Monday, October 30, 2006

Final points on Noah

Ok, I hope this is my last post on Noah and his !*#*$ flood for another year...

Here's my argument, boiled down:

a - Nothing the Torah says can be false.

b - The idea that the whole world was once destroyed by a flood is false (we know this from the evidence).

c - Therefore, the Torah can't possibly be saying that the world was destroyed by a flood.

I fail to see why so many of you find this conclusion so threatening. It's aleph bais that the Torah is true; if it's also true that there was no flood, we must go back and find out what the Torah is really saying.

Reinterpreting verses to fit new facts is an old tradition, and one supported by men like Rav Saadya. For generations, Jews pointed to the story of Joshua and used it to argue that the sun revolves around the earth. When insurmountable evidence was produced which showed that it was the other way around, the verse in Joshua was reinterpreted. According to Marc Shapiro, legions of Jews -including Tannaim and Rishonim - once thought God had corpreal qualities. Now that the Rambam's argument for an incorporeal God have won the day, all of the verses about God's arm and his hand have been reinterpreted.

The approach to Noah that I am proposing in this post is no more radical. In fact, if you honestly beleive that the torah is true, you have no other choice: The verses must fit the evidence. To allow them to do otherwise, is to concede that the Torah is false.

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