My 26th book has just been published


Gefen Publishing House published my twenty-sixth book today, October 21, 2014, in Israel. The books should reach the US in a month or two. I point out in the book’s introduction that most people know little about the Hebrew Bible. What they do know they derive from what they were taught in grade school or what they hear in sermons, which are not designed to reveal the true meaning of biblical texts, but to teach moral lessons.

I explain in my book what the Hebrew Bible is actually saying. By doing so, I present ideas that many readers will consider unusual, perhaps even notions they prefer to reject. Many of these ideas are from traditional sources, from religious people, but others are from non-traditional scholars, as well as my own views.

I divided the book according to the Jewish division of the Five Books of Moses into fifty-four parts. I explain this division in chapter 11 under “Spacing in the Bible” and in chapter 41 under “Chapter Divisions.” I also explain in chapter 41 why many of the fifty-four portions begin in the middle of chapters. In brief, the chapters were developed by Christians and the fifty-four parts by Jews; each religious group had their own idea how to interpret the text. It is interesting to see and compare the two views.

I discuss well over one hundred different subjects covering history, philosophy, traditional books such as Midrashim, the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, and the views of many Bible commentators and various groups within Judaism, such as Sadducees, Pharisees, Karaites, Rabbinites, as well as Christians and Muslims. The over one hundred different subjects include, among many others, the following:

 How to read the Bible to find out what it means to say.

 Should we accept Scripture literally or read it figuratively?

 The Bible is frequently unclear in its laws and in describing events.

 Are there errors in Scripture?

 Was God unable to create the world in less than six days and did God need to rest on the seventh day?

 The biblical year began in the spring and its day started in the morning, not in the fall or at night.

 Subjects such as a soul and afterlife are not biblical concepts.

 Is original sin a Jewish concept?

 Are all biblical laws rational?

 Did pagan practices influence biblical laws?

 Does God become angry?

 When did Judaism accept the idea of conversion?

 Must religious people sacrifice themselves totally to God and not question God’s will?

 The numbers 3, 7, 12, 40, and 70 are mentioned frequently. Why, and should we accept the figures as being exact?

 Men and women are treated differently in the Bible, and sometimes women seem to be disparaged.

 Many synagogue and church sermons do not teach the truth.

 The Bible is filled with metaphors that should not be taken literally.

 Many Bible laws were changed by rabbis because they were antiquated, meant only for ancient civilizations.

 The eleventh-century philosopher Maimonides and other sages teach God never wanted sacrifices.

 Maimonides and others say that prophecy is not a divine communication but the use of a higher level of intelligence.

 Maimonides contended that attendance at houses of worship should be restricted.

 The Bible may be saying that the world was created out of preexisting material.

 Troubles with traditional explanations.

 Seemingly contradictory biblical texts.

 Are Torah events presented chronologically?

 What is meant by the phrase “God’s presence”?