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June 20, 2005



Of course, Mercury is a god, like Pe'or, which is worshipped by its degradation and is typical for that type of idolatry.


Shmuel, aren't you being a bit harsh on Mercury? Pe'or seems to be the God of Licentiouisness and is worshipped in iniquitious ways. (see Jastrow article in Jewish Encyclopedia).

On the other hand, Mercurius is the god of commerce. Are you against merchandising? ;)  As you may have read in the intro to this commendiary, the rabbis say that Mercury was worshipped simply by throwing stones at the idol.

Still, both forms of idolatry are seductive. Maybe Mercury can be compared to the market (shuq), in the rabbinic sense. ADDeRabbi recently wrote in his comments page:  "the basic sense that a 'market' is a forum for the exchange of goods, a place where different elements come together, and where people compete for the attention of the public, is definitely present in the Rabbinic view. Another example is the Rabbinic version of how the Moabite women seduced the Israelite men at the end of Balak."


The three typologies that you use - Resistors, Accomodators, and Retreaters - does Berger use those categories explicitly? I saw similar language used in one of Jeff Gurock's books, and I think i saw an abstract for a recent Azure article that also uses these categories. Respond off-line if you prefer.


Thanks. I believe that Berger uses resistance and accommodation in a Spring 1967 article in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. He uses a different but related typology of neo-orthodox defense, reductive liberalism, and an “inductive” option (e.g., Schleiermacher) in The heretical imperative. Berger does not deal much with Judaism (Karl Barth is his paradigmatic neo-orthodox), though Berger’s types are used by e.g. Reform scholar David Ellenson in a chapter in Tradition in transition: Orthodoxy, halakhah, and the boundaries of modern Jewish identity. I was thinking that many Orthodox resist more by turning inward, hence retreat, which I imagine in the positive sense, e.g., “spiritual retreat”. It would be catchier to have 3 Rs,but accommodation is more familiar than, say, redescription or reframing (which is how some religious deal with modernity). You might also find Troeltsch’s typologies useful. Can you give me the Azure citation? Kol tuv.

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