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Fascinating. Thanks Michael.


I can actually say something about this topic :]

Hebrew transcription is... a mess, to put it kindly :] The word is נְבִיאִים. It's quite straightforward to pronounce, but I've seen it transcribed as "neviim" "naviim" "n'viim" "n'vi'im", "nevi'im" and more. It can also be written with two different types of apostrophes, but I will not even try to reproduce that.

([v]/[b] is quite complicated in its own right.)

It simply means 'prophets'.

"Though it might be taken as blasphemy by some believers today, the fact is that the nabiim were essentially mediums or channelers, who entered a trancelike state and allowed another personality to speak through them."

You might be interested in Rabbi Yosef Karo and his magid for a more recent example. This is a totally OK topic in Orthodoxy, especially Chasidism (I've had less success discussing these topics with American Modern Orthodox types, but that's a broad generalization).

FYI, the section in Zecharya is generally read to refer to false prophets, not to prophecy in general. It says for example "they will no longer wear their fur cloak to deceive [people]". This in itself is a prophecy, not a description of a past event...

Jaynes tends to ignore pretty much all Jewish tradition and history, at least that was the impression I got when I read the book (it was a long time ago, but I can dig it up if you're interested in a discussion).

By and large there is quite little opposition to psi in traditional Judaism. Strangely this is much less so in more "modern" branches. A friend of mine asked a few Reform and Conservative rabbis about telepathy in Judaism and they either could not provide an answer or even stated outright that Judaism said nothing about telepathy. (Which is IMO a rather baffling statement...) By comparison, if you ask an everyday Chasid (not even a rabbi, just an everyday Chasid) they will probably offer several stories off the top of their heads :] Other Chareidim are more or less the same. Litvishe people probably less so. And some American Modern Orthodox people (though definitely not all!!!) try to reinvent Calvinism ;] and get rid of all kinds of stuff they perceive to be too spiritual.

Great post, Michael! Interesting comments, Bogi!

Buddhism's encouragement of the state of "unknowing" could be interpreted as encouragement of right-brained consciousness.

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