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Rational Bible

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:49 pm
by Nicholas
Dennis Prager's Exodus commentary is the first of his five volumes on the Torah. Reviews seem generally positive. I am behind in my reading and may never get to his work.

He may have started with Exodus not Genesis, because the former contains the Ten Commandments. ... earch=true

Re: Rational Bible

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:11 pm
by Nicholas
Here is how his Introduction begins:
Most people—especially in their younger years—pass through a difficult time with one or both of their parents. In my teen years and twenties, I was one of them. But no matter how I felt, there was never a time I did not honor my parents. For example, from the age of twenty-one, when I left my parents’ home, I called my parents every week of their lives.

I treated my parents with such respect because I always believed God had commanded me to do so: “Honor your father and mother” (Commandment Five of the Ten Commandments). The Torah—as the first five books of the Bible have always been known in Hebrew—commands us to love our neighbor, to love God, and to love the stranger; but we are never commanded to love our parents. We are commanded to honor them (and we are not commanded to honor anyone else).

Why do I begin this introduction to a Bible commentary with this personal story?

Because it encapsulates why I have devoted so much of my life to explaining the Torah: because its central message—that God is good and demands we be good—is the only belief that will enable us to make a good world.
Of course, his use of 'only belief' needs interpretation. Being a Mahayana believer, I am sympathetic to anyone who believes Goodness resides in the heart of humanity, lives much in devas or godly Beings and fully in Buddhas. These Great Ones do not 'demand' but make clear that if we do not will toward living good, that is, harmless or altruistic lifetimes, we and the world will suffer endlessly.

So one might paraphrase Prager a bit to: "Gods are good and Nature insists we be good -- for this is the only way of living that will produce a good world."

Re: Rational Bible

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:30 pm
by Nicholas
More from Prager's Introduction:


I have been teaching the Torah for much of my adult life and have devoted decades to writing this explanation of, and commentary on, the Torah.
I have done so because I believe if people properly understand the Torah and attempt to live by its values and precepts, the world will be an infinitely kinder and more just place.
All my life I have been preoccupied—almost obsessed—with the problem of evil: people deliberately hurting other people. At the age of sixteen, I wrote in my diary that I wanted to devote my life “to influencing people to the good.” That mission has animated my life. In a nutshell, I love goodness and hate evil. My favorite verse in the Bible is “Those of you who love God—hate evil” (Psalms 97:10).

Re: Rational Bible

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:20 pm
by Nicholas
Although I do have an e-pub version of his Exodus volume, my old eyes really do not like to spend much time reading off a screen. So finally ordered the book. Then noticed that Prager's Genesis volume will be released in early May, thus that book was also ordered.