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Samson Blinded

Samson Blinded

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Publicado porAdamhman

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Published by: Adamhman on Apr 29, 2008
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10/06/2012

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Scholarly biblical criticism threatens Zionism’s ideological pillars.
Much of the Bible is not revelation, not history, but saga, yet the Israelis
flirt with theocracy, compounding the confusion instead of resolving it. The
people who should lead the national revival, the rabbis, oppose the
discussion. Jewish fundamentalism is as assertive in Israel as Islamic

135

Right now, only few books on Judaism are available for non-Hebrew speakers.
The Talmud is not translated into most languages, and even the English translation
is not widely available. In contrast, thousands of Christian theological texts, many
of high quality, can be downloaded free from the internet.

Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict

195

fundamentalism in Muslim countries—coherent, confident, and funded,
gaining support from the uncritical.
Cosmopolitan Western culture fills the resulting void. Israel has no
nationalist ideology to promote state values, and the moral and material
aspects of living in a state at war for half a century are unattractive.
Nationalism in bi-national Israel will speak of “us, Jews and Arabs” and
destroy Jewish identity.136

Better to admit honestly that the historical parts of the Torah are not

factual,137

get past the myths, and offer sustainable ideals—from
Maimonides’ rationalization to Halevi’s poetry, from biblical minimalism
to the Tanakh. There must be lively and honest discussion. Such discussion
did not break Judaism in Talmudic times, and will only help it now;
participatory democracy similarly strengthens societies. Attempts to gloss
over the weaknesses of Tanakh and the Talmud do not work in the light of
modern criticism. Thoughtful criticism is better than unthinking acceptance.
Criticism channels doubts which can lead to rejection of Judaism if they are
repressed or not informed. Modern rabbis are like Shammai, who pushed
the inquiring gentile away, while Hillel explained the essence of Judaism in
a single sentence. Since most Jews never read the Tanakh, let alone the
Talmud or the commentaries, rabbis should generate popular literature on
Judaism—anthologies, commentaries, and anecdotes, like the short
commentaries of the Lubavitcher Rabbi. The effort must be large scale.
Christian foundations distribute their publications free, and both Christians
and Muslims offer free religious instruction. Jews should do likewise.
Synagogues in Israel and abroad should invite local Jews to participate in
the events and provide background material on the ceremonies, even
through bulk mail.

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