Logic in the Torah

A Thematic Compilation by Avi Sion

2. Adductive Logic in the Torah


1.   The art of knowing

Induction, as an epistemological concept, refers to the logical processes through which all propositions, and their various constituents, are gradually developed. Some philosophers have tended to define induction as the pursuit of general principles from particular ones, but such a formula is too limited and only reflects the greater difficulty of and interest in that specific issue. In the largest sense, induction includes all the following factors of cognition:

  • perception (direct consciousness of concrete phenomena, whether material/sensory or mental/intimate) and conception (direct consciousness of abstract phenomena[1] or indirect consciousness of anything), as well as recognition (memory of percepts and concepts) and imagination (perceptual or conceptual projection);
  • identification (awareness of similarities between phenomena) and differentiation (awareness of differences between phenomena), which make possible classification (grouping), often accompanied by verbalization (naming);
  • formulating propositions, with varying degrees of awareness, sometimes but not always verbally, which relate together various percepts and concepts in various ways (first as possible potential particulars);
  • generalization and particularization (including the techniques of factorization, factor selection, and formula revision[2]), which are the processes through which one discovers how far one may extend or one must narrow the applicability of propositions;
  • deduction, the inference of some new proposition(s) from one or more given proposition(s) of any kind, through a host of processes like opposition, eduction, syllogism, a fortiori, apodosis, paradox, and others;
  • adduction, the formation and tailoring of postulates, as well as their testing and confirmation or elimination, with reference to rational-empirical considerations (more on this topic below).

All the above depend on reference to the main Laws of Logic, which ensure the ultimate fullness and harmony of knowledge, namely:

  1. Identity - acknowledging all phenomena cognized, as being at least appearances, and so problemacies with varying credibilities, whether ultimately found to be realities or illusions; never ignoring data or issues. (This is what we mean by “facts are facts”.)
  2. Non-Contradiction - not acknowledging as real, but insisting as partly or wholly illusory, any set of propositions cognized as incompatible, whatever their levels of abstraction and cognitive roots; always pursuing consistency in one’s knowledge. (Contradictions are impossible in reality.)
  3. Exclusion of the Middle - not rejecting all possible alternatives, but seeking resolution of conflicts, through some new alternative or some commonalty; seeking solutions to all problems. (There is no nebulous middle ground between being and not-being.)

Now, these various factors of cognition play a joint role in the acquisition of knowledge, and although here listed in a ‘logical’ manner, with some subdivisions and in a semblance of chronological order, they in actual practice function very interdependently, feeding off each other’s results in every which way and in no set order. Furthermore, they are here described very succinctly, so much so that their individual, relative and collective significances may be missed if one does not take time to reflect.

This brief overview of the theory of knowledge should be understood as both descriptive and prescriptive. That is to say, there is no essential difference between the palette of cognitive processes used by different human beings, be they common folk or expert scientists, trained in logic or purely instinctive, male or female, young or old, of whatever class or people, healthy or sick. This must be stressed: everyone has more or less the same cognitive tools; some people are, there is no denying it, better endowed, others somewhat handicapped, but their overall arsenal is roughly the same, as above listed.

What distinguishes individuals is perhaps rather the effort and skill they exercise with these same instruments, in each given context. Knowing is an art, and artists may vary in style and quality. Some people lay more stress on experience, others on reasoning, others on their emotions. Some people are more visual, some more auditory, some more touch-sensitive. Some people are excessively categorical or class-conscious, too verbal in their thinking, to the detriment of intuition; some people are slaves to their passions, exercising insufficient control on the objective quality of their thought processes. And so forth - but in any case, the range of faculties available to human beings is roughly the same. The art, as with music, as with painting, is to find a balance - the right measure, the right time and place, for each instrument.

It must be added that two people equally skilled in the art of knowing (or one person at different times) may arrive at different specific conclusions, due to different contexts of knowledge. The content and volume of one’s experience - in the largest sense of the term experience, including material and mental perceptions and conceptual insights - has a direct influence on one’s logic, affecting one’s every rational process.


2.   Adduction in Western philosophy

Logic, since Antiquity and throughout the Middle Ages, in Europe at least, has been associated more specifically with deduction, because that was the field in which the most impressive theoretical work had been done, mainly by Aristotle. Only in recent centuries was a greater stress laid, thanks in large part to practitioners like Newton, on the experiential aspects of knowing (by philosophers like Locke and Hume) and on its adductive aspects (by philosophers like Bacon and Mill); and in more recent times on the crucial role of imagination in theory formation (by Einstein, for instance).

This does not mean to say that induction, nor more specifically adduction, are novel concepts as such. People certainly always used all the factors of induction in their everyday efforts at knowing - they used their senses and their heads, to try and make sense of the world around them, sometimes more wildly than we do, sometimes more rigidly, sometimes more sensibly perhaps. Also, we have to admit that Aristotle, after some four or five centuries of development in Greek philosophy including his predecessors Socrates and Plato, was well aware of the primary issue of induction, the so-called ‘problem of universals’ (namely, how concepts are known).

Indeed, his formal work in logic, including on opposition, on immediate inference and on the syllogism, was a lucid attempt, however incomplete, to solve just that problem. Deduction, in Aristotle’s view, was not apart from induction, or against it, but rather a major aspect of induction. For him, it seems, certain generalities were known directly and indubitably (like the axioms of logic), others had to be developed empirically (seemingly, by complete enumeration); thereafter, one could arrive by inference to all other general principles. The grey areas in that view were, no doubt, the source and validity, and the number, of the initially given top principles, as well as the scope of empiricism in the light of the practical difficulties in complete enumeration.

Today, we would certainly agree that deduction is one of the instruments of induction - needed to infer predictions from postulates for testing purposes, and more broadly, to pursue consistency. The grounds of knowledge, in our view, are primarily experiential data, whether concrete or abstract, and to a lesser extent self-evident propositions whose contradictories are self-contradictory. We are more aware of the hypothetical and tentative nature of much of knowledge; and instead of complete enumeration, we refer to processes like generalization and particularization.

But if we regard the perceptual and conceptual phenomena which are the starting-points of knowledge as being effectively ‘axioms’ (in an enlarged sense of the term), then our view is seen as not much different from Aristotle’s in essence, though varying in detail and emphasis. The historical point I am trying to make is certainly not, that Aristotle was omniscient and as fully aware of epistemological questions and answers as we are today. Rather, that in his time and earlier still, a search for such questions and answers was already in motion, and a spirit of intelligence, honesty and objectivity was already at work, so that to make a fair assessment we must focus on his contributions instead of his blanks.

I think it is important for historians to keep in mind that philosophers are human. They do not have time to put everything they know or think into words, down on paper. Often, too, they intuit a larger horizon than they have the time to actually tread in detailed thought. No one philosopher can therefore be expected to point out and clarify every aspect of induction, or to develop a truly full spectrum of logical techniques. Not saying something is not necessarily not knowing it, or at least being on the way to know it. Some unimaginative disciples, as well as historians, tend to ossify philosophies, and make them seem more rigid and limited than they were to their living wellsprings.

Thus, the suggestion that general propositions are arrived at by ‘complete enumeration’, attributed by some historians to Aristotle, contains within it the seeds of empiricism. We today certainly acknowledge the major role played by partial enumeration - this is how particular propositions are known: one experiences one or more cases of a kind to have a certain attribute or behavior, and one expresses that observation verbally, without thereby presuming to comment on the unobserved cases or to claim that they have the same attribute or behavior.

This is the common ground, between us and Aristotle; the issue is only, how one moves up from there to generalities. Complete enumeration may have been, for Western philosophy, a first and tentative suggestion; but upon reflection it was soon enough seen to be an impractical ideal, because most classes we deal with are open-ended. Today, we realize that the answer is to be found in the trial and error processes of generalization and particularization, or more broadly speaking in adduction.

Nevertheless, in spite of their manifest deep roots in the past, it is evident that until the Enlightenment the concept and laws of adduction were relatively little discussed and little understood, in Western philosophy at least. Historians tend to attribute to Francis Bacon (1561-1626, London) the clear formulation of these laws. As Anthony Quinton points out, the crucial innovation in Bacon’s ‘new method’ was that it was eliminative (“major est vis instantiae negativae”). Bacon also gave due credit to the positive aspects of induction (i.e. observation and confirmation), and he made explicit many of the pitfalls possible in the course of such processes (which he referred to as “idols”).

Needless to say, Bacon’s words were not the last on the subject; many further contributions have happily been made since then. Whatever their precise history, the Laws of Adduction may be expressed as done below. By ‘postulate’ is meant a set of imagined propositions of yet unsettled truth. By ‘experience’ is meant any appearance, preferably concrete rather than abstract, taken as is, as it appears, as a mere configuration of phenomena, without classificatory work of comparison and contrast to other, remembered phenomena. By ‘confirmation’ or ‘weakening’ of a thesis is meant adding or subtracting some credibility from it; whereas by ‘proof’ or ‘disproof’ is meant extreme credibility or incredibility.

  1. If some postulate has certain necessary logical implications, and these implications are found to be in accord with experience, the postulate is thus far confirmed, though not necessarily proved (Positive Law).
  2. If some postulate has certain necessary logical implications, and these implications are found to be in discord with experience, the postulate is disproved, and not merely weakened (Negative Law).

These laws may be explained, and unified, with reference to the concept of probability, and on the same basis many corollaries can be derived from them. The corollaries emerge from the consideration of competing postulates - a couple of examples: every time a postulate is confirmed, while a competitor is not confirmed, then the latter is weakened; when a postulate is disproved, then all its remaining competitors (whether known or unknown alternatives) are strengthened (though all equally so, unless some of them predicted the disproving experience, rather than merely accepted it). However, these issues and details are too voluminous for the present study (see my work Future Logic).


3.   Adducing prophecies and prophethood

Adduction is generally regarded as a historically relatively recent philosophical concept, and those who do so, whether out of traditionalist or modern tendencies, may therefore consider that its application to Biblical or Talmudic contexts is an anachronism. The truth of the matter, in my view and I will now demonstrate it, is exactly the opposite. The laws of adduction are found almost explicitly formulated already in the Torah of Moses, evidence of a very early logical maturity, and it is not surprising therefore that they should have been used with such frequency and skill in Talmudic times[3].

The essentials of adductive method are given in two passages of Deuteronomy. I will now quote them and explain the aspects of adduction that each clarifies (referring to the positive and negative laws written in the previous section). Note that the term ‘prediction’, used below, should be understood to comprise all descriptive details of the event(s) concerned, including eventual time limits and location.

FIRST LAW: Deuteronomy 13: 2-4.

If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams - and he give thee a sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder come to pass, whereof he spoke unto thee - saying: ‘Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them’; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or unto that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God putteth you to proof, to know whether ye do love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

SECOND LAW: Deuteronomy 18:21-22.

And if thou say in thy heart: ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?’ When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken; the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him.

Evidently, the first law deals with the positive aspect of adduction: it acknowledges the natural tendency of humankind to be moved to belief by correct prediction (the prophesied event empirically ‘comes to pass’, i.e. occurs), but it comes to teach us that such confirmation does not constitute proof, and therefore that good reason may yet be found to reject the thesis in question (such as its calling for a turn to other gods). The second law elucidates the negative aspect of adduction: it suggests that false theses ultimately stumble, teaching that incorrect prediction (the prophesied event empirically ‘follows not, nor comes to pass’, i.e. does not occur as and when predicted) is not merely a weakness but constitutes disproof, so that the thesis in question must be eliminated.

The logical value of these biblical statements, the legitimacy of their interpretation as here done as general epistemological principles, is (I think all will agree) manifest. Note well the empiricist criteria explicitly given here: the prediction ‘comes to pass’ or ‘comes not to pass’; the thesis in question (the prophecy) is tested empirically with reference to public events and not solely by the (rationalistic) comparison to the religious document or tradition.

We have to note for the record that traditional commentators have, with reference to passages relating to prophesy found throughout the Tanakh, further refined the above rules, and thereby incidentally showed their full understanding of their implications. They pointed out that the two Deuteronomic rules were formulated with reference to false prophets. They are logical techniques for the identification and evaluation of candidates for the dignity of prophet, teaching us not to automatically believe those who claim to be mouthpieces for God and how to find out that they are not.

I was told by R. Abraham Y. Schlesinger of Geneva (but have not verified it) that the refinements under discussion are elucidated notably by Maimonides, in Hilkhot Yesodei haTorah 10:4; as for the Talmudic source, it is not the Babylonian but the Jerusalem Talmud, namely Sanhedrin 15:5, “Ani mitnabei...”. However, I found the main Biblical source thanks to the Encyclopaedia Judaica article on prophets and prophesy: it is Jeremiah 28:8-9, which I now quote (Yirmeyahu is talking to Chananyah ben Azur, a rival prophet, who has promised good things for the Judeans):

“The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence. As for the prophet who prophesies for peace, when the word of that prophet shall come to pass, then shall it be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.”

This passage implies that if a prophet made a prediction which did not come to pass, it did not follow that he was not a true prophet. It depended on the polarity of the prophecy in question. If it constituted a blessing from God, then once announced it had to come to pass, because God’s blessings are irrevocable. If what was predicted was a curse, it might well not come to pass and yet still be true, because such negative prophecies are always (i.e. up until they are realized) conditional and contingent on the eventual failure of the audience to repent and change their ways (as in the story of Jonah and Nineveh, for instance).

The proposal is consistent. We may just add that the same loophole, in fairness, equally well applies to prophetic candidates as to established prophets. In other words, negative predictions of theirs which do not come to pass, do not disqualify them, either; only positive predictions which do not come to pass, do. For an example in the Bible (other than the above-mentioned by Chananyah) of false positive prediction, look at 1 Kings 22 (and 2 Chronicles 18), where some 400 ‘prophets’ in the court of Achav (Ahab) promised him victory over the Arameans, while only Micah foresaw the death of the king of Samaria.

It should be noted that good and bad are often relative - what is good for one person or group may be bad for another, and vice versa, or even with regard to one and the same person something may be good in some respects or at some time and bad in/at others. Blessings are often ‘mixed’. Assumably, the evaluation of a prediction as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ is made with reference to the terms of the prophecy itself: whom it intends to favor or disfavor, how, and when.

With regard to prophecies of neutral events, like some astronomical events or perhaps some unnatural apparition in public, without good or bad impact on human lives, other than serving to reveal the predictive power of the prophet, (I assume that) they fall under the Deuteronomic rules quoted earlier. Which means, neutral events predicted by a reputable prophet are bound to come to pass; and, a prophetic candidate predicting neutral events which fail to occur is disqualified.

Note that the Enc. Jud. article mentioned above points out that, even with the refined rules proposed by Jeremiah, difficulties arise when prophecies accepted as true by tradition are tested with reference to later events as described in the Bible itself. However, such difficulties are generally surmountable, because one may always ex post facto interpret even ‘failed’ positive prophecies as having, as in the negative cases, been tacitly conditional[4]. One can say that the good things were promised to happen, provided we stayed on our positive path or improved our ways in certain obvious ways, just as one can say that the bad things were promised to happen, unless we got off our negative path and improved our ways.

One more comment which may be profitably made in this context, with regard to prophecies, whether in the Bible or in the analogous documents of other religions or sects, is that they are very often sufficiently vague, with regard to time and place, if not with regard to descriptive details, that they can be evaluated rather generously by those who already believe in them and additionally be twisted by interpretation to fit any scenario they wish. Prophecies are not always conveniently vague, of course; for instance, in Jer. 28, Chananyah sets a two-year time limit for his prophecy and Yirmeyahu, a clear one year for his.

Some of these comments no doubt sound very skeptical, but one must be honest and see: just what is being prophesied, in relation to whom exactly, and precisely when and where. Without these specifications it is very hard to apply the adductive laws in a strict and conclusive manner. The real difficulty is to know where to draw the line, between justification and pretext; for this we must refer to context: the past reputation of the prophet, the turn of subsequent events, and the overall theme of the Bible. (I do not here even consider the issue of historicity, whether the events reported actually occurred; this too calls for context, but still wider a context than that provided by the text itself.)


It is necessary to distinguish between the adductive evaluation of prophecies and that of prophets. A prophet, one might say, is a bundle of prophecies. First, each prediction must be evaluated, using the given principles; second, the person making the predictions is evaluated, with reference to his/her overall record of predictions. This distinction is made clear through the story of Bilaam, a false prophet who was nonetheless used, even against his own will, by God as the vehicle of true prophecies which predicted the blessings of Israel (Num. 22-24)[5].

Another issue is to distinguish between claims to prophesy, and ordinary predictions. Even if we regard (as I do, with gratitude) every item of knowledge, however ordinary its methodology, however natural its source, as a wondrous gift from God - a distinction must be drawn. The medieval commentator Nachmanides interprets terms in the above quoted passages as follows: ‘a prophet’ - one who claims that God communicated a message to him while he was awake[6]; ‘sign’ denotes the prediction of a natural incident, while ‘wonder’ implies the forecast of a supernatural event[7]. A meteorologist, say, makes no claims to prophesy, yet forecasts the weather; we would judge him as an effective scientist is his predictions were consistently (or even usually) right, but never assign him prophetic powers.

What counts in the judgment concerning prophecy is the source of the knowledge, or the methodology which led to it. If natural means are used, like satellites, even daily and invariably correct predictions do not imply ‘prophesy’. This is equally true in the case of predictions so vague that there is a natural probability that such and such a kind of event happen at some time in the future somewhere in the world! Of course, the wild guesses of charlatans, however convinced they themselves might be of the unnatural origins of their predictions, are bound to turn out wrong sooner or later, and reveal the fakeness of their authors. Prophesy, then, has to predict natural events unpredictable by ordinary means or to predict supernatural events (which are, in any case, unpredictable by ordinary means).

The concept of an ‘unnatural’ event presents logical difficulties, by the way. The perfectly scientific mind has no preconceptions, no foreknowledge, regarding Nature or what is natural; whatever happens, whatever happens to happen, is natural, and Nature is the sum total of all things ever happening. Just because an event is unique, different from routine events, it does not follow that it is unnatural, just less frequent. The definition of magic or miracle would have to refer to some special genesis of event, like telekinesis or supernatural intervention. However, once such event is established as capable of occurring in this world, then we would have to include it in our concept of the World, and it would thereby qualify as normal and natural in our expanded world-view. Thus, the term ‘natural’ is logically very relative; but we can still give it its understood connotation conventionally.

Also note: prediction is not, as commonly thought, the essential or even main attribute of prophesy. Prophesy seems to be primarily a high-level relationship to God - which, rather incidentally, implies special cognitive and other powers. The principal prophets, like Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, and so forth, are especially spiritual leaders of the Israelite and human community; their cognitive and other powers are mere means to this end, the outer garb of their profound dignity.


In conclusion, to return to the central topic of the present chapter, I think that the documentary evidence adduced above shows without shadow of a doubt that the Jewish religious tradition had a very clear understanding of the two logical laws of adduction well before Greek philosophy, let alone post-Renaissance Western philosophy. For those who believe in the Divine source and traditional dating of Deuteronomy, these laws of logic were God-given at Sinai some 3,300 years ago, almost 1,000 years before Aristotle’s time. For those who doubt this, and regard the Book as of human and more recent origin, say around the First Exile period - these laws of logic are still a couple of hundred years older than Aristotle’s discoveries![8]

However, it should be emphasized that (so far as I know) the Torah laws of adduction were never highlighted and discussed by the Rabbis of the Talmud and after as logical principles applicable to all thought. They evidently unconsciously practiced adduction in their debates on the law, but they never enshrined such reasoning in a hermeneutic principle or analyzed why it is effective. We could accuse them of having doctrinal reasons for this silence, namely to prevent the development in people of scientific modes of thought, which could weaken religion; but the truth is more probably simply that they did not notice the hint in the Torah. Very probably, I would not have noticed it, either, had I not studied philosophy, long after the advent of modern science; credit must be given where it is due.


4.   Addendum (2005)

With reference to the [above adductive principles], relative to which we gave the example in 1 Kings 22 (or 2 Chronicles 18), the following remarks may be added.

We said that when Micah predicted the death of king Achav, he made a correct prediction, confirming his prophetic powers, though not proving them; whereas, when the 400 so-called prophets predicted the king’s victory, they made a wrong prediction, proving their lack of prophetic powers, and not merely diminishing their credibility.

We could have added that Micah’s credibility was double, in that he correctly predicted a negative event, which is harder to do since curses are to the last revocable by God. Similarly, the discredit to the 400 was double, in that they wrongly predicted a positive event, although blessings once decreed by God are irrevocable.

On another tack, I would like to reconsider the underlying distinction between positive and negative predictions. The Biblical passage 1 Samuel 15:29 would seem to contradict such a principle. Here, Samuel makes a negative prediction (that Saul will lose the kingship) and considers it irreversible (i.e. to be bound to happen, even if Saul should repent). Samuel says that God does not “lie or repent”, apparently formulating a general principle.

If we review how the principle that prophesies of negatives are not inevitable (proposed by the J.T. and Maimonides, according to Enc. Jud.) is inferred from Jeremiah’s statement in 28:8-9 (quoted on p. 32), we see that it is an a contrario inductive inference. That is, the principle about negatives is not deductively implied or explicitly stated, but merely assumed tacitly intended by the stated principle that prophecies of peace come to pass. Since davka positives only are mentioned, negatives are presumed excluded from the statement. Jeremiah does not actually say that prophecies of war and the like do not necessarily come to pass.

In fact, if we look at Jeremiah’s statement more closely, he is not saying that prophecies of peace are inevitable, but that when they come to pass, then they will have manifestly come from God. This does not formally exclude that prophecies of war and such may be subject to identical rules. This issue of conditionality is already discussed in my text (p. 33).

We may conclude from all that: in some cases true predictions, whether positive or negative, are inevitable, while in some other cases they are conditional upon a continuation or change of attitude or behavior. The de facto authority of the prophet and the actual outcome allows us ex post facto to estimate which category the case under consideration might fall under. But to the extent that some of those factors are tacit and informal, our assumption that they are implicit is inductive rather than deductive; i.e. we are interpreting rather than inferring.


Drawn from Judaic Logic (1995), chapter 2:1-3, and addendum 1.



[1]           The process of abstraction consists in ignoring (excluding from consciousness) all but certain aspects of something perceived in whatever way; this process precedes the comparisons, contrasts and mental manipulations through which we conceptualize.

[2]           See my work Future Logic for details on these processes.

[3]                  Notwithstanding, the Talmud, in its effort at creating dogmas, at least as we view it nowadays, preferred to keep these adductive processes relatively hidden and tacit, so as to give the impression, false but convenient, of being a purely deductive discipline - but that is another issue.

[4]           That this is an accepted and used manner of reasoning by traditional commentators may be demonstrated with reference to a difficulty in Gen. 28, pointed out by R. Adin Steinsaltz in a talk in Geneva recently. During Jacob's dream of the ladder, God promises him many good things (v. 13-15), yet immediately thereafter Jacob seems to doubt these promises, when he says: "If God will be with me..." (v. 20-22). The explanation Rashi gives (according to R. Steinsaltz, but I did not find the place) is that Jacob understood God's promises as depending on his continued good conduct, i.e. on his remaining the same person. Thus, here a positive promise is taken as tacitly conditional.

Incidentally, R. Steinsaltz himself offered an alternative explanation of Jacob's doubt: namely, that Jacob may not have been sure whether his dream was indeed a prophesy or merely the wishful thinking of a worried traveler. But, though this explanation is psychologically interesting, epistemologically it implies that a prophet can doubt his own prophecy. Such a premise would, in my view, put all prophecies in doubt; we must assume that the prophetic experience is intrinsically indubitable, or else it loses its special status.

[5]                  This story is full of interesting details about prophesy. According to Nachmanides (Cohen, p. 921), that Bilaam was not a prophet beyond the events recounted in it is suggested by the use of the expressions "God came unto Bilaam" (22:9) and God or the Lord "met Bilaam" (23: 4, 16), which suggest a non-habitual encounter (yikar) initiated by God (yavo). Furthermore, the expression "the Lord put a word in Bilaam's mouth" (23: 5, 16) seems to imply a forcible takeover by the Lord of Bilaam's faculties of speech, at least in the first two prophecies; in the third prophecy "the spirit of God came upon him" (24:2). Other technical details include: having the eye opened (24: 3, 15), hearing the words of God, seeing the vision of the Almighty, fallen down yet with opened eyes (24: 4, 16), and knowing the knowledge of the Most High (24:16).

[6]           But see Num. 12:6-8, where a ‘prophet’ is defined as someone to whom the Lord makes Himself known in a ‘vision’ or speaks to in a ‘dream’, with the exception of Moses who is spoken to ‘mouth to mouth, even manifestly, and not in dark speeches’ and who beholds ‘the similitude of the Lord’ (Cohen, p. 855).

[7]                  Cohen, p. 1062.

[8]           In the case of Deuteronomy, which concerns us here, some say that it dates from the reign of king Josiah, one of the last kings before the exile. Whatever the age of the Books of Moses, they were apparently well established by the time of Ezra. Judging by the Book of Ezra, this period may have been, rather, the starting point of Rabbinic Judaism, which reached its full momentum through the Mishnah and Gemara.

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