Torah and alleged inconsistencies Part 3
Torah girl is up and running and she thanks you all for your vibes and what not - 8)
Here's her reply to Walker's --
"No. It is only the single most important foundation for Judaism's
In Torah Judaism, the single most important foundation of the entire
Torah is the demonstration at Sinai.
claim to superiority. It has nothing to do with defining Judaism's
core concepts. Take out the manifestation at Sinai and the Torah
loses little theological value. Take out the Creation story and you
have lost most of it."
I repeat, in Torah Judaism, the single most important foundation of the entire Torah is the demonstration at Sinai. Without the Sinai demonstration, we have no logical reason to accept the rest of the Torah as True. Take out the Sinai demonstration, and the whole Torah loses credibility in the eyes of the Jew.
On the other hand, take away Genesis Chapters One and Two, and the rest of Torah still contains all of Judaism's core theological value. For proof, simply read Maimonides's "Thirteen Principles of the Jewish Faith." There is not a more authoritative description of core Jewish theology. Every one of the 13 Principles is based on Torah verses OTHER THAN Genesis chapters one and two. Here is an outline summary:
Torah Sources for Principle 1: Exodus 20:2; Deuteronomy 5:6
Torah Sources for Principle 2: Deuteronomy 6:4
Torah Sources for Principle 3: Deuteronomy 4:15
Torah Sources for Principle 4: Deuteronomy 33:27
Torah Sources for Principle 5: based in the prohibition against idolatry about which much of the Torah deals
Torah Sources for Principle 6: There are numerous verses in the Torah which attest to the prophecy of the prophets
Torah Sources for Principle 7: Numbers 12:8; Exodus 25:22; Numbers 12:6-8; Exodus 33:11; Numbers 9:8
Torah Sources for Principle 8: Numbers 16:28
Torah Sources for Principle 9: Deuteronomy 13:1
Torah Sources for Principle 10: Genesis 6:5; Genesis 18:20
Torah Sources for Principle 11: Exodus 32:32-33
Torah Sources for Principle 12: Numbers 24; Deuteronomy 30:3-5
Torah Sources for Principle 13: Exodus 6:4; Deuteronomy 31:16; Deuteronomy 4:4
This is an interesting discussion, and I'm eager to resume it at a later time. At this time, however, I wish to refocus our attention back to the debate.
Given the time elapsed between resonses - and the possibility that you are simultaneously debating other people, which is possibly causing confusion for you - I feel the need to recap the debate between us, up to this point.
At the onset of our debate, you presented your statement of position and arguments (see below).
And I signaled to you that I'd like to begin with your "inconsistencies and inaccuracies argument." I signaled this choice in two ways.
First, I added bold and underlined emphasis
to your "inconsistencies and inaccuracies argument," in order to visually focus your attention to that particular argument. Here is the quote:
"for the sake of this argument, I will take the position that the Torah is the product of human authors who were inspired by nothing other than their personal agendas and influenced by nothing other than their environment and human nature.
"I will argue that the inconsistencies and inaccuracies contained in their writings support the hypotheses of human rather than divine authorship.
"I will argue that because there is no independent support of many of the events described in the Torah, that these portions cannot be relied upon for historical accuracy, and therefore could not be divinely inspired.
"I will compare the history of the Jewish religion and holy books with those of other religions in order to establish patterns in their evolutions.
"I will argue that because divine authorship cannot be proven, no religion based on the texts can rightly be referred to as anything other than a faith and therefore cannot be analyzed using scientific logic."
Second, I wrote, "Good. Let's begin. Please provide an example of 'inconsistency' or 'inaccuracy' in the Torah."
This was an explicit reference to focus your attention upon your "inconsistencies and inaccuracies argument."
You responded with examples, beginning with "plants" as follows:
1a. Man is created before the plants:
In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
I prefaced my next response by stating that - although the Creation Story is rich in metaphor and metaphysics - "MY RESPONSE TO YOU WILL BE BASED UPON A PLAIN UNDERSTANDING OF THE ORIGINAL HEBREW TEXT."
I am using the plain text - NOT METAPHORS
. And I did use the plain text to refute your claim of internal inconsistency between chapters one and two (regarding creation of plants).
You responded that you had listed the "plants" argument in error and that you "don't dispute the chronology of the creation of the plants." And you requested that I next address your "animals" argument.
I responded affirmatively, and I planned to address your "animals" argument.
But your latest response (below) seems problematic to me.
My objective, as stated at the onset of this debate, is not to study
the Torah or to "test this thought system's INTERNAL consistency and
coherency" it is to test its EXTERNAL consistency and coherency...".
[capitalization added for emphasis, by Torah Friend]
As I noted above, one of your arguments is that there are "INCONSISTENCIES AND INACCURACIES CONTAINED IN [TORAH]." In other words, they are INTERNAL.
The logical method for refuting your claim of INTERNAL inconsistency is to test the INTERNAL elements in question, against each other. Thus, I am presenting the plain text (not metaphors) of those Torah portions that you claim are inconsistent, and I am testing those portions of plain text against each other.
Now, one of your claims may be that the Torah is EXTERNALLY inconsistent (in addition to being INTERNALLY inconsistent). And I am willing to debate this claim as well.
However, I am NOT willing to jump back and forth from one argument (INTERNAL inconsistency) to the other argument (EXTERNAL inconsistency). NOR am I willing to leave the first argument (INTERNAL inconsistency) until I've had opportunity to refute each of the following three examples you provided as follows:
1a. Man is created before the plants [sic; you meant "before the animals"]:
1b. Man is created after the animals:
Argument: Even if this inconsistency is due to the compilation to two written accounts, the chronological orders cannot both be right. One is inaccurate. A superhuman being must above committing such an error.
2a. Noah is told (twice) to take one pair of every kind of animal, bird and insect:
2b. Noah is told to take seven pairs of all clean animals and birds
Argument: A divine being would have no inerrant reason to contradict him/herself in a matter regarding the life and death of all of his/her creations.
3. God makes a covenant (a formal agreement) with Abraham, promising to give him "all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession" if he and all descendant males will be circumcised.
Argument: The ritual of circumcision predates Abraham's time (supposedly @1950 BCE) by at least a full millennium. A divine being would have been aware that Abraham's religious (idol worshiping) counterparts, the Egyptians, were already mutilating their males in this manner and that the practice of this ritual would not make Abraham's lineage any more special than the Egyptians. A human author, on the other hand, could be excused for such an erroneous assumption.
Now, I concede that internal consistency DOES NOT prove the text is factual. As you wrote, "Pick any well-written novel off the shelf and you will find internal consistency to which scientific logic may be applied."
Nonetheless, showing that your claim of internal inconsistency is unsupported by the evidence DOES cause one of your initial arguments to fall apart. I am speaking about your ARGUMENT that "inconsistencies and inaccuracies contained in [Torah] support the hypotheses of human rather than divine authorship,"
which is dependent upon the PREMISE that internal inconsistencies and inaccuracies exist. If you can't prove your PREMISE, then your argument logically falls apart.
Therefore, I will continue debating that PREMISE. I have already addressed the "plants." In a future response, I plan to address the "animals."
This debate is a futile venture if I am going to attempt to debate
the Torah from the outside while you counter with internal logic. If
we are to have a productive debate, we must use the same methods of
logic and apply them to the same subject matter.
I will continue to apply INTERNAL logic to refute your examples of INTERNAL inconsistency.
I am agreeable to debating these passages based on their external
empirical properties only.
EXTERNAL empirical properties are of no use while debating INTERNAL inconsistency. Therefore, I am willing and eager to debate EXTERNAL elements - but only after we finish debating the INTERNAL elements.
A debate of the Torah's authenticity based
solely on its own contents leads quickly to circular reasoning.
Once again, I concede that even an internally consistent text DOES NOT prove its authenticity (i.e., Truth). Nonetheless, as I said before, disproving your examples of internal inconsistency DOES mean that one of your initial arguments is based on an UNSUPPORTED PREMISE.
Again, to recap, here is YOUR ARGUMENT that I am currently debating with you:
"I will argue that the inconsistencies and inaccuracies
contained in their writings support the hypotheses of
human rather than divine authorship."
The PREMISE of your argument is that inconsistencies and innacuracies exist within the Torah. To support your PREMISE, you gave three examples:
(1) Animals: created before AND created after man
(2) Noah: told to take one pair AND to take seven pairs
(3) Covenant with Abraham: circumcision is not new
I will continue to refute your examples, by applying INTERNAL scientific logic to the plain text (not metaphors).
If the line [between what is metaphor and what is litteral]
is so blurred that the distinction is indeterminable, then no
scientific logic can be successfully applied
This was not a problem in my refutation of your "plants" argument (because I did not use metaphors). Nor do I anticipate it being a problem in my refutation of your other arguments (because I don't plan to use metaphors). If you feel it does become an actual problem, then please bring up your question again, at that time.
Meanwhile, have a great weekend. And I will plan my next response regarding your "animals" argument.