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26.1.17

Christians are uniformly against the Talmud

Christians are uniformly against the Talmud for little reason. They might not burn it for the same reason they do not burn the Communist Manifesto. But the attitude is roughly the same.
This comes directly from a statement in the NT, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees."
Then comes a long tirade against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. A well deserved tirade, I must add. 
The prushim פרושים in fact are considered highly related to the Baali HaTalmud [authors of the Talmud] as we can see in many historical documents (Hippolytus) that people in general divided Israel into three parts Essenes, Pharisees, Sadducees. The curious thing is that the gentiles did in fact distinguish between the different groups of Essenes. But here between the Prushim and the people that were involved in keeping the Oral and Written Law they seem to have not made any distinction. [Christians in fact were generally considered just a subsection of the Essenes]. 
 From my point of view this all seems curious because the פרושים (Pharisees) and the Baali HaMishna and Talmud ([authors of the Mishna and Talmud]) are not the same group as we can see all the time in the Talmud itself. The Prushim may have held by the validity of the Oral Law, but so did the Essenes, and so did Jesus himself.  Some braitot (outside teachings, i.e. teachings outside of the Mishna) brought in the Talmud in fact were borrowed from the Essenes. [This type of thing gives rise to the constant occupation of the Talmud to figure out which braitot (outside teachings) were legitimate and which were not.]

At any rate, the clear critique of Jesus was against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, not against the Oral Law as close examination of his statement will show. Plus his little noticed statement "The Pharisees sit on Moses' throne,- so all that they say and teach that you must fulfill." (I should not neglect to mention that the Talmud and Mishna have parallel critiques of the hypocrisy of the Prushim which I mentioned in other essays.)


The thing which bothers me about all this is that one is required to keep the Law of Moses. It was not replaced, nor done away with. So along with throwing out the Law of Moses, there seems to be little or no concern about what it actually means -- until it gets into an area that Christians are particularly sensitive about because of their level of disgust at certain a practice forbidden in the Law of Moses.   

Natural Law comes into play here as Aquinas did by using the ideas developed by Saadia Gaon and Maimonides (the Rambam).  Still, all in all, neither Natural Law nor Divine Law have had much popularity in Western Christianity for  along time. Christians as a rule go to Paul to decide what is forbidden according to "Scripture." They certainly never go to the OT (Old Testament) nor to the actual words of Jesus, since the actual words of Jesus would just make things a million times more strict than the Law of Moses. That is something no one wants even to consider.)

In any case, my basic position is that the Christian distaste for the Talmud is completely uncalled for, and based on a simple mistake in understanding the NT.



On the other hand, if their critique was on the charlatans and demonic teachers that pretend to teach and keep the Talmud, then their critique would be justified. For that reason I avoid the religious world like I would avoid a leper colony. But that is people misusing the Talmud. Abusus non tolit usum.  Abuse does not cancel use.  If  you have authentic Lithuanian types of yeshivas in your area, then fine. But if not, then I would avoid the religious world at all cost. Go to Reform, Conservative, or Mizrachi synagogues.



What does this mean in a larger Christian context? I admit that from my point of view, I see Peter and James as more valid than Paul. Still issue of the Talmud is a separate question.
Most Christians see Paul as representing the most valid understanding of Jesus, while Peter and James are basically lukewarm. Still that does not seem to have any bearing on the issues I discussed up above. [ See this book which goes into the issue. But this was already noted by many authors that I have seen. Not the least the Recognitions of Clement.] However it is clear from the New Testament itself that Peter and James disagreed with Paul completely and held his approach of anti Torah was against Jesus himself. James could not have been more clear: one is required to keep every single command in the Old Testament from A to Z. And that means all the commandments not just the Ten. There are lots of commandment in the Old Testament that are not in the category of the Ten and they were openly told to Moses that they are for all time for example the commandments pertaining to the Building of the Temple and the bringing of sacrifices.