On February 7, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Jewish learning put up an English translation of the Babylonian Talmud for free. It is a staple text for Judaism that was usually only read by rabbis because it was written in Aramaic. Now it is available for anyone interested in the religious text. This is a huge success because, according to the article, almost 90% of the Jewish community speak only Hebrew and English. Although the translation is not complete, the organization has assured that they will continue to add on to the many volumes that make up the Talmud. They have also made the effort to link other essential texts to supplement the reading of the Talmud. There are other versions of the Talmud up online, but they have not been translated and cost hundreds of dollars.
Given what we learned this week from the readings of William James, we can say that experience plays a big role in defining religion and the formation of an individual. James made the argument that these religious experiences are true to an individual, and shape their world view. With the availability of the Talmud in English for free, more people can have access to a new religious experience that may develop or change their beliefs. They can experience something that would have previously only been available as second hand knowledge. If this trend continues, we will hopefully start to see more of these religious texts translated and offered to the public. The ease of access will allow individuals to further build on their beliefs. There is high value in sharing religious information, such as that of the Talmud, for those seeking their own religious experience.