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Some Challenges For Bible Literalists

Some Challenges For Bible Literalists

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Published by Gary Konecky
Bible literalists claim the Bible is the word of G-d and must be obeyed. They also claim that the only acceptable interpretation or understanding of the bible is a literal one. This article challenges them to prove the validity of that approach by pointing out some contradictions and challenges them to explain them on a literal level.
Bible literalists claim the Bible is the word of G-d and must be obeyed. They also claim that the only acceptable interpretation or understanding of the bible is a literal one. This article challenges them to prove the validity of that approach by pointing out some contradictions and challenges them to explain them on a literal level.

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Published by: Gary Konecky on Dec 27, 2009
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05/15/2010

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Some Challenges For Bible LiteralistsBy Gary Konecky
On Saturday, December 26, 2009 / Tevet 9, 5770, Jews across the world read the Torah portion of Vayigash during morning services. Vayigash consists of Genesis 44:18 – 47:26. Among other things it recounts Jacob’s family moving to Egypt. Starting inGenesis 46:8, we are given a name by name account of who in Jacob’s family went toEgypt. It is interesting to note that wives of Jacob’s son’s mentioned as going to Egypt inGenesis 46:5 are not named nor counted in this lengthy list.As bible literalists insist that the plain, literal meaning of the text is all that matters as it isG-d’s word, why this significant omission? Surely, the infallible, all knowing G-d, didnot slip up in editing; so my first challenge to you is to explain the literal meaning of thisapparent contradiction.We now come to Genesis 46:26-27: “All the souls coming to Egypt with Jacob, thosedescended from him, excluding the wives of Jacob's sons, all the souls were sixty six.And Joseph's sons, who were born to him in Egypt, two souls; all the souls of the houseof Jacob who came to Egypt were seventy.” -http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8241All the souls were sixty-six plus Joseph’s two sons equals sixty-eight, yet we are told “allthe souls of the house of Jacob who came to Egypt were seventy.” Since 68 does notequal 70, and an all knowing, infallible G-d would know basic arithmetic, your secondchallenge is to explain this math error using a literal meaning of the text. As you arerestricted to a literal reading of the text, as it is your position that only a literal meaningof the text is the appropriate way to understand scripture, you cannot use names or peopleother than the sixty-eight mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.For those who do not believe in the bible literalism, there are extensive commentaries bylearned Jewish sages that explain these seeming contradictions. Such explanations drawon the oral Torah, and the Jewish tradition to search for meaning in the word of G-d. For we are taught in:
Leviticus Rabbah 22:1: “He who loves the study of G-d’s words will not besatisfied with the written Torah, but will go on to the Mishnah and Talmud.”
Baba Metzia 33: “The Rabbis have taught: ‘Those who study Scripture arescholars of degree, but not a high degree. Those who study Mishnah are scholarsof higher degree. Those who study Talmud are scholars of the highest degree.’”
Sopherim 16: “We read: ‘The L-rd spoke with you faces to faces.’ (Deut. 5:4)The passage does not read ‘pan to pan,’ face to face, but ‘panim le-panim,’ facesto faces. This teaches there are four faces or kinds of Torah: Scripture, Mishnah,Halakah, and Aggadah.” (note 1)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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