She is Assistant Professor of Religion at St.
Faculty Seminars 2018-12222
Olaf College in Northfield, MN. She lives with her partner and daughter in St. Paul, Minnesota and can be reached at mbenj stolaf. The rituals that bookend this period — from raucous or thoughtful sedarim to a night of study as we await the giving of Torah — can be powerful invitations to relive the experiences of our ancestors.
Eugene R Sheppard | Brandeis University
During this last week of counting toward Shavuot, I look forward to the study and the cheesecake that awaits me on Night But I also bring a set of questions to the holiday about what it means for us to receive Torah. Can we accept Torah — individually and communally — as Torah min hashamayim Torah from heaven without serious qualification, given all that we know about the role of human beings in creating the Bible that we have? To ancient readers, Torah was unique in kind, and had been delivered to the community in a unique way; the written Torah was cryptic, requiring special interpretive rules and procedures; and it was perfect in composition and instructive value.
A host of interpretive traditions and social practices developed over the centuries to ensure the privileged place of the Bible in Jewish and Christian cultures. Admittedly, medieval commentators had — subtly and most cautiously — acknowledged textual defects in the Torah that were not easily resolvable.
Being mother/being God
But in the modern period, the demolition of the idea of the Bible as a perfect, sui generis text was regarded as crucial to the creation of non-religious, democratic, pluralistic political state. So then what do we celebrate on Shavuot? Do we stay up all night in homage to the redactor who put the strands of biblical writing together into a whole? Benjamin Creator Benjamin, Mara H. Library Locations Map Details. Allalra Library Borrow it. Library Links.
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