On Supposed-Hebrew Culture

The problem with “worldview” is that it is all in the head.  It is an intellectualist assumption that once we tally up all of the ideas that a certain person or group holds to, organizing them according to causal force and foundational significance, the end result will be “system.”  Once this system is identified, we can then explain how certain ideas will invariably lead to one system or another, and from that point on we can make our respective curricula which will effectively teach the worldview we are looking for.

The major weakness here is that such systems rarely ever exist.  Even if they do exist enough to name, they never- ever- *do* anything on their own.  Ideas don’t really have consequences.  People have consequences.  And people typically borrow, bend, compromise, and even work contrary to their ideas and commitments.  Wars, technology, political marriages, dance-trends: these all have as much “impact” on a culture as any particular philosopher.

The same weakness shows up when theologians speak of a Hebrew “culture.”  What they are talking about has never actually existed.  The Hebrews in the Bible were always Continue reading