Diversity and Hebrew Bible

gds at dor.kaiser.org gds at dor.kaiser.org
Thu Feb 15 16:17:45 EST 2001



Folks:

I have read many of these postings, which differ so much from my own belief
system, sometimes with awe and wonder, but usually interest.  For instance, take
the discussion on 'virgins', which ranged far and wide.  I personally did not
know that the Talmud had so much of a discussion on this as it related to
marriage.  Although I am not Jewish, I found it interesting nevertheless.  Some
I think overworked it, but that was not cause for alarm, after all, that is why
a delete key is ubiquitously available.  At other times, I have seen some
postings that are staunchly conservative Christian in perspective, which I have
equally found interesting, though again, not of my own Christian faith system.

I understand that the terms used for Tanak are hardly suitable for any universal
audience.  I have personally used First Testament in my forthcoming book so as
to be sensitive to both my Jewish and Christian readers.  Old Testament is sort
of a slap in the face to Jewish folk for obvious reasons, while Hebrew Bible is
likewise a bit repugnant since the TANAK is not the exclusive property of any
race or ethnic group, nor is it's study limited to a single language.  

But, I can 'hang' with any of the designations: OT, First Testament, TANAK,
Hebrew Bible, Miqra, etc.  It seems to me that since there are no terms that are
unoffensive to some at some level, we could all just agree to allow each their
own linguistic preference here?  After all, isn't the spirit of diversity the
celebration of our multitude of perspectives?  I don't think we celebrate
diversity and pluralism by saying one tradition is preferred, or worse, to be
expunged.  It just seems we should celebrate what HB means to Jewish Folk, and
OT for the more conservative Christians, etc.  True pluralism, and academic
openness, it seems to me is not a politically correct truncation, but the
allowance of the full breath of diversity to flower and bloom.  Why can't we
allow this list serve to express the gamut of beliefs, since the First
Testament/Tanak is truly, the world's book in terms of its importance for at
least Western Civilization.  The obvious solution for me, at least, is to just
hit delete when something doesn't hit my fancy, but I don't think the people who
post should not have a forum for willling dialogue because their interests don't
match mine in some specific manner.  Sometimes, in listening in though, I am
reminded what a vast multitude of faiths there are, and that my formulation is
just one.  I need that humility at times, both academically and personally.  I
also think, occasionally, I am made to see things I did not.  I would just hope
we can learn to appreciate differences more than I see being expressed here,
that is all.  

Gary D. Salyer





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