Jon D. Levenson is the Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard University and the author of Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Library of Jewish Ideas; Princeton University Press).
That’s the contention of a new book by a major historian of ancient Judaism. It deserves serious attention, but it also overstates its case.
There are formidable new interpretive resources to make that case.
It’s hard to extract universal philosophical or political lessons from a set of books that is so resolutely particular.
One Soloveitchik warned about the dangers of Jewish-Christian dialogue. Another, his forebear, tried to intensify such dialogue, or so a third member of the family now argues. Is he right?
Like all of the other methods that have been devised for approaching the Bible, the literary method has its inevitable limitations.
In the Bible there is no solid differentiation but rather fluidity among what we moderns call past, present, and future.
For traditional Jews and Catholics alike, liberalism has presented parallel but different dangers; so has anti-liberalism.
There is no neutral or “universal” way to read—or exhibit—the Bible. What, then, can an American museum of the Bible strive to accomplish?
There is a liberal slant in biblical studies, but it has an older and more persistent source than merely the general liberalism or leftism of today’s academy.
Kenneth R. Seeskin and Jon D. Levenson debate the power and the limits of philosophical reflection on the Hebrew Bible.
If philosophers are to read the Bible properly, they need a philosophical model that is not embarrassed by the living God who is considered to act in history.
As the latest attempt to draw universal ethical principles from the Bible shows, philosophical investigation of its text offers the prospect of great rewards—and grave dangers.