Someone sent me an excerpt from a book he wrote that attempted to prove why the Traditional understanding of the origin of the Torah it true using reason and logic. I think that my response expresses pretty clearly why I lean more these days toward the academic understanding of the historicity of Torah.
Thank you for sending me the excerpt from your book. I read through some of it, skimmed through most of it, basically looking for something new. I didn’t find anything. There is no chiddush, nothing I haven’t seen before many times. I think also the difference between what you are doing and what the academic world does, is that you start with a conclusion that you are already 100% convinced of, and are 110% emotionally invested in, and then try to piece together evidence that supports that conclusion while ignoring evidence that is at odds with the conclusion that you already made.
That is not science, it is not intellectually honest.
I have been on both sides of this fence. I went into my study of academic scholarship believing that they had an agenda. That they were emotionally invested in the Torah narrative NOT being true. What I found was the opposite. Most of the people I met in the academic world were humble truth seekers employing reason and science to reach rational conclusions. They did not begin with a conclusion, but rather began by weighing the evidence. ALL of the evidence. And THEN drew rational, scientific conclusions based on that evidence.
Where I am at personally is that 1) The scientific, academic world, (that really speak with one voice on this) present a FAR more reasonable and rational explanation for the Origins of the Torah and the Jewish people than the religious world does.
And 2), this is a big one… Just because the ‘historical narrative’ of the Torah is NOT true, it does not make the Torah NOT true.
We are the most ancient people in the world, with a real history, and body of wisdom and knowledge that has constantly evolved in order to keep us on the forefront of morality, ethics, science, empathy, and Humanity’s quest to touch the Divine, (whatever that means).
I think that is pretty cool.