Discussion of the criteria for a "sacred text"


1. A sacred text should be written like a decree; this is conversational or argumentative.

2. Too concerned with law and order, just trying to figure out legal difficulties

3. It seems like someone telling you how to live, but not in a holy or sacred way--rather, sharing acquired knowledge

4. A sacred text should deal with God.

4. A sacred text should be emotional and experiential. No sense of mystery or awe.

5. Interpretation of God's word is not the same as God's word itself.

6. There are no definite conclusions.

7. They are arguments and sacred text shouldn't be argumentative.

8. They don't tell a story like the Torah does.


1. Sacred has to have ways to allow a religion to progress and change. The rabbis' authority (stemming from Moses) allows them to make changes in a sacred document.

2. Sacred text should provide some sort of moral code and deal with people's actions.

3. Sacred text should be divinely inspired, as this claims to be. Since the oral Torah is regarded as having been given at the same time as the written, both are sacred.

4. The sacred is redefined here as "teaching" (Torah), not at one time, but continually.

5. In Judaism the community is sacred. These teachings are handed down through the generations, so they are sacred.

6. Because God is separate from humans, it is impossible for humans to really know God's will. God has chosen this menthod to communicate, so it is sacred.

7. It is sacred because it is oral Torah: its teaching is more important than its form.

8. God's laws given to Moses left room for interpretation in the ages to follow.

9. The lack of resolution forces the reader to meditate on the text and its meaning.

10. Study and interpretation are sacred actions.

11. Because these documents are the lens for viewing the Torah they are determinative of people's actions and beliefs, hence, sacred.