Organizing the Bible and the Talmud

The Thousand-Year View wants to show how the ideas of great Jewish philosophers apply to modern society. The writer of that blog, N.S. Palmer, who earned his degree in Mathematical Sciences in 2013 and is now a graduate student in Jewish Studies at Hebrew College, knows that lots of people normally look to the Bible for morals, religious inspiration, and history.

He is also aware that

the belief is true relative to particular methods of verifying its truth, as well as specifications of which book, on which table, in which room. If any of those were different or left out, the belief would be either false or meaningless. {Absolutely Relatively True}

A History of the World in 100 Objects

A History of the World in 100 Objects (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Often when people hear about a believer that he follows the Holy Scriptures, they consider that person a naive believer and think they take all stories to have happened exactly as written down.

Creationists do not help to have non believers a good idea of Christians.

Palmer thinks of that

Their rejection of science is not mere ignorance, though there’s some of that. Nor is it fear of modernity, though there’s some of that. I’m not too wild about modernity, myself. {Myth and Its Meanings}

Creationists are uneasy about something, but they can’t quite articulate what it is. Instead, they offer specious arguments against evolution or for a young earth. {Myth and Its Meanings}

When looking at the Holy Scriptures we can find many stories or myths in it.

Consider the flood story in Genesis 6-8. The Ancient Near East had numerous catastrophic floods that might have given rise to the story. To the people of that place and time, such floods affected all or most of the land they knew about. It seemed like the whole world was flooded, so that’s how they told the story. {Myth and Its Meanings}

When confronted with such stories it all depend how you want to look at them. It starts already how you want to look at the void and the Creation from the void. Further is the matter of the reality value of such stories or myths.

Myths are often literally false, but it’s a mistake to assume they have nothing to offer us. Myth is fiction that tells a larger truth about us, about our societies, and about our world. Whether myths are Biblical, moral, or historical, they help us discover who we are and how we should live. {Myth and Its Meanings}

Furthermore are there people who think the Torah does say something different to the Bible. They seem to forget that the Torah is just the first part of the Tanakh as well as the first part of the Bible and as such we do not have to look for parallelisms because they are just the same. Even more we do find lots of biblical stories back in other cultures their religious and historical books.

There are numerous parallels between the Torah and pagan literature of the Ancient Near East. For example:

Not only a few got revelations from God. It is God Who calls the people and He shall use different means.

Whether our experience is ordinary (a book on the table) or transcendent (God speaking to us), we interpret it in terms of the ideas and beliefs we already have.{Torah Parallels Are No Problem}

In the past it was not always easy to get to know what was written in the Holy Scriptures. Also when phrases were quoted or passages recorded people not often could find where they exactly where in the scriptures.

People needed a certain level of Biblical literacy to understand what you were talking about. Some of them, like most people today, just didn’t have it. They were left out of the conversation.


The guest-author looks at Stephen Langton who divided the text into the chapters and verses we (both Jews and Christians) use today. He also looks at his ground-level  viewpoint and him adding the Tetragrammaton to God’s name. Langton knew it, but for some reason decided not to put the chapter break at the end of the first story.


Additional reading

  1. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  2. Book Review: Ann Gauger, Douglas Axe & Casey Luskin, Science & Human Origins.
  3. Largest timber-framed building part of discussion about God’s actions


Further reading

  1. A Question
  2. The Man who dated Creation
  3. Genetic Expert Francis Collins on DNA: “the language in which God created life”…
  4. Happy Birthday to Earth… Happy Birthday to Earth… How old are you now?
  5. Part 1: Creationist or Evolutionist, You Need Traditional Gender Roles
  6. Why the Ark Encounter makes me sad.
  7. Court tosses Kansas case — Nutballs said science education lacked religion
  8. Supernatural?
  9. Designed To Discover | Jack The Lad
  10. What They Said, We Believed
  11. All-About-Athena: Hymns, Prayers, Cult Names
  12. Mythology, A Science-Fiction?
  13. The Muses Leaving Their Father Apollo to Go out and Light the World — Gustave Moreau
  14. Viking Jesus
  15. Diwali in the stars..
  16. Bhima
  17. Don’t Ask Me That:Why Should I Trust the Bible?
  18. Morning Devotional
  19. I will not live without Yah
  20. In the Darkness
  21. How Idols Take Us Out of the Race
  22. Challenges In Our Lives


The Thousand-Year View

Bomberg-TalmudMy latest blog post for The Jewish Journal:

Do you know what it says in the Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 8, verse 3?

Unless you’re a rabbi or a savant, you probably don’t. Neither do I. But we know how to look it up. We just open the Torah, turn to the Book of Deuteronomy, and flip to Chapter 8, verse 3.

In ancient times, people couldn’t do that. There were no chapters or verses in the Bible.

If you wanted to refer to a passage, you just quoted it and hoped that your listeners knew its origin. You might have told them which book of the Bible you were talking about, but that was as much as you could do.

People needed a certain level of Biblical literacy to understand what you were talking about. Some of them, like most people today, just didn’t have it. They were…

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5 thoughts on “Organizing the Bible and the Talmud

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