Monday, August 10, 2009

James Kugel on Orthodox Judaism's intellectual honesty in Bible reading

If I understand correctly, Harvard Bible scholar James Kugel takes a view of the Bible that would drive pashtanim crazy. In his view the real Bible is not merely the words and stories in ancient Near Eastern context, but also the various interpretations readers (both Jewish and Christian) have given it over the centuries.

With this in mind, here is an account of remark he made (although I don't think this is intended to be an exact quote) at the 2009 International Society of Biblical Literature Conference in Rome:
At ISBL-Rome, James Kugel, formerly of Harvard, was an excellent role model in this sense. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, he told a number of excellent jokes on Jesuits and on Orthodox Jews to illustrate his points, but also, just to put everyone in a lucid state of mind. Like the story of a Jesuit who is looking for a particular church in Paris. He asks a passerby, “How can I find St. So-and-so?” The answer, “You’ll never find it, Father. It’s right in front of you.” After pointing out a commonality between Jesuits and Orthodox Jews, their love of Jesuitical/Talmudic reasoning, he got everyone’s attention when he said that in terms of reading the Bible with intellectual honesty, Orthodox Judaism is stuck where Catholicism was 100 years

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails