Logic in the Torah

A Thematic Compilation by Avi Sion



The present volume, Logic in the Torah, is a ‘thematic compilation’; that is, it is a collection of essays previously published in some of my primary works. Such collections allow me to increase the visibility of scattered writings over many years on a specific subject. In the present case, the essays are drawn from only two past works, Judaic Logic (abbr. JL) (1995) and A Fortiori Logic (abbr. AFL) (2013).

The title of the present book, Logic in the Torah, is also the title of an essay in AFL, which was there included as an appendix, and which I have here placed as the opening chapter. However, whereas the title of this chapter intends the word Torah in its restrictive sense of the Pentateuch (the Five Books of Moses, or Chumash), the title of the book as a whole intends the same word in a larger sense, referring to the Tanakh (the whole Jewish Bible).

It should, however, be said that the present work does not constitute a thorough study of logic in the Tanakh. Whereas it includes a hopefully thorough listing of logic in the Torah (Pentateuch) and a presumably thorough listing of a fortiori logic in the Nakh (the rest of the Jewish Bible), it does not include a thorough listing of other forms of reasoning in the Nakh.

I have studied and written about Torah (or Tanakh, or more broadly Judaic) logic, not for religious apologetic purposes, or through ethnic pride, but out of scientific curiosity. Most logicians spin logic theories without reference to actual practice in the past and the present. My way has always been to first examine actual human reasoning. This empiricist approach to logic greatly enriches theory, and assures its utility. Torah being very ancient literature, it provides very interesting information on the history and geography of human reasoning. Most of the findings presented in my works are products of original research.

The chapters of the present compilation are not placed in a strictly chronological order, note. The first chapter, as already stated, comes from AFL; the next four chapters come from JL; and the five remaining chapters come from AFL. Note that I do not here include my studies of post-Biblical (Talmudic and Rabbinic) logic, but limit the work to Scriptural evidence of logic.

Note that only the first eight chapters concern the Jewish Bible. Chapter 9 concerns the Christian Bible; and chapter 10, the Islamic Koran and Hadiths. I have here included (part of) my studies on Christian and Muslim logic for purposes of comparison. Here again, I have left out material relating to non-Scriptural logic (notably, my work on Islamic fiqh). Readers interested in post-Scriptural developments can pursue the matter in JL and AFL.


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