Second in a Series (Part II)

Today Israel shows some return to the original sources of inspiration. Interest in the Bible is deeper than in the Talmud. Old Testament stories are taught from kindergarten on and the Israel Bible Study Association sponsors 400 study groups with almost 20,000 members. “The Book” is studied in the Hebrew University; whoever neglects this literature is considered uneducated. Ben-Gurion has said that even as The Promised Land is Israel’s physical homeland, so the Old Testament is her spiritual homeland. Further, he notes (with a measure of enthusiasm) that creation of the state “has been followed by an unprecedented wave of enthusiasm for the Bible among its people and an intense nation-wide interest in biblical studies.” There is even a nightly Old Testament reading on the radio. People are searching out the Bible, especially its historical references to the nation. These references sustain the belief that God has preserved the Jews for a particular purpose, and desires them to remain a distinct Jewish community. Even the New Testament is now widely read. This fact is quite remarkable considering that merely to possess the New Testament has long been viewed as sinful. It is found not only in the Hebrew University but also in some Kibbutzim and in many homes. Tourist guides use it to explain sacred sites. Although the New Testament is regarded mainly as religious literature and mystery, the British and Foreign Bible Society is printing a new Bible edition that combines the Hebrew Old Testament and the New Testament. Tendency to question the New Testament’s historical reliability, actually (and ironically) rests often not upon special Jewish objections but on destructive critical views of liberal ...

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