A fascinating story that illustrates the precariousness of Jewish cultural heritage:
http://www.forward.com/articles/137521/ (via Dianne Bazell)
Rabbi Geffen sounds like a great man who understood the importance of maintaining tradition while adapting to new cultures. To me that’s being Jewish is all about.
I actually do eat corn during Passover, and I don’t see the problem. Corn is not a grain and is not leavened in any case. Ashkenazim don’t eat corn (along with beans, rice, and other similar plants), but Sephardim do. In fact, I believe the Ashkenazi understanding of “grains” is wrong and should be consciously repudiated. It’s a silly rule. I would even eat barley and oats as long as they are not leavened, which means cooked for more than eighteen minutes. This putting “a hedge around the Torah” business sometimes gets ridiculous, obsessive, and comical.
Here is my dissertation: “The Interpretation of Religious Symbols in the Graeco-Roman World: A Case Study of Early Christian Fish Symbolism” (3 vols): Yale University, 1993. Please note that the pagination in the PDF files, though close, is not exactly the same as in my original dissertation (due to formatting issues).
I originally intended this as part of a comparative study of ancient symbols, including the menorah for Jews. Given the length of the project, this was not practical. However, I regard my dissertation as comparative project whose goal is to understand the nature of religious symbolism.
There are many things that I would now change, including writing style. Of note is the Avercius (Abercius) inscription text, which has several errors; for a correct edition, see http://mysticscholar.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/AverciusText1a.pdf. I also wish that I had included a section on the use of fish and fishing symbolism in the gospels. If interested, take a look at the text of a talk I gave on this topic in “Essays and Talks” in “Larry Kant” (http://mysticscholar.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/FishNTTalk1.pdf).
I have also somewhat changed my views of Freud and Jung. I always appreciated them, but my dissertation is more critical of them than I would be now.
As a Jew, I thoroughly share the sentiments of Rev. Jim Wallis. The TaNaKh and rabbinic tradition command us to take care of the poor and marginalized. That why we are told not to plough the corners of our fields. When the Hebrew Bible and the rabbis talk about caring for the needy, they refer to communities and governments. The structures envisioned in those texts are governmental, and they *require* (not merely suggest) a society take the needy into account. This tradition does not focus on voluntary acts and association, but on political structures that create a just society. Those who try to convert these into free-market scenarios, which advocate economic commitments that are solely private, do not understand what the texts actually say. Those who know the Hebrew and the history should start articulating the true nature of this tradition, which demands that governments protect those in need.
See my talk: Laurence H. Kant, “Reassessing the Interpretation of Ancient Symbols,” Hellenistic Judaism Section Panel on Erwin Goodenough, American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Anaheim, November, 1989: This piece deals with symbol interpretation and the early Jewish interpretation of symbols, particularly the menorah: © 1989, Laurence H. Kant, All rights reserved: MenorahTalk1
This is a summary of my view of how a symbol conveys its meanings.
These are examples of my new translations of two small portions of Genesis: © 2007 Laurence H. Kant: http://mysticscholar.org/talkspubs/translations-of-genesis/
See Laurence H. Kant, “A Personal View of Kashrut,” Opinion, Shalom, September, 2010, p. 11: Kashrut2
See Laurence H. Kant, “Some Restorative Thoughts on an Agonizing Text: Abraham’s Binding of Isaac and the Horror on Mt. Moriah (Gen. 22)”: “Part 1,”Lexington Theological Quarterly 38 (2003) 77-109; “Part 2, Lexington Theological Quarterly 38 (2003) 161- 94: AqedahPart1a andAqedahPart2a
See also Laurence H. Kant, “Arguing with God and Tiqqun Olam: A Response to Andre LaCocque on the Aqedah,” Lexington Theological Quarterly 40 (2005) 203-19 (this was a response to an article by André Lacocque, “About the ‘Akedah’ in Genesis 22: A Response to Laurence H. Kant,”Lexington Theological Quarterly 40 (2005) 191-201): AqedahResponseToLacocque
See Laurence H. Kant, “Jewish Inscription in Greek and Latin,” in Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt, 2.20.2:671-713. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1987 at the following two links: JewishInscriptions1; JewishInscriptions2
See my talk: Laurence H. Kant, “Early Jewish Synagogues in Epigraphic Evidence,” Archaeology of the New Testament World Group, American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, San Francisco, November, 1992: © 1992, Laurence H. Kant, All rights reserved: SynagogueTalk1
Final Draft before publication of Laurence H. Kant “The Earliest Christian Inscription: Bishop Avercius’ Last Words Document the Emergence of the Church,” in Bible Review 17.1, February, 2001, pp. 10-19, 47: AverciusBAS1
3b) Here is my most up-to-date edition of the text: AverciusText
A discussion of resurrection in a modern context:
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