Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Pointlessness of it All (On Higher Criticism)

[This will be the last post I write on the subject. I intend to spend my time from here on in on more productive issues - aiwac]
Menachem Mendel has put up the entire program of a major conference in Jewish Studies taking place in Ben-Gurion University. There is a heavy emphasis on the relationship between Bible Studies and Orthodox Judaism, with most of the First session being by Orthodox adherents of the DH (Baruch Schwartz and James Kugel; to be fair, I have no idea what Tovah Ganzel will be discussing).
Originally, I was going to write a post expressing my exasperation at the fact that we have no-one who can give an Orthodox response to stuff like this. I mean it's not like there weren't and aren't Orthodox scholars on Bible out there (Uri Simon, Yehuda Elitzur zt"l, Amos Frish &c). I was going to read the riot act to people like Jeremiah Unterman and Shneyur Leiman, both of whom have complained in different contexts of the lack of a substantive Orthodox response/answer to the challenges of Biblical Criticism of the Chumash. I would charge that they should put their money where their mouth is and compose such solutions/answers (after all, both have the requisite knowledge, training and yir'at shamayim).
Having seen the discussion of this issue in Hirhurim, especially the responses of a certain "Jerry", I must regrettably retract that challenge. Apparently the Charedim are right on this issue - one is either a James Kugel or a fundamentalist when it comes to the Torah. Orthodox Jewish scholars are apparently either incapable or unwilling to provide any other option.


Eric said...

Have you read R' Yoel Bin Nun's article "Haaretz VeEretz Kenaan"? It is never said explicitly, but the subtext of the entire article is an argument against the DH.

You may or may not be convinced by his analysis. IIRC, he is more convincing in the first half of the article (addresses J/E) than in the second (addresses P/D).

aiwac said...


Thank you very much for the reference.

I am very much aware of R. Bin-Nun's heroic efforts on the subject. I think it's just such a scandal that he doesn't have more help - hence the post.