Posted by Sons of the Batman Monday, June 13, 2011
Rabbi Yitzhak Luria said there are 600,000 faces of the Torah. One for each soul in Israel. In other words: everyone who reads the Torah finds a different (valid) meaning. This kind of thinking is hard to swallow in our culture. An investigation into the historical accuracy of the Pentateuch, for example, is totally out of place here. If there are as many valid interpretations of Torah as there are people, then they are all (T)rue.
Capital (T)ruth really hasn't been with us for long. It gained popularity in the West during the Renaissance and Either-Or logic became the preferred tool of the philosophy schools in Europe. Suddenly, Truth was everywhere, devouring cultural myths and shitting out replicants of itself. The clones came out screaming. "True or False. Yes or No."
Literal truth is considered only one of many interpretations of Torah. A common argument against the validity of the Gospels in the New Testament is that they were most likely not written by the apostles they are attributed to. But looking back through Jewish tradition, you find many examples where writers use famous cultural figures as pseudonyms. The widow of Moses de Leon (who had been handing out portions of the book he claimed had been written by Shimon bar Yochai for years) told everyone to stop asking for the rest of the Sephir ha Zohar, because it didn't exist. He'd been handing out tracts as he wrote them. The Sephir ha Zohar's continued popularity shows us that the historical accuracy of the work was not an issue. Can you imagine?
Myths attempt to explain ineffable ideas that can't be spoken of in Either/Or terms. We need myths to give meaning to our lives outside the production-consumption cycle (another great idea from the Renaissance, by the by), but we've sold them for a scientific certainty that doesn't even exist. "Just a myth" is now a term denoting falseness.
But what the hell does this have to do with the Batman?
It's 1939, and the science age is in full swing. Nietzsche long ago alerted us to God's death, and the Truth monster is bloated, lolling on its side and thanking no one in particular for the end of all myths. It can't eat another bite. It's spent the last five centuries hunting down and devouring anything that didn't make sense, goddammit! and now it just wants to take a nap. As the monster's snores bubble from it's bloody mouth, a kid in a drugstore picks up a copy of Detective Comics #27 and sticks it under his jacket while the clerk is restocking dictionaries.