Rav Shlomo Fisher and the Scientific Accuracy of Scripture
Rav Shlomo Fisher, Rosh Yeshivah of Itri, is a very interesting person. Unlike most Roshei Yeshivah, he has extensive knowledge of theology. But his views can be surprising. A friend of mine, who has had many conversations with him, described him as being great in that he is "totally unpredictable and inconsistent"!
I recently came across two fascinating short pieces by Rav Fisher. One was an extremely harsh condemnation of the rishon R. Yosef Ibn Kaspi. (Follow the link to see a response by Rav Shmuel Ashkenazi).
But while Rav Fisher doesn't specify the full range of his objections, it would not appear that he objects to Ibn Kaspi's use of the principle Dibra Torah k'lashon bnei adam, "The Torah speaks in the language of men," which I have cited on numerous occasions in articles and discussed in a blog post. For I just looked at a paragraph by Rav Fisher which I cited in Sacred Monsters, and noticed that the preceding paragraphs address precisely this point. In Drashos Beis Yishai, ma'amar hamo'ach vehalev, footnote 4, he raises the question that Scripture as well as Chazal clearly describe the soul as residing in the heart rather than the brain, whereas we know that the heart merely serves to pump blood. Rav Fisher answers that dibra Torah k'lashon bnei adam. He notes that Rambam explained that Yechezkel's vision of the Chariot includes the incorrect belief that the celestial spheres make noise, because prophecy appears according to the worldview of the recipient, even if that worldview is inaccurate.
(On this point, see Guide for the Perplexed II:8, with the commentaries of Efodi, Shem Tov, Narvoni, and Abarbanel in Ta’anos, 4. For further discussion, see Warren Zev Harvey, “How to Begin to Study Moreh Nevuchim,” Da’at 21 (1988) 5-23 pp. 21-23 (in Hebrew). Ralbag was also of this view; see his commentary to Gen. 15:4 and to Job, end of ch. 39. My thanks to Dr. Marc Shapiro for these references.)
Accordingly, Rav Fisher is of the same view as Ibn Kaspi, as well as Rav Hirsch and Rav Kook, that Scripture itself need not be scientifically accurate; it packages its messages in the worldview of the people that received it.
(See too my monograph The Question of the Kidney's Counsel.)