What do Jews think of Christ?

Discussion in 'Judaism' started by Postmaster, Mar 1, 2005.

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  1. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    Something that I have a deep curiosity about. What does the Jewish faith make of Jesus Christ? I know at the time some Jews did convert to Christianity even Jesus himself was born into the Jewish faith, he was probably circumcised and went to a synagogue and followed all Jewish traditions. Does the Jewish faith as a whole have an opinion about Jesus from the Jewish teachings as a source of discredit to Christ or does it vary? I've heard that Jesus Christ full filled Jewish prophecy? But that be a matter of debate since prophecy’s hold different meanings to different people. However if Jesus Christ was a fake or based on a lie, if people have took it him a little too seriously and too far, obviously the prophecy holds weight other wise the GOD almighty we claim exists has just let a terrible curse hit mankind in the form of a lie and that's why in a sense, if we discredit Jesus Christ, we have discredited God?
     
  2. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    I'm not sure if maybe this should go in the Judaism section.

    PM,

    Jewish views on the requirements for the messiah can be found in this thread:

    http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2167


    Because Jesus didn't do all of these things Jews do not view Jesus as even a potential messiah. Once someone dies, they cannot be the Jewish messiah (despite what some chabadniks have been saying lately.)

    There are Talmudic sources that deal with the early Christians, refutations. I have a link with some here, which is mainly presenting it as a guide on how to deal with missionaries:

    http://www.kosherjudaism.com/debate1.html

    I don't think the numbers of Christianity can be blamed on God, in the same way the numbers of Islam can't be. Humans have free will. At the same time, it's generally accepted that Christianity and Islam aren't as bad as what came before them, and although they may not have it quite right, they're getting many people used to the idea of one God. And since Judaism doesn't proselytize, we don't expect everyone to believe what we believe and do as we do, not do we believe God expects that.

    That's a pretty traditional answer. I don't really believe in prophecy so I would have a different answer.

    Dauer
     
  3. Dor

    Dor Bible Thumper

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    Would you be willing to share your different answer also? And the reasons behind it.
     
  4. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Dor,

    Of course. I agree with the traditional view about contradictions. I don't think the text itself supports the idea of a Christ. But based on what I've observed about the world I don't believe God interferes with the laws of physics and I don't put faith in any prophecy. I think I said in another thread that the best prophecies are either vague or about the past. I guess I would also include prophecies about things that are bound to happen eventually. But I don't believe in prophecy. So I don't believe in the idea of HaMoshiach either. I find the idea of a Christ and the idea of HaMoshiach both hard to swallow. I don't believe the Tanach is from God, and if it is, I don't believe it's any more from God than anything else, including works of complete fiction.

    Along with the rest of the Jewish population who takes any interest in this issue, I tend to go with the writings of skeptical historians. Maybe Jesus was created by combining a few people, maybe there was no Jesus, maybe there was a Jesus. I don't believe any of the miracles are true and the gospels seem extremely inaccurate. I don't think it's possible to discern the historical Jesus because it's just so difficult to figure out which texts are trustable. I think the book of Q might be a starting point, but I don't think that's entirely accurate either and I've never bothered to investigate the counterpoints to the Q argument.

    I am just as skeptical of the historicity of Torah.

    Dauer

    edit: I forgot to mention I think there are pagan influences on the Jesus myth through the dying gods and perhaps other sources as well. Sons of gods were well known to the pagans as well as dying gods. And in art Jesus is often confusable with other deities like mithras.
     
  5. NewAgeNerd

    NewAgeNerd Goal: Orthodox Jew

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    The Jewish opinion on Jesus is one that I have sought out as well. Essentially, Jesus did not fulfill the requirements for being a messiah. He did not bring the Jews out of exile. He did not establish a Jewish kingdom in Israel, free of foreign interests. In addition, according to the new testament he changed the laws that G-d gave us, which is something that G-d in the Old testament promises never to do. Jesus was obviously a great person who had many things to teach about loving your fellow human beings and the like, but according to Jewish prophecy he did not fulfill the requirements of the Messiah and thus he was never accepted as one.

    Due to being a messianic religion, and because the Jews were being heavily persecuted by the Romans, a number of "messiahs" arose around the year 0. Many then assembled followings and attempted to free the Jews from the Romans, but none succeeded. Technically, the person who got closest was Bar Kochba. There is a little bit on his life here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_Kochba

    In brief: Bar Kochba lived in the 2nd century C.E.. He raised an army and fought off the romans. He then established a Jewish state in Israel and crowned himself prince. He was eventually defeated by the romans, and at that point any hope for him being the real Messiah dissapeared.

    In any case, Orthodox Jews are still awaiting the arrival of the Messiah to this day.

    Edit: I hope this post is not inflammatory. This is the Jewish take on Jesus according to an orthodox perspective.

    EDIT 2: For Dauer, It sounds like you've had some pretty shitty experiences(misunderstandings?) with Chassidics, particularly people in the Chabad group. I have spent a good deal of time with them, and not only are they accepted by most of the orthodox community, in addition their beliefs are not heterodox. Most of them do NOT believe the Lubavitcher Rebbe was the Messiah. There was a hope that he might be when he was alive, but once he died that hope died with him. There are a few heretical sects in Chabad that may believe in his reincarnation and eventual messiaship, but these are very small sects and do not represent the mass of the organization's believers.
     
  6. DrewJMore

    DrewJMore Logical Demonstrator

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    During his life, Jesus clearly had primarily Jewish followers. Importantly, if the gospels are supported by any grain of fact, two out of twelve apostles (the Iscariot and Didymous) at minimum believed that the Christ heralded the end of Roman rule in the holy land, the disintegration of the existing Hebrew leadership and the "end of the age." The nazarean promised that after his death & resurrection these things would come to pass "within a generation." The promised new order failed to materialize during this time frame. Those who waited, and particularly their leaders, could not accept this contradiction, so they began to collect and codify their oral traditions, sculpting them to reinforce their world view and mythology. Converts were inevitable: the new religion required propagation as a duty of faith. However, per the record of apostolic acts, the post-messianic faith was typically rejected and its disciples persecuted. This taught them to seek converts among the gentiles, instead. The young religion was later recognized as the perfect tool to hold the remains of the Roman empire together, and so we have it today.

    The Jewish faith 'as a whole' has evolved significantly since medieval times, when it was largely extinguished. Modern Judaism has matured under the oppression of the christian religions, and so has developed an uneasy truce with them. Among the modern religions each thinks the others incorrect but, with well-known historical exceptions, this tension is resisted by rationalism.
     
  7. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    NaN, it's nothing like that. I think a lot of the outreach Chabad does is wonderful and I think the liberal movements could learn a lot from them. I think Renewal has learned some things through them by way of Zalman Shachter-Shalomi. But in an lj community I am a member of, someone just reported their friend's experiences at a Chabad-sponsored trip to 770 to see what a real chasidische Shabbos is like. (sponsored by chabad mind you. ) And there were people singing to the rebbe's chair and wearing harebbe hamoshiach kippot. The post isn't locked so you can access it.

    http://www.livejournal.com/community/weirdjews2/259212.html

    There are Chabadniks doing it at a chabad sponsored event. That's not good.

    I do have some issues with some things I've been reading in Steinsaltz' guide to Tanya but that's not for this thread.

    Dauer
     
  8. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    I have a couple of questions especially for Newagenerd. The others can answer also if they want but I am really looking for the specs from an Orthodox Jew.:)

    1) Do you feel or believe that an earthly flesh man is capable of bringing some kind of permanent peace and resolve to every issue and problem facing man today? and will this be the traits of the Messiah you await?

    2) Within certain religions/beliefs, they teach there religion will rise a bove all others and become the leader in a one world religion. Is this something Judaism or the the Orthodox is expecting?
    and would this have something to do with the awaited Messiah?

    3) From the orthodox Jew, is the view on the teachings of the OT literal or fictious? Do you believe these things are what God performed or do you search for scientific/midrash explanations?
    for example:
    Daniel in the den of Lions and God closing there mouths.
    Israel crossing the Red Sea on dry ground by the power of God.
    The 3 hebrew boys delivered by God, from the fiery furnace.
    The hand and writing on the wall Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.

    Thank You and your reply is very much appreciated:)
     
  9. NewAgeNerd

    NewAgeNerd Goal: Orthodox Jew

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    Okay, I will respond to bandit, and also try to seal the gap in this conversation that Dauer and I have created. With regards to the Lubavitcher rebbe, first a little history lesson for non-Jews. Chabad is a Jewish revival movement that began when the Jews were ghetto dwellers. Nowadays it seeks to reconvert assimilated and reformed/conservative Jews to orthodoxy as they believe such Jews are in danger of being assimilated(or if not them their kids or grandkids). The leader of the Chabad movement was a Charasmatic and powerful Rabbi who had a gift for healing with prayer and who did more for Judaism then pretty much any other single man in the last few hundred years. When he was alive, most chabad followers would have said that he was the best candidate for being the Messiah. Though this topic would anger the Rabbi whenever it was brought up. When he died, the majority of the people in the Chabad movement dropped this claim. This is because someone can only be the Messiah while alive. It seems from the link dauer provided that a few Chabad groups still believe he was the messiah and will be reincarnated, this is a heterodox belief and one that is not accepted by most Jews. Though Judaism believes in Reincarnation, for someone to fulfill the Messiah prophecy they must do so in their current life.

    This kinda ties into bandits questions which I will answer one at a time:

    1. Yes, I firmly believe that the Messiah will be flesh and blood. He will be a regular human Jew, and a member of King David's family line. Ideas about the world after the Messiah are conflicting. He will create peace and answer all questions that people have by uniting the entire world in the worship of G-d. Life will then be an eternal sabbath(rest), where G-d's name is glorified constantly, and all of mankind will seek to do good works. It is interesting, but the Messiah will be totally mortal and he will even have children that he may pass his kingship onto. He may have the gift of prophecy and miracles, but he may not. The Jews are first and foremost pragmatists, and the idea that G-d would send anything but a regular man to liberate us has never been part of Jewish beliefs.

    2. The Messiah will end Jewish exile, and restore the greatness of the Jewish state in Israel. He will also rebuild the temple. The idea that Judaism will then become the dominant religion is not a factor. Humanity will be unified in its worship of G-d, but this does not mean that all Humans will necessarily convert to Judaism.

    3. A truly orthodox Jew will take the entire Torah as "literal". I personally feel that the events after the Flood are literal, and that the chapters preceeding this are a great divine metaphor which G-d uses to teach creation to a spirtually elevated but scientifically lacking group of people.

    EDIT: I would just like to say, and this belief is not shared by Jews everywhere, but I feel that it is definitely possible that Jesus could, if he were reincarnated, be the Messiah in his next life. I feel in many ways it will be the job of the Messiah to restore the unity to the Abrahamic religions, bringing together Christian, Muslim, and Jew under one branch. I do feel that the differences between Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, are surmountable, and we certainly do not need a supernatural person to show us all the ways in which we are the same. In fact, to do that you would just need a pen and a few blank pages ;).
     
  10. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    yes. I am seeing these events mentioned and all the rest of it as literal also. God is able to perform and to deliver all that He said he would do.
    The science part cant fully explain it all either. LOL
    I dont see it possible that a man without God can bring all this together, reguardless how smart he is. But if that is ones hope, I will not try to question it.

    I am a bible believer but I do not see Jesus as an incarnation of God as most of the Christians do, but just as a regular man as you have said and God worked through him (kind of like Moses), but I do believe he is the savior, Lord and messiah and in him rests the fulness of the godhead bodily.
    I do think there was something in there 'like' reincarnation, but not the common understanding of it...so we are seeing things a lot alike but at different times.
    Thank You very much for your replies NewAge, to all the questions. Dad always said one of the best friends you could ever have is an orthodox Jew.;)
     
  11. Mus Zibii

    Mus Zibii QUID EST VERITAS

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    Why are you an Arian, if I may ask?
     
  12. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Moved to Judaism. :)
     
  13. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    Was originally going to post it in here, but had fear of insulting the Jewish faith. Maybe it's better in the Christian forum for closure towards why the Jews didn't accept Jesus Christ? Anyhow doesn't matter, might be better in here anyway :)
     
  14. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    i dont know if this was for me? I am not exactly an arian neither a JW. but to make it simple Mus Zibii, i did do my homework, at least enough to find out where Rome messed up with the godman stuff about Jesus. In my final understanding, it came from what the bible says about it, not from the creeds or religion that was established.
    The difference between me and Arian, is that I did not even know about him until after I researched the bible first on Jesus, then did my history homework . And what I see, i do not try and bring division or debates with it. There are very few who see it fully the same way I do and I kind of like it that way. I do not see it exactly the same way of arianism.
     
  15. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    the way you've put this implies that most jews believed jesus *was* the messiah and only started getting on with normative judaism when he failed to do the business - and this is hardly what i'd call an accepted view. the collection and codification of the oral Law was necessitated by the destruction of the Temple by the romans and the second exile, not by disappointment in jesus.

    when it became clear that it wasn't going to catch on, they needed to look outside for converts. it was their very success, however, that caused us to introduce new safeguards which effectively ended the days of judaism as a missionary religion.

    says WHO? on what authority do you make such a sweeping statement? and let us not forget that judaism was largely left alone outside christendom, so "extinguished" is hardly the word to use.

    this is a gross and misleading oversimplification. the other reason that jewish missionary efforts ceased 2000 years ago is that it became the normative and accepted opinion that *the righteous of the nations inherit a portion in the world to come*. by this logic, other religions (at least the ones that can be considered as keeping the seven noahide laws) are *not* incorrect and therefore worthy paths. naturally, there have always been groups (the chasidim are an example) who considered other religions inferior, but this attitude is not truly representative of normative opinion as i understand it.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  16. DrewJMore

    DrewJMore Logical Demonstrator

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    I imply nothing. Jesus of Nazareth claimed followers largely of hebrew descent. These people considered themselves jewish. The would become 'christians' only in later generations.

    If the primitive judaism known in the first Roman empire still exists, I am unaware of it. During the 17th century, as the dark and middle ages past, jews were marginalized and persecuted in Europe, causing new forms to appear. Hasidism, Reform & Orthodoxy were all created in this period, in response to socio-political pressures.

    In opposition to the biblical assertion that only sons of Israel are the people of God, the above dogma appears to be a rational and pragmatic response to the fact that, as a minority during the enlightenment, jews were not in a position to antagonize their oppressors. To be fair, I know that modern Judaism is tolerant and rational; individual jews may think and believe what they wish. However, Christ either was or was not the messiah; apologetics aside, this is a fundamental rift between the jewish & christian religions.
     
  17. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    i'm talking about this. perhaps i have misunderstood what you meant, but you seemed in this sentence to be talking about jews in general, rather than the specific group of jesus' followers, which is incorrect. in first-century judea, messiahs were ten-a-penny; the only potential messiah who ever really caught on in the jewish mainstream was bar kokhba - and even he eventually disappointed his followers. the most realistic picture of the contemporary "messiah market" is probably that of "life of brian" - goodness knows they seem to have replicated (i don't know if knowingly or not) at least one famous talmudic dialogue and jewish communal politics scarily accurately. (as an aside, the hebrew term for "christians", notzrim, even means "splitters"!)

    actually, this statement is from the Mishnah, which dates back to the first century CE. nor is it a "dogma", but a legal principle which enshrines a distinctly enlightened view of the "other".

    it is hardly my fault if you are "unaware" of the sophistication of the judaism of late antiquity. in fact, you are being pretty insulting and coming across as rather ignorant if you don't know about the Mishnah and Gemara, or the development of the Oral Law in the second Temple period under the sanhedrin. this judaism that you are calling "primitive" can not only hold its own against the chauvinistic superiority complexes of modern society, but remains the core around which modern judaism is explicitly built. we still observe the laws that were commanded at the time of the romans and there is nothing "primitive" about them. so, unless you've got some foundation for this type of offensive generalism, don't bother making them. and even then, don't expect me to be thrilled with you looking down your nose at my culture, mr logic. when your ancestors were still painting themselves blue and burning each other in wicker baskets, mine were legislating to ensure that divorce was administered equitably.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  18. DrewJMore

    DrewJMore Logical Demonstrator

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    No argument can be supported by an ad hominem assault. I may currently be painted blue; it is immaterial.

    In my foregoing comments, “those who waited,” clearly refers to those who followed Jesus. If they did not expect the return of Christ, then they are excluded from the class as defined.

    Early Christian philosophy and legislation were generally judaic in nature. The religions split and evolved from this essentially common point. Christians adjusted the paradigm, simplified the laws, and proceeded to gather a wide audience to the discomfiture of all others. Assertions to the effect that these events have had no influence on modern judaism (or that the contrary position is poorly founded) are unsupportable. A demonstration:

    These words describe steps taken which explicitly divide the “modern” from the “primitive.” Incidentally, since there are no objections to the connotations of the former adjective there should be none to the latter.

    An expert may tell us whether it is 'legal' for modern jews to believe that Jesus was the messiah or not. That dissertation would be pointless, though, because it does not matter what jewish law forbids or allows; if one believes that Jesus was the messiah, then their beliefs do not conform to those of the modern jewish religion(s).
     
  19. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    i wasn't supporting my argument, i was responding to your insulting description of my religion as "primitive", which got up my nose, by contrasting it with what i think can be more reasonably considered primitive, namely pre-modern western european culture - and, that's a lot nicer than anything i have to say about the romans, either. perhaps i might have been more charming about it had you been less judgmental and patronising.

    OK, fair enough, i misunderstood what you said. but really, "class as defined"? a "logical demonstrator" indeed. *rolls eyes*

    i would say you should probably support this with at least one example - except i don't think you have illustrated the quality of being "judaic" - perhaps you'd care to explain how this class of categorisation is characterised, so i don't misunderstand you further.

    in other words, the first split was over jesus as messiah, the second over ditching the "mosaic law" for gentiles. yeah, i'd agree with that.

    that's absolutely not what i said. you said that we were being nice about non-jews because they were more powerful than us and i said that you were basically ignorant about where that quote was from or the context from which it comes. so far, i see no evidence to the contrary. if you don't know anything about the Oral Law, which was only *written down* (as opposed to created) in the "classical period", which is contemporaneous with the roman empire, you don't know anything about judaism as a whole and are therefore unqualified to make insulting remarks about it.

    i object to both - but you have defined neither. and have you any idea just how your tone comes across? sheesh.

    but those who did not accept jesus were not members of this putative "modern" religion, they were rejecting him on the grounds of contemporary religion, which are adequate and sufficient to do so - the laws of identifying false prophets and the conditions of messiahship are agreed by all to date back more than 2000 years - and i am not prepared to conced that they are any different to those of this "modern jewish religion" you're talking about. if you consider hasidism, reform and even orthodoxy to be modern developments you are of course correct, but you are being misled by superficialities if you think that normative halachic judaism is substantially different in its religious principles and practice than it was 2000 years ago. at the risk of repeating myself, you haven't shown that there is any substance to what you're saying. show me an example of something modern and something classical (which is less insulting a term, assuming you care) and i will attempt to demonstrate the differences and historical development involved if i can.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  20. DrewJMore

    DrewJMore Logical Demonstrator

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    The tone of the discussion to follow is one of dispassionate, reasoned debate. It presents neither belligerence nor accusatory language, nor apologies for external projections of such thereupon.

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    Three examples follow (from the New Testament: King James Version):
    Matthew 5

    “ 17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
    18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
    Matthew 23
    “ 1Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
    3All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”
    Acts 15
    “ 1And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
    2When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
    3And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.
    4And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
    5But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
    6And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter."




    Each of these examples demonstrates the reliance of primitive christians on a judiac religious foundation.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Main Entry: modern
    Part of Speech: adjective
    Definition: new
    Synonyms: avant-garde, coincident, concomitant, concurrent, contempo, contemporary, current, cutting edge, fresh, last word, late, latest, latter-day, leading edge, modernistic, modernized, modish, neoteric, new-fashioned, newfangled, novel, now, present, present-day, prevailing, prevalent, recent, stylish, today, twentieth-century, up-to-date, up-to-the-minute, with-it

    Main Entry: primitive
    Part of Speech: adjective
    Definition: ancient
    Synonyms: archaic, basic, earliest, early, elementary, essential, first, fundamental, old, original, primal, primary, primeval, primordial, pristine, substratal, underivative, underived, underlying, undeveloped, unevolved
    (Source: Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.1.1)Copyright © 2005 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.)
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    The argument abbreviated above refutes itself, as it assumes the occurrence of evolution in the judaic religion which it hopes to deny. Nevertheless, the following excerpt both supplies the requested fodder, and addresses the subject of this thread:







    Some rabbis in the Talmud view Christianity as a form of idolatry prohibited not only to Jews, but to gentiles as well. Rabbis with these views did not claim that it was idolatry in the same sense as pagan idolatry in Biblical times, but that it relied on idolatrous forms of worship (i.e. to a Trinity of gods and to statues and saints) (see Babylonian Talmud, Hullin, 13b). Other rabbis disagreed, and did not hold it to be idolatry. By the middle ages a consensus was reached in the Jewish community in which Christianity was not held to be idolatry. (Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance, Oxford Univ. Press, 1961, Ch.10)









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    As I have been unable to find the actual text of the Rav’s “Confrontation,” this commentary will suffice by necessity. It demonstrates that my assertions, which are alluded to above, are neither unique nor uniformed.










    “[Soloveitchik] described the traditional Jewish-Chistian relationship as one of "the few and weak vis-à-vis the many and the strong", one in which the Christian community historically denied the right of the Jewish community to believe and live in their own way. His response was written in the light of past Jewish-Christian religious disputations, which traditionally had been forced upon the Jewish community.”-(taken from an oft-quoted source, which refers to: Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Thought, Vol. 6, 1964)








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