Monday, November 14, 2005

Jewish issues online

After a long time reading Jewish mailing lists, bulletin boards and blogs I've noticed that there are certain topics that come up over the years and then over and over again. These topics include things like lower (textual) criticism of the Torah, the Documentary Hypothesis, the age of the universe, Who Is A Heretic, how are we to understand fantastic midrashim, the nature of rabbinic authority and so forth. These topics recur again and again, over years and in many forums online.

Why? There is so much more in Torah. There are "famous" sugyas in Gemara. It seems like a relatively little amount of discussion about these issues, as opposed to more foundational or hashkafic issues that seems to occupy us online.

I guess it may that these are the issues that are neglected "in the real world". If you want stimulating discussion or a seder on these issues, it might be hard--or for some, impossible--to find offline. If its so, that these issues aren't discussable in the real world, then it probably indicates a failure of sorts, whether educational, institutional, rabbinic etc. These are things people are thirsty to talk about!

What other reasons might there be?

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