[No more Kuzari now. You come back later.]
For reference, here are the articles I posted on the Kuzari Principle and the Sinai revelation:
- The Kuzari Principle: Ultimate Proof of God’s Existence? - In this first entry, my intent was to introduce Kuzari with background and application.
- Kuzari Principle: The Sinai Argument - This entry had the purpose of sketching how proponents use Kuzari to argue for Sinai.
- Definitively Refuting the Kuzari Principle - This is the big article. I present Gottlieb's Kuzari arguments, examine the rhetoric of Kuzari proponents, discuss the Documentary Hypothesis as an empirically-based challenge to Kuzari, identify elements of Sinai with key analogues, unravel the logic of Gottlieb's Kuzari argument, read the relevant Sinai passages in Exodus, review a few thematic analogues with Sinai, and argue that Kuzari fails to prove either Sinai or Judaism.
- Kuzari Keeps on Giving, or Pay No Attention to the Assumptions Behind My Principle! - A review of early emails with Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb on my Kuzari refutation.
- Kuzari: Final Thoughts - A bullet list of key disagreements between Rabbi Gottlieb and myself.
- Are Divine-Human Interactions Possible? - A meditation on establishing the possibility of the divine.
- Going Nuclear on the Kuzari Principle - An extended treatment of Rabbi Gottlieb's call for false NETs and a presentation of a real NET: the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945.
From my perspective, the posts and the discussion were illuminating. Some last observations:
- I would think something labeled as a "principle" would have many examples illustrating it. Kuzari is the only principle I can think of without such real-world instances. However, I could easily be persuaded to see Kuzari as a full-fledged principle: Just show me examples of nations that refused to believe NET stories which were introduced to them as real history.
- The case of the atomic bombings reveals the gaping weaknesses of the Sinai story. The eyewitness accounts of Hiroshima, like first-person testimonies in many momentous events, are visceral and immediate. People understand where they were in the critical moment, what they were doing, how it felt to go through what they did. These people talk about their confusion, their fear, and their concern for fellows. The Sinai story, in contrast, reads as craft. It bears all the hallmarks of artifice. It's a detached, omniscient narrative story that is less about national revelation than about a claim to power by self-appointed political and filial descendants of both Moses and Aaron.
- Kuzari proponents do all they can to avoid discussing current historical knowledge, biblical scholarship, and archeological science. No wonder, since the convergence of data in these disciplines tends not only to diminish whatever a "real Sinai" might have been but also to highlight the brute fact that we have no empirical data to suggest that there ever was a "real Sinai" at all.
- Ultimately, Sinai is a historical question. To date, the answer is a very strong no. No faux principle is able to circumvent this reality.
- Even if the principle were more solid than it is, one central fact of the religious claim for Sinai is that a true divine revelation, a full-blown miracle, is by definition the absolute least likely thing that could ever happen. Sinai is supposed to be utterly unique in human history, meaning that it's in a category of one. There's not another event that could even be remotely like it. Now I ask you, if we have no evidence today of the single most extraordinary thing that's ever happened in the history of the universe, how much credence is appropriate for me to give?