The Puritans & Their Immersion in the Word

In a piece in The New York Times Magazine this past summer, Noah Feldman reflects on his upbringing in Orthodox Judaism. There were quite a number of things I found fascinating, but none more than this remark about his immersion in the Hebrew Bible: “Line by line we burrowed into the old texts in their original Hebrew and Aramaic. The poetry of the Prophets sang in our ears. After years of this, I found I could recite the better part of the Hebrew Bible from memory. Among other things, this meant that when I encountered the writings of the Puritans who founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony, I felt immediate kinship. They read those same texts again and again—often in Hebrew—searching for their own errand into the American wilderness.” [“Orthodox Paradox”, The New York Times Magazine (July 22, 2007), 43].

This is extraordinary not only for the remarks about the memorization of the Old Testament, but also for the kinship felt by Noah, an orthodox Jew, for the Puritans. It is good testimony to the latter’s immersion in the Word of God