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145 Postscript W E ENDED THE LAST CHAPTER WITH THE DISPUTE between the School of Shammai and the School of Hillel. Concerning this controversy, it is said in the Talmud1 that “both these and those are the words of the living God.” We must recognize that various, and even contradictory , views can all be the true words of the living God. Throughout this book, we have seen how the Bible preserves, within itself, contradictory conceptions of great depth and uniqueness concerning such profound issues as humanity’s place in the universe, the origin and meaning of evil, the purpose of reward and punishment, the role of free will and predestination in human affairs, the nature of the covenant, the character of worship, the function of the sanctuary, and the role of the political leader in the redemptive future of Israel. During the period we have surveyed, we see competing theologies emerging from parties and schools associated with elites and from those associated with the populace at large. We should not try to blur these disputes in order to achieve an artificial unity and harmony. Rather, we should enjoy the richness and complexity of the divine symphony that these different viewpoints and voices create in the Bible. 146 One of the major problems of our time is religious intolerance . A deep recognition and study of the different voices of the Bible, and of the many ideas that it inspired in the development of Judaism, may help to bring about an atmosphere of diversity and tolerance. By exposing and understanding the pluralistic character of the Bible, we can recognize that there is a place for, and significance to, the kind of debate in which the other view may also be a reflection of divine truth. THE DIVINE SYMPHONY ...


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