Show Stopper

Somebody should read this at Slate and then demolish it -- first from an otherhodox Jewish standpoint, and then from the Christian standpoint.

Any takers?
UPDATED [05/28/07]: Just for the record, the reason I suggest the two-layered approach to dismantling the above, um, essay is that the writer is clearly coming at the text with biases he is unwilling to overcome. You know: when you read Lolita for the first time, you make one of two choices -- [1] I'm going to read through this to see if the vices protrayed here are more than just titilating pornography, or [2] I don't care what the vices are supposed to mean: I'm not going to read this trash. Any Christian who made the latter choice about Lolitawould be branded a provinical hick with the literary sensibilities of a self-parodying prude.

Yet, sadly, this is exactly the same sort of error clearly evident in this essay. The reader is actively seeking to impose his own aesthetic and moral code onto the writing before understanding the asthetic and morals of the writer(s). If someone wants to condemn the Bible after reading it for what it says in the way it says it, I say they should go ahead with gusto. But their first responsibility as a reader is to reader what is written in the way it is written.

So the first place to read the OT is as it was written by pre-Jesus Judaism, and if you're especially clever you can read it as a post-Jesus Jew after another 2000 years of waiting for the Messiah.

But then you have the problem of what to do with the NT which is clearly derivative of the OT. It is somewhat shameless in its capitalization on the OT to makes it most salient points. In the worst skeptical case, the NT provides an alternate reading of the OT which the post-Jesus Jew rejects but reflects a first-century interpretation of that body of literature which far outstripped the spread of Judaism worldwide.

Unfortunately, the Slate writer misses this entirely. Saying more than this would require abandoning all other active blog projects. I'm going to leave that to someone with more free time.