Yoram Hazony is President of the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem. His latest book is God and Politics in Esther (Cambridge University Press, 2016). He is also author of The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture (Cambridge University Press, 2012), among other works. Hazony is Director of the Jewish Philosophical Theology project of the John Templeton Foundation, and a member of the Israel Council for Higher Education (CHE) committee on Liberal Studies in Israel’s Universities and Colleges. Subscribe to receive Hazony’s Jerusalem Letters or read more about his work on his website at www.yoramhazony.org.
Torah From Heaven: Moses and Sinai in Exodus
This paper investigates the principle of torah from heaven as it is presented in the Exodus account of the giving of the torah at Sinai. This account of the events at Sinai is characterized by a series of interlocking metaphors, including the opposition between the mountain and the sky; the three-way type contrast between Moses, the elders and the people; and the distinction between the tablets fashioned by God at the top of the mountain and those that are carved out of the rock by Moses at the bottom of the mountain. I examine these and other related metaphors and propose ways of understanding them that can assist us in elaborating what we mean by torah from heaven.