmud in their lives unless they are themselves a Rabbi. Of the minority who have, there is an even smaller minority who have done it in Aramaic, which you are supposed to do it in.

I mentioned that the main form of study in Progressive Judaism is studying the parashot. The Torah is divided into 54 segments, and you go over one each week. This week's is Parasha Noach, which, as you could guess, is the story of Noah.

Daily/weekly study schedules are pretty standard. Here is today's study from Chabad, which is kind of like the Evangelicals of Orthodox Judaism. Their thing is to get less observant Jews to do more Judaism.

https://www.chabad.org/dailystudy/default_cdo/jewish/Daily-Study.htm

You have the daily Torah portion, a Psalm, a bit of the Tanya (a kabbalistic work by the founder of the Chabad movement), Hayom Yom (another Chabad work, a book of daily wisdom), and a portion from Maimonides's Mishnah Torah, which is a simplification of the Talmud.

There is a bit more interest in the Talmud among progressives right now after the start of a new cycle of Daf Yomi, which is a daily study cycle where you study one page of Talmud a day for seven and a half years. This is today's: https://www.sefaria.org/Eruvin.70a?lang=bi Basically, about what to do when one person who lives in a courtyard does not take part in establishing an eruv, which is a space near your house where you are allowed to do certain things on shabbat that you aren't allowed to do elsewhere.

very interesting!  thanks for posting.

I have always liked Hillel.

Any good books on the topic, particularly say from the late 2nd temple period on?  What a fascinating period for the birth of Rabbinic Judaism.

 

11 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 9471
David@accu - Any Habiru theorists here?

If you're unfamiliar it's the theory that parts like the Exodus should be read more like a military campaign from a soldiers POV than the religious story it is. To me it just doesn't make much sense read otherwise.

The Habiru theory is the belief that the ancient Israelites were not just cohabitating with Egyptians but they were a major force in the defense of Egypt.. It makes sense that they would be in Goshen to defend Egypt from attacks from the north. I think they got to be too powerful and Egypt took notice. Enter Exodus 1:8-10. They describe how Egyptians and Pharaoh look upon the Israelites.

Now we get into the topic of the Israelites "slavery". If you read the christian translation it says they're set to slavery building bricks for Pharaoh. Hebrew bible says nothing of the sort. This is a mistranslation. "Avadim" which is the word mistranslated means workman or laborer. It doesn't mean slave. Israelites were most likely set to corvee labor who were not slaves but set to forced labor but still paid.

These Habiru/Israelites were once great defenders and warriors of Egypt who now have been demoted to a common worker. They put up with this for a while. When talking about the Exodus it doesn't make sense that a bunch of slaves would be battle hardened in any way. Yet we are supposed to believe somehow they are and are able to take on the Egyptian army in anyway. Here comes another mistranslation of Hebrew. When Moses and the 12 tribes of Israel form and leave Pharaoh sets after them. However it also explains that Pharaoh gave provisions to the "slaves" like gold and silver. The word used in Hebrew is "Natsal". This does not mean "given". It means to strip, plunder or despoil. Whatever Pharaoh was giving, it was being done at the point of a sword. The Hebrew bible pretty much makes it clear that the Israelites are armed to the teeth. It would make no sense for Pharaoh to give common slaves anything. It makes a lot of sense that the Habiru who were great warriors took the provisions they needed. This would obviously lead to Pharaoh declaring the Israelites be hunted down. This also makes more sense than Pharaoh letting slaves go with gold and silver and then just changing his mind. It even says the Israelites leave Egypt in defiance and boldly.

Anyways I'm going to ramble on and I'm not really checking my typing either. So I might not be doing this theory the justice it deserves but it's quite the interesting theory. I'm not very religious but what I do find interesting is ancient military campaigns. Whomever Moses was, he knew his stuff. He is probably one of the greatest generals of all time if we are to believe the bible.

I think the Habiru are an interesting part of ancient history and what their potential links may be with early Israel.

You are describing one specific theory about them I have not seen before.

 

 

 

 

Hapiru, Habiru, and Apiru[edit]

Idrimi of Alalakh, "King of the Habiru"

In the time of Rim-Sin I (1822 BC to 1763 BC), the Sumerians knew a group of Aramaean nomads living in southern Mesopotamia as Habiru.[6] The word Habiru, more properly 'Apiru, occurs in hundreds of 2nd millennium BCE documents covering a 600-year period from the 18th to the 12th centuries BCE and found at sites ranging from Egypt, Canaan and Syria, to Nuzi (near Kirkuk in northern Iraq) and Anatolia (Turkey), frequently used interchangeably with the Sumerian SA.GAZ, a phonetic equivalent to the Akkadian (Mesopotamian) word saggasu ("murderer, destroyer").[7][8][broken footnote]

Not all Habiru were murderers and robbers:[9] in the 18th century a north Syrian king named Irkabtum (c. 1740 BC) "made peace with [the warlord] Shemuba and his Habiru," [10] while the 'Apiru, Idrimi of Alalakh was the son of a deposed king, and formed a band of 'Apiru to make himself king of Alalakh.[11][broken footnote] What Idrimi shared with the other 'Apiru was membership of an inferior social of outlaws, mercenaries, and slaves leading a marginal and sometimes lawless existence on the fringes of settled society.[12] 'Apiru had no common ethnic affiliations and no common language, their personal names being most frequently West Semitic, but many East SemiticHurrian or Indo-European.[12][13]

In the Tikunani Prism from Anatolia, dating from around 1550 BC, the names of 438 Habiru soldiers are given. The majority of them had Hurrian names, the rest being Semitic.

11 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 9476

Richard Elliot Friedman recently wrote a book (The Exodus) where he argues the Levite tribe came from Egypt and may have had their roots in the Habiru

11 days ago
6/20/13
Posts: 2286

Marty Friedman is the only Friedman who matters. Well, and this one:

10 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 9480
anthonyMI -

How important the Talmud is is kind of a split between Orthodox and Progressive Jews.

Orthodox Jews spend more time studying Talmud than anything else, in large part because there is just so much of it. The traditional way it works is chavruta study. You and a study partner go over the same bit of Talmud, then argue over what it means and how you are supposed to apply it in real life. Tanakh is kinda considered rudimentary. You should know it, but it is the equivalent of the elementary school building blocks you are just supposed to know before you get to the more substantial stuff. Even then, the focus is more on the five books of Torah. The Prophets and Writings are largely reserved for whatever festival they are associated with.

Progressive Judaism refocussed on the Tanakh and Talmud study is largely ignored. If you meet a Jew from one of the Progressive streams, odds are they have never read a page of Talmud in their lives unless they are themselves a Rabbi. Of the minority who have, there is an even smaller minority who have done it in Aramaic, which you are supposed to do it in.

I mentioned that the main form of study in Progressive Judaism is studying the parashot. The Torah is divided into 54 segments, and you go over one each week. This week's is Parasha Noach, which, as you could guess, is the story of Noah.

Daily/weekly study schedules are pretty standard. Here is today's study from Chabad, which is kind of like the Evangelicals of Orthodox Judaism. Their thing is to get less observant Jews to do more Judaism.

https://www.chabad.org/dailystudy/default_cdo/jewish/Daily-Study.htm

You have the daily Torah portion, a Psalm, a bit of the Tanya (a kabbalistic work by the founder of the Chabad movement), Hayom Yom (another Chabad work, a book of daily wisdom), and a portion from Maimonides's Mishnah Torah, which is a simplification of the Talmud.

There is a bit more interest in the Talmud among progressives right now after the start of a new cycle of Daf Yomi, which is a daily study cycle where you study one page of Talmud a day for seven and a half years. This is today's: https://www.sefaria.org/Eruvin.70a?lang=bi Basically, about what to do when one person who lives in a courtyard does not take part in establishing an eruv, which is a space near your house where you are allowed to do certain things on shabbat that you aren't allowed to do elsewhere.

its interesting/strange that Orthodox Jews focus more on the Talmud than the Tanakh!  And they consider the Tanakh pretty basic!  

The Torah has the written law given by YHWH to Moses on Mt. Sinai.  How can you get any more important/foundational to Judaism than that?  

And the Prophets are so interesting - Isaiah, Amos, Hosea.........

To an outsider it seems like they are giving way too little respect to the Tanakh.....

 

 

9 days ago
4/24/07
Posts: 44335

Easy G

 

I probably didn't do the greatest job explaining all of it, I'm sure you can fill in some of the blanks yourself but it's basically the idea the the Israelites of the famed bible story are the Habiru. There are a few things that always led me to put some stock in the theory and that's the mistranslations of some I mentioned. 

You have to admit that some of the story of exodus doesn't really make sense, just as if it was translated poorly. Pharaoh giving provisions to slaves. Then changing his mind afterwards and then going after them. Not to mention any fighting that took place. How would common slaves be able to hang with the trained men of the Egyptian army? How would Moses have the tactical military know how? Atheist may claim the bible is fake but there is nothing fake about whomever Moses was being a legit general. 

Outside of this theory I never really bothered to research anything about the Habiru or who else they were and what they did. My initial interest was simply the battles that ensued from the Exodus. I've always found ancient battles to be fucking amazing. Formations, tactics, weapons ect. I was curious how common slaves were able to take on Pharaohs army and stumbled upon this. 

9 days ago
3/15/15
Posts: 13898
in
9 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 9497
David@accu -

Easy G

 

I probably didn't do the greatest job explaining all of it, I'm sure you can fill in some of the blanks yourself but it's basically the idea the the Israelites of the famed bible story are the Habiru. There are a few things that always led me to put some stock in the theory and that's the mistranslations of some I mentioned. 

You have to admit that some of the story of exodus doesn't really make sense, just as if it was translated poorly. Pharaoh giving provisions to slaves. Then changing his mind afterwards and then going after them. Not to mention any fighting that took place. How would common slaves be able to hang with the trained men of the Egyptian army? How would Moses have the tactical military know how? Atheist may claim the bible is fake but there is nothing fake about whomever Moses was being a legit general. 

Outside of this theory I never really bothered to research anything about the Habiru or who else they were and what they did. My initial interest was simply the battles that ensued from the Exodus. I've always found ancient battles to be fucking amazing. Formations, tactics, weapons ect. I was curious how common slaves were able to take on Pharaohs army and stumbled upon this. 

INTERESTING 

Richard Elliot Friedman's Exodus book is pretty similar to this and tries to tie it to the very limited historical data

Edited: 8 days ago
11/28/08
Posts: 24593
EazyG -
anthonyMI -

How important the Talmud is is kind of a split between Orthodox and Progressive Jews.

Orthodox Jews spend more time studying Talmud than anything else, in large part because there is just so much of it. The traditional way it works is chavruta study. You and a study partner go over the same bit of Talmud, then argue over what it means and how you are supposed to apply it in real life. Tanakh is kinda considered rudimentary. You should know it, but it is the equivalent of the elementary school building blocks you are just supposed to know before you get to the more substantial stuff. Even then, the focus is more on the five books of Torah. The Prophets and Writings are largely reserved for whatever festival they are associated with.

Progressive Judaism refocussed on the Tanakh and Talmud study is largely ignored. If you meet a Jew from one of the Progressive streams, odds are they have never read a page of Talmud in their lives unless they are themselves a Rabbi. Of the minority who have, there is an even smaller minority who have done it in Aramaic, which you are supposed to do it in.

I mentioned that the main form of study in Progressive Judaism is studying the parashot. The Torah is divided into 54 segments, and you go over one each week. This week's is Parasha Noach, which, as you could guess, is the story of Noah.

Daily/weekly study schedules are pretty standard. Here is today's study from Chabad, which is kind of like the Evangelicals of Orthodox Judaism. Their thing is to get less observant Jews to do more Judaism.

https://www.chabad.org/dailystudy/default_cdo/jewish/Daily-Study.htm

You have the daily Torah portion, a Psalm, a bit of the Tanya (a kabbalistic work by the founder of the Chabad movement), Hayom Yom (another Chabad work, a book of daily wisdom), and a portion from Maimonides's Mishnah Torah, which is a simplification of the Talmud.

There is a bit more interest in the Talmud among progressives right now after the start of a new cycle of Daf Yomi, which is a daily study cycle where you study one page of Talmud a day for seven and a half years. This is today's: https://www.sefaria.org/Eruvin.70a?lang=bi Basically, about what to do when one person who lives in a courtyard does not take part in establishing an eruv, which is a space near your house where you are allowed to do certain things on shabbat that you aren't allowed to do elsewhere.

its interesting/strange that Orthodox Jews focus more on the Talmud than the Tanakh!  And they consider the Tanakh pretty basic!  

The Torah has the written law given by YHWH to Moses on Mt. Sinai.  How can you get any more important/foundational to Judaism than that?  

And the Prophets are so interesting - Isaiah, Amos, Hosea.........

To an outsider it seems like they are giving way too little respect to the Tanakh.....

 

 

Keep in mind that you are talking about people whose lives are built around their religion and want to know what they are supposed to do. Even when reading the Torah, it is more for the mitzvot rather than the narrative. While a little Haredi child will start off just by learning what they are, the details of how you are actually supposed to carry them out are in the Talmud. A lot of the Talmud seems to be pretty outdated even in that regard. One time when I was studying the Talmud a bit more intently, it involved a whole lot of what to do with what happens when a goat that is left in your care wanders off and damages someone's fence. But, even then, it is taught largely with the intent of learning a certain mindset. Basically, what we would now think of as deep reading of text combined with legal training. It is actually very similar to law school. You are learning the legal code, sure, but really you are learning the logic of it and how to argue with it.

Also, when I say focus, keep in mind that is just percentage wise. An average Orthodox Jew is doing far more religious study than just about any Christian who isn't themselves a member of the priesthood.

In religious pre-school through elementary school, they are learning more from the Tanakh. It starts with just narrative, but pretty quickly becomes analysis. Especially linguistic analysis. What does the placement of this specific Hebrew letter mean, etc. It switches up more to Talmud in Middle School. More specifically, for boys the focus switches more to Talmud. For girls, they continue with Tanakh. Which is why some of the more insightful views on the Writings and Prophets come from women. A novel I like is the Secret Book of Kings by Yochi Brandeis. She is the daughter of a rabbi and is very knowledgeable, but I think her being a woman has something to do with her intimacy with the prophets.

Then after high school, most will do some kind of seminary, often in Israel. That goes both for ultra- and modern orthodox. Someone OG relevant who has talked about doing that is Ari Shaffir, who was raised Modern Orthodox. I want to do this myself at some point, but it is just so expensive. So, we are not just talking Sunday school here. Though, progressive Jews will probably just get the same level of religious education as your typical Catholic catechism prior to their bar/bat mitzvah. And it will be Tanakh-centric.

There is also the belief that the Mishnah was given to Moses at the same time as the written law at Sinai. If you take a historicist view that seems unlikely, but you can say the same about the written Torah as the oral one. And really, the "oral" torah has been written down in its same form (minus censorship that happened in the Middle Ages) for the last 1700 years.

 

 

One of my favorite Modern Orthodox Torah commentators is Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former British Chief Rabbi. His Covenant and Conversation series covers the weekly Torah reading. I have it in book form, he does podcasts, and has something on his website as well: 

Covenant & Conversation homepage
 He also has essay series specifically from an ethical standpoint and from a leadership one.

7 days ago
3/28/02
Posts: 9516
anthonyMI -
EazyG -
anthonyMI -

How important the Talmud is is kind of a split between Orthodox and Progressive Jews.

Orthodox Jews spend more time studying Talmud than anything else, in large part because there is just so much of it. The traditional way it works is chavruta study. You and a study partner go over the same bit of Talmud, then argue over what it means and how you are supposed to apply it in real life. Tanakh is kinda considered rudimentary. You should know it, but it is the equivalent of the elementary school building blocks you are just supposed to know before you get to the more substantial stuff. Even then, the focus is more on the five books of Torah. The Prophets and Writings are largely reserved for whatever festival they are associated with.

Progressive Judaism refocussed on the Tanakh and Talmud study is largely ignored. If you meet a Jew from one of the Progressive streams, odds are they have never read a page of Talmud in their lives unless they are themselves a Rabbi. Of the minority who have, there is an even smaller minority who have done it in Aramaic, which you are supposed to do it in.

I mentioned that the main form of study in Progressive Judaism is studying the parashot. The Torah is divided into 54 segments, and you go over one each week. This week's is Parasha Noach, which, as you could guess, is the story of Noah.

Daily/weekly study schedules are pretty standard. Here is today's study from Chabad, which is kind of like the Evangelicals of Orthodox Judaism. Their thing is to get less observant Jews to do more Judaism.

https://www.chabad.org/dailystudy/default_cdo/jewish/Daily-Study.htm

You have the daily Torah portion, a Psalm, a bit of the Tanya (a kabbalistic work by the founder of the Chabad movement), Hayom Yom (another Chabad work, a book of daily wisdom), and a portion from Maimonides's Mishnah Torah, which is a simplification of the Talmud.

There is a bit more interest in the Talmud among progressives right now after the start of a new cycle of Daf Yomi, which is a daily study cycle where you study one page of Talmud a day for seven and a half years. This is today's: https://www.sefaria.org/Eruvin.70a?lang=bi Basically, about what to do when one person who lives in a courtyard does not take part in establishing an eruv, which is a space near your house where you are allowed to do certain things on shabbat that you aren't allowed to do elsewhere.

its interesting/strange that Orthodox Jews focus more on the Talmud than the Tanakh!  And they consider the Tanakh pretty basic!  

The Torah has the written law given by YHWH to Moses on Mt. Sinai.  How can you get any more important/foundational to Judaism than that?  

And the Prophets are so interesting - Isaiah, Amos, Hosea.........

To an outsider it seems like they are giving way too little respect to the Tanakh.....

 

 

Keep in mind that you are talking about people whose lives are built around their religion and want to know what they are supposed to do. Even when reading the Torah, it is more for the mitzvot rather than the narrative. While a little Haredi child will start off just by learning what they are, the details of how you are actually supposed to carry them out are in the Talmud. A lot of the Talmud seems to be pretty outdated even in that regard. One time when I was studying the Talmud a bit more intently, it involved a whole lot of what to do with what happens when a goat that is left in your care wanders off and damages someone's fence. But, even then, it is taught largely with the intent of learning a certain mindset. Basically, what we would now think of as deep reading of text combined with legal training. It is actually very similar to law school. You are learning the legal code, sure, but really you are learning the logic of it and how to argue with it.

Also, when I say focus, keep in mind that is just percentage wise. An average Orthodox Jew is doing far more religious study than just about any Christian who isn't themselves a member of the priesthood.

In religious pre-school through elementary school, they are learning more from the Tanakh. It starts with just narrative, but pretty quickly becomes analysis. Especially linguistic analysis. What does the placement of this specific Hebrew letter mean, etc. It switches up more to Talmud in Middle School. More specifically, for boys the focus switches more to Talmud. For girls, they continue with Tanakh. Which is why some of the more insightful views on the Writings and Prophets come from women. A novel I like is the Secret Book of Kings by Yochi Brandeis. She is the daughter of a rabbi and is very knowledgeable, but I think her being a woman has something to do with her intimacy with the prophets.

Then after high school, most will do some kind of seminary, often in Israel. That goes both for ultra- and modern orthodox. Someone OG relevant who has talked about doing that is Ari Shaffir, who was raised Modern Orthodox. I want to do this myself at some point, but it is just so expensive. So, we are not just talking Sunday school here. Though, progressive Jews will probably just get the same level of religious education as your typical Catholic catechism prior to their bar/bat mitzvah. And it will be Tanakh-centric.

There is also the belief that the Mishnah was given to Moses at the same time as the written law at Sinai. If you take a historicist view that seems unlikely, but you can say the same about the written Torah as the oral one. And really, the "oral" torah has been written down in its same form (minus censorship that happened in the Middle Ages) for the last 1700 years.

 

 

One of my favorite Modern Orthodox Torah commentators is Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former British Chief Rabbi. His Covenant and Conversation series covers the weekly Torah reading. I have it in book form, he does podcasts, and has something on his website as well: 

Covenant & Conversation homepage
 He also has essay series specifically from an ethical standpoint and from a leadership one.

fascinating.  I will listen to Rabbi Sacks.

Seems like the Orthodox folks put the Oral Torah on the same level as the Written Torah..

 

I will start a new thread on Oral vs Written Torah

7 days ago
9/22/20
Posts: 241
anthonyMI -

Karaites are not textual literalists in a Protestant sense of the word. They still have their own traditions, they just don't elevate the Talmud the way the Rabbinic tradition does. They have their own corpus of legalistic and exegetical texts the same as mainstream Judaism does, just with their own presuppositions.

Also, they are a later development that split away from Rabbinic Judaism in the early Middle Ages. They are not some more authentic strain of Judaism that Rabbinic Jews kept secret or something.

Everything is cyclical, though. The Reform Movement then later Zionism kinda re-centered the Tanakh in their own ways. Parshah study is probably the main type of study that exists in progressive (still Rabbinic) Judaism. Which is still important, but always feels like a really truncated version of much larger tradition that progressive Rabbis will be familiar with, but are almost afraid of overwhelming their congregants with.

Agreed with that - they have traditions but those traditions have no supremacy to the written word. Also, I agree they don't insert a wooden literal definition into the written word.  They assert the meaning from the frame of mind of the writers.
One example:
Exodus/Shemot 23:19 The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God. You shall not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.

Rabbinics take from that, you cannot have cheeseburgers and placed that requirement in the dietary laws of kashrut.  Mind you the cheese is not milk and the hamburger is not goat. 
Karaites take from that, do not boil a goat in its mothers milk. They found it was a cananite land blessing, taking a kid goat from your flock, boiling it in the signs of fertility from its own mother, its milk, and then spreading the milk and goat meat on the land. 
 

Rabbinics seem to use the four pillars of PaRDeS differently than Karaites, at times I feel inappropriately for the text given its context.  Karaites seem to weigh that significance of the culture, language, and values of the people at the time of the writing and situationally apply PaRDeS in what I tend to believe is the most appropriate instructive interpretation of the text. 

There's nuance missed in trying to condense things into a non-FRAT post on a forum that people will read so I'm keeping it short so please forgive the lack of grace in my brevity here. I would look at the difference between Orthodox and Karaite in a lense similar to the difference in our judges in the US court system. You have pragmatists and you have originalists. Pragmatists think everything is constantly updating its meaning with society.  Originalists think they were written with a context in their time and place and should be looked at through that lense. They both refer back to and use case law (traditions) differently than one another in a meaningfully different way.