Saturday, January 24, 2015

Rami Shapiro should stick to talking about prophets -- not panentheism

Sometimes I feel that I am still living off of the intellectual capital of my undergraduate education; that is, I'm still living off of the inspiration I once received by taking a "Prophets of Israel" course. This book reminds me of where my sense of justice and love of the rule of law all started.

But am I really living off the same capital of my undergraduate education? Or are new deposits of intellectual capital in formation? I think it's the latter.

Panentheism aside, this is a good book, specifically because it reminds us what it means to be a Hebrew, or biblical, prophet. If you started reading from the background chapter on the prophets, you would have no clue it's a panentheist book, at least in the early parts of the book.

Rami Shapiro's "The Hebrew Prophets" is very good when it sticks to talking about the Prophets. Where he talks about panentheism, the fall, it is confusing.

Here is a gem from page 2:

"The prophet is often reluctant to speak, knowing that the message will bring the messenger much pain. But in the end the prophet has no choice, and is compelled to speak by a blazing sense of God's presence and urgency. This is what it is to be a prophet: to risk a life of derision and torment because your love of God and humanity is so great that you cannot but do otherwise."

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