Monday, February 16, 2009

Music to my ears

"It is my argument in this book that the Jewish spirit did not set out to develop a scripture; that during most of the biblical period a written scripture played no significant role; that the rabbis made prodigious efforts to mitigate the limiatations imposed by the existence of scripture; that the concept of an oral memorized law in part reflects these efforts; and that until the European centuries, Judaism more or less effectively escaped the limitations of scripture.

Judaism is not and never has been just the teachings of a set of authorized books. The text is not our homeland; life is. Commentary reads in as readily as it reads out. Our books were meant to become part of us, the living voice of God and tradition. Except under rare circumstances in Jewish history, the texts did not define life. Far more than has generally been recognized, life defined the texts." (D. J. Silver, The Story of Scripture: From Oral Tradition to the Written Word, 286.)

Or as I wrote in my book: "the Bible was made for man and not man for the Bible." (80)