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When reconciling Biblical and Talmudic views with the contemporary state of knowledge (aka science), many rely on the claim that "the masses didn't know back then", or "the Torah spoke the language of the masses". For example (thanks to @chatzkel), letters of the Lubavitcher Rebbe mentioning Sun and moon stopping from moving (Yehoshua 10:13) or spontaneously generated lice in terms of "this is how people saw it back then".

I was thinking, that since we hold that a. Moses received the scientific truths from God and b. he successfully taught the whole Torah to the masses (see Eruvin.54b), the whole Jewish population would be properly educated from the beginning, just the way we are today. I also take in mind that since we hold them to be more intellectually advanced than us, they would embrace those facts more readily.

So, imagine the miracle was recorded today for us, it would definitely mention the Earth stopping moving, rather than the Sun and the Moon. As Joshuah wrote his book for the people that just learned from Moses, I would expect the same from his book.

So in my understanding, the two claims contradict each other, in other words, if we accept the passing of the divine teaching we should reject blaming our ancestors for ignorance.

How this can be harmonized?


There's always an option to claim that Moses did not receive scientific laws or worldviews from Sinai, but for the sake of this argument, I assume he did.

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    Even if we accept the premise "Moses received the scientific truths from God", why do you assume that he would have taught them to the masses? וכי דברי תורה הם?
    – Joel K
    Jun 22 at 7:40
  • @JoelK What's your alternative view? Did he keep it to himself? Was it some Kabbalistic "secret teaching" he only passed to the 70 elders? It looks like running in any direction will eventually contradict another dogma.
    – Al Berko
    Jun 22 at 10:52
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    My view is that your premise is flawed and unsubstantiated. I see very little reason to assume that Moses recieved "scientific laws or worldviews from Sinai"
    – Joel K
    Jun 22 at 11:17
  • @JoelK That's exactly what I added in NB.
    – Al Berko
    Jun 22 at 11:23
  • "For example (thanks to @chatzkel), letters of the Lubavitcher Rebbe mentioning Sun and moon stopping from moving (Yehoshua 10:13) or spontaneously generated lice in terms of 'this is how people saw it back then'." Could you quote the parts that actually say that? I can't find in the page you linked any mention of the Sun and moon stopping from moving, and I found regarding spontaneously generated lice, the claim that scientists haven't proven that they don't exist.
    – Tamir Evan
    Jun 22 at 13:11

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