Shasha: Two Models of Jewish Tradition

David Shasha in an article written for the Huffington Post argues that

The vertical-authoritarian model reflects an atavistic, anti-modern approach that relies on superstition and magic to express Jewish values, while the horizontal-dialogical model encapsulates the wisdom of Talmudic-Maimonidean tradition in a form of critical inquiry which seeks to empower human beings to free themselves of the shackles of magical irrationality.

Before he gets to this conclusion he lays down the arguments using quotes from Moshe Idel’s “Kabbalah: New Perspectives” and from his own teacher’s Jose Faur’s “The Horizontal Society: Understanding the Covenant and Alphabetic Judaism.” Shasha juxtaposes the democratic nature of language (everyone can speak and use it if given the the right tools (alphabet and grammar) and the top-down nature of revelatory ad mystical testimonies.

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