Thursday, March 08, 2007

UPDATE TO BAR POST: Is L. Shiffman really a believer?

Mis-nagid says no. (The comment is on Wolf's excellent post about the BAR article; scroll down to Mis-nagid's comment)

In brief, Mis-nagid argues that Shiffman is choosing his words carefully to hide the fact that his belief has been defeated. Money quote:
The article, read properly, is proof positive that Bible scholarship kills religious belief dead. The only thing that can be expected to be believed by by the knowledgable is an empty bag with the old label on, because all the traditional beliefs have been removed
As for me, I accept the points Mis-nagid makes about Shiffman's language, and you can't wave away his examples. They are good. Shiffman is clearly obfuscating. However, I take issue with the idea that Shiffman's "religious belief" has been killed "dead." His childhood beliefs, certainly, are gone, and perhaps he, also, no longer accepts some/most of the verities of Orthodox Judaism. But does this mean his *religious beliefs* are gone? Not at all. There's no reason to doubt he still believes in God, still believes in revelation, still believes that God's unseen hand guides human events.

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