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The Tenacity of Unreasonable BeliefsFundamentalism and the Fear of Truth$
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Solomon Schimmel

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195188264

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195188264.001.0001

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 Why This Book?

 Why This Book?

Autobiographical Reflections

Chapter:
(p.3) Chapter One Why This Book?
Source:
The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs
Author(s):

Solomon Schimmel (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195188264.003.0001

This chapter explains the author's motives for writing this book, which originated in his being raised as an Orthodox Jew, to which he was deeply committed from early childhood until adulthood. He received an intensive education in traditional Jewish religious life, literature, and belief, at home and in yeshivot (Jewish parochial schools), but from a young age harbored doubts about the core theological belief of Orthodoxy that the Pentateuch was revealed by God to Moses at Mount Sinai. Upon exposure to modern biblical scholarship, philosophical and literary critiques of religion, and modern biology and science he eventually concluded, in his early twenties, that he could no longer believe that which he had been taught from childhood. The chapter describes the emotional effects and social consequences of losing a faith which one loves (and in some respects continues to love), and the intellectual freedom earned by rejecting Orthodox beliefs and becoming a heretic.

Keywords:   Orthodox Judaism, loss of faith, religious doubts, God, Pentateuch, Moses at Mount Sinai, revelation, biblical scholarship, intellectual freedom, yeshivot, heretic

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