Friday, August 16, 2013


SNOPES is safe.  This thread on the blog is about fact-checking what the Bible says.  To be more exact, it’s about fact-checking the urban legends about the Pentateuch, which from now on I’m going to call Torah because later I will use Pentateuch for something specific and different.

You know what an urban legend is.  It’s something somebody tells you and you don’t know where they got it.

You’re going to object: But A said that University X did a study on it.

The last time I heard that one, first I googled with no result, and then I went to SNOPES.  They had a topic on that exact subject referring to that exact university.  IT WAS FALSE.

My motto for 30 years has been QUESTION AUTHORITY.

It doesn’t matter who says it.  It might not be true.  There are lots of reasons for that, but what it comes down to is, unless you know information, first-hand, for yourself, from the same material the speaker is using, you are hearing an urban legend.  People cannot keep themselves from adding to, subtracting from, or otherwise changing what they have heard when they pass it on.  Toward the end of this part of the blog, I will show how and why that happens, but don’t place blame.  You do it too.  You’re human, that’s how I know.

So I gave you some links at the end of the previous post that will help you become an authority.  They’re at the bottom of this post too.  Then when you’re an authority, you can QUESTION ME!! 

But you’re going to question me before you become an authority.  I know you are.  I know that, because you’ve been hearing the urban legends and now you’re questioning them.  And instead of becoming an authority before this, you’re coming to somebody else who, by definition, is going to give you more urban legends. 

Don’t get discouraged.  What I’m going to try to teach you with these posts is basic principles behind being an authority.  When you think you get it, you can take off on your own and work out your own answers and then you can come back and QUESTION ME!!

Both for now and also for then, here is what I expect when you QUESTION ME!!

You have to provide me with your sources.  Otherwise you’re just spreading more urban legends.  Not just the name of the book and its author, but all the information that led you to accept that it wasn’t just another urban legend. 

That includes why your source doesn’t use fallacies.

I’ve told a rabbi, a very learned man, and now I’m telling you.  The single thing that supports urban legends best is fallacies.  And understanding Torah always – ALWAYS – suffers from accepting fallacies.   The biggest fallacy in the bunch is called quoting out of context, and in the next post in this thread I’ll show why it’s the biggest fallacy in the bunch.

If you don't have a Bible and don't read Hebrew, you can go here and get a copy in English.

You can learn about fallacies and how to find them here.

Hebrew language: (two parts)

Aramaic language (for Talmud):

Jewish Bible read out loud (mostly in Hebrew):

Babylonian Talmud audio and text

Jerusalem Talmud audio

Tannakh, Talmuds, Midrash Halakhah 
Midrash Aggadah                    
Talmud in PDF                                                   

There are audio lectures at the following sites which use a medieval commentary, famous among Jews, by Rabbi Shelomo ben Yitschaq, AKA Rashi. – find Rabbi Yehoshua Gordon’s Torah video lessons – find R. David Grossman’s Torah audio lessons

© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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