The ways of reading the Bible are as plenty as the number of religions, sub-religions, cults, and philosophies. While some believe it is a holy book handed down by God, others see it as a masterful compilation that encompasses human morals, philosophy, and code of behaviour. Historians and archaeologist are using it to learn about the past; for others it is a book of spiritual guidance, regardless of religion.
My name is Ran. And I subscribe to the latter.
I was born and raised in Jerusalem, where the Bible is the beacon of truth for numerous groups.
Each group, while reading the same text, finds a different truth in it. Each group believes that their interpretation is the correct one, and that everyone else is wrong – sometimes wrong enough to justify waging wars upon them.
But if the very same text can be interpreted in different, sometimes contradictory, ways, believing that one interpretation is superior is akin to refusing to accept that ambiguity and paradoxes in the Bible are for purpose, arrogantly believing that we know better. But if we believe that everything in the Bible is purposeful and nothing is by chance, then ambiguity and paradoxes must, too, have a purpose.
Rather than subscribing to one interpretation or another, we must internalise the ambiguity and paradoxes. Trying to resolve them, is the same as claiming that they are in the Bible by mistake.
In the world of mathematics and science, if something and its opposite are true, then everything is true, and nothing is true at the same time.
This might not make sense. But sense is an obstacle on our spiritual path. There would be no spirituality in the Bible if it were a literal list of rules. There is neither spirituality nor morality when we follow laws out of obedience or fear of punishment. Spirituality and morality must be found and rise within ourselves.
Books, teachers, ceremonies, none can turn us neither moral nor spiritual. The best of them, however, can give us guidance how to awaken our inner revelation.
If you believe that every letter in the Bible is there for a purpose, then contradictions and paradoxes are not to be fought nor are they to be resolved. They are for us to meditate upon and awaken our wordless inner understanding, the same way that Zen Koans are used by Buddhists.
Ambiguities, however, are impossible to translate. When you read a translation, you read someone else’s mind cast over the original text. There is no other way to understand the ambiguities of the Bible other than to delve into its original language.
I am starting this blog hoping to use the Hebrew text to explore the ambiguity and paradoxes. I hope you will join me in this journey. Also, if you wish to join our Zoom live discussions, please join us on: https://www.meetup.com/pro/the-bible-in-hebrew