Bet hamidrash is a Jewish concept meaning “house of study.” It denotes more than a physical location, however: it denotes a way of interacting with the study of Torah. I believe there is much in this idea that could helpfully inform how other traditions, particularly that of Christianity, approach the study of Scripture.
From The Rabbi from Burbank, Zwirn, Owen (Fort Worth, Texas, 1986):
My father wanted me to become a rabbi, just as his father had wanted him to be. For the past 2000 years or so, any Orthodox Jew who wanted his son to become a rabbi would send him to a Hebrew School called a yeshiva, also called a bet hamidrash, a “house of research.” The name comes from the words bet, meaning “house” and doresh which means “to seek, ask, question or research.”
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What do you do with a scientist who has lost touch with the subtly of the interaction of science within human culture? Invite him to front a Horizons program apparently.
Last night I completed a viewing of the fancifully named “Science Under Attack,” fronted by the man who is the pontifical head of the scientific academy: Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Academy. Affable enough on the surface, he couldn’t wait to tell us, all glossy-eyed about his youthful awakenings to the wonders of science, such as a pyjama-clad viewing of Sputnik One, whisking across the sky.
This was the third in a series of Horizons’ programs that I watched over the past week or so. In each of these programs, articulate but ultimately unconvincing Scientists attempt to woo their audience with a potent mixture. Firstly, we are taken on a smugly edited “journey of discovery” in which the narrator and star of the show—yes, The Scientist—pretends to rediscover the basics of the science they are examining.
Continue reading “The ideology of Science”