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JoshuaZ comments on Tsuyoku Naritai! (I Want To Become Stronger) - Less Wrong

111 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 27 March 2007 05:49PM

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Comment author: JoshuaZ 03 December 2016 11:43:28PM 0 points [-]

I don't know of any broader, larger trends. It is worth noting here that the Rabbis of the Talmud themselves thought that the prior texts (especially the Torah itself) were infallible, so it seems that part of what might be happening is that over time, more and more gets put into the very-holy-text category.

Also, it seems important to distinguish here between being unquestionably correct with being literal. In a variety of different religions this becomes an important distinction and often a sacrifice of literalism is in practice made to preserve correctness of a claim past a certain point. Also note that in many religious traditions, the traditions which are most literal try to argue that what they are doing is not literalism but something more sophisticated. For example, among conservative Protestants it isn't uncommon to claim that they are not reading texts literally but rather using the "historical-grammatical method."

Comment author: hairyfigment 04 December 2016 01:18:32AM 0 points [-]

The Talmud from what little I know may be a poor example of this. In fact, last I checked the Torah came from a combination of contradictory texts, and tradition comes close to admitting this with the story of Ezra.

I think most people in ancient times held all sorts of beliefs about the world which we would call "literalist" if someone held them today, but they rarely if ever believed in the total accuracy of one source. They believed gods made the world because that seemed like a good explanation at the time. They may have believed in the efficacy of sacrifice, because why wouldn't you want sacrifices made to you?