Reading the Bible Like an Adult (Avital Hazony Levi)

How do we read the Bible like adults? For many people who grew up in communities of faith, the Bible stories have been a part of their lives for as long as they can remember. But it’s often not until later in life that the richer meanings of the stories come alive, misconceptions are corrected, and the voices of the biblical authors become clearer—even as we relinquish naive certainties and the expectation of a black and white world.

In this episode, Dru interviews Dr. Avital Hazony Levi, instructor in Jewish philosophy and Bible at Midreshet Nishmat. They discuss everything from the nitty-gritty vocabulary of the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar to the ways in which Western philosophical concepts threaten to drown out the voices of the biblical authors to the psychology of female characters in the Hebrew Bible. Along the way, they examine core biblical concepts such as loyalty, trust, responsibility, and generational sin.

Currently a postdoctoral fellow at Tel Aviv University, Avital has a rich background in both the Hebrew Bible and philosophy, and her work spans from moral epistemology to the nature of loyalty and worship. She has taught philosophy, Jewish thought, and Tanakh at Nishmat, TVA, and the Orthodox Union college summer program.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 Reading the Bible like an adult
  • 2:38 Abraham’s loyalty
  • 5:10 Why does Sarah give Hagar to Abraham?
  • 11:33 Bitterness and faithlessness
  • 17:00 Teaching the Bible in Hebrew
  • 21:55 Free will and generational punishment
  • 27:24 God’s omniscience
  • 30:19 Philosophical questions in the Bible
  • 35:39 Responsibility and choice
  • 40:49 The best thing about teaching

Show notes by Micah Long

Image created by Rubner Durais

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