Judaism Critique


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Slides for Jon Kohler's Amarillo College Bible Chair SW World Religions Class, Spring 2010.

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Judaism Critique

  1. 1. Judaism Analysis and Evaluation
  2. 2. Judaism Epistemology <ul><li>Truth, albeit in varying degrees, for most Jews is contained in the Jewish Sacred Texts. </li></ul><ul><li>Torah – The first five books of the Hebrew Bible. </li></ul><ul><li>Tanakh – The entirety of the Hebrew Bible. </li></ul><ul><li>Mishnah – Definitive word of early rabbinic Judaism compiled c. 200 C.E. The Mishnah records the rabbinic interpretations and disagreements regarding the Tanakh. </li></ul><ul><li>Talmud – seeks to leave no issue in the Mishnah and Tanakh unexplained. It is, in part, a collection of the traditions Moses gave in oral form. Both the Mishnah and the Talmud are considered at least, if not more, authoritative as the Tanakh. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Epistemological Problems <ul><li>The Three Branches of Judaism Conflict or Contradict in at least the following ways: </li></ul><ul><li>They do not agree on the nature or the inspiration of their scripture. Orthodox Jews maintain that the written and oral Torah are God’s word; the Reform Jews maintain that the Bible is a human document. </li></ul><ul><li>Their basic understanding of the nature and essence of “God” is in question. Orthodox Jews maintain that God is personal and retains “omni” characteristics; Reform Jews can accept just about any concept of God, “The truth is that we do not know the truth.” </li></ul><ul><li>The Orthodox view of the law is deontological and the Reform view is teleological. </li></ul><ul><li>The Reform view of salvation is that one is saved through the betterment of self and society; the Orthodox view presupposes right standing with God. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Judaism Ethics in the Talmud <ul><li>The following is taken from “ The Truth About the Talmud ,” by Michael A. Hoffman II and Alan R. Crichley. </li></ul><ul><li>“ My son be more careful in the observance of the words of the Scribes than in the words of the Torah” (Erubin 21b). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Without the Talmud we would not be able to understand passages in the Bible” (Rabbi Yehiel ben Joseph). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Whoever disobeys the rabbis deserves death and will be punished by being boiled in hot excrement in hell” (Erubin 21b). </li></ul><ul><li>“ If a heathen (gentile) hits a Jew, the gentile must be killed” (Sanhedrin 58b). </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>“ If an ox of an Israelite gores an ox of a Canaanite there is no liability; but if an ox of a Canaanite gores an ox of an Israelite the payment is to be in full” (Baba Kamma 37b). </li></ul><ul><li>“ If a Jew finds an object lost by a gentile it does not have to be returned” (Baba Mezia 24a). </li></ul><ul><li>When a Jew murders a gentile, there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a gentile he may keep (Sanhedrin 57a). </li></ul><ul><li>“ All gentile children are animals” (Yebamoth 98a). </li></ul><ul><li>“ No rabbi can ever go to hell” (Hagigah 27a). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Jews must destroy the books of the Christians, i.e., the New Testament” (Shabbath 116a) </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Rabbi Yaacov Perrin, “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail” (New York Daily News, Feb. 28, 1994). </li></ul><ul><li>In Berakoth 58a the Talmud uses Ezekiel 23:20 as proof of the subhuman status of Gentiles and teaches that anyone who reveals this Talmudic teaching about non-Jews deserves death, since it makes Gentiles wrathful and causes repression of Judaism. </li></ul><ul><li>Maimonides in Mishnah Torah states, “Accordingly, if we see an idolater (gentile) being swept away or drowning in a river, we should not help him. If we see his life in danger, we should not save him” ( English Trans. p. 184). </li></ul><ul><li>“ It is mitzvah (religious duty) to eradicate Jewish traitors and to cause them to descend into the pit of destruction, since they cause difficulty to the Jews and sway the people away from God, as did Jesus of Nazareth and his students, and Tzadok, Baithos and their students. May the name of the wicked rot” (Mishnah Torah 184). </li></ul>
  7. 7. Ethical Evaluation <ul><li>At the very least. the Talmudic teachings regarding gentiles is inflammatory and racist, if not Jewish supremacist. </li></ul><ul><li>No ethical system which purports causing the suffering of other human beings should be taken seriously. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a shame that many of the followers of Judaism wrap themselves in the cloak of anti-semiticism while the Talmud promotes its own form of racism. </li></ul><ul><li>The only way a gentile can become right with God is to embrace Judaism. </li></ul>