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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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 Jewish Biblical Fundamentalism

 Jewish Biblical Fundamentalism

(p.39) Chapter Three Jewish Biblical Fundamentalism
The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs

Solomon Schimmel (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter asks why modern and haredi (ultra) Orthodox Jews affirm the outmoded traditional belief that the Torah (Pentateuch) was revealed by God to Moses at Sinai (TMS) and refuse to accept the findings of modern biblical scholarship that the Pentateuch is a humanly authored multiple source post‐Mosaic (MSPM) work. It suggests emotional, psychological, and social forces that account for why smart people cling to foolish beliefs, and describes the defenses they use to ward off scholarly and scientific arguments and evidence that threaten cherished beliefs and evoke fear of loss of faith. The chapter analyzes the ArtScroll commentary on the Torah, and responses to his questions addressed to Orthodox Jews: Why do you believe in TMS? Can you imagine any kind evidence that would induce you to give up your belief in TMS? He also points to immoral and unethical teachings of the Pentateuch as evidence for its human authorship.

Keywords:   modern Orthodox, haredi (ultra) Orthodox, Torah, Pentateuch, Moses at Sinai TMS, multiple source post‐Mosaic, MSPM, foolish beliefs, emotions and belief, fear of loss of faith, biblical scholarship, ArtScroll, unethical, immoral

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