This is a continuation of my posts on the Kuzari Argument begun Kuzari Part One. I think this post can probably stand alone.
The Kuzari argument claims a national tradition of a national event can not be introduced into a population that knows not of it. In several posts I have argued the claim is not valid. For specific examples from Israelite history see my post. For that reason the Kuzari argument fails.
Now I am going to make a different argument. Kuzari proponents claim there is a continuous chain of a national tradition of the Sinai Revelation. For example in Rabbi Kelemen’s book Permission to Receive 1996 on page 74 “Every generation of extant Jewish literature records the same history - God spoke to the Jews at Sinai- and nowhere do we find even the slightest hint that this fact was once lost and then later recovered.”
Are their hints of a broken chain ? There are hints and more !
This post is somewhat similar to Kefirahoftheweek Kuzari post.
When faced with making a decision between two choices many people write a list of pros and cons. Likewise when faced with competing hypothesis we can make up a list of facts that support the hypothesis and a list that is against the hypotheses.
What type of facts would support the notion of a continuous national tradition of Mt Sinai going back to a Sinai revelation ? I am not saying those facts prove a Sinai event, only that those facts buttress the hypothesis of a continuous chain of transmission of the Sinai revelation.
1) Continuous mention throughout history of the Sinai Revelation.
2) Continuous worship of Yahweh throughout history. This is the first of the 10 commandments and a key takeaway from the Sinai revelation. Also, the more the worship is to Yahweh alone, the better the support for a chain back to Sinai.
3) Continuous large population. For example if the population is extremely small it would hardly count as a nation.
4) Limited foreign invasions or control. During invasions traditions can get lost, jumbled, modified and invented.
5) Others ?
What type of facts would count against the notion of a continuous national tradition of Mt Sinai going back to a Sinai revelation. ? That is easy. The opposite of the above. I am not saying such facts disprove a Sinai event, only that such facts would buttress the hypothesis of gaps in the transmission of the Sinai revelation.
1) Huge gaps in mentioning the Sinai event
2) Non continuous worship of Yahweh. Also, the less the worship is to Yahweh alone, the better the support for a broken chain.
3) Large fluctuation in population
4) Significant foreign invasions or control.
5) Others ?
Lets examine each type of fact in turn and see which hypothesis fares better.
1) Are there huge gaps in mentioning the Sinai event ? The Pentateuch does mention the Sinai revelation, however as Kefirah points out it is not mentioned by the prophets - see above kefirahofweek post.
Also Psalms mentions the promise to Abraham and the Exodus but not the giving of the 10 commandments or the Torah at Sinai.
The data supports a non continuous mention of Sinai revelation tradition.
2) There are many periods of widespread Idolatry in Israelite history and Yahweh ‘reform’ periods. Here are some examples:
See http://altercockerjewishatheist.blogspot.com/2017/10/kuzari-principle-or-argument-part-14.html Judges 2:8.
Ramban Numbers 15:22 9 - In the days of the wicked Kings such as Jeroboam MOST PEOPLE forgot the TORAH and COMMANDMENTS COMPLETELY.
Talmud Sukkah 20a - For in ancient times when the Torah was forgotten from Israel, [397 B.C.] Ezra came up from Babylon and established it.
Judges 3:7 The Israelites did what was offensive to the Lord; they ignored the Lord their God and worshiped the Baalim and the
Judges10:6 The Israelites again did what was offensive to the
Lord. They served the Baalim and the Ashtaroth, and the
gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the
gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines;
they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him.
710 B.C. King Hezekiah encourages Yahwism
Idolatry occurs often see II Kings, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. For example Jeremiah 36 The Lord said to me in the days of King Josiah: Have you seen what Rebel Israel did, going to every high mountain and under every leafy tree, and whoring there? 7 I thought: After she has done all these things, she will come back to Me. But she did not come back;
For example II Kings 24 Idolatry after Josiah’s death.
697 B.C. During reign of King Manasseh: II Kings 21:8 And I
will not again cause the feet of Israel to wander from the
land that I gave to their fathers, if they will but faithfully
observe all that I have commanded them-all the Teachings
with which My servant Moses charged them." 9 But
they did not obey, and Manasseh led them astray to do
greater evil than the nations that the Lord had destroyed
before the Israelites.
623 B.C. King Josiah - law scroll ‘found’ becomes basis for drastic Yahwest reforms.(II Kings 22-23 )
The data supports 'noncontinuous' Yahweh worship. The data supports significant periods of non Yahweh alone worship.
3) Large fluctuation in population ? Probably, considering various civil wars, invasions and exiles.
4) Significant ancient Israel foreign invasion or control.
Philistines, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia.
I argue a valid case can be made for likely significant gaps in the so called chain of the Sinai revelation and thus the Kuzari argument fails.
Continued Kuzari argument Part 19 plus some Critique Rabbi Kelemen's Book of Permission To Receive
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Thursday, April 5, 2018
Kuzari Part 18 Unbroken Chain ?, Hints For Rabbi Kelemen
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