BAL TOSIF AND THEOLOGICAL DOGMA (pps.169-171)
hard cover page 169
Bal Tosif is the proscription against nonmandated additions to Jewish law.
All this word which I command you, that shall ye observe to do; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it
Judaism, from its very inception, has been an intellectual revolution. Indeed, it defines an intellectual revolution. The progressive revelation of Masorah continues that thrust to this very day. Although some religious leaders feel threatened by, and consequently dismiss, intellectual inquiry, their fears are ungrounded.
Problems arise when rabbinic leaders confuse dogma with opinion. Problems arise when they sincerely but recklessly go beyond required boundaries, dictate new frills to codes not mandated by Halachah, or needlessly and dogmatically overembellish the attributes of the Divine. Essentially, problems arise when rabbinic leaders needlessly limit the permissible range of opinion. At that point Judaism dilutes its internal intellectual strength, alienates adherents, and yields some of its intellectual primacy.
There is a natural, but intellectually destructive, tendency among religious groups to embellish their Deity’s attributes and interventionist proclivities. There is a tendency to canonize,
|CONVERSION TABLE for this multi-page unit|
|you are currently on hard cover p. 169|
|< BACK||NEXT PAGE>|
|Pages pointer||hard cover page|