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Fourteen biblical truths that changed the world

  • Oct 31, 2011
Rabbi Dr. Reuven Hammer is the author of many scholarly books written in a popular, easy to read, and informative style. In this volume, he discusses fourteen truths that underlie many teachings, laws, and stories contained in the Hebrew Bible, truths that have been accepted by many cultures and changed the thinking and behaviors of many societies. He quotes the Bible sections that inspired the truths and cites many authorities that confirm what he is saying. "My intent, then, in writing this book" he tells us, "was to discover and explore those core concepts on which the original religion of Israel was based, as expressed in the Torah."

He writes that it is true that the Torah's new concepts were not fully implemented in the past: "Sometimes that took generations, and sometimes there were retreats from the purity of these ideas. Some have yet to fully realized." But the concepts are there in the Torah, and little by little, societies are coming to recognize these truths and implementing them. What are they?

1. Only one God exists. God is eternal, without physical needs, just, and merciful.
2. There is no supernatural evil force in the world.
3. God expects people to act properly. Ritual is secondary to right conduct.
4. God does not need sacrifices. Worship helps people, not God.
5. Human life is sacred.
6. All people are equal.
7. Men and women are equal.
8. Humans have free will and can choose their actions.
9. Human leaders are subordinate to the laws of God.
10. Priests and Levites have no special powers and no secret knowledge.
11. Land and wealth should be distributed equitably.
12. Slavery of all kinds should be mitigated.
13. The needy must be cared for.
14. There should be a day of rest for everyone, including animals.

Hammer discusses each of these truths in detail, compares them to the way other societies handled them, tells some of the history of how these ideas developed, and suggests further improvements. Readers will learn much from this book and have a better and deeper appreciation of the Hebrew Bible.

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July 13, 2012
Nice overview. You have my interest piqued to read this. So #2 would discount any existence of Satan? #12 says "mitigated" not "eliminated"? #11 may give credence to those that want "wealth redistribution." I assume #14 refers to the times when people rode horses and used animals to pull farm equipment?
November 08, 2011
Such thought-provoking principles. Thank you for sharing, Israel.
November 08, 2011
Thank you, Devora. Israel
October 31, 2011
Very well communicated! I agree generally with 13 of 14 precepts. Take a look at #12.

Slavery of all kinds should be mitigated.

I think that slavery of all kinds should be eliminated and not merely mitigated.
October 31, 2011
I agree.
About the reviewer
Israel Drazin ()
Ranked #64
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of twenty books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four … more
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