[b-hebrew] Academic Debate: bibliography

George Athas george.athas at moore.edu.au
Sun Nov 4 21:22:01 EST 2007

Edward, you've taken this discussion beyond the scope of B-Hebrew.
Please stick to discussions of Hebrew language and literature - not
theology or science. Thank you.


Best Regards, 
Fellow Chairman, B-Hebrew 
Moore Theological College (Sydney) 
1 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia 
Ph: (+61 2) 9577 9774 


From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of
belaga at math.u-strasbg.fr
Sent: Saturday, 3 November 2007 9:08 PM
To: Yigal Levin <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>; Dave Washburn
<dwashbur at nyx.net>; Shoshanna Walker <rosewalk at concentric.net>
Cc: b-hebrew <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Academic Debate: bibliography
Importance: Low


Dear Yigal, Dave and Shoshanna,

It is probably helpful to review the problem in the light of the  
historically shifting understanding of the Biblical texts we read.

(1) Dave Washburn writes to Yigal Levin

.... How many hurricanes have been observed in "controlled
  Or glacier formation?  Or the Big Bang?...

There is today a widespread and respected opinion that the Big Bang is

just a physically observed event which is a part of what the Book of  
Genesis describes as "the Creation of nothing". Interestingly enough,

Ramban (or Nahmanides, 1194?c. 1270, Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman, Catalan  
rabbi, philosopher, physician, Kabbalist and biblical commentator) has

correctly described in his Biblical exegesis the most astonishing  
scientific aspects of what we call today the Big Bang: that it was the

"moment" when were created (replace by "have emerged" if you have a  
difficulty with "creation" - BARA) time and space. For modern science,

it took centuries to come to this conclusion, with the "rational  
reasoning", from Hobbs to Laplace to modern philosophers of  
materialist leaning, mocking the plain meaning of exactly this part of

the Book of Genesis as an obvious nonsense. It shows that what we call

"rational" changes with time, and today it is quite a scientifically  
respected rational enterprise to imagine the first few seconds after  

A good book on the evolution of the scientific thought is "Theology  
and the scientific imagination from the Middle Ages to the seventeenth

century", by Amos Funkenstein.

(2) On the other hand, Rivka Feldhay, an Israeli professor, has  
written a very good book on a particular case of the conflict between

science and theology, "Galileo and the Church: Political Inquisition  
or Critical Dialogue?".

My point is that two extreme positions, exemplified in our debate by,

say, Yigal and Shoshanna, are just two reasonable points on the  
many-dimensional and fascinating for me picture of the return of  
modern science to a more respectful  attitude toward the plain and  
hidden meaning of the, in this case Hebrew, Bible.

Edward G. Belaga

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