Biblical History and Science

"Biblical History and Science," Judische Rundschau, Vol 30, No. 88 (November 10, 1925).  Reprinted in Gesammelte Schriften: Band 2.  Reprinted in Leo Strauss: The Early Writings.


If, in the interest of genuine science, Dubnow turns against extraneous dogmas put ahead of science or dragged along by tradition, then, by so doing, he undoubtedly also turns against Jewish tradition.  What is at stake is the central dogma of the existence of God and of the actions of God in the world, especially in the history of Israel.  Let us not, after all, conceal the essential point of the quarrel.  Science knows nothing of this dogma, and it does not permit itself on principle to believe in it.  Now Scripture describes the fortune of Israel–mind you: Israel’s external political fortune–as the reward for her obedience, and conversely it describes her misfortune as the punishment for her apostasy.  Thus is it written.  And one who denies this causal nexus (perhaps denying it exactly on the basis of the deeper Jewish insight that nothing is in our hands regarding the fortune of the wicked and the fate of the pious) also declares by this denial that not everything that is written in Scripture is true.  He thus denies the verbal inspiration of Scripture to which the most recent issue of Israelit retreated as the stronghold of true belief in its struggle against science, which is fundamentally rebellious because it is autonomous.  For “verbal inspiration” not only means that the contents of Scripture derive from God rather than being man-made, but also means that it is true.  And so the Orthodox act with complete consistency in protesting against a statement such as the Jewish Chronicle made to the effect hat one need not view all the stories in Genesis as true.

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