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    Non-judgmental No’ach

    God Appears to Noah, by James Tissot, c. 1896

    God Appears to Noah, by James Tissot, c. 1896

    The rabbinic scholars were ambivalent about No’ach.

    Was he objectively righteous, or was his goodness subjective – relative to other people, and dependent on the opinions of the bystander?

    For thousands of years the debate had raged. How are we to judge No’ach? Can we leave the facts to speak for themselves? Can we find and agree upon a final judgment?

    Attractive though it sounds it is quite impossible. The facts never speak for themselves.

    We know from studies of the sociology of knowledge that there is no human opinion or communication that is free of bias. Whatever we think or say is influenced by the values we stand by.

    Communication comes from a “meaning source” and even if we pretend otherwise, we are trying to convert or persuade other people at every moment.

    No’ach may be the current topic, but every subject is affected by the same constraints. If for instance you look at Albert Einstein (whose name you can replace with any other you choose) you are influenced by your religious, social, scientific or political moulding.

    All you can do is to make sure you have acquired a range of judgments and share them with the rest of the world.

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