Category: Jewish Books

A wonderful wise satire

There is much that people can learn from books written with humorous satire. The four books of Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, finished in 1725 and first published the following year, is a good example.[1] Book 4: Life in Houyhnhnms (The word horses use to describe themselves) After being home only five months, the wanderlust […]

The love story of Joseph and Aseneth

T The Bible states (41:37-45, 50–52; 46:20) that Joseph married Aseneth (also spelt Asenath) who was Egyptian, the daughter of Potiphera, the Egyptian priest of On, and had two children by her. The Bible doesn’t say that Joseph courted her or that she wanted to marry him; but the biblical language seems to imply that […]

An eye-opening and thought-provoking book

Avigdor Shinan and Yair Zakovitch, professors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, give thirty fascinating examples, from many more that could be cited, showing how the Bible debunked, suppressed, or changed ancient myths, traditions, and legends in From gods to God.[1] Their proofs are compelling and easy to read. While it is possible that some […]

Why were Bel and the Dragon excluded from the Torah?

  Bel and the serpent are two episodes involving the biblical prophet Daniel and Cyrus, the king of Persia, who became king of Babylon as well. Scholars suppose the stories were composed around the second or first century BCE. In the story, one of the idols worshipped by the Babylonians was Bel, a statue that […]

The beautiful story of Susanna

 The story of Susanna was most likely composed around the early first century BCE. It appears in the Greek translation of the bible called the Septuagint. However, the text commonly used is that of Theodotion because it is a little fuller than the Septuagint text and has 64 verses. Theodotion was a Greek Jew who […]

The biblical flood story and the Gilgamesh myth

T There are remarkable similarities between the biblical story of the flood and the more ancient version of Gilgamesh. The Babylonian epic Gilgamesh was written on twelve tablets around 2000 BCE and has survived in several versions. It was discovered in 1839 among the ruins of a buried library in the excavated ancient city Nineveh. […]

Judaism today is not biblical Judaism

  Professor Lawrence H. Schiffman of New York University’s “From Text to Tradition: A history of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism”[1] is an excellent comprehensive and readable history of Judaism during a span of over a thousand years. It tells how and why Judaism accepted the hegemony and authority of the Babylonian Talmud over that […]

Aggression in the Torah

                                             One of the many critics made against Jews is that the Hebrew Bible is filled with aggression, dysfunctional families, murders, rapes, and other horrors. The claim is that this is bad; it harms children who are led to copy what they read. But it appears that the opposite is true. The Austrian Bruno Bettelheim […]

Sacred Trash

 [ Imagine you are a forty-year old who was severely injured in an automobile crash and suffered amnesia that wiped out thirteen years of your life, two periods: ages 10-12 and 21-30. Then after enduring the dark space in your memory, sometimes agonizingly, you stumble on several trunks in your attic. You open the trunks […]

Mom’s Yartzeit is tonight. Here is her heroic story.

As my Dad was a Renaissance man, Mom — born in 1908, two years after Dad — was a Renaissance woman. Unlike most women of her age, she had an extensive Judaic education, attended a teachers’ training school in Hunter College, and obtained a teaching diploma. Among her siblings were community leaders and educators, including […]

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