Dr. Moshe KrakowskiDr. Moshe Krakowski, associate profession and director of the masters program at Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, and David Block, teacher at Shalhevet High School, Los Angeles, California, have co-authored an article for Religions titled “When the Truth Is Not What Actually Happened: The Epistemology of Religious Truth in Orthodox Jewish Bible Study.”

This paper, said Dr. Krakowski, “uses data from Jewish religious chumash [Bible] study to examine how students’ conceptions of biblical truth are grounded in the particular forms of chumash study they engage in.”

The authors had two takeaways from their study. “The first,” said Dr. Krakowski, “is that scientific, historical approaches to epistemology are not useful for understanding Orthodox students’ understanding of the nature of chumash.”

Second, instead of focusing on whether one methodology or another is the right way to teach, “it is probably better to ask how teaching this way shapes students’ epistemology—that is, how does the activity shape students’ understanding of the world given the broader cultural context to which they belong? How would these understandings be affected if the activity changed?” It is important to understand that “small changes in the practice may lead to large changes in religious outlook.”

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