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January 24, 2007


Rafi Goldmeier

that is a very intersting analysis of how he got in trouble. In other words, the issue is not what he said. Just that he never took the time to get himself the authority to say it...


Thank you for the courtesy of a link to my blog. This gives me a sense of your objectivity in the matter.
I would like to take issue with a number of points:

1)You say Slifkin was only synthesizing and not breaking any new controversial ground.
His complete allegorization of whole chapters of Bereishis seems to be a counter-example. Most if not all other attempts at reconciliation tried to re-interpret the verses or statements of Chazal as really referring to modern scientificly described phenomena.
2) Your positive view towards Slifkin's achievement:
>"He ably synthesized a great deal of material that is found in print and the Internet and restated it to answer these questions in a Judaic context.""R. Slifkin admirably does not attempt to hide this fact. Thus, for example, Mysterious Creatures are based on published books and papers about ancient monster tales and tradition. These answers are then applied to the problems that arise from Talmudic citations which themselves reflect, or at least are of the same genre, as these traditions."<

This is what I consider the most offensive aspect of Slifkin's scholarship. What are "these answers"? Merely that the tales are complete myths made up by some primitive pagans. To apply this understanding of pagan mythology to aggada is the most corrosive approach imaginable in understanding the meaning of difficult Chazal. It gives the distinct impression that the Tana'im and Amoraim freely borrowed from their surrounding mileu to incorporate into their teachings and nothing said by Chazal can be taken without a grain of salt C"V.
please see this post:http://fkmaniac.blogspot.com/2005/12/slifkin-ban-why-it-happened-and-why-it.html
to understand what has been the direct consequences of such an approach on the academic Jewish layperson


BTW the letter in the post you linked to was signed by Rav SHOLOM Kaminetzky.
Perhaps the letter that his father Rav Shmuel signed was also very much to the point as well...

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