Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Great Regulars: This way of reading the Bible can't help

but appear highly unnatural. Effectively, the rabbis nullify what the Bible actually says--that Reuben slept with Bilhah--and replace it with a story entirely of their own invention. The questions I find myself struggling with are, first, why they wanted to read the Bible this way, and second, how they justified the unnaturalness to themselves. What is at stake in arguing that Reuben--and the other, greater figures who are the subjects of similar arguments, like David and Solomon--never committed a sin?

from Adam Kirsch: Tablet: The Badness of Good Stories


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