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January 28, 2009



About Aristotle's gods...

I wrote a piece on the keruvim, the face on the chayos that was either that of a keruv or a bull, the golden calf, Yerav'am's two bulls in comparison to Egypt's cult of Apis, and the Sumerian god Kirub who served the same role as Apis. It proves that the calf was a replacement for Moses as middleman, as Apis and Kirub were assigned the job of carrying prayers to heaven and blessings down to man. (And lehavdil the pillar of smoke emerged from between the keruvim on the ark...) It also shows the truth of Maimonides' description of the beginning of idolatry.

My post is at http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2007/06/angels-and-idols.shtml



I agree there's a need for caution in interpreting Torah according to contemporary paradigms in science or philosophy. Inevitably science and philosophy march on and the interpretation becomes dated. The danger is that this may lead some to believe that Torah is also dated.

On the other hand, I also think that being the time-bound creatures we are, raised in our particular milieus, we have no choice but to view Torah through our time-bound lenses; our contemporary paradigms. We can attempt to separate off Torah from the way we view everything else, as many of us do, viewing Torah as ahistorical, transcending Time. But when you are trying to view events that are said to have occurred within Time (eg the lives of the Patriarchs, etc), you are being intellectually dishonest if you do not apply the same standards of analysis as you do to other events within Time. That would be a double standard. There is no honest way to not impose our time-bound view on Torah.

Maybe the only way to resolve this is to adopt the view of reality found in Kabbalah as you mention. The dynamics of Atzilut and above at least in theory are not limited to specific historical events. We can, in the more rarified levels of consciousness, the transpersonal levels, at least attempt to transcend Time and our specific time-bound lens. Probably, we cannot do this as individuals, but only as a collective. Perhaps all of the Torah studied by all of us over all of history, viewed as a whole, rises up to this level.


This 'outsideness' source for the spiritual ikkur of a discreted thing in the cosmos; it would be nice to see it eeked out in Tanakh in it's portrayal of objects, spiritually. Also how it portrays other belief systems about objects and their 'cosmic' relationships.


a post of mine that includes R. Kook describing the fall of a seemingly-religious perspective (geocentrism), as being an illucidation of a deeper perspective;


speaking of watchmaking; a great quote from environmental ethicist Holmes Rolston from his Gifford lectures, published as "Genes, Genesis and God ; values and their origins in natural and human history", final page;

"The word 'design' nowhere occurs in Genesis, though the concept of creativity pervades the opening chapters. there is no divine fiat, divine doing, but the mode is an empowering permission that places productive autonomy in the creation. [this is where he gets good] IT'S NOT THAT THERE IS NO 'WATCHMAKER'; THERE IS NO 'WATCH'. Looking for one frames the problem the wrong way. There are species well-adapted for problem-solving, ever more informed in their self-actualising. The watchmaker metaphor seems blind [(;-)] to the problem that here needs to be solved; that informationless matter-energy is a splendid information maker. Biologists cannot deny this creativity; indeed, better than anyone else biologists know that Earth has brought forth the natural kinds, prolifically, exuberantly over the millennia, and that enormous amounts of information are required to do this.... [T]he grace of life [is] renewed in the midst of its perpetual perishing, generating diversity and complexity, repeatedly struggling through to something higher, a response to the brooding winds of the Spirit moving over the face of these Earthen waters."

As if to say the realm of phenomena 'make' their own functioning "jumble of shifting fields, fluxes, structures and relationships", 'shamelessly' reproducing them with a Divinely granted autonomy in the most unexpected ways.

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