Professor Reyes is reading...

The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture
By: Yoram Hazony

When viewed through a dichotomy between reason and revelation, the Hebrew Bible is often regarded as a work of revelation. Unfortunately, this has led to a general dismissal of these ancient texts as supernatural nonsense in modern realms of discourse in which reason is supposed to reign supreme. The author of this book challenges such a view, arguing that Hebrew Scripture should rather be viewed as something much closer to what we might call a work of reason that expresses the philosophy of its authors. He further suggests that a reason-revelation dichotomy obscures this aspect of these writings. The book is written to be suitable to both skeptics and enthusiasts of such claims.

I admire the author’s skill in offering new meanings to several familiar stories that I had never previously considered. In fact, one of the most helpful ideas that I encountered in the book was the view of biblical stories as “instructional narrative,” teaching general principles through the particular details of a story in richer ways than can be presented by an abstract argument alone. Another particular highlight for me was a chapter devoted to examining the Hebrew meaning of truth as representing something closer to that which is reliable than a correspondence between abstract propositions and a reality independent from words. While several of the author’s discussions provided me with more questions than answers, I have still found the fresh perspective of his insights to make the reading entirely worthwhile!

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