Living up to Truth, Author's Preface

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Living Up to Truth
by Rabbi Dr. Dovid Gottlieb
2nd Revised Edition

Title Page | Author's Preface | Translater's Forward
I - The Relevance of Religion | II - Religion: Pragmatism or Truth? | III - Belief and Action: Criteria for Responsible Decision | IV - True Predictions | V - Archeology | VI - Revelation and Miracles - the Kuzari Principle | VII - Jewish Survival - the Fact and its Implications | VIII - Summary and Conclusion

Living up to Truth


In the last one and a half years a great deal of progress has been made on this manuscript. There are three very obvious changes. Summaries have been inserted on almost every page so that the reader can have a running formulation of the points that have been made. In fact, it has been suggested to me that one might read the summaries through from beginning to end as a first pass through the manuscript in order to become familiar with the ground to be covered. This strikes me as an excellent idea. In addition, I have placed technical comments in brackets [ ] in a smaller font. These comments are designed for those with a background in philosophy, mathematics, or science - and for those with an intellectually adventuresome spirit. They can be skipped without missing anything essential to the argument. Also, the title has been changed to reflect my better understanding that the argument is based on the princeples of responsible living.

Not so obvious is the care that has been taken to tighten the formulations, to make the expression of ideas consistent, to reorganize the flow of argument, and to correct mistakes. For the first time I think it is approaching the status of written work. On the way to a book, I would call it a second draft. Much work remains to be done. Chapters IV (True Predictions) and V (Archeology) need to be greatly expanded. A substantial amount of documentation must be supplied. The quality of writing could be vastly improved. It still has the status of work in progress. I can only pray that just as G-d has enabled me to get this far, He will also make the further work possible.

It is a pleasure to acknowledge the help of my colleagues and students at Ohr Somayach, especially the summer Jewish Learning Exchange of 1995. Their critical attention revealed a number of problems and some outright mistakes which have been corrected. Taffy Gould provided expert editing advice. Jon Erlbaum read the majority of the manuscript with exquisite attention to both content and editing. Since I followed their advice selectively, I remain fully responsible for the remaining defects.

Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb
Channukah, 5756


Joshua Hermelin has provided a very significant service in transcribing three of my lectures. The material presented is complex and controversial. Relying on verbal transmission is not ideal for careful perusal. Having a written version which can be read at one's own pace, reviewed, consulted repeatedly, and used to compare different sections simultaneously, is a great benefit. I hope to have it distributed when the lectures are presented in the future.

It must be recognized that this is the transcription of material presented verbally. Were I writing this material, the text would be substantially different. There is much repetition, reformulation, and use of nearly equivalent but somewhat different expression. In a written text more attention would be paid to precision, verbal consistency and economy. More important, certain matters receive very curtailed treatment due to the limitations of the particular audience to which the lectures were given. For example, the mention of Pascal's argument (and game theory in general) needs much more elaborate treatment (which I have done privately, but not presented in lecture). Similarly, the treatment of archeology needs great expansion. Thus the reader should not regard this "text" as a complete argument, but rather as an outline of how the argument goes. He can assess its internal logic and try to anticipate how it will be finished, but the whole scope of the argument is not yet present. (Work is underway to put it in written form.)

In spite of these limitations, the availability of the version of the lectures is a great step forward in making this material available to the thoughtful "quest for truth" as Joshua puts it. If the lectures continue to have an impact it will be due in significant measure to his efforts.

It is a pleasure to acknowledge comments of these who read this material, especially Professor David Wierderker and Dr. Yisroel Asher. I am especially indebted to Rabbi Eliezer Shapiro for his patience and expert help in preparing the manuscript.

Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb
Rosh Chodesh Iyar 5754

© 1994-5 Rabbi Dr. Dovid Gottlieb All Rights Reserved.
Printed In Israel

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