Four Interpretations of the Genesis Creation Story
What you'll learn
- Students will learn how Judaism allows a variety of interpretations of the beginning of Genesis. It will explore topics like religion, philosophy, science, and mysticism.
- No prerequisites.
- Interest in Biblical Interpretation.
Look at the introductory lecture which describes my new project, A Rabbi Encounters the Universe. The project will contain an ongoing series of lectures that combine religion, philosophy, and science. These particular lectures begin to explore one of the most important topics I plan to cover, the creation of the universe. What can the beginning of Genesis teach us? Jewish tradition has never read scripture in a literal manner. On the contrary, Jewish tradition has always allowed multiple interpretations of every verse in the Bible. In this course we will look at the four classical methods of interpretation found in Jewish tradition - the simple, the rabbinical, the philosophical, and the mystical. The simple concerns what the words of Scripture meant to the author who wrote them. The rabbinical looks at other verses of Scripture with hopes of learning insights from one verse to another. The philosophical approaches the text from within the medieval philosophical tradition. Finally, the mystical is built on kabbalah or Jewish mysticism, offering a radical new insight. How does each of these interpretations fit in with how modern science understands the beginning of the universe? Finally, as we study these four approaches to interpretation, we will learn about the powerful idea from kabbalah that we live in four worlds, each encased in another, like Russian nested dolls.
Who this course is for:
- Anyone interested in questions about the Bible and science, or in exploring the wisdom of Judaism.
- People interested in religion, philosophy, or science.
Michael Gold is a rabbi, who has been the spiritual leader of a synagogue in Florida for thirty years. He is also a professor of philosophy and religion at Broward and Miami-Dade College. He developed courses for Broward in religion and ethics. Michael Gold received his PhD from Florida Atlantic University with a dissertation of process philosophy and Jewish mysticism. He is the author of seven books, the most recent entitled Three Creation Stories; A Rabbi Encounters the Universe.