Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Aaron Jastrow's Sermon

I finished Herman Wouk's The Language God Talks: On Science and Religion.

At the end of the book, Wouk quotes the sermon of Professor Aaron Jastrow, who was a character in Wouk's book, War and Remembrance.  As I read the sermon, it seemed familiar to me, and that was because my family watched the War and Remembrance miniseries when it was on TV in 1988.  The miniseries was jarring to me at the time because it was the first time when I saw on television a depiction of the Holocaust, and I remember that I cried when Jews (including Professor Jastrow) were being gassed in the concentration camp.  I recall that Professor Jastrow was reciting Psalm 23 as he went to his death.

Professor Jastrow in his sermon spoke about Job.  Jastrow's assumption was that Job was a Jew, which is not explicitly in the biblical text.  But his main point was that the Jews themselves are like Job, in that they praise God even when the universe does not make sense.  After my family watched the sermon scene, my Dad said that it was a good sermon.

I recently watched the miniseries' depiction of the speech on YouTube (see here), and it was more pious than what I read in Wouk's quotation of the sermon in The Language God Talks, for Jastrow in the book questions whether God's reason for allowing the Satan to afflict Job (namely, to meet the Satan's challenge) was a good enough reason.  But the main point in the book's version of the sermon is the same as what was on the miniseries.

Although I finished The Language God Talks, I may still write another post about it, maybe even two.

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