In Response to: New Releases

I am familiar with some of the scholarship of Peter Schafer. It is superb but I do wonder what its purpose really is.

Anyone who has studied the Old Testament in a scholarly way knows that belief among the Hebrews in one God was a late development, that this people like all people believed in many deities. Schafer tries to show that even rather late in the history of the Jews there were indications of a belief in more than one God. He, I think, tries to make this a way of weakening the Jewish disinclination to accept Jesus as anything more than a man and an only partially acceptable man to Jews. This involves a good deal of delving into the Talmud, a series of writings which will tell you little and confuse you mightily unless you have a Talmudic education.

I doubt any Jewish person will be convinced by Schafer’s scholarship, excellent though it is. It is far too esoteric even for those with scholarly inclinations. I do not intend this comment as a criticism but there are many examples of fine scholarship which nevertheless do not justify the effort.

Norman Ravitch *62
Savannah, Ga.