Thursday, May 26, 2005

Rabbi Wieder's Shiur

Last night, Rabbi Jeremy Wieder gave a lecture in Manhattan on the topic of:

How Old Do We Believe the World is ?
Non-Literal Interpretation of Scripture, the Story of Creation and the Controversy over the Works of Nosson Slifkin

Having never before met or heard Rabbi Wieder, I must say that I was impressed and enjoyed the lecture immensely.

The focus of the lecture was really more on the Non-Literal interpretation of scripture, rather than the age of the universe. He brought several sources from the Rishonim (most notably the Rambam, Ramban, Sa'adiah Goan and the Rashba) showing how it is permissible (in most cases - there are exceptions) to interpret Tanach in a non-literal sense and even in ways that negate the actual literal meaning of the scripture.

He summed it up very well at the end last night when he noted that according to the Rishonim above, if something one observes (through scientific observation, for example) is found to conflict with the Torah, then the Torah must "give way" to being reinterpreted (provided it does not conflict with one of our ikarai emunah). And, he noted, with regard to the controversy of Rabbi Slifkin, that the banners seem to hold the opposite position - that if one's senses and observations contradict something in the Torah, one must "throw out the evidence" (so to speak) and make the science fit the Torah.

As I said earlier, I enjoyed it immensely and was glad to have the chance to meet and talk with Rabbi Wieder afterwards.

The Wolf

Confidential to the gentleman who showed me that I was on the wrong subway platform -- thank you. :)

The Wolf

17 comments:

daat y said...

good summary.
but let's hear more.

Gil Student said...

Did he say anything in addition to what is here?

Lone Bochur said...

Is there a digital recording available anywhere?

Saul said...

BW: Was that you in the back corner? I was in front next to the guy who davened Maariv.
GS: His mekorot were Saadia,Rambam,Ramban,Rashba & Ibn Ezra. These great Rabbainim came to the same conclusion but come at it from different schools of thought, so to R. Weider it was a forgone conclusion that certain things are non literal. It is the Rambam & Ibn Ezra who attempt to define the boundries.
LB: someone did tape the lecture. I don't know if it will make it to the internet.

BrooklynWolf said...

Gil,

I'm sorry. I haven't had a chance to read through your link. Hopefully I'll get a chance to do so tonight.

LB,

Someone did digitially record the meeting. I asked them for a copy, but he said that Rabbi Wieder wanted to go through it first before he releases it.

Saul,

Yes, that was me. Am I that obviously a wolf? :)

The Wolf

Saul said...

you look just like your picture :)

BrooklynWolf said...

Well, that's going to change very soon. The beard is coming off before Shabbos. :)

The Wolf

PsychoToddler said...

So is this guy going to get banned next?

BrooklynWolf said...

Probably no more than he is already "banned" by virtue of being affiliated with YU.

Rabbi Slifkin, OTOH, was never a part of the YU crowd (although now he teaches for them) but a part of the Hareidi community.

The Wolf

DarkBlueHat said...

It sounds like it was a fun shiur - I wish I could have made it. It seems that he didn't want to get into the deeper issues at play, which are perhaps not suited for a public forum.

For example,

He summed it up very well at the end last night when he noted that according to the Rishonim above, if something one observes (through scientific observation, for example) is found to conflict with the Torah, then the Torah must "give way" to being reinterpreted (provided it does not conflict with one of our ikarai emunah).

At first glance it seems that in the Moreh Nevuchim the Rambam was willing to reexamine the veracity of the fourth of his 13 Ikarim in light of Aristolean Science (in those days philosophy was still science). There are some fundamental issues in the current divide within Orthodoxy, and you getting a better appreciation of both sides when you analyze them.

Joshua said...

You're welcome. Nice to meeet you.

Anonymous said...

If you listen to R Wieder's Intro to Bible course on YU Torah website you'll see he is involved in critical scholarship of Tanach and Talmud and certainly not acceptable to RW rabbanim.

BrooklynWolf said...

Anon,

I figured as much from listening to his lecutre. I spent a part of the time wondering how many fits of apoplexy the FT moderator would have had had he been there...

The Wolf

Tamara said...

Hey, thanks for linking me to your blog, I just noticed it :)

BrooklynWolf said...

You're welcome, Tamara. I try to link to any blog that links to mine (and that I can, to some degree, defend).

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

the real truth about the jeremy wieder lecture is here. It is startling

www.jeremy-wieder-lecture.blogspot.com

Rentsy said...

It's very clear that the people who criticize Rabbi Wieder have absolutely no knowledge of either Torah or science. Therefore, I don't feel bad about ignoring them.