Gentile reading of Judaism

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Out of the Box, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    i answered that above in my post above ( http://www.interfaith.org/forum/gentile-reading-of-judaism-10935.html#post184431 ) but since you apparently can't be arsed to read my answer, here it is again.

    firstly, sarah wasn't his sister, but his cousin. secondly, the Torah laws on forbidden marriages were only Revealed at sinai, otherwise jacob wouldn't have been able to marry both rachel and leah. thirdly, "sister-bride", in context, is an honorific title, in other words, your wife is so close she's like a sister to you. fourthly, they took her, he didn't "give" them. the text is terse and laconic to a supreme degree. all you are doing is reading in your own prejudices.

    how convenient. i know of plenty, which is why i gave examples, so i think we can dismiss this question, which in any case is about zionism, not judaism.

    go on then, find me a verse from the Torah which sounds nazi to you and let's analyse it together.

    i'm not here to apologise for the stern gang. they were not a religious group, they were not acting in a religiously sanctioned manner and i strongly condemn their ideology. so, again, as i said, this is about judaism, not the state of israel. you're clearly still not realising the difference.

    then you must be reading a different book of esther. jews had it pretty good back then? then why does it say this?

    as for "this doesn't sound like an age of oppression", here we have haman, the king's chief minister, *paying the king for permission to commit genocide* in chapter 3:

    yup, we had it pretty good, didn't we?

    i don't understand your point. when biblical figures and groups behave immorally and sinfully, they tend to reap the consequences of it; moreover, the behaviour concerned is explicitly identified as sinful and immoral. i struggle to understand how this might be construed as in any way condoning such behaviour.

    and he is soundly criticised for it in both primary and secondary sources. G!D even sets the kings of edom and aram against him as a consequence. in the Talmud, rabbi eliezer even questions whether, as a result of his behaviour, he forfeited his place in the World to Come. so, again, it is clear what is approved of and disapproved of.

    a close reading of the text, from which the secondary literature is derived, reveals how not only did esau effectively collude in his own disenfranchisement, "despising" his "birthright", but also makes a strong case for justifying jacob's behaviour. nonetheless, the sages make clear that such behaviour could definitely be construed as morally ambiguous depending on context and interpretation and find it necessary to find grounds on which to excuse this particular case. i'm summarising, of course, there have been reams written on most of these subjects.

    as i pointed out earlier, he didn't collude. the worst you can say is that he didn't object strenuously enough and, again, the text is so laconic that such a categorical reading as you are making tells us more about you than it does about the Torah.

    you tell me, i don't know what this refers to.

    er... if that were true, then it seems odd that they should have been retained by gentiles as moral exemplars, let alone foreshadowers of jesus, if "traditional gentile morality" were as you suggest. despite the long tradition of christian anti-judaism, they steer clear of this interpretation that you seem to think is so obvious, why do you suppose that is? i would be interested, incidentally, to hear what this "traditional gentile morality" is supposed to be, from where it stems and where it was operating in contradistinction to the dastardly deeds of the patriarchs in the contemporary context. perhaps in the theocratic slave economy of egypt with its incest-practicing pharaohs? on the ziggurats of ur, where dissenters were thrown into fiery furnaces? in the temples of molech, where firstborn children were sacrificed? in the temples of baal and asherah, where women were forced to do "national service" as sacred prostitutes? maybe in the temples of pteor, where defecation was how you "gave of your best"? and don't even get me started on that bunch of decadent layabouts, rapists and murderers they used to worship in greece and rome, or the burning-people-in-wicker-baskets and general-human-sacrifice stuff in northern europe. "traditional", my bottom. how about "love your neighbour as yourself"? how about "leave the corners of the field for the poor"? how about "you shall not oppress the foreigner, for you were foreigners in egypt"? now, *those* i can spot in mainstream society today, but, guess where they started?

    oh, here we go, that old chestnut.

    nope. "you shall have no other gods but Me" is addressed to the jewish people. if what you say were true, we'd have to be an evangelist religion like christianity and islam - and we're not.

    yes, sodom, the place where travellers were expected to submit to communal anal rape. i can't see what G!D was so upset about. and it isn't like abraham (that crook) didn't argue with G!D, trying to get the doom averted for the sake of potentially ten good people in the city... what a shower of *******s, eh?

    what's the point in my responding to your accusations if you're not going to read my responses? as i said above:

    pharaoh was Given the choice directly by G!D via moses and aaron, warned of the consequences and failed to exercise his free will. it is him that is culpable, he could have let the israelites go. as for "innocent egyptian civilians", those "innocent civilians" profited from 400 years of slavery and participated in child murder (remember all that "every boy child you shall cast into the river"?) - and they had a series of escalating warnings, none of which were heeded. so this, frankly, is a tendentious reading of the text.

    i'm starting to see a pattern here and it's not a pretty one.

    oh, that must be why such baathist luminaries as gamal-abdel nasser, rashid ali, hafiz al-assad, and even anwar sadat in his youth were on record as ardent admirers of fascism. pan-arabism is an ethnic nationalism, it is completely compatible with jew-hatred, although that is no longer a respectable thing for them to espouse.

    "eventually"? look, OOTB, you've made a lot of unpleasant accusations about how alleged jewish mistreatment of non-jews is religiously mandated, which i have refuted. every example of poor conduct that has been provided i have either shown is religiously forbidden, or does not derive from religion at all. i'm not denying there are bad, crooked or racist jews. i'm just saying that if they behave in such a way, it is in spite of what the religion says, not because of it. the only one trying to make paranoid generalisations here is you - and you're beginning to show the lack of depth in any case you might have.

    i think the real question is: do you truly believe that it is, throughout history, the consequence of something evil about jews? as carl sagan would put it i would say that such an extraordinary assertion would demand extraordinary proof and what you have provided so far is nothing but innuendo and your own rather twisted opinions.

    as i believe netti-netti has pointed out elsewhere, this is a tactic called "begging the question". you have not established the existence of this "rotten core", nor have you shown what it might consist of. your argument has not a shred of credibility, because there is no substance to your accusations and it appears to be based 100% on ignorance, credulity and malice.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  2. dauer

    dauer Well-Known Member

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    That's a fallacy. Whether or not I'm missing your point, you've repeatedly brushed aside mine.

    The Jewish community is aware of the stereotypes against them. They've served as justification for our persecution for many centuries. I don't see anything peculiar about the political cartoon borrowing those same stereotypes.

    Again a blanket generalization based in ignorance and justified by a political cartoon.

    BB provided some in his post above and there's more in the link you're going to be reading.

    That's the most mainstream interpretation. The others apply v'ahavta et ha-ger. There is a small extremist fringe that thinks differently among the ultra-orthodox but their views are not in line with Jewish tradition.

    Again, conflating Israel with Judaism is not accurate. Many Jews do not support the actions of the Israeli gov't against the Palestinians. You are not making a logical argument, but instead a sweeping generalization.

    Two reasons: historically Jews did not assimilate much. That goes to the very roots of monotheism, the shift from henotheism to monotheism where the myth becomes that G!d punished the Jews instead of that the gods of a conquering people have defeated the jewish gods. The assimilation issue was a sore point for conquering nations who expected those they conquered to fully subjugate themselves to the ways of the conquering nation.

    Second reason: Christianity had issues with Judaism from the start for not disappearing. This led to charges of deicide and other accusations throughout history. I don't get the sense you believe that the Blood Libels are based in truth. Certainly we don't have discussions in our texts of making matzah from the blood of Christian babies. Blood libel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The money issue of course goes back to the many restrictions placed on Jews by the Church and Christian nations, including forced ghettoization. Christians could not lend money to Jews so it was one of the few occupations where they were allowed to have some degree of success. Being in the role of money lenders, and being the only ones in that role, left room for generalized accusations against the Jewish people, especially where we were so despised to begin with.

    The word ger is actually used in a few ways in the Talmud to refer specifically to gentiles. You'll get more of that when you read the link.

    No, I've already stated that it's to do with the Noachide laws. You can google them.

    If a person makes generalizations about Judaism based in their anti-zionism that is just as antisemitic as it would be anti-islamic to make generalizations about islam based on the actions of certain politically-charged groups. I do not condone such generalizations as either valid or useful.

    We're running into confusion because you use the word official. When I hear official I think something along the lines of the KJV. Judaism is very far from monolithic. The only official things that we have are in their original language. Have you ever heard the expression, 2 Jews, 3 opinions? We have translations into other languages. None of them are official. They're undertaken by individuals (as in the case of steinsaltz) or groups of scholars (as in the case of the schottenstein translation.) No translation is authoritative.

    You have an in-depth analysis of a translation on that page BB linked you to. You would have seen that if you visited the site. However, having some sort of "official" interpretation is problematic. Judaism has more official disagreements bound up in its interpretations. The Talmud is a book of people disagreeing with each other and arguing back and forth in one sense. Later generations continued the debate up until today.

    I know well-educated gentiles who see things much differently. You said you speak Dutch. Are you from the Netherlands? I'm aware that's not the most Jew-friendly place. I have a friend, a Jew, who works with D66. I was speaking with him some weeks ago after the attack at the Sinai Centre. I live in the Boston area in the states and I can tell you the views I hear here from well-educated gentiles are not so ignorant as what you suggest gentiles see. Even no this site we can find well educated folk who would not agree with you. I want to also challenge what I think is an implied assumption, that Jews keep to their own and don't socialize with non-Jews. I'm getting that from your statements about gentiles as if to educate me about what a people I'm unfamiliar with think. Aside from the ultra-orthodox, we mix regularly with non-Jews and befriend them. We're a normal part of society. You can see us on the streets and miss us. Some of us wear kippot on our heads all the time but most of us do not.

    I hope you're aware that those are links to sites where you can purchase volumes from the Talmud. You'd have an easier time going to the link BB gave you. I know you've given ear to the anti-semitic arguments. You might as well hear some of how we understand our own texts. Until you've taken in some of those sources I don't see much point in dialoguing. You're coming from the same uninformed position you held when we began.
     
  3. Out of the Box

    Out of the Box High-priest

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    Any group.

    Thanks. That's the kind of answer I've been looking for.

    I'll have to get my bible at hand (if I can find it) before I can comment on this.

    In spite or our disagreements on this particular issue, I agree it may be better to leave this for now.

    I'll have to get my bible at hand for that.

    I do realise the difference. I just don't see how zionism and Judaism differ in their attitude towards gentiles.

    It says that Jews could have positions in very high places as long as they didn't mention they were Jews. That's hardly oppression.

    Considering Haman never actually did kill the Jews but the Jews killed tens of thousands of Babylonians instead, I would say you guys did indeed have it pretty good.

    I must get my bible at hand for some examples.

    Yet, you still praise Solomon for his wisdom.

    You can discuss it all you can, I see no way this can not be interpreted as willful deception.

    Again, I'll be back with details later.

    IMO, Christianity is the most nonsensical religion in existence, so don't ask me why any gentile would allow himself to be inspired by the Old Testament.

    What a great illustration of the Jewish hatred of gentiles in ancient days is the extremely offensive language you're using here !

    Hindus, Sumerians and Babylonians had a belief system far superior to Judaism before Moses was even born.

    You're twisting my words.

    It's still mass murder.

    what's the point in my responding to your accusations if you're not going to read my responses? as i said above:

    First of all, why should the Egyptian people suffer for a choice made by their pharao?

    Second, not all Egyptians had Jewish slaves.

    Third, antisemitic actions (like deminishing of Jews' rights or in this case slavery) usually occur AFTER a significant amount of Jews have betrayed the trust of the gentiles they live amongst.

    pharaoh was Given the choice directly by G!D oh, that must be why such baathist luminaries as gamal-abdel nasser, rashid ali, hafiz al-assad, and even anwar sadat in his youth were on record as ardent admirers of fascism. pan-arabism is an ethnic nationalism, it is completely compatible with jew-hatred, although that is no longer a respectable thing for them to espouse.[/quote]

    I thought we were talking about liberalism rather than pan-arabism (which is totally distinct from liberalism). Are you consciously trying to distort my words?

    Then why is it that Jews never seem to get along with the gentiles they live amongst, regardless of how hospitable these people are? Why are there so many rotten apples in the Jewish basket?

    My viewpoint is that Jewish culture is extremely ethnocentric and that as a consequence there have been numerous conflicts with gentiles throughout history and in many different countries.

    If I go too much in depth, I'll probably get banned for alledged antisemitism. I don't want to take that risk, especially considering I'm here to discuss religious philosophy and not the nature of Jewish culture.
     
  4. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Indeed, that was myself - I'm the only admin here, hence the "Admit edit".

    The cartoon itself was contextual, and taken out of that context, would be easily mis-interpreted as anti-semitic - something one of the commentators on Forward.com noted very clearly.

    Self-criticism within a social group, reused outside of it by others, can easily become offensive, hence nipping that one in the bud.


    That's an interestingly militant statement - considering the Jewish homeland was routinely a buffer to empires (Egyptian - Assyrian, Roman - Sassanid, Byzantine - Persian), they seem to have done an awful job of creating a military state. Survival, on the other hand, seem a more consistent priority.

    It's interesting, because I just don't see this. If the Jewish race was indeed as militant as you seem to suggest, they haven't really succeeded very much in their world conquest - centuries of persecution, and a little patch of semi-desert to mark their achievement!


    Actually, no. A lot of people identify the Nation State of Israel with the Jewish people, and fail to make the distinction. Hence protests and actions against Israel end up becoming erroneously extrapolated to Jews in general. This is exactly what you seem to be doing by claiming to be only anti-Zionist, yet communicating as anti-Jewish.


    Well, it's an absolutely huge volume, so commercial demand would likely be weak! Even still, because proselyting isn't a normal part of Judaism, there's no perceived urgent need - especially when you juxtapose this to evangelical Christian groups who see getting their message across as paramount.


    The Talmud is available online - may not be a perfect translation - but that is always the challenge with non-English works looking for English translation. I have a copy myself, which was intended to go up on this site - but at the time I was coding the site's pages by hand, and the task was too big. However, it is something I should be able to achieve in the near future.


    Here you're making a mistaken presumption of equating all ethnocentric groups as similar - while Western Europe may have removed itself from any sense of community identity, there are plenty of people's around the world who still see themselves foremost as a community. The mistake would be to presume otherwise.


    The Jewish writings are unique in that they are not politically re-written for propaganda purposes, but instead use flaws as a means to understanding.


    As Dauer mentioned before, it's easy to view this as attributing victories to YHWH, rather than being a cause. Otherwise, if you believe this as literal truth, it's effectively accepting that YHWH and Judaism!

    From a non-Jewish perspective, Divinity has always taken on social attributes of the people and time - heck, you only have to look at the Bronze-Age Greeks and the cruelty of their gods.

    Here's the problem - you're taking the strawman that Jews are only looking after themselves, militantly against Gentiles, in order to defeat them - and then act surprised when this is rightly called anti-semitic.

    Let's face it, you're entering this discussion with a preconception that Jews are to be combated against - not Zionism - but Jews in general - and act surprised that this gets perceived as and called out as anti-semetic.

    There's not even a political argument in here - just a base generalisation that all Jews = Zionism, Zionism = must be defeated, therefore Jews = must be defeated. It's logic at its worst.


    Which indeed is the problem here - you can't separate them, hence you're taking a political-religious movement and applying it to an ethnographic group.

    You see this as political discussion - but it's plain and simple anti-Semitism trying to dress up as something else.
     
  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    In some ways, yes.

    rhetorical yes? Obviously the answer is no, and I think a lot has to do with intention.
    You know you are probably correct. I live in America...don't have a lot of ethnic families to compare to...simply the complaining whining americans who are so distraught over the economy whilst sending their kids to private school and watching CNN on their 42" screens, multiple cars in the yard multiple computers and entertainment centers, mp3s, ipods, internet and cell phones whining this is worse than the depression.

    I'm sorry that it is true that I am stating my basis for my statements a my life. NFL, NASCAR, NBA, March Madness, and whatever the news says about the weather and DOW 100 rules.... forget teaching your kids, that is the job of the school and if they don't do it right we'll sue, and let them watch the tube instead of worthwhile discussion around the dinner table...

    Reality USA...where reality TV is not so far from the truth...
     
  6. Out of the Box

    Out of the Box High-priest

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    Whatever....

    No Jew would have thought it was funny unless they actually know people within their own community who fitted the stereotypes you find in that cartoon. The factor of recognition within the local community is what makes this sort of humor funny.

    It is based on quite a bit more than that. I don't think I've EVER met a white Western-European gentile who thinks like that. In fact, we are consistently brainwashed with the idea that even a slight amount of ethnocentrism is very bad !

    Asians, Africans and Middle-Easterners tend to be more ethnocentric than Western-Europeans, but none ever come close to the ethnocentrism I've found in Judaic culture.

    I guess I'll have to take your word on that. Any statistics you are aware of?!

    I never claimed otherwise. Nevertheless, there is an obvious parallel between the historic Jew-gentile relation throughout history and the zionist-gentile relation today in the way gentiles are regarded.

    No, I'm not. You're just misinterpreting what I say.

    Incorrect. Quite often, Jews were merely expected to accept the laws and morallity of the land. They had all legal rights other citizens had, including the right to excercise their religion and their customs (as long as those didn't interfere with local laws or morallity).

    The deicide claim is typical Christian hogwash and the blood libel claim seems to be based on little more than questionable testimonies, so I would agree that Jews are off the hook in either case.

    The issue with money lending is more complex. Christian society did not allow money lending for profit (usury) because it was considered highly immoral. Basically, you're justifying Jewish involvement in an act then considered as highly immoral because they supposebly weren't allowed to do any other professions. This doesn't make sense, because restrictions on professional activities for Jews came only AFTER Jews were found to act immorally and as protection of the gentile community. Also, why would Christians give Jews the right to be active in both a highly immoral and profitable profession, but not in less profitable and more moral professions?

    When you look at orriginal publications from the Middle-Ages and Renaissance, you'll find that complaints about Jews mostly dealt with deception, abuse of power and usury. As I explained above, I find the excuse that Jews could do no other jobs quite a weak explanation.

    The 7 Noachide laws :
    1. Do not murder.
    2. Do not steal.
    3. Do not worship false gods.
    4. Do not be sexually immoral.
    5. Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal.
    6. Do not curse God.
    7. Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.
    The third law excludes gentiles, unless they convert to Judaism.

    Making generalisations where they really don't apply is a typical human flaw as a consequence of our tendency to put categorise the world we live in. It is not because someone makes such a generalisation with regards to Jews or zionists that the person in question is automatically an antisemite.

    IMO, antisemitism is a negative sentiment towards Jews for no other reason than them being Jews. That certainly doesn't apply to liberals.

    Obviously. Nevertheless, one particular sect can have its official translation, another can have its, etc. Catholics and Protestants don't use the same bible either, yet they both have official translations.

    I've heard pretty much the same expression with the word "Jew" replaced by a reference to my own people. It's not just Jews :p

    Not even within a specific Jewish sect/group?

    I only took a quick glance because the site seemed rather superficial and propagandistic of nature.

    If there's that much disagreement, why do you even bother? Why not just make up your mind yourself or study Eastern philosophy?

    Actually, I live in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, called Flanders. Belgium has one large Jewish community near the Antwerp diamond district (the Antwerp diamond industry used to be almost exclusively Jewish, but recently Indians started competing). Most of them are ultra-orthodox Chassidic Jews who speak Yiddish as their first language. Outside Antwerp, Jews don't really represent a significant minority.

    Holland is a different story. Whereas Belgium has never really had a significant Jewish presence outside of Antwerp, Jews have been a significant presence in Holland ever since the 17th century. As a consequence, their language has far more Yiddish elements than the Dutch used in Belgium. Examples of Yiddish words in Dutch language are "mesjogge" (crazy), "mazzel" (luck), "jatten" (to steal), "sjacheren" (to barter). More examples can be found here.

    Whereas the average Belgian is pretty anti-zionist and quite neutral towards Jews, the Dutch tend to be pro-zionist and quite positive about Jews. Zionist propaganda probably has something to do with it. Anyway, from my perspective Holland actually does seem one of the most Jew-friendly places around.

    Obviously, not all educated people agree. It usually depends on what type of education one received, on one's openmindedness, on one's amount of scepticism, on one's IQ, etc. Sometimes there are huge differences due to no more than a different religious background or them living in another country.

    Anyway, your calling people ignorant for having a particular view is quite offensive.

    I never implied otherwise. Again, you twist my words.

    All I'm saying, is that Judaic society puts a great stress on being Jewish, creating an ethnocentric atmosphere that is greater than among any other people. Jews tend to see themselves as Jews first and only then as Frenchmen, Americans, Germans or whatever people they live among. Most Jews are first loyal to other Jews and only then to their country and some Jews are loyal to only Jews. While this may seem normal to you, among gentiles such an attitude is very uncommon.

    I wasn't. I was hoping for an online translation.

    I'll definitely do some more research on the Torah and Talmud, I assure you that.
     
  7. Out of the Box

    Out of the Box High-priest

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    On the author's site, there was no context either.

    That's plain ridiculous. Americans make fun of Canadians, Canadians make fun of Americans, Western-Europeans make fun of muslems, muslems make fun of Western-Europeans and everyone makes fun of Germans and Scots. It is man's nature to make fun of other cultures. Why should only Jews be allowed to make fun of Jews? Why must it be labelled antisemitic when a gentile makes fun of a Jew?

    Every species has its own approach towards self-defense. Some have a think skin, others have needles, others are just big, etc.

    When I said that Judaism armed the Jews against the gentiles, I did not mean the word "arm" literally. They armed themselves by functioning as a tight-knit group and acting for a single cause (the Jewish people) while living among gentile nations and doing business with gentiles. Their skills in diplomacy and trade were their best weapons and managed to beat many far more developed civilisations.

    Again, I not use the word "arming" in a literal sense. I don't see how you can possibly misunderstand me here.

    Anyway, it should be obvious that the zionist ideology and its offshoots are used by many Jews as a way to protect the Jews against those perceived as its enemies. The ADL is the best example of a zionist organisation of which the sole purpose is the protection of Jewish and zionists interests.

    There will always be idiots who can't distinguish between zionism and judaism, but the average liberal is not that stupid. He may be naieve, but an idiot he's not.

    Can you link to an online version that you would consider reliable?

    I'm perfectly aware of that, but in neither of those cultures have I thusfar experienced the extreme ethnocentrism that appears to be fairly common among Jews.

    They are perhaps unique in the sense that they're both very flawed and never re-written, but otherwise I don't see what makes them either unique or special. The Vedic scriptures are older, are also not politically re-written and provide a far higher sort of wisdom.

    Of course, I don't believe in the Jewish God. My point was that the image of God as found in the Torah is conceived by Jews and therefore constructed from a Jewish mindset. A God who's cruel and petty does not really shine a positive light on the people who invented him.

    In polytheist religions, Gods are human constructs that on one hand refer to nature and on the other hand to ancient heroes. Their esoteric knowledge focusses on knowledge and wisdom obtained from nature and their myths are but a reflection of this knowledge, symbolised to give meaning to commoners. I'm not really sure how you can compare this to the omnipresent anthropomorphic deity that exists in Judeo-Christianity.

    Not militantly. Even the most antisemitic texts will always describe the Jews as a people who rarely take up arms for themselves.

    The Jewish people is a people of diplomats and traders. Wheras other peoples mostly used battle to increase their power, Jews used diplomacy and economic dominance as their weapons. While this might seem more civilised than battle, abuse of those skills can lead to just as much suffering.

    Obviously, not all Jews only care for their own community. Obviously, there are Jews very loyal to their country or the world community. The problem is just that ethnocentrism is far greater among Jews than among other peoples.

    I'm not calling for combat, but rather for awareness. If Jews like Bauer would only recognise the extreme ethnocentrism within his community for what it is and stand up against it, maybe gentiles and Jews can one day live together without any sort of hostility. For centuries, however, Jewish ethocentrism and antisemitism just kept feeding one another and the antisemitic monster can only be killed when you first kill the other monster.

    That's an obvious distortion of what I actually said.

    :rolleyes:
     

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