S3E8: Understanding the Torah: An Interview with Rabbi Joshua Berman


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In this episode we interview Rabbi Joshua Berman, professor of Tanakh at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. Rabbi Berman discusses some of his work related to critical scholarship and the Torah as well as some of his thoughts about Jewish election, the covenant, and the purpose of the Tanakh. He explains how through the election of Abraham, God creates a national culture among his descendants to be walked out as a holy people amidst the other nations. As an orthodox Jew living in the land, Rabbi Berman also gives his thoughts about the world’s present perception of Israel and what the future might hold for them as a people.

Show notes:

  • What led Rabbi Berman toward a career in academia while at the same time functioning in his role as a rabbi? (6:15)
  • How Rabbi Berman has navigated some of the waters of historical criticism about the Torah that many others have found too difficult to navigate (12:51)
  • What is a synopsis for the purpose of the Torah? (21:29)
  • The chosenness of Israel and Isaiah 2 (34:30)