Friday, May 30, 2014

JEPD (and MMLJ) Visit ABQ

The Bible @ The Vortex: Yes, it was way back in the Fall of 2011 (see Rejoicing Again) that Abq Jew first mentioned The Reduced Shakespeare Company and their definitive work, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).

Well, Abq Jew has more than a few misgivings in announcing that the RSC (as they are known familiarly) have (British usage) perhaps outdone their brushed-up Shakespeare with their new production of The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged).

Which will be presented by and at The Vortex Theater in Albuquerque for about one month, starting tonight.

As The Vortex's website tells us,
From the creators of The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Abridged, comes The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged), a madcap, fast-paced review of the Old and New Testaments as you’ve never seen them before. 
Act 1 is Old Testament, Act 2 is New Testament and both poke gentle fun at everyone and everything—we are, as the play reminds us, "...equal in the eyes of the Lord."
Now, for traditionally serious Jewish Biblical wise men, there is no way to compare the "Old" Testament with the "New" Testament. There is only one Testament: the Bible. And the holiest part of the Bible - the Torah - is, in its entirety, the direct word of God.

But the "New" Testament, by all accounts, is (says Wikipedia)
--- an anthology, a collection of Christian works written in the common Greek language of the first century, at different times by various writers, who were early Jewish disciples of Jesus of Nazareth. In almost all Christian traditions today, the New Testament consists of 27 books. 
Even for traditionally serious Christian Biblical wise men, the holiest part of the New Testament - the Gospels - are the works of men.

But, Abq Jew must point out, there are traditional wise men and - lehavdil - there are scholars.

Most serious Christian Biblical scholars, Wikipedia tells us
... hold to the two-source hypothesis which claims that the Gospel of Mark was written first. According to the hypothesis, the authors of the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke then used the Gospel of Mark and the hypothetical Q document, in addition to some other sources, to write their individual gospel accounts. 
These three gospels are called the Synoptic gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. Scholars agree that the Gospel of John was written last, by using a different tradition and body of testimony. 
In addition, most scholars agree that the author of Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles. Scholars hold that these books constituted two halves of a single work, Luke-Acts.
Most serious Jewish Biblical scholars, Abq Jew claims, subscribe to what is formally known as the Documentary Hypothesis - but what is colloquially known as JEPD. Wikipedia tells us
The documentary hypothesis (DH), sometimes called the Wellhausen hypothesis, proposes that the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) was derived from originally independent, parallel and complete narratives, which were subsequently combined into the current form by a series of redactors (editors). 
And what were these parallel and complete narratives?
  • the Yahwist source (J): hypothetically written c. 950 BCE in the southern Kingdom of Judah.
  • the Elohist source (E): hypothetically written c. 850 BCE in the northern Kingdom of Israel.
  • the Priestly source (P): hypothetically written c. 500 BCE by Kohanim (Jewish priests) in exile in Babylon.
  • the Deuteronomist (D): hypothetically written c. 600 BCE in Jerusalem during a period of religious reform.
Wikipedia also notes that
While the hypothesis has been increasingly challenged by other models, especially in the last part of the 20th century, its terminology and insights continue to provide the framework for modern theories on the composite nature and origins of the Torah and Bible compilation in general.
The source distribution of the first four books of the Torah (Deuteronomy is, of course, Deuteronomist) comes out looking like this:

And what, Abq Jew hears you ask, do the different streams of Judaism have to say about the Documentary Hypothesis? In the words of the ancient song,

Different strokes for different folks.

The Orthodox, of course, have nothing to say at all about the Documentary Hypothesis. It is seen as anathema, heretical, irrelevant, and of no consequence.

The Reform, and other liberal persuasions, look at the Documentary Hypothesis and say (this is Abq Jew's quick summary) "I told you so."

But the Conservative Movement, which advocates Tradition and Change, has a real fun time with the Documentary Hypothesis. Wikipedia says
Doublethink is the act of ordinary people simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts. Doublethink is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy and neutrality. 
Somewhat related but almost the opposite is cognitive dissonance, where contradictory beliefs cause conflict in one's mind. Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance — thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction.
The Big Thinkers of the Conservative Movement are not, Abq Jew firmly believes, ordinary people. So the term "doublethink" does not apply. But neither does the term "cognitive dissonance" - because the Big Thinkers are aware of the contradiction yet feel no conflict.

Instead, the Big Thinkers of the Conservative Movement echo the wise and timeless words of Walt Whitman:

And - in case he has not made this clear -

Abq Jew stands with the Conservative Movement.
The Torah is the work of man and the Torah is the work of God.

And for the record -

Abq Jew also sits with the Conservative Movement.
On Shabbat and holidays, at  Congregation B'nai Israel. 

And by the way -

The holiday of Shavuot is coming!
Let's celebrate the Giving of the Torah!

All of which has little to do with The Bible @ The Vortex. So here is a video to perhaps entice you to see the show and.

Put the "fun" back in fundamentalism!

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!

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