Yoram Hazony

Yoram Hazony is Founder of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem and President of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Shalem Center. He is author of The Dawn: Political Teachings of the Book of Esther (Shalem Press, 2000), and The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture (Cambridge University Press, 2012), among other works. He is Director of the Jewish Philosophical Theology project sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, and a member of the Templeton Foundation's Board of Advisors.

For more information on Yoram's work, see his website www.yoramhazony.org.


Does the Bible Make Arguments of a General Nature?

It is often said that the authors of the Hebrew Scriptures are concerned with the concrete and the particular rather than with arguments of a universal or general nature: For example, narrative is often said to be a medium that focuses one’s attention on the particular, not the universal. Similarly, the metaphors that appear in almost every line of prophetic oratory are considered to be the stuff of poetry, not reasoned argument. In this paper I look at some of the techniques the biblical narratives and prophetic orations use to advance arguments applicable to the generality of human experience. I conclude with a look at the way the biblical authors present their particularistic teachings—concerning the covenant and the Mosaic law—as being based upon, and growing out of, universal characteristics of man’s nature and of the nature of God’s creation more generally.