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Hiwi al-Balhki - Early Bible Critic

Hiwi al-Balhki - Early Bible Critic

Ḥiwi was an amazingly radical freethinker. About his life we know next to nothing. And most unfortunately, his notorious work, often called the Book of Two Hundred Questions, has not been preserved because the leaders of both Jewish communities of his day had no interest at all in its survival. They did all they could to achieve its disappearance, and nearly succeeded.

That we still know a fair amount about Ḥiwi’s work is something we owe to it being so controversial that, for several decades after its appearance, Jewish authors (including even Karaites) tried to refute the ideas of this heretic. Of course, in order to refute him they had to quote him: hence our knowledge of his radicalism.
Saadia’s work was long lost as well, but in the late-19th century considerable portions were rediscovered among the hundreds of thousands of old Jewish documents found in the Cairo Genizah, a storehouse in the Ben Ezra Synagogue. Ḥiwi’s opponents could not but render his arguments if they wanted to combat them, which has enabled modern scholars to reconstruct almost a quarter of the 200 critical questions he raised.


An interesting read.  Hiwi examined the Torah's tales and found them to be contradictory and often foolish.  An interesting read about a nearly forgotten skeptic and higher bible critic.  Another ancient free thought hero for us to know about.  A nice example of somebody capable of thinking rationally about religion, reminding us that not everybody is irrational when it comes to religion.
Plunk your magic twanger Froggy!   Boinnnnnng!  Hiya Kids!  Hiya! Hiya!

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Hiwi al-Balhki - Early Bible Critic
Quote:Hiwi examined the Torah's tales and found them to be contradictory and often foolish.

I know what he means.  Fucking jesus and mo have the same problem.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”

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