|Copyright Dominic Jersak 2014|
In these days where theological pendulums swing wildly, I’ve been giving special attention to errors – sometimes grave – that occur through over-corrections. As people of faith, I’m well aware of how Christian doctrine and practice has frequently steered wildly out of one ditch, only to veer across the road and plunge into another gulley on the opposite side. Sometimes we oppose something toxic, only to poison ourselves with a corresponding error from the opposite extreme. Or in retrieving something we had previously lost, we swallow the bathwater with the long lost baby.
With that in mind, I want to reconsider how my very necessary rediscovery of spiritual reality may have also opened the door to ill-advised ancient mythologies—errors that Judaism had already expunged thousands of years ago. Herein, I will lay out my concern in stages for the reader to weigh, test and fact-check. I’m claiming nothing definitive here … I am not teaching so much as raising the question for further examination.
In his classic work, The Religion of Israel: From Its Beginnings to the Babylonian Exile, the Hebrew scholar Yechezkel Kaufmann lays out the superiority and genius of Judaism vis-à-vis the pagan worldviews of the day. He treats the Jewish conception of the universe as a radical departure and contesting revelation—rather than a mere evolution from—ancient polytheistic conceptions. Points 1-3 below are Kaufmann’s claims, which may be overstated, but should certainly be attended to by Christian scholars.