Talmudic Reading

From Weekly I/O#34

Talmudic Reading: Read the classics while assuming the text is perfectly composed and the writer knew exactly what they were doing.

Article: Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Talmudic reading refers to the Rabbinic tradition where Torah is seen to have divine authority and, therefore, should be treated as a perfectly composed text. In this way, the reader must read every word in the writing carefully. If there's anything that doesn't make sense, the readers should assume it's because their comprehension is not good enough instead of questioning the writing.

Obviously, the Talmudic assumption gives the readers a significant burden. The classics can be wrong, so the Talmudic method is surely exaggerated. However, it can be helpful for the readers in the way that it forces them to think. The reader then is required to think through the question of how the writing, if correctly interpreted, can be reconciled with what seem to be conflicting texts. Often this is both a challenging and a philosophically rewarding exercise.

This idea is related to the concept of Wrong but Useful from Weekly I/O #32. Thanks to Ting-Guang Han for replying to the Weekly I/O and introducing this idea to me.

Want to learn 5 bite-sized cool things like this every week to understand the world better? Sign up below for my free weekly newsletter and learn together!

Weeklyio Banner

You might also like