In a typical synagogue sermon, the rabbi will begin by posing a problem that arises out of the sacred text itself—where there appears to be something “wrong” with scripture. Such an approach to the Bible is very different from that normally taken by Christian preachers and clergy. Ari Lamm discusses the merits of this Jewish exegetical method with the Christian scholar Dru Johnson, using as an example some of the moral anomalies of the Joseph story, and addressing why the rabbinic genre known as midrash takes such great liberties with the text of the Tanakh.
A Rabbi Explains the Jewish Way of Reading the Bible to a Protestant Scholar
Why a Government Victory in Southwestern Syria Is Bad News for Israel
Last week, Russia negotiated a ceasefire between the Syrian government and rebel forces in the city of Daraa, where the initial protests that sparked the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began. The agreement ended a 75-day assault on the city, located near the country’s southwestern border, by Russian, Iranian, and Syrian forces. Jonathan Spyer explains the significance of these events: