"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Jewish View

Sometimes I wonder how Jews view their stories in the Bible so today I asked my only Jewish friend about it. Here is what she said. She told me I could share it on my blog since I wanted to keep her notes. Thought you might find it of interest.


Hey, hope you are doing well! If you have time one day, I'd like to hear the Jewish thought (or yours since I know you don't speak for all Jews) on Genesis. How much of it is literal, and how much of it is just Israel's story of God calling them as a nation set apart? How are the creation stories interpreted? Do Jews favor evolution over literalism? Is Abraham a historical figure? Is Adam or Noah? I'd appreciate reading your thoughts. Thank you! 


Rashi, whose verse by verse commentary on the Torah is considered flat out indispensable, begins his study of the first words of Genesis with a question I think no Christian would ask: why does it start here? Why here? Why with the beginning of the world? Why with stories of creation and ancestors?

To Jews, the question is an obvious one - to us the Chumash, the 5 Books, are a code of law. Christians wonder why all rules about what priests wear should be mucking up the pretty stories. Jews wonder why all the stories should be in among what should be a law book.

The answer he gives is a legal one: G-d gave us the land - to make it legal, he had to prove his ownership of it. He proves that by showing that He created it, and it is therefor his to give.
What I am trying to say is, when we read these books our approach isn't "is it literal?" The approach is,what does it teach us? What can we learn from this or that story?


Mostly why I am interested in this subject is because I finished reading The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn't Say about Human Origins by Peter Enns last night. 


Unknown said...

I do not know why I am thinking like you are a Muslim?.

May be because you like to comment on Muslims blogs?.

Unknown said...

That is interesting! What a difference a simple change in priorities can make to interpretation.

Susanne said...

Coorg andmore, I don't recognize your name, but, yes, I used to read several Muslim blogs despite that NOT being my faith. I blame it on a Syrian guy who contacted me online several years back. I wanted to learn more about Muslims and/or those who live in Muslim countries, and blogs were an interesting way to do so!

S Wibby, good to see you! Glad you found that of interest, too! :)