Volume 13, Number 1
In memory of my grandfather
the Hebrew author and educator
Avraham Natan Perlberg z”l
on his yahrzeit.
Question from a student at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary: Is it permissible to study and teach biblical criticism, especially regarding the Torah?
Responsum: 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:
I) What is biblical criticism?;
II) Sources that would appear to prohibit the study of biblical criticism;
III) The general weaknesses of the sources prohibiting biblical criticism;
IV) Text criticism in rabbinic literature and among medieval rabbis;
V) Source criticism or higher criticism in rabbinic literature;
VI) Source criticism among medieval rabbis;
VII) Precedents for critical study from other areas;
VIII) The sanctity and authority of the Torah for those who engage in biblical criticism;
I) What is Biblical Criticism?
There are two main types of biblical criticism:
A) Text or Lower Criticism (2)
Text criticism assumes that, in the course of its transmission over thousands of years, errors occurred within the biblical text and it attempts to reconstruct the original text as far as possible. The following is a partial list of types of errors, with examples from the Bible:
B) Source Criticism or Higher Criticism (3)
Source criticism, or higher criticism, was developed to explain the contradictions within the Torah. It is based upon the premise that the Torah and other biblical books were edited and compiled from various sources and that, by means of careful analysis, it is possible to reconstruct these primary sources and thereby reveal the world views of their respective authors.
The following are examples of contradictions within the Torah which higher criticism wishes to resolve:
|Reuven’s Story||Judah’s story|
|Verses 21-23||Verses 24-27|
|Verse 28 until “out of the pit”||The middle of verse 28: “They sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites”.|
|The end of verse 28, “And they brought Joseph to Egypt“ until verse 36.|
Indeed, these contradictions and others led to the development of what is known as “The Documentary Hypothesis”. In 1753, Jean Astruc differentiated between the Jehovist source (J) and the Elohist source (E). In 1805, Wilhelm de Wette added the Deuteronomist source (D), dated to the period of Josiah (640-609 BCE). In 1853, Hermann Hupfeld added the Priestly source (P). From 1878, Julius Wellhausen developed the Documentary Hypothesis (J, E, P, D). Today, many scholars argue for the existence of an additional priestly source known as (H). (4)
II) Sources that would appear to prohibit the study of Biblical Criticism
Contemporary rabbis who oppose the study of Biblical Criticism rely primarily on the following sources:
All Israel have a share in the World to Come…
But these do not have a share in the World to Come:
One who says that the resurrection of the dead is not mentioned in the Torah,
And that the Torah is not from Heaven,
And a heretic
Jewish sinners with their bodies,(5) gentile sinners with their bodies descend to Hell and are punished there for twelve months. At the end of twelve months, their souls are destroyed and their bodies burnt and Hell spews them out and they become ashes and the wind scatters them and spreads them under the feet of the righteous… But the sectarians and apostates and informers and heretics and deniers of the Torah and those who separate themselves from the community and those who deny the resurrection of the dead and anyone who sins and causes the public to sin… Hell is locked in their faces and they are punished there for all time to come…
Our Sages have taught: [The verse] “Because he has spurned the word of the Lord and violated His commandment, that person shall be cut off” (Numbers 15:31) — refers to one who says that the Torah is not from Heaven… It has also been taught… even if he said that the entire Torah is from Heaven except for one verse which was not said by God but by Moses on his own, it is said of him, “he has spurned the word of the Lord”…
The eighth Principle of Faith is that the Torah is from Heaven. This is that we should believe that this entire Torah found in our hands today is the Torah that was given to Moses and that it is entirely from the Almighty… And that he [i.e., Moses] was like a copyist writing all of it from dictation, its dates, its stories, and its mitzvot… And there is no difference between “And his wife’s name was Mehaitabel, the daughter of Matred” (Genesis 36:39)… and “I am the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:1)… It is all from the Almighty… And regarding “The Torah is not from Heaven” (Mishnah Sanhedrin ibid.), [the Sages] said (Sanhedrin 99a, ibid.), that this is one who says that “all of the Torah is from the Almighty except for one verse which was not spoken by God but by Moses himself. And this is “Because he has spurned the word of the Lord” (Numbers 15:31)…”
There are three types of those who deny the Torah: one who says that the Torah is not from God, even one verse, even one word. If he says, “Moses said this on his own”, he denies the Torah. Also, one who denies the interpretation of the Torah, i.e., the Oral Law…
[Since the Muslims could not find a single proof or allusion to Mohammed in the entire Bible], they were compelled to accuse us saying: “You have altered the text of the Torah, and expunged every trace of the name of Mohammed therefrom”… Secondly, there is a uniform tradition as to the text of the Bible both in the East and the West, with the result that no differences in the text exist at all, not even in the vocalization, for they are all correct…
Moses our Teacher wrote this book [i.e., Genesis] as well as the entire Torah from the mouth of God [i.e., by direct communication from God]…
In other words, according to the Mishnah, anyone who says that “the Torah is not from Heaven” has no share in the World to Come, but it does not define what is meant by “Torah from Heaven”. The Tosefta states that those who “deny the Torah” remain locked in Hell, also without defining what is meant by the “denial of the Torah”. The baraita cited in the Babylonian Talmud adds that anyone who says that the entire Torah is from Heaven except for one verse that was not said by God but by Moses on his own, transgresses the verse “he has spurned the word of the Lord”.
In his commentary to the Mishnah, Maimonides interpreted this Mishnah very strictly, apparently on his own authority: “Torah from Heaven” means that the entire Torah found in our hands today is the Torah given to Moses. To this he adds the baraita from the Babylonian Talmud, that anyone who says that Moses said one verse on his own, has transgressed the verse “has spurned the word of the Lord”. In the Mishneh Torah he was even stricter, adding the phrase “even one word”, which does not appear in any source, and combined the baraita and the Tosefta: “If he said, Moses said this on his own [according to the baraita] he denies the Torah [according to the Tosefta]. And in the Epistle to Yemen he claimed that there are no discrepancies at all, in even so much as a dot, between any of the Torah scrolls in the world. Nahmanides did not intend to render a halakhic decision, but he stated that Moses wrote the entire Torah from “the mouth of God”.
It would appear from the above that there is an absolute prohibition to study text criticism, for one may not question “even one word” of the Torah (Mishneh Torah). Furthermore, one who engages in source criticism “has no share in the World to Come” according to Maimonides’ definition of “Torah from Heaven” (Commentary to the Mishnah), and if he attributes even one verse to Moses he transgresses the verse “he has spurned the word of the Lord” (Sanhedrin 99a; Commentary to the Mishnah) and denies the Torah (Mishneh Torah).
Indeed, many Orthodox rabbis today rule according to Maimonides and even expand his prohibition. In 1975, Rabbi Yitzhak Shimshon Lange published in Jerusalem The Torah Commentaries of Rabbi Judah the Pious, the greatest of the medieval German pietists and author of Sefer Hassidim, who died in 1217. This commentary contains four clear examples of source criticism and, in two cases, he ascribes verses to the Men of the Great Assembly (the examples are quoted below, section VI, B, 7). Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986), one of the greatest halakhic authorities of the 20th century, was asked if it is permissible to print or to sustain this book (Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah, Part 3, Nos. 114-115). Rabbi Feinstein ruled that it is forbidden to print this book, even the parts that do not contain heresy. He relied upon the passage cited above from Sanhedrin 99a, the Commentary on the Mishnah and the Mishneh Torah, and even extended the scope of the prohibition in two directions:
And one who says that there is even one letter that Moses wrote on his own denies the Torah and is in the category of one who “has spurned the word of the Lord”. All the more so, one who says that there is something that was not written by Moses but by others, or that others came and removed things from the Torah – they are the deniers of the Torah and in the category of one who “has spurned the word of the Lord”…
In other words, Maimonides expanded the prohibition of attributing authorship of the Torah to Moses from one verse to one word; Rabbi Feinstein then extended it from one word to one letter! The baraita quoted in the Talmud and Maimonides declared that that one who ascribes a verse to Moses falls in the category of one who “has spurned the word of the Lord”. Rabbi Feinstein then made an a fortiori (kal vahomer) argument that it is all the more so prohibited to claim that others added to or subtracted from the Torah.
III) General weaknesses of the sources prohibiting Biblical Criticism
1) The aforementioned prohibitions are based on Aggadah
Maimonides and Rabbi Moshe Feinstein based their halakhic rulings on Mishnah, Tosefta and Bavli Sanhedrin quoted above. However, there is not the slightest doubt that these sources are in the category of aggadah [non-legal material], not halakhah [Jewish law]. The expression “one who says X has no share in the World to Come” is quintessentially aggadic. First, this is clear from the context of Mishnah Sanhedrin Chapter 10. That chapter includes a list of fourteen people or groups who have no share in the World to Come, including Manasseh, the generation of the flood, the generation of the Tower of Babel, the people of Sodom, the followers of Korah and the residents of an idolatrous city. This is clearly not a halakhic discussion! So too in the parallel passage in Tosefta Sanhedrin, Chapter 13. Furthermore, it is apparent from other rabbinic sources that this is an aggadic expression meant to deter, rather than a halakhic expression meant to forbid. For example:
True, it is possible to make halakhic decisions on the basis of aggadah, and there are numerous examples of this throughout history,(6) but there is no obligation to do so. In fact, important halakhic authorities were opposed to rendering halakhic decisions on the basis of aggadah. For example, Rav Hai Gaon ruled: “And Aggadah, we do not rely on it” (Teshuvot Hage’onim, ed. Harkavy, No. 9); “We do not rely on words of Aggadah” (ibid., No. 98; and cf. Nos. 99 and 353). Indeed, in our specific case, among all the great halakhic authorities, only Maimonides rendered a halakhic decision on the basis of these sources; the Rif, Rosh, Tur and Shulhan Arukh all ignored them.
2) The Jewish Approach to Dogmas
There are basic beliefs in Judaism such as the existence of God and monotheism which are included in the 613 commandments. Yet Judaism is based primarily upon deeds rather than upon beliefs or dogmas. Indeed, this is why Maimonides’ “Thirteen Principles of Faith” met with fierce opposition throughout the generations. Some objected to the very attempt to establish dogmas, while others argued that Maimonides’ list of dogmas is not precise or that the entire Torah is a dogma and one who denies anything in it is a renegade and a heretic. Professor Hyman has shown that Maimonides’ “Thirteen Principles” were not intended to encompass all the principles of faith, since they do not include basic concepts such as the existence of God or free will. Rather, they are the principles that happen to appear in the Mishnah in Sanhedrin, “Perek Helek”.(7) In other words, dogmas in Judaism are a matter of great dispute and one cannot compel others to believe in something simply because Maimonides so decreed in his writings. Each subject must be studied thoroughly on its own merits to determine if there are other opinions in rabbinic or medieval literature, as we shall do below.
3) In the “Introduction to the Talmud” attributed to Rabbi Shmuel Hanagid,(8) printed in the back of the Vilna edition of tractate Berakhot (s.v. teyuvta) it is stated: “In any controversy in which the controversy does not entail action but only an opinion — we will not determine that the halakhah is according to so-and-so”. Maimonides himself expressed the same idea in three places in his Commentary on the Mishnah:
We have already mentioned to you several times that in every debate between the Sages that does not depend on action but merely determines opinion, there is no reason to render a halakhic decision in accordance with one of them (Sanhedrin 10:3, p. 145, and cf. his commentary to Sotah 3:3, p. 174 and Shevuot 1:4, p. 167).
We will see below that there were Tannaim and Amoraim (Mishnaic and Talmudic Sages) who disagreed with Mishnah, Tosefta and Bavli Sanhedrin cited above. According to the principle of “Introduction to the Talmud” and of Maimonides himself, a halakhic decision should not be rendered in this matter because it is not a matter of action but of “merely determining opinion”. In other words, Judaism encompasses beliefs and opinions, but halakhah does not.
4) Finally, in order to understand Maimonides’ extreme position in this matter one must understand its historical context. Mohamed accused the Jews of counterfeiting the Torah: “Therefore, woe unto those who write the Scripture with their own hands and then say, ‘This is from Allah’ ” (Quran, Sura 2:79, translated by M.M. Pickthall). This accusation was elaborated upon by Muslim thinkers, especially Ibn Hazm (994-1064), who developed the notion of Taḥrīf, according to which the Jews forged the Bible.(9) In the context of these accusations, we can understand the abovementioned extreme statement made by Maimonides in his “Epistle to Yemen” where he denied a fact known to every rabbi and scribe – the existence of textual variants in the Torah. He also essentially denied the existence of the Masoretes, who attempted to establish a uniform text from the multitude of existing versions of the Bible. It appears that Maimonides adopted an extreme position so that simple Jews would not be persuaded by the Muslim accusations.
Having reviewed the four general weaknesses of Maimonides’ approach, we shall now study some specific sources that contradict it.
IV) Text Criticism in rabbinic and medieval literature (9a)
1) Sifre Devarim, Piska 356, ed. Finkelstein, p. 423 (cf. Avot Derabi Natan, Version B, Chapter 46, ed. Schechter, p. 129; Yerushalmi Ta’aniyot 4:2, fol. 68a; Massekhet Soferim 6:4, ed. Higger, p. 169):
“The ancient God is a refuge [me’ona]” (Deut. 33:27): Three Torah scrolls were found in the Temple Courtyard – one of me’onim, one of hi hi, and one was called “the book of za’atutim”. In the first was written ma’on and in the other two me’ona – the Sages rejected the reading of the first scroll and accepted that of the other two. In one scroll, the word hi appeared nine times [when hu is intended], and in the other two scrolls, eleven times – the Sages rejected the reading of the first scroll and accepted that of the other two. In one scroll, it says za’atutei in Exodus 24:5 and 11, while in the other two scrolls it says na’arei in the first verse and atzilei in the second – the Sages rejected the reading of the first scroll and accepted that of the other two.
In other words, this Tannaitic source describes textual criticism of the Torah in the Second Temple period and the story teaches us that they engaged in this not only in theory but also in practice.
2) Avot Derabi Natan, Version A, Chapter 34, ed. Schechter, p. 100 (and cf. Version B, Chapter 37, p. 97 and Bemidbar Rabbah 3:14 and parallels):
There are ten dotted passages in the Torah and these are they [there follows a list of all the words in the Torah with dots above them]… Why? So said Ezra: “If Elijah comes and says to me: ‘Why did you write that?’, I will say to him, ‘I have already put dots above them’. And if he says to me: ‘You have written well’, I will remove the dots.”
According to Avot Derabi Natan, none other than Ezra the Scribe himself, in the fifth century BCE, engaged in text criticism and questioned whether certain words belonged in the text of the Torah or not. He therefore put dots above them so that he could to ask Elijah the Prophet in the messianic era. Indeed, Professor Saul Lieberman has shown (pp. 44-45) that the Greeks also dotted doubtful words while copying texts.
3) Bereishit Rabbah, 9:5, p. 70; 20:12, p. 196; 94:9, pp. 1181-1182; Yerushalmi Ta’aniyot 1:1, fol. 64a:
In the Torah Scroll of Rabbi Meir they found written [instead of] “and behold it was very [me’od] good” (Genesis 1:31) “and behold death [mavet] is good”…
“And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skin [עור] and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). In the Torah scroll of Rabbi Meir, they found written “garments of light [אור]”. These are the garments of Adam that resembled a torch…
In the Torah scroll of Rabbi Meir, they found written instead of “and the sons [ובני] of Dan are Hushim” (Genesis 46:23) – “and the son [ובן] of Dan is Hushim”…
In the Torah scroll of Rabbi Meir, they found written instead of “the Dumah Pronouncement” (Isaiah 21:11) — “the Rome Pronouncement”.
Some maintain that Rabbi Meir wrote these derashot [homilies] in the margins of his Torah scroll, but this does not seem likely. The Tanna Rabbi Meir was a sofer setam [a scribe of religious texts] (Kohelet Rabbah 2: 18-19, ed. Hirshman, p. 150 and more). Here we see a clear reference to variant readings which “they found written” in his Sefer Torah, and no-one objected.(10)
4) Bavli Kiddushin 30a at bottom:
Rav Safra [third generation Babylonian Amora] said in the name of Rabbi Joshua ben Hanania [second generation Tanna]… the letter vav in the word גחון (Lev. 11:42) marks the half-way point of all the letters in the Torah… Rav Yosef [third generation Babylonian Amora] asked: Does the vav of גחון belong to the first half [of the Sefer Torah] or the second? They said to him: “Let’s bring a Torah scroll and count [the letters]!” Did not Rabbah bar Bar Hanah [third generation Amora] say: They did not budge from there until they brought a Torah scroll and counted the letters? He said to them: they were experts in ketiv malei and ketiv haser (defective and plene spellings), we are not.
In other words, Rav Yosef attested that the Jews of Babylon in his time were not experts in the defective and plene spellings in the Torah. This means that there were variant readings in the Torah in Babylon at the end of the third century CE.
5) The Tosafists and Rabbi Akiva Eiger (in their commentaries to Shabbat 55b), already pointed out the fact that there are many variant readings between the biblical verses quoted in both Talmuds and the Masoretic text. Indeed, this fact was further confirmed in the modern era with the publication of many books and articles which compiled hundreds of examples of these variant readings.(11)
6) Teshuvot Hageonim, ed. Harkavy, No. 3, p. 3 = Otzar Hageonim, Kiddushin, p. 84, paragraph 191:
A responsum of Rav Hai [Gaon, 939-1038]: And regarding what you asked: “Our Sages taught: There are 8,888 verses in the Torah, the Book of Psalms has eight more [8,896], while Chronicles has eight less [8,880] (Kiddushin 30a) By what reckoning? For we see that this is not the case!?
[Responsum:] An excellent question; of course, this is not the case! The Torah has 5,884 verses, the Book of Psalms has 2,524 verses, and Chronicles has 1,970. Rather, thus we have heard a tradition from the early Sages who said that according to [Massekhet] Soferim this baraita [in Kiddushin] is referring to that Torah scroll that was found in Jerusalem that was different in its script and in its number of verses, and so too regarding the Book of Psalms and Chronicles, but now the Torah, Psalms and Chronicles are like this.
In other words, Rav Hai Gaon is explaining according to a lost baraita in Massekhet Soferim, that the baraita from Kiddushin was referring to a specific Torah scroll that was found in Jerusalem, but in our day — Babylon in the 10th-11th centuries — the number of verses is completely different.
7) Bereishit Rabbati on Genesis 45:8, ed. Albeck, pp. 209-212:
“He has made me [va’yesimeini] a father to Pharaoh” (Genesis 45:8)… in the Torah scroll of Rabbi Meir it is written “‘va’yasheni a father to Pharaoh” as it is said “that he claims [yasheh] from his fellow” (Deut. 15:2). This is one of the things written in the Torah scroll that left Jerusalem in captivity and came to Rome and was hidden in the synagogue of Asveros… so they were written in the Torah that left Jerusalem.
Bereishit Rabbati is attributed by Hanoch Albeck and others to Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan who lived in Narbonne in the first half of the 11th century, although Hananel Mack disagrees with this attribution.(11a) In any case, this midrash lists about twenty variants from the Torah scroll that was brought from Jerusalem to Rome after the destruction of the Second Temple. Even if this tradition is historically doubtful, it reveals that the author of this midrash did not reject the possibility of variant readings of the Torah.
8) In the introduction to his commentary on the early prophets, Radak (Rabbi David Kimchi, Narbonne 1160-1235) attempted to explain the existence of keri and ketiv [a distinction between what is read and what is written] in many verses:
It would appear that these words appear in such a way because during the First Exile books were lost and moved around, and the Sages who knew the Bible died and the Men of the Great Assembly “who returned the Torah to its former glory” discovered discrepancies between the books and followed what they considered to be the majority, and in places in which they could not reach a clear decision they wrote one variant without vocalization, or wrote the vocalization in the margin rather than in the text, and they wrote one way within the text and another way outside the text (Mikraot Gedolot Haketer, Joshua-Judges, Ramat Gan, 1992, p. 14).
In other words, Radak explained that the Men of the Great Assembly engaged in text criticism. In places where they could decide on one version, they did so and when they could not decide, they recorded a keri and ketiv. Indeed, Radak repeated this explanation many times in his commentaries.(12)
9) Rabbi Meir Halevi Abulafia (Haramah, Toledo, 1170-1244) authored an entire book in 1227 entitled Masoret Seyag Latorah [“Tradition is a safeguard of the Torah” – cf. Avot 3:13] (Florence, 1750) whose purpose was to determine the correct text of the Torah.(13) In the introduction to that book (on the page immediately following the approvals), he wrote:
If we were to rely upon the proofread Torah scrolls in our possession, they also contain many points of controversy… and if one should want to write a Torah scroll according to halakhah, it will be afflicted by defective and plene spellings and he will find himself groping like a blind man in the darkness of disagreement… I decided to take the initiative and to search for the proofread and precise Torah scrolls… and to follow the old reliable [scrolls] and among then to follow the majority as we are commanded in the Torah in any controversy to follow the majority [Exodus 23:2]…
In other words, the Ramah is attesting to many textual variants among the Torah scrolls in his day. He decided to determine the correct reading on the basis of the majority of the scrolls, similar to the practice found in Sifre Devarim quoted above (section IV, 1). Indeed, he himself wrote a Torah scroll as a prototype which many copied from in the years after his death.
10) Rabbi Abraham the son of Maimonides (1186-1237) was asked about open and closed parshiyot [paragraphs] in the Torah. He replied:
In contrast to what was explained in Sefer Ahavah [Maimonides, Hilkhot Sefer Torah 8:4], I have answered previously and will now repeat my answer in brief, i.e., we see that there are many discrepancies among scribes with regard to open and closed parshiyot, and the books found among the Jewish people are very different in this regard, and we have already seen halakhic authorities z”l in whose presence each of these scrolls was read, and this makes sense, because we do not have the scroll that was in the Temple courtyard (Kiddushin 65a) which we can copy exactly, and in this matter there is no tradition accepted by all so that we can negate anything that contradicts it. The correct thing is to scrutinize [the scroll according to what is written] in Sefer Ahavah (loc. cit.), but what differs from that should not be ruled as an invalid scroll, unless it also differs from all other scrolls which exist… (Teshuvot Rabeinu Avraham ben Harambam, Jerusalem, 1937, No. 91).
In other words, Rabbi Abraham ruled against his father, taking a lenient position with regard to open and closed parshiyot in the Torah, since there is no accepted and reliable Torah scroll such as the one that had been kept in the Temple court. Therefore a Torah scroll can only be declared invalid in this regard if it differs from all other scrolls.
11) Rabbi Yom-Tov Lipmann Muhlhausen (Bohemia, 14th-15th centuries) authored a work entitled Tikkun Sefer Torah, first printed in 1967, on the subject of open and closed parshiyot in the Torah. At the beginning of that work, he wrote:
Since [because of our many sins] the Torah has been forgotten and a correctly written Torah scroll cannot be found, because the scribes are ignorant and the scholars pay no attention to this matter, I therefore searched diligently for a Torah scroll written correctly regarding the letters and closed and open parshiyot but I did not find one. And, needless to say, [neither did I find one in which] the defective and plene spellings were exact, for this knowledge has disappeared from our entire generation… (Sinai 60 , p. 251).
In other words, Rabbi Yom-Tov Lipmann Muhlhausen made an effort to find a Torah scroll in which both the letters and the open and closed parshiyot were correctly written, but he eventually gave up in despair.
12) In his glosses to Shulhan Arukh, Orah Hayyim 143:4, Rabbi Moses Isserles (the Rema, Poland, 1530-1572) addressed the question of what to do when a mistake is found in a Torah scroll:
[Another Torah scroll is taken out] specifically when a complete mistake is found, but another [Torah scroll] is not taken out on account of defective and plene spellings, because our Torah scrolls are not accurate enough for us to say that another scroll would be any better.
From these sources, we learn that, according to the Sages, textual criticism began with none other than Ezra the Scribe himself and continued throughout the Talmudic period. In the Middle Ages, important scholars such as the Ramah engaged in the text criticism of the Torah, while others admitted that one cannot reconstruct the original text since the text in our hands is quite corrupt. Thus, the words of Maimonides cited above, that: “this entire Torah found in our hands today is the Torah that was given to Moses” and “there are no differences at all [between any of the Torah scrolls] in even so much as a dot” do not hold up to careful scrutiny. The Torah has been copied thousands of times by human beings; hence both large and small errors have occurred. One who engages in text criticism, not only does not sin, but continues in the path of the Masoretes and all the other important rabbis cited above.
V) Source Criticism or Higher Criticism in Rabbinic Literature
Thus far, we have seen many sources that viewed text criticism in a positive light. In addition, there are sources in the Talmud and Midrash that allude to source criticism. These sources can be divided into three categories:
A) Progressive Revelation
Many contemporary Orthodox rabbis claim that the entire Torah was given to Moses at Sinai. This claim is inconsistent with the following source:
Rabbi Yohanan [2nd generation Amora, Eretz Yisrael] said in the name of Rabbi Bena’a [1st generation Amora, ibid.]: the Torah was given scroll by scroll, as it is said, “Then I said, ‘See, I will bring a scroll of a book, recounting what befell me’ ” (Psalms 40:8).
Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish [2nd generation Amora, ibid.] said: the Torah was given complete, as it is said “Take this Sefer Torah [and place it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God]” (Deut. 31:26)…
If not, then according to the opinion of Rabbi Levi [3rd generation?, Amora, ibid.] who said: eight parshiyot [passages] were said on the day that the Tabernacle was erected [i.e., on the first of Nissan, not on Mt. Sinai] and they are: the parashah of the Priests (Leviticus 21), the parashah of the Levites (Numbers 8), the parashah of the unclean (Numbers 9) , the parashah of expelling the unclean (Numbers 5:1-4), the parashah of Aharei Mot (Leviticus 16), the parashah of the intoxicated (Leviticus 10: 8-11), the parashah of the lamps (Numbers 8) and the parashah of the red heifer (Numbers 19).
Rashi (ad loc.) explained the three opinions: Rabbi Yohanan thought that the Torah was given scroll by scroll, that “at the beginning, the scroll of Bereishit was written, and then the scroll of Noah, and then the scroll of Abraham”. Resh Lakish thought that the Torah was given complete, that is “finished, completed, and whole”. Rabbi Levi thought that eight parshiyot “needed for the day [of the erection of the Tabernacle] were spoken, written and given on that day, and each was written in its own scroll since they are separate and distant from each other. Therefore, he also calls the rest [of the Torah] megillah [scroll], because when he went back and completed it he had to write from Bereishit until the parashah of the Priests, and then skipped over the parashah of the Priests which was already written, and wrote from there until the parashah of the [Levites], and so on and so forth.”
In other words, Resh Lakish agrees with the position of contemporary rabbis who maintain that the Torah was given at Sinai. Rabbi Yohanan, however, thought that the Torah was given scroll by scroll in stages, apparently in chronological order, while Rabbi Levi thought that the Torah was given in stages, but not in chronological order.
B) Human Editing
1a) Sifre Bemidbar, Piska 84, ed. Horovitz, p. 80:
“When the Ark was to set out” (Numbers 10:35) is marked before and after because this was not its place. Rabbi [Judah the Prince] says: because it is a book by itself… Rabbi Shimon says: it is marked before and after because this was not its place. And what should have been written in its place? “The people took to complaining [bitterly before the Lord]” (Numbers 11:1)…
1b) Sifre Zuta, ed. Horovitz, p. 266:
Any Torah scroll which has 85 mistakes may not be read until it is corrected. Some say: all these measures [of the number of mistakes, which is based on the number of letters in Numbers 10:35-36] were only mentioned because this is not the place of the parashah. It should have read “and the Lord’s cloud kept above them by day, as they moved on from camp” (ibid., 10:34) [and then] “The people took to complaining [bitterly before the Lord]” (ibid., 11:1)…
1c) Shabbat 115b-116a:
Our Rabbis taught: “When the Ark was to set out Moses would say…”. The Holy One, Blessed be He, made signs before and after [this passage] to indicate that this is not its place. Rabbi [Judah the Prince] said: It is not for that reason, but because it is an important book in its own right… Who is the Tanna who disagrees with Rabbi? It is Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel. For it was taught: Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel said: This passage is destined to be removed from here and written in its place. And why did he write it here? To provide a break between the first punishment [Numbers 10:33] and the second punishment [ibid., 11:1]… And where is its place? Rav Ashi said: With the flags [ibid., 10:11ff.].
Professor Lieberman has already noted (p. 38, note 6) that the term “the Holy One, Blessed be He” in the passage from the Babylonian Talmud (source 1c) is missing from Rashi’s commentary, from Ein Yaakov and other sources, and, if so, both the Tanna in the three versions of the baraita and Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel believed that it was Moses who placed the inverted nun before and after Numbers 10:35-36. This means that Moses was not merely a “copyist” as Maimonides maintained, but also the editor of the Torah. If he edited this section, it is possible that he edited other sections as well.
2a) Tosefta Sanhedrin 4:7-8, ed. Zuckermandel, pp. 421-422:
This baraita contains three opinions: Rabbi Yossi is of the opinion that the writing of the Torah was changed in Ezra’s day from ashuri script [=our current script] to Aramaic script. Rabbi Judah the Prince is of the opinion that the Torah was given in ashuri script; because they sinned, it was changed to roetz [Samaritan script?], and because they were meritorious in the days of Ezra, the Torah was returned to ashuri script. Rabbi Eleazar Hamodai is of the opinion that the Torah was given in ashuri script and did not change.
2b) Sanhedrin 21b-22a:
The baraita summarized above appears there with changes and is preceded by an Amoraic statement:
Mar Zutra [6th generation Amora, Babylon] or, according to others, Mar ‘Ukba [1st generation Amora, ibid.] said: Originally, the Torah was given to Israel in ancient Hebrew script and in the sacred language [Hebrew]; in the time of Ezra, the Torah was given again in ashuri script and the Aramaic language; the people of Israel chose the ashuri script and the sacred language, leaving the common people [i.e., the Samaritans] with the ancient Hebrew script and the Aramaic language.
These sources contain three different perceptions of the role of Ezra: According to Rabbi Eleazar Hamodai, Ezra the Scribe did not change anything in the Torah. According to Rabbi Yossi and Rabbi Judah the Prince, Ezra changed the script from Aramaic script to ashuri script. And, according to Mar Zuta or Mar Ukba, Ezra translated the Torah to Aramaic and then back to Hebrew. Of course, it can be argued that the translation came from Heaven, but if it was done by Ezra, this would indicate significant human impact on the text of the Torah as we have it today, for, as everyone knows, every translator has a great influence on the content of the translated text.
3) Midrash Tanhuma, Ki Tissa, paragraph 16:
“When He finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the Pact, stone tablets inscribed with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18). Rabbi Abahu [3rd generation Amora, Eretz Yisrael] said: during all of the forty days that Moses spent above, he would learn Torah and then forget what he had learned. Finally, he said to Him: “Master of the Universe, forty days have passed, and I don’t know anything!” What did the Holy One, Blessed be He, do? At the end of the forty days, he gave him the Torah as a gift, as it is said, “When He finished speaking with him [on Mount Sinai], He gave Moses…” Did Moses learn all of the Torah? Is it not written, “Its measure is longer than the earth” (Job 11:9)!? Rather, The Holy One, Blessed be He, taught Moses general principles [kelalim], as it is said, “when He finished” [k’khaloto].
There are those who say that this midrash refers to the Oral Torah, yet there is no hint of this in the text. It is therefore possible that, according to Rabbi Abahu, God taught the Torah to Moses as general principles which Moses then developed into specific laws. If so, Moses played a very significant role in the writing of the Torah.
C) There are verses in the Torah which were written after the death of Moses.
1) Bava Batra 14b-15a:
Our Rabbis taught… Moses wrote his book and the sections about Balaam and Job. Joshua wrote his book and eight verses of the Torah… The baraita above stated: “Joshua wrote his book and eight verses of the Torah” — This baraita accords with the opinion that Joshua wrote eight verses in the Torah, as it has been taught: “Moses the servant of the Lord died there” [Deut. 34:5]. Is it possible that Moses [while alive] could have written the words, “Moses died there”!? Rather, up to this point, Moses wrote, and from this point on, Joshua wrote – this is the opinion of Rabbi Judah, and some say, of Rabbi Nehemiah. Rabbi Shimon said to him: Is it possible for a Torah scroll to lack even one letter, but is it not written, “Take this book of the Torah” [Deut. 31: 26]?! Rather, up to this point, the Holy One, Blessed be He, spoke and Moses wrote, and from this point on, He spoke and Moses wrote with tears [in his eyes]…
According to Rabbi Shimon, Moses wrote the last eight verses in the Torah in tears, but, according to the Tanna in the first baraita and Rabbi Judah or Rabbi Nehemiah, Joshua wrote the last eight verses of the Torah after the death of Moses.
2) Makkot 11a:
“Joshua wrote all these words in a book of the Torah of God” [Joshua 24:26]. Rabbi Judah and Rabbi Nehemiah disagreed: one said that [Joshua wrote] eight verses [in the Torah], while the other said [that Joshua wrote] the cities of refuge.
[The anonymous editor of the Talmud explains]: It is alright for one who says “eight verses”, as it is written, “in a book of the Torah of God”. But for one who says “the cities of refuge”, how does one explain the words “in a book of the Torah of God”? It can be explained in this way: “Joshua recorded”, in his own book, “all these words” that are written “in a book of the Torah of God”
There are two strata in this passage. In the earlier Tannaitic stratum, one of the Tannaim says that Joshua wrote the last eight verses of the Torah while another says that he wrote the passage about the cities of refuge in the Torah, because the same subject also appears in Joshua, chapters 20-21. The anonymous editor of the Talmud did not like the second opinion, so he changed it (“It can be explained in this way”) to mean that Joshua wrote in his own book that which was already written in “a book of the Torah of God”.
To summarize, these sources contain three Tannaitic approaches: Moses wrote the entire Torah; Joshua wrote the last eight verses of the Torah; Joshua wrote “the cities of refuge” in the Torah.
VI) Source Criticism among Medieval Rabbis
In the previous section, we saw allusions to source criticism in rabbinic literature. We shall now see that quite a few medieval rabbis thought that human beings edited or wrote parts of the Torah. These sources can be divided into two groups:
A) Moses or another human being edited parts of the Torah (13a)
1) Genesis 32:20-21 relates how Jacob divided his servants into groups before his meeting with Esau:
He gave similar instructions to the second one, and the third, and all the others who followed the droves, namely… And you shall add, “And your servant Jacob himself is right behind us.”– For he said: “If I propitiate him with presents in advance, and then face him, perhaps he will show me favor.”
Abraham ibn Ezra (Spain, 1092-1167) explained: “ ‘for he said’– Jacob, in his heart; these are the words of Moses.” In other words, this sentence was said by Moses, not by God. From this it can be inferred that Moses was more than a mere “scribe” recording divine dictation.
2a) Rabbi Yosef Bekhor Shor (France, born 1140) commented on the same verse:
“For he said: ‘If I propitiate him with presents in advance’ ”: The author of the book explained that Jacob did all of this to placate [Esau’s] anger in case he had evil intentions…
It could be argued that “the author of the book” refers to God, but it is more reasonable to assume that it refers to Moses or another human editor who wanted to describe Jacob’s thoughts at that moment.
2b) Indeed, Rabbi Joseph Bekhor Shor commented on Deuteronomy 1:1:
“These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel”: before his death he organized [sider] the Torah for them so that the commandments should not be forgotten… He therefore listed the places where the Torah, which he wanted to organize, had been given, because the Torah was given in one place after another.
From this we can derive that in the eyes of Rabbi Joseph Bekhor Shor, Moses was the “organizer” or the editor of the book of Deuteronomy.
3) Rashbam (Rabbi Samuel ben Meir, France, 1080-1160), grandson of Rashi and one of the most prominent Tosafists, also believed that Moses was the editor of the Torah. And so he wrote in his commentary to Genesis 1:1:
This entire passage describing the six days of creation was also placed first by Moses in order to explain to you what the Holy One, Blessed be He, said at the giving of the Torah “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8)…
4) Rabbi Eliezer of Beaugency (France, 12th century) was a student of Rashbam. In several places in his commentaries talks about the sofer [author] of a biblical book, i.e., the editor (see his commentaries to Ezekiel 1:2-3; Jonah 1:10). He writes, for example, in his commentary to Isaiah 7:2 (in Mikraot Gedolot Haketer):
… But it is the author’s way to state a summary at the beginning of his account. Similarly, “And Jacob left Be’er-Sheva and set out for Haran” (Genesis 28:10) and afterwards he said, “He came upon a certain place” (v. 11) to explain the matter. Here too, first he said that Ratzin and Pekah went up, and afterwards he elaborated…
In other words, just as Rabbi Eliezer of Beaugency spoke of the “author” in the sense of editor, of Ezekiel, Jonah and Isaiah, he also referred to the “author”/editor of Genesis.
5) Seder Olam is a brief historical chronicle from the Middle Ages, first published by A. Neubauer (Seder Hahakhamim Vekorot Hayamim, Vol. 1, Oxford, 1888, p. 163), and reprinted by Eli Yassif (Sefer Hazikhronot Hu Divrei Hayamim L’yerahme’el, Tel Aviv, 2001, pp. 368-369, and cf. pp. 515-516).
…In the days of Moses our Teacher there were written books in which they wrote the history from days of yore, the forefathers from Adam, as we find in the Aggadah, “Adam’s book contains Ma’aseih Bereishit and Ma’aseih Merkavah [different types of esoteric wisdom] discussed cryptically, similar to Samuel’s teachings on the seasons and the constellations”.(13b) [And Adam transmitted them to Sheit and so on until the days of Moses.] When Moses our Teacher wanted to write down the commandments, he decided to write how the People of Israel received the Torah. And out of a desire to explain what happened in his day, he wrote the cause of the People of Israel descending to Egypt and the history of the Patriarchs from their beginnings. He looked in these books and wrote, based upon them, from the days of creation onwards, and he did what he did according to Ruah Hakodesh [the Holy Spirit], and “His powerful works He revealed to His people” (Psalms 111:6)…
According to Seder Olam, Moses himself wrote in the Torah the history of the Jewish people until his own time, on the basis of books written from the time of Adam and onwards, and he edited all this material under Divine Inspiration.
B) Specific sections of the Torah were written after the time of Moses or by other Prophets.
1) Midrash Haseirot Viyeteirot, ed. Wertheimer, Batei Midrashot, Vol. 2, second edition, Jerusalem, 1953, p. 274. This midrash on the Masorah was written before the time of Rav Hai Gaon (939-1038) since he was the first to quote from it.(14)
The two verses surrounded by inverted nuns included in the Torah [Numbers 10:35-36] are from the prophecy of Eldad and Meidad and their prophecy remained and was interpreted by Ezekiel, as it is said, ”Thus said the Lord God: Why, you are the one I spoke of in ancient days through My servants, the prophets of Israel…!” (Ezekiel 38:17). And some say: it indicates that a hidden book was there.
There are many explanations of this midrash, especially of the last sentence.(15) In any case, the author of the midrash thought that Numbers 10:35-36 is a remnant of the prophecy of Eldad and Meidad (ibid., 11: 26-30) that was included in the Torah between inverted nuns.
2) Ginzei Mitzrayim: Hilkhot Sefer Torah, ed. Adler, Oxford, 1897, p. 37. This manuscript from the Cairo Geniza was apparently written by Rabbi Yosef Rosh Haseder around the year 1200: (16)
And in some midrashim they gave a different explanation and asked: Why did the Sages place inverted nuns [before] the verse “And the people took to complaining [bitterly before the Lord]” (Numbers 11:1)? The Sages said: the entire Torah is the prophecy of Moses alone, except for these two verses that are from the prophecy of Eldad and Meidad, therefore they enclosed them with inverted nuns and included them in the Torah.
This late midrash is also of the opinion that Numbers 10:35-36 is the prophecy of Eldad and Meidad rather than the prophecy of Moses.
3) Rabbi Isaac of Toledo (982-1056), was cited by Abraham Ibn Ezra in his commentary to Genesis 36:31:
“And these are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the Children of Israel”. It can be inferred from this verse that the passage was written in the era of the Monarchy. On this point Ibn Ezra comments: “There are those who say that this passage was written prophetically, but Yitzhaki said in his book that this passage was written in the days of Yehoshaphat.” Ibn Ezra himself disagreed with this opinion, but Rabbi Isaac of Toledo thought that the Torah passage in question was written in the time of Yehoshaphat, King of Judah (867-846 BCE).
4) “And many said” cited by Ibn Ezra on Numbers 21:1:
“ ‘And when the Canaanite, king of Arad… [learned that Israel was coming]…’ (Numbers 21:1). And many said that Joshua wrote this passage, and the proof is [in the verse] ‘the king of Arad, one’ (Joshua 12:14)…”. Here, too, Ibn Ezra disagrees, but “many” thought that this passage was written by Joshua.
5a) Ibn Ezra (1092-1167) on Genesis 12:6:
“Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, up to the terebinth of Moreh, and the Canaanites were then in the land.”… and if that is not so, it has a secret. And the enlightened will be silent.
5b) Ibn Ezra on Deuteronomy 1:2:
If you understand the “secret of the twelve” – also “[That day,] Moses wrote down this poem “ (Deut. 31:22); “and the Canaanites were then in the land” (Genesis 12:6); “whence the saying today, ‘On the mount of the Lord there is vision’ ” (ibid., 22:14) ; “[Only King Og of Bashan]… His bedstead, an iron bedstead, is now in Rabbah of the Ammonites (Deut. 3:11) – you will understand the truth.
5c) Ibn Ezra on Deuteronomy 34:1:
“And Moses went up from the steppes of Moab to Mount Nebo.” In my opinion, Joshua began writing from this verse, through prophecy, because once Moses went up, he did not [continue to] write.
5d) Ibn Ezra on Deuteronomy 34:6:
“And no one knows his burial place to this day” these are the words of Joshua, but it is possible that he wrote this at the end of his life.
In these excerpts from his commentary, Ibn Ezra says that the passages under discussion were written after Moses’s death. He expands the eight verses attributed to Joshua in the Talmudic passage quoted above (Deut. 34:5-12) to twelve verses (34:1-12), which he called “the secret of the twelve”.
6) The commentary attributed to Rashbam in MS Paris 260 of Moshav Zekeinim on the Torah, published by Yitzhak Shimshon Lange in Hama’ayan 12/4 (Tammuz 5732), p. 83:
“ ‘And these are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the Children of Israel’ (Genesis 36:31). Rashbam commented that this passage was written in the time of the Judges.” The author of Moshav Zekeinim then proceeds to dispute that interpretation.
7) Rabbi Judah the Pious (Germany, d. 1217) was the author of Sefer Hassidim and the leader of Hassidei Ashkenaz (the German Jewish Pietists), known for their piety and religious devotion. His commentary to the Torah was published in 1975 and met with the disapproval of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, as mentioned above.(17) The following are the passages relevant to our discussion:
7a) Perushei Hatorah Lerabi Yehudah Hehasid , ed. Yitzhak Shimshon Lange, Jerusalem, 1975, p. 64. Most of the commentaries were recorded by Judah’s son Moses in his father’s name, hence the reference to “my father”:
“And he put Ephraim before Manasseh” (Genesis 48:20). My father explained: This does not refer to Jacob, but to Moses – Moses put Ephraim before Manasseh in the order of the flags (Numbers 10:22-23) because Jacob said “Yet his younger brother shall be greater than he” (Genesis 48:19). And Joshua [or] the Men of the Great Assembly wrote it, because if you say that Moses wrote it, it should read, “I put Ephraim before Manasseh”, just as it written afterwards (v. 22) “ And I assign to you one portion more than to your brothers”, and my father explained that Moses wrote this in the fortieth year…
In other words, according to Judah the Pious, Genesis 48:22 was added to Jacob’s words by Moses, while verse 20, which refers to Moses, was added by Joshua or the Men of the Great Assembly.
7b) Ibid., p. 138:
“[You shall season your every offering of meal with salt;] you shall not omit the salt of your covenant with God [from your meal offering]” (Leviticus 2:13)… Another explanation: Perhaps at first it was written, “You shall not omit salt from your meal offering” [i.e., just salt, not “the salt of your covenant with God”], but after Moses our Teacher wrote in Nitzavim [Deut. 29:22 “all its soil devastated by sulfur and salt”], then they added and wrote: which salt? “the salt of your covenant with God”.
7c) Ibid., pp. 184-185:
“Then Israel sang this song” (Numbers 21:17). My teacher, my father, explained: this is the Great Hallel [Psalm 136]. This song was composed after they were saved from Sihon and Og and crossed the Arnon river. The song was originally written in the Torah, but King David removed all uncredited songs of Moses from the Torah and put them in his book of Psalms…
7d) Ibid., p. 198:
Rabbi Judah the Pious wanted to explain how the Children of Israel were able to get to Etzion Geber (Deut. 2:8) if it belonged to Edom (II Chronicles 8:17). He explained that Etzion Gever did not belong to Edom until the king of Edom married Meheitabel, daughter of Matred (Genesis 36:39) who brought it to him:
And this had not yet happened in the time of Moses, rather it took place “before any king reigned over the Israelites” (ibid., 36:31), meaning before the reign of Saul, which was afterwards, but by Solomon’s time it had already happened. Therefore this [Genesis 36:39] was written in the Torah in the days of the Great Assembly, so that you would not ask how Etzion Gever came to belong to Edom, as is written in Chronicles.
8) Rabbi Joseph Bonfils (Tov Elem, Spain, born 1335) Tzafenat Paʿane’ah (a super-commentary on Ibn Ezra’s Torah commentary), ed. David Herzog, Cracow 1912, pp. 91-92. He is explaining there the commentary of Ibn Ezra quoted above (paragraph 5a) on the words “and the Canaanites were then in the land” (Genesis 12:6):
…And according to this it appears that Moses did not write this word [i.e., “then”] here, rather Joshua or one of the other prophets wrote it, as we have found in the book of Proverbs (25:1): “These too are proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah King of Judah copied”. Since Solomon wrote the book, why mention the name of Hezekiah, who was born several generations afterwards? Rather it was an oral tradition from one person to another [originating with] Solomon, and therefore they wrote it down and it was considered as if Solomon had written it. So too, in this case, there was a tradition within Israel that in the time of Abraham the Canaanites were in the land of Israel, and one of the prophets wrote it here. And since we are supposed to believe in the words of tradition and prophecy – what difference does it make if Moses wrote it or a different prophet, since all their words are true and prophetic? And if you say that it is written “neither add to it…” (Deut. 13:1)… in his first comment on the portion of Lekh Lekha (Genesis 12:4), [Ibn Ezra] wrote that “neither add to it” refers only to the mitzvot… not to words. Therefore, if a prophet added a word or words to explain something according to what he had learned from tradition, it is not an addition…
Rabbi Joseph Bonfils is saying that the word “then” was added by Joshua or another prophet and that this did not constitute an infraction of the commandment “neither add to it” because that prohibition applies only to commandments, not to words. Moreover, this addition is also a true prophecy, even if it was added by a prophet other than Moses.
9) Rabbi Eleazar the son of Rabeinu Matatya the Pious was an Egyptian rabbi. In his super-commentary on Ibn Ezra (MS Vatican 54, quoted by Naftali Ben- Menahem, Meiginzei Yisrael Bavatikan, Jerusalem, 1954, p. 129), he explained the words of Ibn Ezra quoted above on Genesis 12:6, and Deuteronomy 1:2:
It is known that while the nation of [Israel] was in exile in Babylon they forgot the Torah until the arrival of Ezra the Priest, a swift scribe in the Torah of God, who restored it to them and changed nothing out of all the mitzvot that God commanded Moses. However, regarding stories in which there is no harm in expanding, such as those mentioned, that Prophet [i.e., Ezra] was not careful. And it is possible that he made these additions under Divine inspiration, as he did regarding the Masorah, and the verse divisions and the cantillation…
In other words, according to this Egyptian rabbi, Ezra the Scribe expanded narrative sections of the Torah, just as he made innovations regarding the Masorah, the division into verses and the cantillation.
10) At the beginning of the 18th century, Rabbi Gad dell’Aquilla wrote an epistle (Naftali Ben-Menahem, Inyanei Ibn Ezra, Jerusalem, 1978, p. 326) in which he defended Ibn Ezra’s commentaries on Genesis 12:6 and Deuteronomy 1:2:
Therefore, this scholar had difficulty with things written in the Torah which refer to later events. He therefore wrote that it is possible that they were said in a manner of speaking or by Divine Inspiration, just as he explained that [the verses] from “And Moses went up” (Deut. 34:1) to the end of The Book were written by Joshua under Divine Inspiration. Therefore [Ibn Ezra] is not in the category of one who has “spurned the word of the Lord” (Numbers 15:31, according to Sanhedrin 99a quoted above), because he declared that they were said under Divine Inspiration. The prohibition of “he has spurned the word of the Lord” applies only to one who says that Moses of his own accord said even one verse. If this is not the case, then Rabbi Judah, who disagreed with Rabbi Shimon regarding the eight verses which he said were written by Joshua [Bava Batra 15a quoted above], is also in the category of “he has spurned the word of the Lord”, for what is the difference between eight verses and twelve verses?! Did they not say, “even one verse”?!…
In other words, the principle of “he has spurned the word of the Lord” in Sanhedrin 99a applies only to one who says that Moses invented a verse on his own, but Rabbi Joshua in Bava Batra 15a and Ibn Ezra in his commentaries quoted above maintained that certain verses were said under Divine Inspiration by other Prophets. This does not fall under the category of “he has spurned the word of the Lord” and is permissible.
VII) Precedents for critical study from other areas
We have seen, thus far, that Maimonides and halakhic authorities who ruled like him were opposed to both text and source criticism. We then analyzed general weaknesses in the sources that prohibit biblical criticism and quoted many precedents for both text and source criticism in rabbinic literature and among the medieval rabbis.
A) From Talmud Criticism to Biblical Criticism
However, one could ask: We have found more than twenty sources alluding to Source Criticism and could now add additional sources from the recently published book, Be’einei Elohim Ve’adam. But do these sources validate the systematic division of the Torah into separate sources or documents? After all, the sources we quoted ascribe some twenty verses to Prophets who lived after the time of Moses. Is this enough to support an entire methodology? This question can be answered by comparison with the critical study of the Babylonian Talmud in our day. My teacher, Prof. Shamma Friedman, has shown that the Rishonim or medieval rabbis engaged in Talmud criticism and in separating the statements of the Amoraim from the Stam Hatalmud (the anonymous editors of the Talmud) in a partial and coincidental fashion. If we add all of his examples to additional examples, we are still discussing a very small percentage of sugyot (Talmudic passages).(18) We can, however, take the approach of the Rishonim and expand and refine it by means of current methodological tools. As Prof. Friedman explains:
We have seen that the Tosafists and the Rishonim who succeeded them knew very well how to distinguish between the words of the Amora and those of the Talmud referring to them. However, they made use of this distinction only in places in which there was a specific question regarding the approach of that specific Amora, which was resolved by separating the Amoraic statement from the Stam Hatalmud. However, for the sake today’s research, it is appropriate to make this distinction in every passage, in order to examine the Amoraic statements as sources in their own right and to assess their unique content and style. Only in this way is it possible to study the history of Talmudic law, i.e., the Amoraic approaches by themselves, as distinct from the Stammaitic approaches that were added by them, which are sometimes different from the approaches of the Amoraim. So too regarding literary research, the separation of the words of Stam Hatalmud from the Amoraic statements will enable a precise analysis of the latter vis-à-vis their language, style and literary structure.(19)
The same holds true for Source Criticism of the Bible. Ibn Ezra, Rabbi Judah the Pious and the other scholars discussed above divided the Torah into different sources in order to solve a random exegetical problem. We, however, can use modern methodological tools to study this subject systematically in order to better understand the Torah from both a legal and literary perspective.
B) The influence of non-Jewish methods of study on our rabbis and scholars.
Biblical criticism, especially Source Criticism, was created by non-Jews, some of whom were anti-Semites. Indeed, Professor Solomon Schechter, the President of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) from 1902-1915, and the principal founder of the Conservative movement in the United States, vehemently opposed the approach of Wellhausen and his circle. He labeled their higher criticism, i.e., Source Criticism, as “higher antisemitism”, claiming that the primary motive of Wellhausen and his circle was to prove that most of the Torah was late.(20) However, in the interim, four generations of Jewish scholars have engaged in Biblical Criticism and have achieved significant results.(21) Nonetheless, until today, there are those who object to Biblical Criticism on the grounds that it is a foreign element created by non-Jews. However, in truth, many times in the past, Jewish scholars have absorbed the methodologies of non-Jewish scholars and, in the course of time, turned them into integral components of our Torah study. The following are six examples of this phenomenon:
Therefore, the process of “Judaization” of Biblical Criticism in the 20th-21st centuries is the continuation of an age-old process in which we have borrowed methods of study from other cultures and gradually made them our own.
C) The search for truth as a religious value (28)
Those who engage in Biblical Criticism are trying to arrive at the peshat, the plain meaning of the Bible, and the truth of the text that they are studying. This desire is well-rooted in our sources. Many rabbis throughout the generations have stressed the importance of searching for the truth and some have even regarded this as a religious value.
The following are selected sayings of our Sages on this subject: “ ‘Truth’ – that is Torah, as it is said, ‘Buy truth and never sell it,’ (Proverbs 23:23)” (Berakhot 5b). “The seal of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is truth” (Shabbat 55a). We recite over the Torah the blessing “who has given us the Torah of truth” (Massekhet Soferim 13:6, ed. Higger, p. 244). “What does it mean, ‘His truth is an encircling shield’ (Psalms 91:4)? Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: I will make a weapon for anyone who trades in the Torah’s truth. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said: The Torah’s truth is a weapon for those who possess it” (Bemidbar Rabbah 12:3). (29)
Rabbi Joshua ben Levi explained that Jeremiah, Daniel and the Men of the Great Assembly amended the text of a prayer instituted by Moses in response to changing circumstances, The Talmud asks: How did they uproot a decree of Moses our Teacher? “Rabbi Eleazer said: Because they know that the Holy One, Blessed be He, is true, therefore they did not speak falsehood to him”. Rashi explained: “’True’ — “agrees with the truth and hates falsehood” (Yoma 69b). The parallel passage in the Jerusalem Talmud (Berakhot 7:3, fol. 11c) reads: “Rabbi Yitzhak ben Eleazer said: The Prophets know that their God is true and they do not flatter him”.
The Geonim and Rishonim also strove to discover “the Torah’s truth”. Rav Sa’adia Gaon, wrote in his Book of Beliefs and Opinions, that anyone who studies his book and finds a mistake — should correct it. “If both the scholar and the student conduct themselves in this manner when they read this book, then whoever is certain will have his certainty increase, and whoever is in doubt will have his doubt vanish; the believer on the basis of tradition will become a believer on the basis of speculation and understanding” (Introduction, section 2, in Charles Manikin, editor, Medieval Jewish Philosophical Writings, Cambridge University Press, 2007, p. 5). Abraham Ibn Ezra, whose commentaries we saw above, wrote in the introduction to his commentary on the Torah, in the Shitah Aheret: “May I fear God alone, and not be partial in the study of the Torah”.
Maimonides attested in his epistle to the scholars of Provence on astrology that out of a desire to understand the reasons for the commandments: “I also read about all matters pertaining to all aspects of idolatry. I think that there does not remain a book in the world on this subject translated from other languages into Arabic that I have not read, studied in depth, and thoroughly mastered (Alexander Marx, HUCA 3 (1926), p. 351, which appears with slight variations in Igrot Harambam, ed. Shilat, Vol. 2, Jerusalem, 1988, p. 481). In chapter 4 of the “Eight Chapters”, Maimonides wrote: “Accept the truth from whoever said it”.(29a) Elsewhere he wrote: “For only truth pleases Him, may He be exalted, and only that which is false angers Him” (The Guide of the Perplexed, translated by Shlomo Pines, II: 47, p. 409).
Rabbi Abraham, the son of Maimonides, wrote that accepting the opinion of another without studying or understanding whether it is true or not “is a negative trait, forbidden by the way of Torah as well as by the way of reason”. After quoting Hullin 124a, he continues:
In truth, this man [Rabbi Judah the Prince] is called “our holy Rabbi”, because a person who rejects falsehood, and upholds the truth, and compels us to follow his truth, and changes his opinion when he realizes that the opposite is true, is without a doubt “holy”. And behold it has become clear to us that the Sages z”l [do not accept opinions] except according to their truth and their proofs, regardless of who said them (Kovetz Teshuvot Harambam Ve’iggrotav, Leipzig 1859, part 2, p. 41ff.).(30)
In the modern period as well, there were rabbis who emphasized the importance of the search for truth. Rabbi Samuel David Luzzatto (Shadal) addressed our topic in the introduction to his commentary on Isaiah (Padua, 1855):
The fourth fundamental principle [in our commentary] is the love of truth, i.e., that our ultimate goal will be to understand the true meaning of the writers. There will not be hidden in our hearts the desire to find in the holy books support and reinforcement for beliefs and opinions that came to us from elsewhere, whether they be philosophical ideas or accepted Torahitic beliefs among our people. This quality is very rare among the commentators and is to be found on a high level in the commentaries of Rashi z”l and his grandson Rashbam, who, although completely faithful to the words of the Sages, did not refrain from interpreting the Scriptures according to their simple meaning, even if their interpretations contradicted the halakhah…
Finally, Rav Kook addressed our topic in a letter to Rabbi Meir Berlin )Bar-Ilan( in 1911 in response to an article that had appeared in a journal edited by Rabbi Berlin, in which the author warmly praised the Orthodox historians Yitzhak Isaac Halevy and Ze’ev Yavetz. Rav Kook argued that we no longer need to lavish praise on such authors:
In any case, we cannot deny that there are also many good things in books that are defective in many places. They [Halevy and Yavetz] were also not always correct in their tendentious criticis. And truth is beloved above all… And the rebuke of the Bible critics and of free-thinking authors, if done in general terms, is worthless and undeserving of praise. (Iggerot Ha’ra’ayah, Vol. 2, p. 20).
VIII) The sanctity and authority of the Torah for those engaged in Biblical Criticism (31)
Thus far we have seen that there is room to permit the study of Biblical Criticism. However, one may ask: what is the source of the sanctity and authority of the Torah for those who do not accept the fundamentalist approach of Maimonides and Rabbi Moshe Feinstein? I have discussed this question elsewhere,(32) but will repeat some of my thoughts here with a few additional points:
1) We have seen above in Gittin 60a and in the commentary of Rabbi Joseph Bonfils and others the idea of progressive revelation. The rabbis who adhere to this view do not believe in “Torah from Sinai” but rather in “Torah from Heaven”. In other words, the Torah was written by Moses and other Prophets at different periods of time, with each being influenced by his dialogue with God.(33)
2) The second approach says that the Torah itself is not the revelation but rather the human expression or by-product of that revelation. Because the Torah is the human record of the word of God, it is imperfect. God did not reveal Himself to people but through To what can this be compared? To a person listening to a recording. He wants to hear the voice of the singer but he must do so via an imperfect recording of his voice. The Torah is analogous to the recording, not to the actual voice of the Singer.(34)
3) The third approach says that we do not know exactly what happened 3,000 years ago on Mount Sinai — but it does not really matter. The Torah’s authority does not derive from what happened on Mount Sinai but from the way in which Kelal Yisrael, the collective Jewish people, has understood and interpreted the Torah over the course of 3,000 years. As Professor Solomon Schechter explained in 1896:
It is not the mere revealed Bible that is of first importance to the Jew, but the Bible as it repeats itself in history, in other words, as it is interpreted by Tradition… Since, then, the interpretation of Scripture or the Secondary Meaning is mainly a product of changing historical influences, it follows that the centre of authority is actually removed from the Bible and placed in some living body, which by reason of its being in touch with the ideal aspirations and the religious needs of the age, is best able to determine the nature of the Secondary Meaning. This living body, however, is not represented by any section of the nation or any corporate priesthood, or Rabbihood, but by the collective conscience of Catholic Israel as embodied in the Universal Synagogue… this Synagogue, the only true witness to the past… must also retain its authority as the sole true guide for the present and the future… (35)
4) The fourth approach says that the Torah expresses an eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people. The essence of a covenant between two entities is not the original written contract but the actions and feelings that accrued over the years. Torah study and the observance of the mitzvot express our 3,000-year-old covenant with God, irrespective of when each passage in the Torah was written.(36)
5) The fifth approach says that Torah study and observance sanctify our lives and make the profane holy. Once again, the specific source of a particular passage does not affect the power of the Torah and the mitzvot to sanctify our lives.(37)
6) The sixth and final approach says that the sanctity of the Torah derives from the fact that our ancestors regarded it as the holiest Jewish book. They studied it, took care never to place another book on top of it, kissed it, fasted if it fell to the ground, and even sacrificed their lives in order to learn it and keep its commandments.(38) To what can this be compared? To the Western Wall. Today, we know that this exterior wall of the Temple Mount was built by Herod and that Jews only began to pray in front of it in around the year 1520.(39) But in the meantime, the Kotel has been sanctified by the tears and the prayers and the notes and the pilgrimages of millions of Jews from all over the world. It is the same with the Torah. The Torah has been sanctified by 3,000 years of study, love, devotion and observance of its mitzvot, and this sanctity is not changed by new knowledge about its creation, thousands of years ago.
In conclusion, there are sources which prohibit text and source criticism of the Bible, but we have seen the general weaknesses of those sources. Moreover, many Talmudic Sages and medieval rabbis engaged in text criticism and some also engaged in source criticism. Furthermore, there are precedents for critical study in other areas in Judaism and the search for truth is a religious value. However, the rabbis and teachers who teach biblical criticism must find ways to emphasize the sanctity of the Torah. The Torah is not just another book, for the words of the Torah are “our life and the length of our days and we will study them day and night.”
The Schechter Institute
3 Av 5759; 19 Tevet 5779
The abbreviations below refer to the Bibliography at the end of the responsum. My thanks to Prof. Baruch Schwartz and to Rabbi Reuven Resnick who provided me with sources and bibliography back in 1999, and to Rabbi David Frankel who referred me to the important article by Rabbi Marc Shapiro.
9a. Regarding text criticism in rabbinic literature and among medieval rabbis, see Menahem Cohen in Simon, pp. 42-69; Sperber; and the important book by Levy, 2001.
11a. Hannanel Mack, Misodo Shel Moshe Hadarshan, Jerusalem, 2010, Chapter 20.
13a. This section is based on Rabbi Harris’s article. For other medieval commentators who talked about the editing of the Torah and other books of the bible, see Steiner; the three articles by Wiesel; and Lokshin.
13b. I did not find this midrash. Regarding “Adam’s Book”, see Seder Olam Rabbah, end of Chapter 30, ed. Ratner, pp. 150-151 = ed. Milikowsky, Vol. 1, pp. 325-326; Bava Metzia 85b-86a; Rabbi M.M. Kasher, Torah Sheleimah, Vol. 2, p. 346, paragraph 6; Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, Vol. V, Philadelphia, 1925, p. 82, middle of note 27.
29a. For similar aphorisms in the middle ages, see Yisrael Davidson, Otzar Hameshalim V’hapitgamim Misifrut Yemei Habeinayim, Jerusalem, 5717, No. 603.
Angel — Angel, Hayyim, “… Rav Amnon Bazak on the Challenges of Academic Bible Study to Traditional Learning”, Tradition 47/3 (Fall 2014), pp. 78-88
Arend — ארנד, משה, “בעיית הפשט בהוראת המקרא”, דעות מ”ו (תשל”ז), עמ’ 54-42
Berman — Berman, Joshua, “The Corruption of Biblical Studies”, MosaicMagazine.com, July 2017, with 6 responses
Bernstein — Bernstein, Moshe, “The Orthodox Jewish Scholar and Jewish Scholarship: Duties and Dilemmas”, Torah U-Madda Journal 3 (1992), pp. 8-36
Brandes et al — ברנדס, יהודה, טובה גנזל, חיותה דויטש, בעיני אלוהים ואדם: האדם המאמין ומחקר המקרא, ירושלים, תשע”ה
Breuer — ברויאר, מרדכי, “אמונה ומדע בפרשנות המקרא”, דעות י”ב (תש”ך), עמ’ 26-12 עם תגובות של א”ע סימון; יוסף היינמן; מ’ וייס ואחרים, דעות י”ג (תש”ך), עמ’ 24-14
Breuer — ברויאר, מרדכי, פרקי מועדות, ירושלים, תשמ”ו, המבוא
Breuer — Breuer, Mordechai, “The Study of Bible” etc., in Shalom Carmy, ed., Modern Scholarship in the Study of Torah, Northvale, New Jersey, 1996, pp.147-187
Breuer — ברויאר, מרדכי, “על ביקורת המקרא”, מגדים ל’ (טבת תשנ”ט), עמ’ 107-97
Brinn — ברין, גרשון, “קווים לפירוש התורה של ר’ יהודה החסיד”, תעודה ג’ (תשמ”ג), עמ’ 226-215
Brody — ברודי, ירחמיאל, רב סעדיה גאון, ירושלים, תשס”ז, עמ’ 160-157
Carmy — Carmy, Shalom, “The Nature of Inquiry: A Common Sense Perspective,” Torah U-Madda Journal 3 (1992), pp. 37-51
Cohen – כהן, מנחם, “האידיאה בדבר קדושת הנוסח לאותיותיו וביקורת הטקסט”,
אצל סימון, עמ’ 69-42
Condition — “The Condition of Jewish Belief- A Symposium”, Commentary August 1966; reprinted as a book by Jason Aronson, Northvale, NJ, 1989, 1995
Cooper – Cooper, Alan, “… A Jewish View of Historical Criticism”, Conservative Judaism 64/1 (Fall 2012), pp. 3-13
Dorff — Dorff, Elliot, Conservative Judaism: Our Ancestors to Our Descendants, New York, 1977, pp. 110-157
Eichler — Eichler, Barry, “Study of Bible in Light of Our Knowledge of the Ancient Near East”, in: Shalom Carmy, editor, Modern Scholarship in the Study of the Torah, Northvale, NJ, 1996, pp. 81-100
Ekstein — Ekstein, Meir, “Rabbi Mordechai Breuer and Modern Orthodox Biblical Commentary”, Tradition 33/3 (Spring 1999), pp. 6-23
Emet Ve’Emuna, New York, 1988
Even-Chen — אבן-חן, אלכסנדר, קול מן הערפל, תל אביב, תשנ”ט, עמ’ 182-180, 186,
Falk — פלק, זאב, ” ‘תורה מן השמים’ ומדע המקרא המודרני”, בית מקרא ל”ח (קל”ג)
(1993), עמ’ 114-105
Feinstein — פיינשטיין, ר’ משה, אגרות משה, יורה דעה, חלק ג’, סימן קי”ד-קט”ו
Feldman — Feldman, Emanuel, “Changing Patterns in Biblical Criticism: Their Implications for the Traditional Jew”, Tradition 7/4 (Spring 1966), pp. 64-76
Frankel — פרנקל, דוד, עיוני שבת, פרשת אמור, תשנ”ט
Gellman — Gellman, Yehuda, “Conservative Judaism and Biblical Criticism”, Conservative Judaism 59/2 (Winter 2007), pp. 50-67; with a reaction by Elliot Dorff and a rejoinder, ibid., 60/1-2 (Fall/Winter 2007-2008), pp. 162-165
Golinkin, 1991 – Golinkin, David, Halakhah for our Time: A Conservative Approach to Jewish Law, New York, 1991, pp. 9-16
Golinkin, 2003 – Golinkin, David, Insight Israel, Jerusalem, 2003, pp. 95-97
Gottlieb — Gottlieb, I. B., “Scientific Methods and Biblical Study”, Tradition 11/1 (1970), pp. 44-54
Greenberg, 5745 – משה גרינברג, “הביקורת והאמונה”, בתוך: על המקרא ועל היהדות: קובץ כתבים, תל אביב, תשמ”ה, עמ’ 280-275
Greenberg, 5752 — משה גרינברג, “תפיסות יהודיות של הגורם האנושי בנבואה המקראית”, ספר היובל למרדכי ברויאר, חלק א’, ירושלים, תשנ”ב, עמ’ 76-63
Halivni — Halivni, David Weiss, Revelation Restored, Boulder, Colorado, 1997
Harris — הריס, רפאל, “מודעות לעריכת המקרא אצל פרשני צפון צרפת”, שנתון לחקר המקרא והמזרח הקדום י”ב (תש”ס), עמ’ 310-289
Henschke – הנשקה, דוד, “על גישת חז”ל לסתירות במקרא”, סידרא י’ (תשנ”ד), עמ’
Heschel — השל, אברהם יהושע, תורה מן השמים באספקלריה של הדורות, ספר שני, לונדון וניו יורק, תשכ”ה, עמ’ 412-381, 424-420
Hirschenson — הירשנזון, חיים, “שאלת לימוד בקורת ספר הספרים”, מלכי בקדש, חלק ב’, סנט לואיס, תרפ”א, תשובה ו’ = מהדורה שנייה, בעריכת דוד זוהר, חלק ב’, ירושלים, תשע”ג, עמ’ 509-486; עם דיון אצל דוד זוהר, מחויבות יהודית בעולם מודרני: הרב חיים הירשנזון ויחסו אל המודרנה, ירושלים ורמת גן, תשס”ג, פרק ח’
Hirschenson — הירשנזון, חיים, סדר למקרא, ירושלים, תרצ”ג
Jacob – Jacob, Ernst, “The Torah Scholarship of Benno Jacob”, Conservative Judaism 15/4 (Summer 1961), pp. 3-6
Jacobs, 1957 — Jacobs, Louis, We Have Reason to Believe, London, 1957, pp. 58-93
Jacobs, 1964 — Jacobs, Louis, Principles of the Jewish Faith: An Analytical Study, London, 1964
Jacobs, 1973 — Jacobs, Louis, A Jewish Theology, New York, 1973, pp. 202-210
Jacobs, 1999 — Jacobs, Louis, Beyond Reasonable Doubt, London, 1999, Chapters 2-5
Kaplan and Berger — Kaplan, Lawrence and David Berger, “On Freedom of Inquiry in the Rambam and Today”, Torah U-Madda Journal 2 (1990), pp. 37-50
Kapustin — Kapustin, M., “Biblical Criticism: A Traditionalist View”, Tradition 3/1 (Fall 1960), pp. 25-33
Kellner, 1991 — קלנר, מנחם, תורת העיקרים בפילוסופיה היהודית בימי הביניים, ירושלים, 1991
Kellner, 1999 — Kellner, Menahem, Must a Jew Believe Anything?, London, 1999
לנדאו, ד’, “הביקורת ההיסטורית-ספרותית של כתבי הקודש”, דעות ה’ (תשי”ח), עמ’ 12-10; עם תגובות: דעות ו’ (תשי”ח), עמ’ 60; דעות ז’ (תשי”ט), עמ’ 59-57; דעות ח’ (תשי”ט), עמ’ 53-52
ליבוביץ, ישעיהו, “קדושתם של כתבי הקודש”, דעות א’ (תשי”ח), עמ’ 14-11 עם תגובות של: פנינה אילן, דעות ד’ (תשי”ח), עמ’ 44-42; בנימין דה פריס, דעות ה’ (תשי”ח), עמ’ 36; ליפא גינת, שם, עמ’ 38-37; פנינה אילן, שם, עמ’ 38
Levinger — לוינגר, י’, “המחקר ההיסטורי של תקופת המקרא ואמונה דתית”, דעות ה’ (תשי”ח) עמ’ 12-10
Levinger — לוינגר, י’, “הערות ל’תורה מן השמים באספקלריא של הדורות’ לרבי א”י השל”, דעות ל”א (תשכ”ו), עמ’ 48-45
Levy, 1996 — Levy, B. Barry, “The State and Directions of Orthodox Bible Study”, in: Modern Scholarship in the Study of Torah, Northvale, New Jersey, 1996, pp. 39-80
Levy, 2001 – Levy, B. Barry, Fixing God’s Torah: The Accuracy of the Hebrew Bible Text in Jewish Law, Oxford, 2001
Levy, 2013 — Levy, B. Barry, “Orthodox Bible Study: The Reality on the Ground”, Conversations 15 (Winter 2013), pp. 13-26, with many other articles
Lieber — Lieber, David S., “Modern Trends in Bible Study”, Conservative Judaism 20/2 (Winter 1966), pp. 34-46
Lieberman – Lieberman, Saul, Hellenism in Jewish Palestine, New York, 1950, pp. 20-82
Lokshin — לוקשין, מאיר יצחק, פירוש התורה לרבינו שמואל בן מאיר, כרך א’, ירושלים, תשס”ט, מבוא, עמ’ י”א-י”ב
Meirovich — Meirovich, Harvey, A Vindication of Judaism: The Polemics of the Hertz Pentateuch, New York and Jerusalem, 1998, Chapter 3
Neventzal — נבנצל, א’, “פשוטו של מקרא”, דעות ל’ (תשכ”ו), עמ’ 284-283
Parnes — Parnes, Yehuda, “Torah u-Madda and Freedom of Inquiry”, Torah u-Madda Journal 1 (1989), pp. 68-71; idem., “Response and Closure”, Tora U-Madda Journal 3 (1992), pp. 90-97
Resnick — רזניק, ראובן, “מהו ללמד ‘תורת התעודות’?”, עבודת גמר בבית המדרש לרבנים על שם שכטר, י”ג תמוז, תשנ”ח
Rosenberg, 1977 — רוזנברג, שלום, “התגלות ותורה מן השמים”, הגות ומקרא, ירושלים,
תשל”ז, עמ’ 25-13
Rosenberg, 1979 — רוזנברג, שלום, “חקר המקרא במחשבה היהודית הדתית החדשה”, אצל סימון, עמ’ 119-86
Sarna, 1983 — Sarna, Nahum, “The Modern Study of the Bible in the Framework of Jewish Studies”, Proceedings of the Eighth World Congress of Jewish Studies — Panel Sessions, Bible Studies and Hebrew Language, Jerusalem, 1983, pp. 19-27
Sarna, 2000 — Sarna, Nahum, Studies in Biblical Interpretation, Philadelphia, 2000, pp. xiv; 79, note 36; 103-107
Schacter, 1990 — Schacter, Jacob, “Haskala, Secular Studies and the Close of the Yeshiva in Volozhin in 1892”, Torah U-Madda Journal 2 (1990), pp. 76-133
Schacter, 1998-1999 — Schacter, Jacob, “Facing the Truths of History”, ibid. 8 (1998-1999), pp. 200-276
Schiller — Schiller, Mayer, “Torah U-Madda and the Jewish Observer Critique: Towards a Clarification of the Issues”, Torah U-Madda Journal 6 (1996), pp. 58-90
Schorr — שור, יהושע השל, החלוץ א’ (1852), עמ’ 116-97; חלקו נדפס שוב אצל עזרא שפייזהנדלר, עורך, יהושע השיל שור: מאמרים, ירושלים, תשל”ב, עמ’ 163-153
Schorsch — Schorsch, Ismar, “Leopold Zunz on the Hebrew Bible”, JQR 102/3 (Summer 2012), pp. 431-454
Schwartz — שוורץ, ברוך יעקב, “פירוש רבי יהודה החסיד לבראשית מ”ח:22-20”, תרביץ פ/א (תשע”ב), עמ’ 39-29
Shapira — שפירא, אמנון, “חופש הדעה והדיבור וחופש הביקורת במקרא”, בין סמכות לאוטונומיה במסורת ישראל, הקיבוץ המאוחד, 1997, עמ’ 456-440
Shapiro, 1993 — Shapiro, Marc, “Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles: The Last Word in Jewish Theology?”, The Torah U’Madda Journal 4 (1993), pp. 187-242, with reactions and additions: ibid., 5 (1994), pp. 182-189
Shapiro, 1996 — Shapiro, Marc, “Rabbi David Zvi Hoffman on Torah and Wissenschaft“, Torah U-Madda Journal 6 (1996), pp. 129-137
Shapiro, 2004 — Shapiro, Marc, The Limits of Orthodox Theology: Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles Reappraised, Oxford, 2004, Chapter 7
Shaw — Shaw, Steven, “Orthodox Reactions to the Challenge of Bible Criticism”, Tradition 10/3 (1969), pp. 61-85
Simon — סימון, אוריאל, עורך, המקרא ואנחנו, תל אביב, תשל”ט
Soloveichik and Rubashov — סולוביטשיק, מנחם וזלמן רובשוב, תולדות בקרת המקרא, ברלין, תרפ”ה
Sommer, 1996 — Sommer, Benjamin, “The Scroll of Isaiah as Jewish Scripture”, SBL 1996 Seminar Papers, pp. 225-242
Sommer, 1999 — Sommer, Benjamin, “Revelation at Sinai in the Hebrew Bible and in Jewish Theology”, The Journal of Religion 79 (1999), pp. 422-451
Sommer, 2015 — Sommer, Benjamin, Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition, New Haven, 2015
Sommer, 2017 — Sommer, Benjamin, “Reclaiming the Bible as a Jewish Book: The Legacy of Three Conservative Scholars (Muffs, Greenberg, Milgrom)”, Zeramim: An Online Journal of Applied Jewish Thought 1/3 (Spring 2017), pp. 23-48
Speiser — Speiser, E. A., The Anchor Bible: Genesis, Garden City, New York, 1964, pp. xx-xxxiv
Spiro — Spiro, Shubert, “Torat Moshe/Torat Hashem: Exploring Their Respective Roles”, B.D.D. 13 (August 2003), pp. 5-31
Steiner — Steiner, Richard, “A Jewish Theory of Biblical Redaction from Byzantium…”, JSIJ 2 (2003), pp. 123-167
Steinsaltz — שטיינזלץ, עדין, “פשוטו של מקרא”, דעות כ’ (תשכ”ב), עמ’ 20-15
Sperber — שפרבר, דניאל, נתיבות פסיקה, ירושלים, תשס”ח, עמ’ 72, הערה 120
Ta-Shema, 5754 — ישראל תא-שמע, “על ביקורת המקרא באשכנז בימי הביניים”, כנסת מחקרים, כרך א: אשכנז, ירושלים, תשס”ד, עמ’ 281-273
Ta-Shema, 5756 — ישראל תא-שמע, “פירוש דברי הימים שבכתב יד מינכן 5”, שם, עמ’ 290-301
Ta-Shema, 5757 — ישראל תא-שמע, “פירוש אנונימי ביקורתי (בכתב יד) לספר תהלים”, שם, עמ’ 289-282
Ta-Shema, 5760 — ישראל תא-שמע, “פרשנות מקרא עברית-ביזנטית קדומה סביב שנת 1000 מן הגניזה”, שם, עמ’ 313-302
Waxman — Waxman, Meyer, “Maimonides as a Dogmatist”, in: Yakar Le’Mordecai: Jubilee Volume in Honor of Rabbi Mordechai Waxman, Hoboken, NJ, 1998, pp. 103-121
Werblowski — ורבלובסקי, רפאל יהודה צבי, “מדע המקרא כבעיה דתית”, מולד י”ח
(1960), עמ’ 168-162
Wiesel, 5772 — ויזל, ערן, “…השקפתו של ר’ אברהם אבן עזרא בשאלת חלקו של משה בכתיבת התורה, מקורותיה ומסקנותיה”, תרביץ פ/ג (תשע”ב), עמ’ 408-387
Wiesel, 5775 — ויזל, ערן, “ר’ דוד קמחי על חיבורם של ספרי המקרא”, מדעי
היהדות 50 (תשע”ה), עמ’ 82-49
Wiesel, 5776 — ויזל, ערן, “דעתם של פרשני המקרא בימי הביניים בשאלת חיבור ספרי המקרא: היבטים מחקריים ומתודולוגיים”, תרביץ פד/א-ב (תשרי תשע”ו), עמ’ 158-103
Yehuda — Yehuda, Zvi, “Hazon Ish on Textual Criticism and Halakhah”, Tradition 18/2 (Summer 1980), pp. 172-180, with a rejoinder by Sid Z. Leiman, ibid., 19 (1981), pp. 301-309
All four volumes of Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin’s Responsa In A Moment – Halakhic Responses to Contemporary Issues as well as other books by the author are available for purchase from the Schocken-JTS Press Bookstore.
David Golinkin is President of The Schechter Institutes, Inc. and President Emeritus of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. For twenty years he served as Chair of the Va’ad Halakhah (Law Committee) of the Rabbinical Assembly which gives halakhic guidance to the Masorti Movement in Israel. He is the founder and director of the Institute of Applied Halakhah at Schechter and also directs the Center for Women in Jewish Law. Rabbi Professor Golinkin made aliyah in 1972, earning a BA in Jewish History and two teaching certificates from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He received an MA in Rabbinics and a PhD in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America where he was also ordained as Rabbi. For a complete bio click here.