You Shall Be As Gods: A Radical Interpretation of the Old Testament and Its Tradition

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9780030611605: You Shall Be As Gods: A Radical Interpretation of the Old Testament and Its Tradition

Erich Fromm is not only an interesting thinker but a fine writer, and in this book, one of many that he has written and all of which I have read, he outlines what he calls a radical humanist interpretation of the Old Testament and its history and traditions. In this interpretation, the concept of God evolved from that of a jealous, vengeful spirit to that of a constitutional monarch, and ultimately to a nameless God who is bound by the same morals and principles that govern humankind. Fromm is convincing in his arguments, and even for those readers who will remain unconvinced after the reading of the book, all will no doubt take away an appreciation of the depth of his scholarship. All of the three major Western religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, owe their origins to the Old Testament, whether this is acknowledged or not, and all have to this day a powerful influence on the lives of millions of people. And yes, as Fromm states in the book, the world's populations do hold a materialistic philosophy that is coupled with ever-increasing globalization and technology, but the acquisition of material goods and the indulgence of their pleasures coexists with a commitment to spirtual values and religion. This superposition of religious and materialistic philosophy shows no sign of abatement. The radical humanism of Fromm is a philosophy that is delightfully optimistic, and emphasizes the capacity of humans to develop their intellectual powers, to become fully independent, to understand reality as it is, and a renunciation of the initiation of force, the latter of which, Fromm argues, results in intellectual disintegration and emotional dependence. Eschewing a static allegiance to doctrines and concepts that therefore become divorced from experience, Fromm encourages the thinking of concepts as dynamic objects, and cautious that "they have their own lives", and can be aliented from the experiences by which they were invented (discovered).

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Fromm, Erich
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