Judaism, Revelation, Bible Criticism, and the Dangers of Radical Doubt

Dec. 27 2019

In his 2015 book Revelation and Authority, Benjamin Sommer sought to reconcile modern biblical scholarship with Jewish theology. He discusses this book, his own education, the importance of ritual in understanding the Psalms, why radical love is not the solution to all problems, and much else in conversation with Matt Lynch. Noting that he has long been wary of the dangers of fanatical religiosity, Sommer contends that a greater danger in the contemporary West comes from the radical doubt of those who wish to write off religion entirely. He concludes the interview by urging academic Bible scholars to abandon their longstanding fixation on efforts to date various biblical passages. (Audio, 66 minutes.)

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Read more at OnScript

More about: Biblical criticism, Conservative Judaism, Hebrew Bible, Judaism, Revelation

Iran’s Dangerous Dream of a Triple Alliance with Russia and China

Aug. 16 2022

Unlike Hamas, which merely receives support from the Islamic Republic, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—with which Israel engaged in a short round of fighting last week—is more or less under its direct control. In fact, the recent hostilities began with a series of terrorist attacks launched by PIJ from Samaria, which might in turn have been a response to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s call “to open a new front in the West Bank against the Zionist enemy.” Amir Taheri writes:

In Gaza, the Islamic Republic has invested heavily in promoting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. . . . Islamic Jihad is in a minority in Gaza, hence the attempt by Tehran to help it create a base in the West Bank.

Reliable sources in Baghdad say that [Iran’s expeditionary and terrorist paramilitary] the Quds Force has been “transiting” significant quantities of arms and cash via Iraq to Jordan, to be smuggled to the West Bank. The Jordanian authorities say they are aware of these “hostile activities.” King Abdullah himself has publicly called on Iran to cease “destabilizing activities.”

But such schemes, Taheri explains, are part of a larger strategic vision of creating a grand anti-Western alliance even while engaging in nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and Europe:

Last month, Khamenei praised Vladimr Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. And this month, China’s ambassador to Iran, Chang Hua, praised the Islamic Republic for supporting China in “asserting its sovereignty” over Taiwan.

It is clear that some dangerous pipe-dreamers in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran have fallen for the phantasmagoric vision of “three great powers” banding together and with help from “the rest,” that is to say, the so-called Third World . . . to destroy an international system created by the “corrupt and decadent.”

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: China, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Russia, West Bank