Thursday, November 02, 2006

Beyond A Reasonable Claim

I was recently at my brother-in-law's home and flipped through his copy of R. Shmuel Waldman's Beyond A Reasonable Doubt. I came across the following statement (pp. 98-99):

Virtually all contemporary Bible scholars no longer side with the conclusions of the early Bible critics. Except for a few real "diehards," they have retracted their claims. They all now agree that the evidence stands overwhelmingly against the Bible critics and their assertions. And, thus, nowadays most of them trust the Torah to be historically true and accurate even where no evidence has yet been found.
I will assume that R. Waldman believes this to be true and simply does not know that it is verifiably incorrect. My questions are as follows:

- Is someone who knows this to be incorrect allowed to repeat the claim anyway?

- More broadly, does it serve our community well to have people make such outrageous and incorrect claims if it keeps people who also don't know better within the fold?

I would suggest that if there was ever a reason to ban a book, it would be because it contains a blatant and outright, even if well-meaning, falsehood.

Please note that I believe the Torah to be historically true and accurate. Please also note that this is not an invitation for skeptics to come and debate the underlying issues. Such comments will be deleted. The issues for discussion are lying for the sake of outreach and the utilization of falsehood, even inadvertent ones, for the purpose of a greater good. I look forward to your polite and reasoned thoughts.

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