MANY Americans are of the opinion that Orthodox Judaism, the official belief system of the state of Israel, is the religion of the Old Testament, the faith of the patriarchs and prophets. We often hear it said that both Christians and believers in Judaism are “People of the Book,” the book being the Bible. Certainly the patriarchs and the prophets are the sacred originators of the religion of the ancient Israelites but it is the rabbinic discourses known as the Talmud, not the Bible, that have been, since the close of the fifth century, the foundational texts of Orthodox Judaism, which has its offshoots in Reform and Conservative Judaism. The Talmud, as one rabbi put it, is the “starting point and the ending point, the alpha and omega of truth.”* The Talmud teaches Orthodox Judaics how to think about Torah, or the Mosaic law.
The Talmud, meaning “instruction” or “learning” in Hebrew, consists of more than 6,000 pages of rabbinic commentaries on biblical texts. These commentaries were written after the crucifixion of Christ and the destruction of the Temple and constitute a religious, political and social code regulating the life of the Orthodox Judaic. Oral, not revealed, traditions called Mischna, Gemara, Halaka and Hagada make up these discourses. The first and lesser part of these commentaries originated in Palestine and the second part, much more important and influential, in Babylon.
Since the 13th century when the Jewish apostate Nicholas Donin came forward and revealed the contents of the Talmud to Pope Gregory IX, the descriptions of Jesus, his family and followers included in these rabbinic commentaries have alarmed Christians.
They have alarmed Christians for good reason. The Talmud contains, in intermittent descriptions, an ugly portrait of Jesus Christ, who is not the long-awaited Messiah but the sexually promiscuous son of a whore. He is the idolator, poor student and magician who fully deserves what he has coming to him. It is for this reason that the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages ordered the Talmud burned, an order that was not enforced in much of Europe, and also censored its descriptions of Christ.
Again, the state of knowledge of the talmudic view of Jesus and of gentiles is generally poor among Christians today though critiques of the Talmud from a Christian perspective and also from a blisteringly anti-Jewish perspective can be readily found on the Internet. Most Jewish people in America are also unaware of much of what the Talmud contains.
Peter Schäfer is currently the director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the former Perelman Professor of Jewish Studies and Professsor of Religion at Princeton University. His 2009 book Jesus in the Talmud, published by Princeton University Press, is an excellent place for the contemporary reader to acquaint himself with the Talmud’s perspective on Jesus Christ. An expert guide to the dense talmudic books, in which Jesus is referred to by different names and in unclear language, is essential.
Schäfer covers all the basics, offering interpretations of the snippets and tales that are interspersed throughout the rabbinic tractates. He refers to the composite material on Jesus as a “counter-narrative” to the New Testament. This is a charitable formulation of the ridicule and insults the Talmud contains. The Jesus anecdotes “are not told as an independent and coherent narrative but are scattered all over the large corpus of literature left to us by the rabbis.” Some of these stories and discussions are disguised in code and decoy texts, possibly to throw off critics.
I include here not so much a review of Schäfer’s book as highlights and some lengthy quotations, with the hope of inspiring the reader’s further interest in this important subject.
The “most prominent characteristic that dominates quite a number of the rabbinic stories,” Schäfer writes, “is sex, more precisely sexual promiscuity. Sexual promiscuity is … presented as the foundation story of the Christian sect.” Indeed, the Babylonian Talmud describes Jesus’s mother, Miriam (Mary), as a hairdresser and an adulterer. Jesus is the illegitimate son of her adulterous liaison with a Roman soldier, Pandera (also sometimes referred to as Panthera). No story of a Virgin birth here. Jesus is a bastard:
The most pungent counterargument against the evangelists’ narrative is, of course, the assertion of Jesus’ illegitimate birth from an adulterous mother and some insignificant lover. It parries the claim of Jesus’ noble Davidic lineage to which the New Testament attaches such great value: Matthew starts with his genealogy (Mt. 1) which leads back directly to David and calls him, as well as his “father” Joseph, “son of David” (Mt. 1: 1, 20; Lk. 1: 27, 2: 4); he is born in Bethlehem, the city of David (Mt. 2: 5f.; Lk. 2: 4), and hence is the Davidic Messiah (Mt. 2: 4; Lk. 2: 11). No, the Jewish counternarrative argues, this is all nonsense; he is anything but of noble origins. His father was by no means a descendant of David but the otherwise unknown Panthera/ Pandera ( just a Roman soldier, according to Celsus, in other words a non-Jew and a member of the hated Roman Empire that so visibly and horribly oppressed the Jews). Much worse, in turning Jesus into a bastard, the counternarrative takes up the contradictions within the New Testament story about Jesus’ origins and ridicules the claim that he was born from a virgin (parthenogenesis).
The bizarre idea of having the Holy Spirit intervene to make him the father of Mary’s child is nothing but a cover-up of the truth, it maintains, namely that Mary, Joseph’s legal wife, had a secret lover and that her child was just a bastard like any other bastard. Joseph’s suspicion, whether he was Mary’s husband or her betrothed, was absolutely warranted: Mary had indeed been unfaithful to him. He should have dismissed her immediately as was customary according to Jewish law.
This powerful counternarrative shakes the foundations of the Christian message. It is not just a malicious distortion of the birth story (any such moralizing categories are completely out of place here); rather, it posits that the whole idea of Jesus’ Davidic descent, his claim to be the Messiah, and ultimately his claim to be the son of God, are based on fraud. His mother, his alleged father (insofar as he helped covering up the truth), his real father, and not least Jesus himself (the would-be magician) are all impostors that deceived the Jewish people and deserve to be unmasked, exposed to ridicule, and thereby neutralized.
The Babylonian discourses include another tale on the same subject of the phony Virgin birth:
There was this mule which gave birth, and [round its neck] was hanging a document upon which was written, “there is a claim against my father’s house of one hundred thousand Zuz. Zuz.” They [the Athenian Sages] asked him: “Can a mule give birth”? He [R. Yehoshua] answered them: “This is one of these fiction stories”.
[Again, the Athenian Sages asked:] “When salt becomes unsavory, wherewith is it salted”? He replied: “With the afterbirth of a mule.”—“ And is there an afterbirth of a mule”?—“ And can salt become unsavory”?
This is a play on both the Sermon on the Mount’s reference to Christians as the “salt of the earth” and the Virgin birth.
On this background, the miraculous offspring of the mule in the first story (and the afterbirth in the second one) gets an even more significant meaning. It can well be understood as a parody of Jesus’ miraculous birth from a virgin: an offspring from a virgin is as likely as an offspring from a mule. 47 The Christians’ claim of Jesus’ birth from a virgin and without a father belongs to the category of fiction stories, fairy tales just for fun. Moreover, this is the punch line of the second story: Jesus’ followers, who claim to be the new salt of the earth, are nothing but the afterbirth of that imagined offspring of the mule, a fiction of a fiction. Read this way, our two little Bavli [Babylonian Talmud] stories become indeed much more than an amusing exchange between the rabbis and the Greek Sages; rather, they offer another biting ridicule of one of the cornerstones of Christian theology.
Under Jewish law, Miriam was a woman worthy of stoning:
His adulterous mother deserves— according to biblical and rabbinical law— the death penalty of stoning or strangulation, as the Bible decrees for our case, the adultery between a married woman and her lover: “If a man is found lying with another man’s wife, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman as well as the woman; so you shall purge the evil from Israel” (Deut. 22: 22). 5 Hence, under strict application of biblical law, Jesus’ mother should have been stoned. The Talmud does not seem to be interested in her subsequent fate, but her son does fall under the other provision of the Mishna (idolatry) and will indeed be stoned. So in a highly ironical sense, Jesus’ birth from an adulterous mother points to his own violent death. As we have seen, this story of the adulterous mother and her bastard son is the perfect counternarrative to the New Testament’s claim that Jesus was born from a virgin betrothed to a descendant of the house of David.
There is nothing comparable in the Bible to the Talmud’s preoccupation in these passages with sexual matters and perversion. Christianity, in the Talmud, is an orgiastic cult.
The sexual misconduct brought up here is not that of an individual (Jesus) but, much worse, that of his followers who indulge in sexual mass orgies: the adherents of Jesus’ sect follow his advice to such an extreme that sexual orgies have become, so to speak, the “trademark” of the believers in Jesus.
Tertullian, the Christian apologist, refers in the second century, before much of the Talmud was written, of Jewish slanders along these lines:
In his Apology, written 197 C.E., he writes: We are said to be the most criminal of men (sceleratissimi), on the score of our sacramental baby-killing and the baby-eating that goes with it (sacramento infanticidii et pabulo inde) and the incest that follows the banquet, where the dogs are our pimps in the dark, forsooth, and make a sort of decency for guilty lusts by overturning the lamps. That, at all events, is what you always say about us; and yet you take no pains to bring into the daylight what you have been saying about us all this long time. Then, I say, either bring it out, if you believe all this, or refuse to believe it after leaving it uninvestigated. 20
Jesus is described by the rabbis as having inherited his mother’s inclinations:
The talmudic story about the wicked son/ disciple is preserved in two different contexts. The first, in Bavli Sanhedrin 103a, presents itself as an exegesis of Psalm 91: 10:
Rav Hisda said in the name of R. Yirmeya bar Abba: What is meant by the verse: No evil (ra`ah) will befall you, no plague (nega`) will approach your tent (Ps. 91: 10)?
No evil will befall you (ibid.): that bad dreams and bad thoughts will not frighten you. No plague will approach your tent (ibid.): that you will not have a son or a disciple who publicly spoils his food/ dish tavshilo) like Jesus the Nazarene 4
The “spoiled dish” is the promiscuous son. Shäfer explains:
It is hardly by coincidence that this interpretation comes from the same Rav Hisda who told us that Jesus’ mother had a husband as well as a lover and that Jesus was the son of her lover. Now we learn: this Jesus isn’t any better than his mother— it’s in his blood. He is so spoiled that he has become the proverbial son or disciple who is unfaithful to his wife and a disgrace to his parents or his teachers. 11 This is quite an unexpected turn in Jesus’ life that goes far beyond the New Testament narrative— unless one wants to follow the later identification of Mary Magdalene with the unknown “immoral woman” in Luke (7: 36– 50), 12 who wets Jesus’ feet with her tears, wipes them with her hair, kisses them, and anoints them with myrrh (7: 38). The Pharisees, who observe this scene, know her as a prostitute (7: 39) and want to use this fact as proof that Jesus is no real prophet as he claims (because he did not seem to know what kind of woman she was), but Jesus, seeing through their bad intentions, publicly forgives the woman her sins and thus reveals that he did know of her bad reputation. The Talmud could again have inverted this New Testament story and insinuated that Jesus indeed knew her— but not in order to forgive her her sins and to unmask the Pharisees; rather, he knew her for what she really was (a prostitute) because he had an affair with her.
Jesus is also a bad student who is excommunicated by his teacher for his “frivolous thoughts.”
The framework plot of our narrative, in both the Bavli and in the Yerushalmi versions, does not help much to understand and to locate historically the core of the story: the strange incident between a teacher (Yehoshua b. Perahya/ Yehuda b. Tabbai) and his favorite student (anonymous/ Jesus). The incident occurs in an inn on their way back to Jerusalem. 14 Satisfied with how they are received, the master praises the inn, but his student, misunderstanding him as praising the (female) innkeeper, 15 makes a disparaging remark about the less than beautiful appearance of the lady. The master is horrified by his student’s frivolous thoughts and immediately excommunicates him. The poor student tries to appease his master but initially in vain. When the master finally is ready to forgive him, the student misunderstands his body language, leaves the master in despair and becomes an idolater. Now the master begs him to repent, but the student is convinced that he has committed a capital sin, which forever excludes penitence and forgiveness.
Jesus exhibits idolatry in this tale by worshipping a brick, in keeping with an ancient Babylonian custom.
How does the Talmud explain the miracles of Christ?
[I]t presents an ironical critique of Jesus’ and his followers’ belief in their magical power. True, it argues, their magical power is undeniable: it works, and one cannot do anything against its effectiveness. But it is an unauthorized and misused power. It is just shegaga— a mistake, an unfortunate error.Hence, our story ultimately conveys the message: this Jesus and his followers claim to have the keys to heaven, to use their magical power with divine authorization— but they are dead wrong! The fact that heaven accepts what they do does not mean that it approves of it. On the contrary, they are tricksters and impostors who abuse their power. The real power and authority still rest with their opponents, the rabbis.
Jesus is executed because he engaged in sorcery and has led Israel into idolatry, which is far more serious than his sexual misconduct. He is not crucified by the Romans, but is stoned and then hanged in accordance with Jewish law.
Yes indeed, the Bavli admits, Jesus was a Jewish heretic, who was quite successful in seducing many of us. But he was taken care of according to the Jewish law, got what he deserved— and that’s the end of the story.
What we then have here in the Bavli is a powerful confirmation of the New Testament Passion narrative, a creative rereading, however, that not only knows some of its distinct details but proudly proclaims Jewish responsibility for Jesus’ execution. Ultimately and more precisely, therefore, it turns out to be a complete reversal of the New Testament’s message of shame and guilt: we do accept, it argues, responsibility for this heretic’s death, but there is no reason to be ashamed of it and feel guilty for it. We are not the murderers of the Messiah and Son of God, nor of the king of the Jews as Pilate wanted to have it. Rather, we are the rightful executioners of a blasphemer and idolater, who was sentenced according to the full weight, but also the fair procedure, of our law.
When Jesus dies he goes to hell where he sits in his own boiling excrement, which Schäfer views as an inversion of the Eucharist with Jesus becoming the opposite of divine food.
Jesus incited Israel to eating— and hence is punished by sitting in what eating produces: excrement. And what is the “eating” that Jesus imposed upon his followers? No less a food than himself— his flesh and blood. 32 As he has told his disciples during the Last Supper: (26) While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said: “Take, eat; this is my body.” (27) Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying: “Drink from it, all of you; (28) for this is my blood of the (new) covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” 33 What we have, then, in our Bavli narrative is a devastating and quite malicious polemic against the Gospels’ message of Jesus’ claim that whoever follows him and, literally, eats him becomes a member of the new covenant that superseded the old covenant with the Jews.
A similar fate in hell awaits the followers of Christ.
Schäfer, who has also written Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World and The Jewish Jesus: How Judaism and Christianity shaped each other, delves into other aspects of the talmudic counter-narrative in this very readable 232-page book. He focuses only on the portrayals of Jesus and his family, without going into the other controversial issue of the Talmudic view of gentiles, a subject I will discuss in a future post here.
*Rabbi Jacob Neusner, Rabbinic Judaism: Structure and System (Augsburg Fortress, 1995), as quoted in Michael Hoffman’s Judaism’s Strange Gods (Independent History and Research, 2012.)
— Comments —
My experience with Israelis in the U.S., in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, has shown me that they think Christianity is B.S. with a capital B. They view American women as objects to be used and then discarded like unwanted tissue. They view American Christians as suckers and a source of money. They are especially happy to destroy white Christian societies in the name of diversity: South Africa anyone? American Jews dislike Republicans because they tend to have Christian values and actually believe in Christ: Hollywood anyone? American Jews also tend to be socialist or Communist. There is real animosity between the two religions which is mostly ignored by the press, even the Church tries to gloss over the differences. They also feel the Old Testament is their book and Christians have no real understanding of its meaning; it’s for the Jews. “Thou shalt not kill” is a misunderstanding of what is meant: ” Thou shall not murder” is the correct meaning and is meant for Jews only. For Jews, killing is okay and there is no handwringing if someone deserved it. Jews are the fifth column in the U.S. This reality has yet to dawn on most Americans, it is a reality they don’t want to face which would mean doing something about it. Lastly, our multicultural problems are being brought to us by Christian clergy who have ruined two thousand years of Christian history and we are only starting to see the outcome.
Bill R. writes:
Thank you for a fascinating and informative posting on the Talmud. For me, it was not only fascinating but timely, as it happens to be a subject I have become interested in lately owing to a book I’ve been reading by David Duke called Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening to the Jewish Question. I have been so astonished by the degree of anti-Christian viciousness displayed in some passages of the Talmud which Duke mentions, that I have been interested in additional commentary about the Talmud.
You note that, “Some of these stories and discussions are disguised in code and decoy texts, possibly to throw off critics.” Indeed. According to Duke, there is a passage in the Talmud (which I see you have also noted) in which it is said that Jesus is boiling in hot semen and excrement (Gittin 57a). But the word for Jesus in the passage is “Balaam.” Duke writes, “When I asked my Jewish friend’s rabbi about the passage, he told me that Balaam was not Jesus. He sounded very convincing, but that very evening, I looked up Balaam in The Jewish Encyclopedia and was shocked to read that Balaam was a pseudonym for Jesus.” Duke goes on to note that the Talmud similarly employs various pseudonyms for Gentiles and Christians, and that footnotes to the most popular English-language translation of the Talmud, known as the Soncino edition, as well as passages in The Jewish Encyclopedia, “blatantly mention this intentional artifice.”
Duke summarizes his early impression of the Talmud thus: “As an idealistic teenager, I was totally unprepared for this dark side of a faith that I had always respected. My impression had been that the Jewish faith had no animosity toward Jesus Christ. I was always told that they had much respect for him as a prophet or at least as a great teacher but simply did not accept Him as the Messiah. It disturbed me to have come across violently obscene descriptions of the Savior and of Christians in the Talmud.”
I found it especially intriguing to learn from your Schafer quote that the Talmud actually admits that the Jews were responsible for executing Jesus, indeed, that it proudly proclaims it. Think of that! One of the Jews’ most sacred texts, the “alpha and omega of truth” for them, proudly proclaims of this central event in Christian history what, for a Gentile to even suggest, is considered anti-Semitic.
I know when I mentioned Duke to you once before (I had not read him at the time), in response to my noting that he had been marginalized, you asked if he did not deserve to be marginalized. Having now read some of what he has to say (I’m about 70 pages into the book), I am of the opinion that he has been unfairly and unjustly maligned. Given how quickly Jews fire off the accusation of anti-Semitism in the face of any criticism of themselves at all as Jews, I am not at all surprised to find that the man’s own words, once given a chance, do not at all match the hysterical hate-mongering one would expect to find given the popular impression of him which has been created. He says that his book is “ultimately about lessening both the dangers and hatreds between our peoples” and asserts that “all peoples have the right to preserve their unique identities, including Jews.” For myself, I see no good reason not to take the man at his word. On the other hand, having read what he has to say about Jews, and knowing how hypersensitive, if not pathologically intolerant, they are of any criticism directed toward them as a group, I can readily see why they would use their considerable power and influence to demonize this man and malign his reputation, which they have had enormous success in doing. (I think the slash-and-burn job that was done on Duke was made extra thorough because of the fact that, at one time, it looked as though his political star might be very seriously on the rise, and this is surely one reason his name has become imbedded more deeply into the popular culture than other alleged “anti-Semites.”) Also, he is not a pagan brand of white advocate. Given his very positive and affectionate references to Christianity, particularly when comparing it with Judaism, I was pleased but not surprised to learn that he identifies himself as a Christian. By the way, he also has an impressive list of what various past Popes had to say (and do) about the Talmud. (For us Protestants :-), he also has a powerful quote from Martin Luther excoriating the Talmud, which Luther had thoroughly studied in its original Hebrew.)
I have not read Duke’s works so I cannot comment on them and whatever I said before about him was based on hearsay.
Regarding the admission in the Babylonian Talmud that the Jews did put Christ to death, it is a quite proud admission. Christ, the promiscuous sexpot and sorcerer, was guilty of heresy and that was his greatest offense, according to Schäfer’s reading of the rabbinic sources. From his introduction:
Most remarkably, they [the Talmudic rabbis] counter the New Testament Passion story with its message of the Jews’ guilt and shame as Christ killers. Instead, they reverse it completely: yes, they maintain, we accept responsibility for it, but there is no reason to feel ashamed because we rightfully executed a blasphemer and idolater. Jesus deserved death, and he got what he deserved. Accordingly, they subvert the Christian idea of Jesus’ resurrection by having him punished forever in hell and by making clear that this fate awaits his followers as well, who believe in this impostor. There is no resurrection, they insist, not for him and not for his followers; in other words, there is no justification whatsoever for this Christian sect that impudently claims to be the new covenant and that is on its way to establish itself as a new religion (not least as a “Church” with political power). (Location 217, Kindle edition)
Of course, it is not surprising that the rabbis would reject Christian theology once they rejected the divinity of Christ. But the degree to which they repudiate and demonize Jesus is surprising. These scathing indictments have arguably very effectively immunized Jews, even, I believe, those who have never read any portion of the Talmud and even those who are not Orthodox Jews, against the Christian narrative. When an Orthodox Jew walks through a major European museum and sees all the madonnas, he sees paintings of a whore, or at least of an adulteress who conned her fiancé into marrying her even though she was pregnant with another man’s child. Think of how that view alienates him, the Orthodox Jew, psychologically from the society around him. Think of how this alienation might harden and spread within his subculture with the passage of years, so that centuries later vestiges of it might remain even in those whose ancestors long ago rejected the Talmud.
The conditions of relative freedom for the Jews in Babylon intensified the talmudic critique of Christ. Schäfer continues in his introduction:
I will demonstrate that this message [that the Jews were proud to kill Christ] was possible only under the specific historical circumstances in Sasanian Babylonia, with a Jewish community that lived in relative freedom, at least with regard to Christians— quite different from conditions in Roman and Byzantine Palestine, with Christianity becoming an ever more visible and aggressive political power. This is not to say that the Palestinian sources are devoid of any knowledge of Christianity and Jesus. On the contrary, they are vividly and painfully aware of the spread of Christianity. They are not simply denying or ignoring it (in a kind Freudian mechanism of denial and repression), as has often been suggested; rather they are acknowledging Christianity and engaged in a remarkably intense exchange with it. But still, Jesus as a person, his life, and his fate are much less prominent in the Palestinian sources. So my claim is that it is not so much the distinction between earlier and later sources that matters but the distinction between Palestinian and Babylonian sources, between the two major centers of Jewish life in antiquity. As we shall see, the different political and religious conditions under which the Jews lived created very different attitudes toward Christianity and its founder. (Kindle location, 218)
Schäfer explains that Balaam sometimes refers to Jesus. The name also refers at times to a pagan magician, who is punished in hell by sitting in boiling semen, so the rabbi Duke spoke to could have said with some honesty that Jesus is not Balaam.
By the way, I do not know whether Schäfer himself is of Jewish background. I presume that he is as he studied at Hebrew University and, cynically, I presume that Princeton would not have published this book if he were not. But I may be wrong.
Bill R. writes:
You write, “But the degree to which they repudiate and demonize Jesus is surprising.” And as if that were not enough, one is then confronted by the degree to which they conceal this repudiation and demonization (at least from non-Jews), and then repudiate and demonize you should you discover and reveal it anyway.
[Laura writes: Actually, there is a passage in the Talmud that refers to the death penalty for gentiles who critique the Talmud. BT Sanderin 59a: “Rabbi Yohanan said: A non-Jew who engages in the study of Torah is liable for execution, for the verse states (Deuteronomy 33:4): ‘Moses commanded us a Torah, an inheritance for the congregation of Jacob’ — to us, the Jewish people, the Torah was given as an inheritance, but not to them, the other nations. — Quoted in Michael Hoffman’s Judaism’s Strange Gods, p. 9. This may be why — I am not sure — I.B. Pranaitis, the Latvian priest and scholar who translated the Talmud, was murdered by the Soviet Cheka police.]
You write, “The name also refers at times to a pagan magician, who is punished in hell by sitting in boiling semen.” I looked up Gittin 57a in the Soncino edition online, and footnote 2 suggests that the significance of semen is because “he enticed Israel to go astray after the daughters of Moab.” Wouldn’t that seem to suggest Jesus as opposed to a magician? Or is it possible that the pagan magician reference itself could be another pseudonym for Jesus?
Also, Duke notes specifically that, “In The Jewish Encyclopedia, under the heading ‘Balaam,’ it says ‘…the pseudonym “Balaam” given to Jesus in Sanhedrin 106b and Gittin 57a.” Gitten 57a is where it is said that Balaam is punished with boiling hot semen. So at least we know in that one case, as far as The Jewish Encyclopedia is concerned, at any rate, there does not appear to be any equivocation; Balaam is Jesus.
This is a bit off the subject and I don’t mean to put too much focus on Duke, but since I wrote you earlier I’ve come across a paragraph in his book that I think better describes his philosophy than I was able convey earlier, and the central point he’s trying to get across with his book, and I’d like to quote it.
Even as I write these provocative words, I harbor no hatred toward the Jewish people. There are intolerant Jews just as there are intolerant Gentiles. It is also true that there are many Jews who respect our Christian heritage. But unless the nonchauvinist Jews are willing to work hard to bring to their own faith and community the same kind of love and reconciliation that Christ taught, the cycle of hatred between Jew and Gentile could fester. Unless they temper their supremacism with acceptance and love, they could suffer a replay of the terrible excesses of the past.
I’m not sure about the different Balaam references, except that I know Schäfer refers to passages in which Balaam is not Jesus. He writes:
Balaam incited Israel to sexual orgies— and hence is punished by sitting in semen. Jesus incited Israel to eating— and hence is punished by sitting in what eating produces: excrement. And what is the “eating” that Jesus imposed upon his followers? No less a food than himself— his flesh and blood. (Kindle location, 1717]
Regarding the last statement by Duke you quoted: Judaism, which is distinct from the religion of the ancient Israelites, entails certain beliefs and a certain view of the role of the Jewish people in salvational history. He might just as well ask them to give up their religion because to cover over what they believe with hugs and kisses would not make it substantially different.
David J. writes:
This is in response to Bill R.:
What a coincidence! Only last night, I finished viewing two lengthy interviews of David Duke concerning Jewish influences on the West, including those deriving from the Talmud. The interviews, totaling six to seven hours, were hosted by Tommy Sotomayor on one of his YouTube channels.
Since we seem to be taking this path, allow me to recommend two books, both by Israel Shahak, an Israeli author. Shahak was a leftist Jew who objected to what he viewed as the primitive roots of the Israeli theocracy, and wrote several lucid works from that perspective(if you can believe that).
The first title, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years” describes the path of Jews through the European past and how it bears upon modern Judaism. It is concise, entertaining, and readable.
The second, “Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel” , is an analysis of what happens when Judaism turns to Zionism. It, too, is quite readable, and quite concise. I have seen the Israel described by Shahak reflected in many, many news stories about settlers, Gaza, etc., and feel that I now have a lens through which to view the ongoing struggle in the Middle East.
I cannot recommend them enough, especially the first one, which is a bargain on Amazon for less than five bucks. Each runs about 150 pages, and can be read in one or two evenings.
Bill R. writes:
You write, “He might just as well ask them to give up their religion because to cover over what they believe with hugs and kisses would not make it substantially different.”
He might have been waxing a bit lovey-dovey there, I suppose, but I think he’s mainly trying to show that he believes in the possibility of enough cooperation and mutual respect between Jew and Gentile that will spare them the fate of simply trying to annihilate each other, and, two, I think he’s making an effort to show his critics, and/or those who are uncertain or new to his writings but perhaps not his reputation, that he’s not coming from a destructive, violent, or hateful point of view on the issue, but rather a rational one that possesses the potential for a rational and peaceful solution. As one myself who is new to his writings, it was a reassurance I appreciated.
Thanks to David J. for the references to the Sotomayor interviews with Duke. I hadn’t been aware of them. He was also recently a guest on the Alex Jones show. I haven’t had an opportunity to watch it yet but there was an interesting article about it at The Occidental Observer.
Just to clarify: The Catholic Church has never sought to annihilate Jews. I think you were probably not suggesting that but there is the implication in your comment that Christians and Jews are bound to desire to annihilate each other when in close contact. Starting in the Middle Ages, the Church, in its doctrine of sicut Judaeis non, demanded that physical harm not be inflicted on Jews and that they be allowed to practice their religion. It also sometimes expelled them from areas where they were believed to be exploiting and harming Christians. This expulsion was as much to protect Jews as it was to protect Christians, as without it the Jews were destined to come to physical harm, mostly because of the anger their economic usury had aroused. (I am certainly not advocating expulsion of Jews from any country by noting this fact nor am I denying that some Catholics did not observe the doctrine of sicut Judaeis non.)
It is Talmudic Judaism, not race itself and not Christianity, that is the great calamity of the Jewish people.
Also, as I have said before, this is not primarily a racial issue. The ancient followers of Judaism are not even racially the same as the Ashkenazi Jews. The fact that Judaism is a creed of racial exclusiveness and supremacy does not change the reality that it is ideology, not race, that is the primary issue.
Paul T. writes:
You raise the possibility that the Soviet Cheka police who killed a Latvian priest were doing so by way of enforcing Rabbi Yonahan’s diktat. This seems very unlikely, since Jewish Communists tend to be atheists who agree with Marx’s statement that the solution of the Jewish question is the ’emancipation of society from Judaism.’ In any case, while one could probably find Orthodox Jews who ‘converted’ to Communism (or Scientology, or whatever), I imagine we’d be hard put to find Jewish Communists who continued to live as Orthodox Jews.
There’s an irrepressible conflict between the two belief systems.
The Soviet state was, to a considerable extent, the creation of non-religious Jews. Both Communism and Orthodox Judaism involve political messianism. Also, atheist Jews tend to retain a sense of national identity and view themselves as having a bond with all Jews.
Nevertheless, I don’t know the details of Fr. Pranaitis’s death. I am trying to find out more.