Goodness From Sweden

In 2013, I will try to post more often, with short pieces as well as my usual massive tomes. I’ll also point to other good stuff I find on the web.

Here is an excellent piece by Karin Zetterholm of Lund University, where she gives us her explanation for how Jews interpret the Bible, something she says “appears puzzling to many people with a background in Protestant Christian tradition.” Zetterholm writes that from a Jewish point of view, “what God desires is active human participation in interpreting his word, resulting in a transformed, refined product.”

Worth reading!

  • I really enjoyed this immensely readable piece, and heartily agree with the difference pointed out between the rabbinical and protestant hermeneutic traditions.

    A question on the parable of the wheat and flax near the beginning: it apparently requires that something be done with these materials but assumes an appropriate end-point (God’s dinner). Is there also an inappropriate end-point inferred for these same materials (say, a hangman’s rope or too many carbs)? In other words, regardless of rabbinical cautious interpretation leading away from the literal biblical text, is there still a desired end-point, what might be called a determined rather than indeterminate teleology inferred in the tradition?

    I’d love to hear folks’ thoughts.

    • lbehrendt

      Well, here’s another story we heard over Shabbat. Once upon a time there were two brothers. The first brother said, this is how terrific my brother is. Each day he wakes up in the morning and God gives him the world. At the end of the day he gives the world back to God.

      The second brother said, here’s how terrific MY brother is. Each day he wakes up in the morning and God gives him the world. At the end of the day he gives the world back to God. But it’s not the same world.