Gershom Gorenberg’s critique of (Jewish) fundamentalism

In this month’s issue of Moment magazine, Gershom Gorenberg‘s offers a good critique of (Jewish) fundamentalism. The million shekel quote:

Fundamentalism, as I said, is a modern creation. Historically, debate over the truth is basic to Judaism. Religious texts are ambiguous and contradictory; they evade a single authoritative reading. Rabbinic tradition rejects reading the Biblical text without the chorus of arguing interpreters who came afterward. Interpretations necessarily stress one part of the text and read others in its light.

If there is a common denominator in rabbinic ethics, it’s that God created human beings in the divine image, from one set of parents, and that all human life is therefore sacred. The strongest single statement that the Torah makes about the attitude one should take toward one’s enemy is what Jacob says of his brother and foe (for all enemies are also brothers or sisters): “To see your face is like seeing the face of God.

To read more, click here.


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