Holy Books


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a figment of your imagination
you see, this is precisely the sort of discussion that occurs when people argue about the contents of the "lecture" with only the "lecture notes" to hand.....


Namaste BB,

You and Dauer have alluded to this a number of times... Is there a thread where you've discussed it in detail?

My take is that 2/3 of the Christian bible is the old testament...most Christians deem this to be the Jewish Bible, the Torah. My growing understanding is that it is a small portion of a very intricate whole. The Midrash, the Tanakh, what else isn't there? and what percentage of Jewish Holy books is the 'old testament'?

I also am aware we shuffled the deck some...so your books would end on a sour note and allow the good news a little leg up. Can you expound?

I'd also like this opened up to Islam and Christians. Is the Koran and the Bible respectively our only Holy Books or are there others that must be consulted to develop an understanding of what is contained therein?

To me we Christians are missing out as BB says when we only refer to the 'lecture notes'

the biblical canon is only the Tanach. And sometimes because this can be confusing because there's a lot to Judaism outside of the biblical canon. There's midrash, as you say, as well as gemara (yerushalmi and bavli) and other texts from the period of the mishna and gemara. Then there's the medieval commentators and philosophers, kabbalah, teshuvot, codes, and so on up until today where new Jewish texts are still being created.

Sometimes the word Torah is used to refer to the entire body of Jewish religious writing and the way these texts tend to validate themselves is by working from or with the actual Torah. However, to a particular Jew or group of Jews the texts held most highly can vary quite a bit, like in Chabad Tanya is very very important while for other Jews it may be a Jewish religious text but hardly canonical. And there's a lot of disagreement between the different Jewish writings. That's not seen as problematic.

If we're talking about percentages, the tanach is a very small amount. But the Torah is the core around which everything else is developed.
Are there any Jewish sects that discard all midrash and other texts and only refer to the Tanach, and in a very literal manner (analogous to some Christians)?

The karaites reject everything but the tanach. Some of what they do is extremely different from rabbinic judaism. I mentioned in another thread they still determine the year based on the barley harvest. Shabbos is very different for them. Staying at home sitting in darkness. Their eschatology varies. Their prayer services are different, the rules they have for conversion are different. And so on.
Yeah, very small in numbers though. Here are a karaite site if anyone's interested. I find some of their interpretations quite fascinating:

Karaite Korner - Home of the World Karaite Movement!

Hey cool, thank you dauer. Some interesting readiing. I was especially surprised to see that the Karaites were (incorrectly) cited as a source for the Oct 1844 date for the Return of Christ expected by the Millerites. Apparently the actual Karaite date is in conflict with E. White's prophecy date.
Thanks, dauer. I wonder though, whether there is any real continuity between these Karaites now, and the medieval Karaites. Like, there are a lot of "primitive Christian" groups who claim to be heirs of the original pre-Constantinian style of Christianity, but actually just formed the day before yesterday, and maybe these modern Karaites are analogous.

I've never even heard rabbinic Jews question their roots. The only thing I've heard questioned is whether many of them are Jewish at all, on account of the fact that Christians who come to reject the NT will reject rabbinic Judaism because it's not sola scriptura and will then sometimes turn to karaism, and karaism doesn't have the same methods of conversion.
I would naively have expected that the Kara'ites had just disappeared, centuries ago, but I guess no religious sects ever really go away. I was surprised to learn that there are still Samaritans around, but there are.