Gideon's Blog

In direct contravention of my wife's explicit instructions, herewith I inaugurate my first blog. Long may it prosper.

For some reason, I think I have something to say to you. You think you have something to say to me? Email me at: gideonsblogger -at- yahoo -dot- com

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Monday, April 29, 2002
An old article from last spring about the Wolpe controversy (the rabbi who announced to his congregation that the Exodus didn't happen). I'll be returning to this later. For right now, just take a look at how Wolpe talks about his own "revelation" to his congregation: "sunlight" blinding the eyes when you come out from the dark, etc., etc. Then look how a dispassionate scholar like Jeffrey Tigay talks about the same issues: there's enough evidence in favor that it's reasonable to conclude that there was an Exodus; the lack of corroborating archaeological evidence is troubling but not decisive; the importance of the Exodus tradition and the oddity of it (what people makes up a past as slaves?) are strong arguments for some basis in history; and actual events can get exaggerated or distorted but that doesn't mean they are made up whole cloth.

Wolpe is the one using quasi-religious language about enlightening his congregation. The (relative) traditionalist is the one who sounds like an honest scholar and scientist, weighing evidence and coming to conditional, limited conclusions. And this is the most important point about the controversy. The Wolpes of the world are motivated not by a scientist's love of truth but by an ideologue's scientism premised on the inherent unreliability and, indeed, falsity of the biblical account. And you can't argue from a premise like that and be a rabbi - period, paragraph.