There's No Need to Feel Sorry for God (or for Leon Kass)

He is still full of hope, and so—in replying to those who would misunderstand me and my method of reading the Bible—am I.

Three elements from a painted hanging depicting the crossing of the Red Sea, mid-2nd–mid-4th century CE. Met Museum.

Three elements from a painted hanging depicting the crossing of the Red Sea, mid-2nd–mid-4th century CE. Met Museum.

Last Word
April 29 2020
About the author

Leon R. Kass is Professor Emeritus in the College and the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and Scholar Emeritus at the American Enterprise Institute. A physician, scientist, educator, and public intellectual, he served in 2001-2005 as chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics. His books include The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis.


I am very grateful to Hillel Halkin, Jon Levenson, and Ronna Burger for taking time and trouble, especially in these terrible days, to comment on my essay “The People-Forming Passover,” excerpted (with small modifications) from my forthcoming book, Founding God’s Nation: Reading Exodus. These three vastly different responses remind me again of the truth of Kass’s First Maxim, formulated years ago: what A says about B says much more about A than it does about B. Lest you think I believe myself immune to such projecting distortions, I invite you to keep my maxim in mind as you read my replies.

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More about: Exodus, Hebrew Bible, Passover, Religion & Holidays