[b-hebrew] Fwd: Re: YHWH

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Thu Jul 28 02:19:58 EDT 2005

Shoshanna Walker wrote:
> But if the Torah is not Divine, then anything and everything is possible, correct?

Anything and everything is possible regardless.  But if we don't assume a priori
that the Torah is divine, or any specific belief about the Torah, then
our only method
is what can be told by the text itself, and perhaps how we may connect what the
text says with what we might found out through archaeology and related sciences.
This still doesn't mean that the Torah is not divine, however.  The Torah may be
divine; it may be divinely inspired; parts of it may be divine and
others not; it may not
be divine at all.  However, there is no scientific way to determine
which parts of the
Torah are divine.  We may however be able to confirm or disprove other beliefs
as regarding dates and beliefs of events in the Torah and whether these events 
were historical or not.  By confirm or disprove, I mean, conclude that
in all likelihood
a section of the Torah was written not prior to a certain date.  Also,
since it is
generally held that the "Torah speaks in the language of men," we might explain 
non-historical parts as the way the Torah elaborated some
non-historical concept using
terminology and literary genre of its time.  

> Quoting Sujata:

> > If we want to accept God's word in Gen 31:30 35:2, and
> > Ex 12:12 that there are other gods, then is it not
> > logical to accept His word when He explains elsewhere
> > that what He means by "other gods" is stones, wood and
> > other hand-made gods? What is the reasoning behind
> > accepting one and rejecting another?

> So, why have none of you experts here answered this VALID question?

First, the Torah, or Tanakh, are not necessarily one consistent document.  In
fact, the Tanakh most certainly isn't, and it's clear that on the
surface the Torah
isn't that consistent either.  It's quite possible that two differing
viewpoints of
theology are maintained in different parts of the Tanakh.  It's
possible that, say,
Deuteronomy has one point of view, and Genesis has a different point of view.
It's possible that Exodus has within it two differing points of view,
one of which
agrees with Numbers, the other agreeing with Leviticus.  So just because the
Torah says in one place one thing, and in another place something else, doesn't
mean we should harmonize the two.  We should attempt to analyze the simple
meaning (the pshat) of each section on its own, and if it is consistent with
another section or paragraph, great.  If not, also great.  In both
cases that is yet
another thing we can study (why is it consistent here and not there?)   Also,
I don't see Sujata or you cite any specific verses that say "when I
refer to other
gods, I mean handmade objects."  For example, Psalm 115 appears to hold
that point of view, but that's not God speaking.  On the other hand, Judges 
11:23 - 24 appears to very clearly hold the viewpoint that Kemosh is a
real god.

Yitzhak Sapir

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