Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

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Decalogue

What Did the People Hear at Mount Sinai?

The answer, or lack thereof, teaches us something important about the meaning and limits of divine revelation.

Prof.

Kenneth Seeskin

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Feminist Biblical Interpretation: History and Goals

Feminist biblical interpretation is more than simply paying attention to texts about women. It is also a means of achieving a more accurate understanding of life in ancient Israel and of the composition of the Bible.

Dr.

Sarah Shectman

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Two Versions of the Decalogue: Ibn Ezra’s Non-Explanation

Ibn Ezra gives a surprising non-explanation for why Deuteronomy’s version of the Decalogue differs from that of Exodus: Is it really such a problem if Moses changed the words a little as long as he got the point right?

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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The Many Recensions of the Ten Commandments

Beyond the two versions of the Decalogue in Exodus and Deuteronomy, and the usual differences between MT, SP, and LXX, in Second Temple times, liturgical texts in Qumran (4QDeutn) and Egypt (Nash Papyrus), Greek references in the New Testament and Philo, and even tefillin parchments, reflect slightly different recensions of the text.

Prof.

Sidnie White Crawford

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What Are Clay Female Figurines Doing in Judah during the Biblical Period?

Hundreds of Judean pillar figurines have been found throughout Judahite homes in the Iron Age II. What is the biblical and archaeological context of these finds?

Dr.

Aaron Greener

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What Was the Sin of the Golden Calf?

Many scholars, traditional and academic, believe it was worship of another god, the first commandment in the Decalogue, but what Aaron actually claims about the calf points to a different collection of laws.

Prof.

Joel Baden

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Moses’ Commandments: The Secret of R. Nissim of Marseilles

In the 14th century, R. Nissim of Marseilles suggested that God told Moses only the general command for the Tabernacle and the laws in the Torah, and Moses himself wrote the details and attributed them to God as a way of glorifying God. A close look at many passages in Deuteronomy suggests that this was an early conception of Moses’ role in commanding the mitzvot.

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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The Status of the Decalogue

Rabbi

David Bigman

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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

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Punishing Children for the Sins of their Parents

Ezekiel challenges the divine (in)justice of intergenerational punishment, even though it appears in the Decalogue.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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The Existence of Two Versions of the Decalogue

The Approaches of Chazal and the Pashtanim

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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An Inner-Biblical Elaboration of the Decalogue

Emphasizing the Holiness of Ethics over the Ritual

Prof.

Edward L. Greenstein

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The Decalogue: Are Female Readers Included?

Can all social change be antedated back to Sinai?

Prof.

Athalya Brenner-Idan

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The Two Shabbats of the Decalogue

A Historical Approach

Dr. Rabbi

Norman Solomon

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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

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Not Signing Off on Sacrifices

The Hidden Message of the Opening Verses of Kedoshim

Rabbi

Uzi Weingarten

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Do Not Covet: Is It a Feeling or an Action?

In English, to covet means to desire someone or something obsessively, wrongfully, and/or without due regard for the rights/feelings of others. It is a strong emotion, to be avoided. But does “covet” capture the meaning of the Hebrew verb חמד?

Prof.

Leonard Greenspoon

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The Origins and Use of the 613 Mitzvot

The development of the idea that the Torah has 613 mitzvot: From Talmudic aggada, to geonic liturgy, to medieval enumerations.

Dr.

Marc Herman

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What Did God Write on the Tablets of Stone?

“YHWH said to Moses: ‘Come up to me on the mountain and stay there so that I might give you the tablets of stone and the teaching and the commandment that I have written to teach them.’”—Exodus 24:12

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Ten Insights about the Ten Commandments

Surprising misconceptions and ambiguities about God’s central and unmediated revelation

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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In What Way Is Shavuot Zman Matan Torateinu?

Traditional and Academic Insights

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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When the God of Justice Goes Rogue

YHWH commissions Isaiah to distract the people of Judah so that they continue to sin and then YHWH can punish them harshly. In contrast to other biblical figures such as Abraham and Moses, Isaiah is silent at this injustice.

Prof.

Marvin A. Sweeney

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Speculating about the Original Text of the Decalogue

The Seven Commandments: The Supplementary Approach at Work

Dr. Rabbi

Tzemah Yoreh

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Understanding Idolatry

How the theologians of the ancient Near East made sense of idolatry through the ritual dedication of the statues that made them into gods.

Dr.

Uri Gabbay

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