Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

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God, Attributes

The Flood Changes God Not Humanity

When YHWH sees the evil ways of humanity, he initially decides to wipe them out, but then determines to save Noah’s family. After the flood and Noah’s sacrifice, YHWH promises that He will never again destroy the earth and all life, even though humanity will continue in its evil ways. Thus, the story chronicles not the moral and emotional advancement of humanity but of YHWH.

Prof.

Ronald Hendel

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Shema Yisrael: In What Way Is "YHWH One"?

The Shema has many interpretations, philosophical, eschatological, national, etc. A historical-critical way to understand the Shema is to read it (and Deuteronomy more broadly) against the backdrop of Assyrian domination, when Assyria touted their god Ashur as the supreme master of the world.

Rabbi

Daniel M. Zucker

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Punishing Children for the Sins of their Parents

Ezekiel challenges the divine (in)justice of intergenerational punishment, a concept that the Talmud notes appears in the Torah itself.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Does YHWH Remit Punishment?

As part of the selichot prayer service, the rabbis cut the biblical phrase וְנַקֵּה לֹא יְנַקֶּה “[YHWH] does not remit punishment” to read only וְנַקֵּה, which yields the opposite meaning, “[YHWH] remits punishment.” Although this edit is surprising, the rabbis are responding to a serious tension in the biblical text: Is YHWH a merciful God who pardons, or a vengeful God who will never remit punishment?

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Deuteronomy on the Problem of Using the Senses to Experience God

“God has not given you a mind to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear until this very day” (Deut 29:3).

Prof.

Steven Weitzman

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In the Presence of God

The Difference between God’s “Name (שם)” and “Presence (כבוד)”

Dr.

Michael Carasik

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