Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What happens when an ignoramus reads the Good Book?



The answer: David Plotz of Slate starts Blogging the Bible. By way of introduction, Plotz writes:
Genesis Chapter 34. It begins with the rape of Jacob's daughter Dinah by Shechem, the son of a local chief named Hamor. Shechem and Hamor visit Jacob and his brothers to resolve the mess. Hamor begs on Shechem's behalf: Shechem loves Dinah, he says, and yearns to marry her. Hamor and Shechem offer to share their land with Jacob's family and pay any bride price if only Dinah would be Shechem's wife.

Jacob's sons pretend to agree to this proposal, but they insist that Shechem and all the other men of his town get circumcised before the marriage. Shechem and his father accept the demand. They and their fellow townsmen get circumcised. Three days after the circumcision, "when they were in pain," Jacob's sons Simeon and Levi (who are Dinah's full brothers) enter the town, murder all the men, and take Dinah away. After this slaughter, Jacob's other sons plunder the town, seize the livestock and property, and take the women and children as slaves. Jacob, who hasn't said a word in the chapter till now, complains to Simeon and Levi that other neighboring tribes won't trust him anymore. "But they answered, 'Should our sister be treated like a whore?'"

This is not a story they taught me at Temple Sinai's Hebrew School in 1980.
The entries started May 16 and he's just now finishing Genesis, so you're not far behind. Plotz invites us to interact with him, although he hasn't answered my specific email yet: Thoughts on Blogging the Bible? Please e-mail David Plotz at plotzd@slate.com (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.) But more than that, comment on my blog and let me know what you think about this whole concept. Chat with you soon.
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