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Why is the Torah so special to Jews?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by arcanum, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    Of course they are 'alluded' to in the Torah... The deluge narrative is there and so is its aftermath. :shrug:
     
  2. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    This is precisely correct.
    An excellent question.
     
  3. CMike

    CMike Well-Known Member

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    The whole society was evil.

    Also, they had more chutzpah than other else. G-D just did the ten plagues in Egypt, and despite this the Amalekites still attacked the jews.
     
  4. arcanum

    arcanum Active Member

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    Well you know the old saying, history is written by the winners. We can't know how evil the Amalekites were at this point? We have no written record of that lost people and who knows how much was embellished in the text in order to justify such slaughter.
     
  5. technomage

    technomage Finding my own way

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    Arcanum, I doubt the slaughter ever occurred, just as I doubt the Amalekites ever existed.

    That's the point of an etiological myth. ;)
     
  6. arcanum

    arcanum Active Member

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    Really? Why would you say they probably never existed? I think certain facts can be taken as fact in the biblical text, like naming of different tribes and regions, why would they just invent a tribe? This seems highly improbable to me.
     
  7. technomage

    technomage Finding my own way

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    * There are no references to them in other cultures (the Egyptians, the Canaanites, the Mesopotamians, etc)
    * There is no archaeological evidence for such a culture
    * There are several other an-historical assertions in the Tanakh (basically, everything before the Divided Kingdoms)
    * The texts that talk about the Amalekites was written around 600-400 BCE, long after the purported events took place.

    There's a lot of stuff in the Tanakh that, flatly, never occurred. It's not "fiction," because the purpose is not to entertain: these are "myths", meaning cultural stories meant to teach theological and cultural values.
     
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  8. arcanum

    arcanum Active Member

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    Can we ever really know how many unsung tribes and cultures have vanished from this planet without leaving much if any of a trace on the historical record?
     
  9. technomage

    technomage Finding my own way

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    If those tribes are living in remote areas, not connected to other tribes, and keep to themselves, possibly. But if the Amalekites had actually existed, they did not live in a remote area, they were connected with other tribes, and they did not keep to themselves.

    We know a lot more about ANE history than about other areas, precisely because we have so many cultures there that kept written records. Admittedly, that knowledge is not all correlated as to date, and there are still a lot of questions, but there are also a lot of answers. But the first step to learning the real facts is to let go of our preconceptions and follow the data.
     
  10. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    It's interesting that the question "Why is the Torah so special to Jews?" is posted in the Religious Debates forum rather than the Judaism DIR.
     
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  11. technomage

    technomage Finding my own way

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    I'm actually glad that it is. In the Judaism DIR, I could not comment.
     
  12. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Be that as it may, I believe that locating the thread here speaks to intent.
     
  13. dantech

    dantech Well-Known Member

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    I think he means that it implies that the OP didn't honestly want an informative answer. Instead, he wanted to debate why we should or shouldn't (probably the latter) hold the Torah as such.
     
  14. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    Not so interesting as what the title really should say to reflect this passive aggressive thread is: 'What's so special about the Torah?'. However since it is a superficial attempt to pass it as a legitimate and constructive thread, the title is 'neutral' and therefore is posted in the open forum.
     
  15. technomage

    technomage Finding my own way

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    Quite possible. At the same time, while one person starts a thread (even with specific intent), the contributions and intentions of others can have a significant impact.
     
  16. technomage

    technomage Finding my own way

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    With the right goad, even the mightiest sandworm can be turned from its purpose. ;)
     
  17. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    You mean a pretentious Bible-bashing thread focusing on the Amalekites and Midianites? It must be rerun week.
     
  18. dantech

    dantech Well-Known Member

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    Precisely.
     
  19. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    I see no sandworm, nor might. Just a rehash. However, it is obvious to me and other members that our very first posts were intended for the 'third party' crowd.
     
  20. roger1440

    roger1440 I do stuff

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    The Torah is the means in which the Jews bind with God. It also defines Judaism.
     
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