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Book Study-Prager's Rational Bible
#41
(06-06-2019, 10:38 PM)searchinmyroots wrote:
(06-06-2019, 03:47 PM)nili wrote:
(06-06-2019, 02:43 PM)searchinmyroots wrote:
(06-06-2019, 01:55 PM)nili wrote:
(06-06-2019, 12:51 PM)searchinmyroots wrote: That's true Nili, you can't really make a case by saying something didn't happen just because there is no record of it.

I think though the Sages of the time were very careful on how they executed (no pun intended) the commandments. I think they did the same when it came to stoning or strangling people who broke them.

Which sages? What time? Upon what do you base your thinking? And, parenthetically, would you characterize Pinchas as a careful sage or, at the very least, a reasonably good role-model for one?

Thanks for the questions.

I'm referring to the Sages of the Talmud, so I guess that includes many different ones over a long period of time.

One typical "Biblical timeline" dates the Exodus to 1446 B.C.E., while the Mishnah dates to 200 C.E. and the schools of Hillel and Shammai to, perhaps, two to three centuries earlier. So you seem to be predicating assumptions about early Israelite society on (what I assume to be) a cursory impression of sages operating over a millennium later.

Well we know there were judges who are in the Torah. So the Torah does mention a stoning incident, but if I'm not mistaken, it doesn't say anything about a wayward son being executed. I think that was left up to the judges and if it was something that was deemed important, it would have been mentioned.

But that's just my opinion!

See Wikipedia: Stoning.
To be is to stand for. - Abraham Joshua Heschel
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#42
(06-06-2019, 12:08 PM)nili wrote:
(06-03-2019, 06:02 PM)Dana wrote: ... I can appreciate his honesty and efforts to study diligently the difficult passages in the Torah, due to his belief it is a divine book and therefore, always right. He gave the example of the wayward son, and there being no record of a Jewish court actually carrying out an execution. ...

The presumption taints everything.

As for his example, it should first be noted that, especially here, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. There is "no record of a Jewish court actually carrying out an execution" in large part because, for the bulk of Israelite history, there is no record, period. Put differently, most of what can be known with any degree of certainty deals with rabbinic jurisprudence and almost certainly reflects Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and even Roman influences.

Prager simply offers an example of making lemonade from the absence of lemons. No doubt others will follow.

========

For those interested, "Torah Is From Heaven!" What Do We Really Mean? is, in my opinion, worth reading.

Thank you for the link! I appreciate the perspective of the author, and think he summed up the link best in A Statement of Fact or Loyalty? The Importance of Context.
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#43
(06-06-2019, 11:12 PM)nili wrote: See Wikipedia: Stoning.

So we don't know for sure -

"Stoning was "presumably" the standard form of capital punishment in ancient Israel."

If there is no record, we don't know either way if it happened or not.
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#44
(06-06-2019, 12:08 PM)nili wrote: There is "no record of a Jewish court actually carrying out an execution" in large part because, for the bulk of Israelite history, there is no record, period. Put differently, most of what can be known with any degree of certainty deals with rabbinic jurisprudence and almost certainly reflects Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and even Roman influences.

Definitely a worthy point. Most of Jewish history (for that part, history in general) has been lost. The vacuum is obviously filled with faith claims, though. Loads of claims fill in gaps that there is no historical support for, and it happens all the time.
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#45
(06-07-2019, 03:21 AM)Jason wrote:
(06-06-2019, 12:08 PM)nili wrote: There is "no record of a Jewish court actually carrying out an execution" in large part because, for the bulk of Israelite history, there is no record, period. Put differently, most of what can be known with any degree of certainty deals with rabbinic jurisprudence and almost certainly reflects Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and even Roman influences.

Definitely a worthy point. Most of Jewish history (for that part, history in general) has been lost. The vacuum is obviously filled with faith claims, though. Loads of claims fill in gaps that there is no historical support for, and it happens all the time.

Yes, and there's a reason that the Documentary Hypothesis is labeled an hypothesis. When it comes to such things as history, archaeology, and philology, certainty is exceedingly rare. But the scholarship that informs DH is abundant and clearly informs such modern Torah commentaries as JPS, Plaut, Etz Hyim, Alter, Fox, R.E. Friedman and others, commentaries used throughout the Reform and Conservative movements in the US.

We are a pattern-matching species; filling the gaps happens all the time. What one fills them with matters.

Finally, we should not forget the Prager text that spurred the current interchange. At issue is not that Prager resorted to a faith claim. At issue is that Prager employed a baseless faith claim to justify a faith claim.
To be is to stand for. - Abraham Joshua Heschel
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#46
(06-07-2019, 01:58 AM)searchinmyroots wrote:
(06-06-2019, 11:12 PM)nili wrote: See Wikipedia: Stoning.

So we don't know for sure -

"Stoning was "presumably" the standard form of capital punishment in ancient Israel."

If there is no record, we don't know either way if it happened or not.

And yet Prager presents it as fact.
To be is to stand for. - Abraham Joshua Heschel
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#47
(06-07-2019, 11:54 AM)nili wrote:
(06-07-2019, 01:58 AM)searchinmyroots wrote:
(06-06-2019, 11:12 PM)nili wrote: See Wikipedia: Stoning.

So we don't know for sure -

"Stoning was "presumably" the standard form of capital punishment in ancient Israel."

If there is no record, we don't know either way if it happened or not.

And yet Prager presents it as fact.


I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion.
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#48
(06-07-2019, 11:54 AM)nili wrote: And yet Prager presents it as fact.

I think Prager presents a lot of things as fact that are not. I don't want to interrupt their study of this book, though. Let's allow the thread to develop so that people can express their ideas. It's beyond what Prager says, which doesn't interest me that much. I'm interested in what people on the forum have to say. Smile
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#49
(06-07-2019, 08:51 PM)searchinmyroots wrote:
(06-07-2019, 11:54 AM)nili wrote:
(06-07-2019, 01:58 AM)searchinmyroots wrote:
(06-06-2019, 11:12 PM)nili wrote: See Wikipedia: Stoning.

So we don't know for sure -

"Stoning was "presumably" the standard form of capital punishment in ancient Israel."

If there is no record, we don't know either way if it happened or not.

And yet Prager presents it as fact.


I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion.

OK.
To be is to stand for. - Abraham Joshua Heschel
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#50
Someone here had posted once, what I feel is one of the wisest and relevant sayings, I think by Menachem Mendel.  It is easy to paraphrase because it was easy to memorize.  Not everything thought should be said. Not everything said should be written. Not everything written should be published and not everything published should be read.

There is so much wisdom from those few words!  I seem to fail regularly following the first and second. Never written anything worth publishing but I have read quite a few books of little quality. I don't think the Rational Bible is one of them.  Yes, it is opinionated and there are areas such as Chapter 1, where assertions are made such as what G-d happens to be preoccupied with along with his creation of the world as what appears to be factual.  He has also devoted a chapter reconciling science with Genesis.

I couldn't debate this kind of topic even if I wanted too. However, Stephen Hawkings, an atheist, theoretical physicist and cosmologist had written some books, worded for the average layperson, (sometimes I  fit that role) and had made the argument on the Big Bang Theory, the expanding universe, space/time and all that other technical stuff. He has stated that a god is not necessary for creating the universe. Personally, I listen to the physicists when it comes to matters of the cosmos.

Dennis Prager wrote that Genesis 1 does not seek to teach science, but rather it seeks to teach wisdom and that is why I chose to read this book. I'm interested in some of those thoughts.    I believe the Torah has much to say about wisdom.
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