Faith vs. Action in the Jewish Tradition Parashat Mishpatim

In the portion of Yitro, we read the lofty words which describe the revelation of God at Mt. Sinai:  “If you will obey Me faithfully and keep My covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all the peoples… but you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6);  “I am the Lord your God… You shall have no other gods… Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy… Honor your father and mother… You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal” (20: 1-14).  Furthermore, these lofty words were uttered in a very impressive fashion:  “All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the blare of the shofar and the mountain smoking” (20:15).

Is it permissible to study Biblical Criticism?

In this responsum I will show that it is permissible to study and teach biblical criticism. I will not endorse a specific school of biblical criticism, but rather the study and teaching of various types of biblical criticism, for the purpose of arriving at the peshat or simple meaning of the Bible. Due to the complexity of the subject, this responsum is divided into nine sections: