Samuel: Why did they stop? Why have many of us lost the sense that we can see and hear God directly?
Kugel: So much of the world has changed; in fact, it had begun to change radically even within the biblical period. Ancient Israelites weren’t scientists, but they gradually developed a sense that there are rules that govern what happens in the world, and violations of those rules, miracles, became more and more infrequent. People still encountered God, but there was a definite movement from outside to inside; the soul gradually became what it had never been before, a kind of divine island in the midst of the human body. Most of all, people’s sense of self evolved; the divine no longer began where a person’s fingertips ended, and people were no longer as open to an uncanny surprise just around the corner.