I have always been told that Orthodox Judaism is the sect of Judaism that refuses to allow people with different beliefs have their own say. I have been told time and again by SJ and his whole group of friends that other movements allow opposition and treat dissension with respect. Even OTD has this viewpoint about orthodoxy. Well, since Conservative Judaism is so open and willing to hear other opinions I was shocked to read the following in the bible criticism section of Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary published by The Rabbinical Assembly of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism,
Many of us naively assume that the Torah that we use today is an exact copy of one original text, but there are many versions of the text of the Torah.
It goes on to talk about different version of the translations of the Torah, not the original hebrew version mind you. The argument made in this section is that since there are different translations it can be the same book. Huh? There are different translations of Beowulf, Don Quixote and various other ancient documents but no one doubts their accuracy to the original text. Whatever. Moving on.
Beyond that I feel so stupid! I have been so naive! It’s so nice of the Conservative movement to point this out. Never-mind the fact that a bible sitting in the pews of a Synagogue has a section with bible critism, I am all for talking about the issues people have but to have a whole section in the book itself? Just plain silly. The constitutions people carry around don’t have a section ripping the founding fathers for letting slavery stay or having gun ownership as a right, nor is the standard Shakespeare sold with criticisms of his work. Those are sold in special volumes unto themselves, NOT in the standard print edition.
What really annoys me is that it doesn’t say “some believe” or even “there are some who think that” the Torah is the same. But rather it is naive to believe otherwise! How dare I, based on an unbroken chain since the giving of the Torah, KNOW that the Torah is virtually the same document (there is some issue with some LETTERS, just letters, not words, and certainly not content).
This is typical of people who are not as religious as others. They scream for the rooftops “how dare you try and force me to believe what your believe!? Its my right to believe what I want!“, but then when I believe something different? I’m naive or stupid or any number of insults.
Its very common…”You can believe whatever you want, as long as it’s what I believe.”
UPDATE: It seems that I was mistaken over DK on this, so I have removed his name above. See, unlike some other bloggers (SJ) I am willing to admit when I may have made a mistaken.