The Hebrew Bible Never Speaks of Religion, Belief, or Even Law

In biblical Hebrew—indeed in any ancient language—there is no word that corresponds to “religion.” Moreover, argues Joshua Berman, the very concepts of religion and belief were foreign to ancient peoples, Israelites included, even though their lives were often filled with ritual, and they saw the hand of the divine all around them. Berman explains that only by reading the Bible on its own terms and free from such anachronisms can one appreciate that Judaism can never be reduced to intellectual abstractions. (Interview by Dru Johnson. Audio, 45 minutes.)

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Read more at Center for Hebraic Thought

More about: Ancient Near East, Hebrew Bible, Judaism

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Do More Harm Than Good

Aug. 12 2020

With its size, budget, and remit greatly expanded following the 2006 war between Israel and Hizballah, the United Nations International Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is tasked with keeping both sides’ forces out of the southern portion of the country. While the IDF has indeed abided by the armistice, UNIFIL has failed spectacularly at compelling Hizballah to do the same. Eugene Kontorovich argues that, unless the peacekeeping force can be reorganized so as to be effective, it would be better to scrap it, or at the very least reduce its size:

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Read more at Kohelet

More about: Hizballah, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy, United Nations