Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use

Capital Punishment

Do Biblical Laws Reflect a Tribal Society?

Was Israel ever a tribal society? Although some scholars accept the Bible’s depiction of Israel’s pre-monarchic society as a confederation of tribes, others have dismissed this as ahistorical. Can a study of biblical law help us resolve this question?

Prof.

Rami Arav

,

,

Torat Emet: Why I am a Torah-True Jew

Prof. Rabbi

Judith Hauptman

,

,

Was There Ever an Ir Hannidahat (Subverted City)?

The rabbis claim that a “subverted” or “apostate” city, which Deuteronomy (13:13-18) condemns to destruction, “never was and never will be” (t. San. 14:1). Yet the account in Judges 19-21 of the destruction or ḥerem of Gibeah, its inhabitants, animals, and property, suggests that such “internal ḥerem” was an Israelite practice, and that Gibeah is being presented as a subverted city.

Prof.

Aaron Demsky

,

,

Does the Decalogue Prohibit Stealing?

Generally translated as “do not steal,” the Rabbis make a compelling case for understanding lo tignov in the Decalogue to be a prohibition against the more serious offense of kidnapping, or, in modern terms, human trafficking.

Prof. Rabbi

Jonathan Magonet

,

,

Pinchas’ Extrajudicial Execution of Zimri and Cozbi

Pinchas is portrayed as a hero in the Torah and Second Temple sources for killing Zimri and his Midianite lover, Cozbi. Rabbinic sources struggle with the absence of any juridical process or deliberative body, which contravenes their own judicial norms, and therefore recast or minimize his act in subtle ways.[1]

Dr.

David Bernat

,

,

Does the Torah Differentiate Between Murder and Killing?

What does the root רצח actually mean: to kill or to murder? A look at Rashbam’s attempted (and failed?) solution highlights the ethical ramifications of Bible translation.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

,

,

Torat Emet: Moderating the Stark Truth of the Written Torah

Rabbi

David Bigman

,

,

The Embarrassing Case of the Blasphemer: Did God Really Want Him Dead?

Dr.

Serge Frolov

,

,

Stoning the Idolater: The Significance of Proper Procedure

Dr.

Shalom E. Holtz

,

,

Torah's Progressive Truth

Dr. Rabbi

Aaron Panken

,

,