“All Torah, ancient, medieval, and modern, is a response to the event at Sinai”
I sat down with Benjamin D. Sommer, Professor of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. I ask him what happened at Sinai... which is a far more complicated question than you may have previously noticed. We discuss participatory revelation, dissolving the line between Scripture and Tradition, practices of close reading, the way Biblical texts destabalise their own authority whilst maintaining a commitment to Law, and whether we must privilege the redactor over the other voices in Scripture?
If you like what you hear, check out Ben’s book, Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition. The book is at once a study of biblical theology and modern Jewish thought. It won the prestigious Goldstein-Goren Book Award, in 2016. His other books include, The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel (Cambridge University Press, 2009), A Prophet Reads Scripture: Allusion in Isaiah 40–66 (Stanford University Press, 1998), and editor of Jewish Concepts of Scripture: A Comparative Introduction (New York University Press, 2012).