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« The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy | Main | Guest Blog: Anti-Semitism and Free Speech »

October 15, 2007

Comments

Benjamin

"Should an open and democratic society extend to allowing religious groups like Jews for Jesus to proselytise?"

That is the wrong question. The question is: do Jews for Jesus have the right to proselytize in an open and free society? Well if they can't how is it open and free?

To quote Stephan Fry on Britain's attempt last year to enact a blasphemy law:
'It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?'

Finally on a tactical note, if this annoys you (as it does me) write a letter to the advertising complaints commission on the fact that this is false and misleading advertising. But why bother, the greatest publicity machine of Dan Brown's Da vinci code was the Catholic Church.

When I first heard the name Jews for Jesus I smiled and gave a little chuckle. When I saw this ad, it was so patently and obviously false that I had a similar reaction. Why should any sane person take anything else they say seriously? I say keep the ad and let them shoot themselves in their foot.

Derikboy

I think it's as harmless (or harmful) as saying "God is a Liverpool supporter!".

10 out of 10 Jewish doctors recommend Jesus... for what? I don't see why anyone would take offence at this, it's inconclusive, vague and open ended. If people are offended by this, they read their own insult of chosing into it.

I'm not defending JFJ, cause my experience is similar to Mike's. I think they should change their name to "Charismatic Christians Focusing on Jewish Conversions" but that was probably too long for the poster.

Hillel

The issue is really one of misrepresentation and little else.

It's a non-sequitur to suggest that a Jewish Dr would "recommend" Jesus (except perhaps as somebody to hold up a nifty piece of wood and later symbol of bloodshed - or maybe as someone to base another religion on), since the implication of describing someone as Jewish is, in and of itself, a rejection of Jesus (in the manner being "prescribed").

In other words, it comes down to the question of how to define "Jewish", what does the word mean? Clearly it has recently been stretched to the point where it includes Dr's who prescribe J, "Jew's" who deny the validity of the written AND oral torah, and of course to include a few nifty canards about world domination, lobbies and nazis.

Thus, the word and it's meaning has been stretched beyond recognition, along with various other terms bandied about (holocaust, genocide, ethnic cleansing, islamophobia, racism, BEE etc) to the point where language is losing its nuance and meaning. If there is no "truth" left, and nothing means anything or everything, i.e. it's all a lie, the whole social covenant collapses and we'll slide into anarchy ...

Derikboy

Although, "except perhaps as somebody to hold up a nifty piece of wood and later symbol of bloodshed - or maybe as someone to base another religion on" on the other hand, is not vague at all. It's cutting, and direct, and it does however hold the slightest hint of accountability as if almost saying, "Well the last time a Jewish doctor perscribed Jesus it was for ... "

That one, people would find offensive, and if there was such a thing as a "South African Union of Orthodox Churches", I'm sure they'd win any sort of legal move they made against such a statement.

Hillel

Good thing I'm not using it as my campaign slogan against the in-duh-viduals or else the zombie neo-marxists would get upset ... actually hold that, they wouldn't give a (reference to excreta erased) because they only care when it's islam and global warming that is insulted - Jews and Christians, not to mention the radically evil "neo-cons" are fair game.

Read it as you wish ... the constitution guarantees your right to be wrong.

Steve

Derikboy, God is definitely NOT a Liverpool supporter.

Trust me, I know.

Steve

Benjamin,
I agree with you and Mike. Personally, I find all proselytizing to be offensive. That said, when missionaries come to my house to try chat to me about Jesus I generally have a decent and polite conversation with them - in a way I am fascinated by them.

But I would be ashamed if Jews started a "Muslims for Moses" movement trying to convert Muslims to Judaism.

But as you and Mike said, in a free and open society they are free to do as they wish as long as they don't break the law. Their constraints should be the same as any normal advertising claims.

Cindy

Hi, I'm Gentile and I've got that book and a Jewish pastor, too!--yep, he's 100% Jewish and 100% Christian, no oxymoron at all to believe in the Tanakh and also that Jesus fits the description of the Messiah spoken of in the Tanakh. So you disagree with the 10 Jewish Christian doctors in the book, that doesn't make it less true that the 10 doctors in this book do recommend Jesus. Nothing deceptive about that ad, just eye-catching, even provocative, causes one to look closer and say, huh? As for the particular organization Jews for Jesus (with which I'm not involved), I think it's great that they are up front about their faith in Jesus, rather than say not using the name of Jesus, not calling themselves Christians, and so on like some Messianic groups do, which can be perceived as deceptive. Really, surely their transparency deserves some credit.

Steve

Cindy,
I think the deceptive part has nothing to do with their faith in Jesus; it has to do with them calling themselves Jews.

"I think it's great that they are up front about their faith in Jesus, rather than say not using the name of Jesus, not calling themselves Christians, and so on "

They not calling themselves Christians; they calling themselves Jews :) So where is the transparency? Why not call themselves "Christians for Christ?"


Mike

Cindy, I think you raise an interesting point. Can one believe that Jesus is the messiah and still be Jewish? Common senses like Hillel pointed out says no. But let’s work with your assumption that one can. If Jews for Jesus were such Jews then I would expect them to do all Jewish things plus believe in Christ. But this is not the case. Where is their synagogue? They don’t have one. They go to an evangelical church in Sandton. What about them is still ‘Jewish’?

Steve

Mike,
There is actually a small community like you describe called Nazarenes. The guy I know would argue against the Jews for Jesus crowd.

He is born Christian. He was a charismatic Christian but eventually discovered the prominence of the Torah. He believes that the Torah laws still apply but also believe in Jesus.

He just came back from Israel actually.

He doesn't try to proseletyse Jews because he believes that all that is really important is that they keep Torah laws.

Jews for Jesus are mainstream Christians who believe that the Torah laws have been rescinded but the Nazarene's believe that they still apply.

Cindy

Mike,
One response is that it's the practitioners of rabbinic Judaism (as opposed to "biblical Judaism," that based on the written Torah, Prophets, and Writings) who are not doing all things Jewish. There's more to the Tanakh than the books of Moses! But rabbinic Judaism while exalting the traditions of mere men, devalues the Prophets and Writings portions of the Tanakh, and these shed much light on this situation--for example, they promise a "new covenant" in contrast to the Mosaic covenant. Not only that, even when it comes to the books of Moses the rabbis just get it wrong. If you want to hear how a Jewish Christian preaches Genesis, just let me know, I'll give you the link to the audio--but I won't give it without permission out of respect for hypersensitivity to proselytizing--which is understandable given the history, past and present, of atrocities committed against Jews by professing Christians.
Peace,
Cindy

Hillel

Cindy,

Firstly, i submit that you will be hard pressed to find reference in the Tanack to "Jews" (being derived from "Judah" - hence your argument that being a "biblical Jew" is being jewish and being a "rabbinic Jew" is not, just doesn't leave the gate. However, working on the assumption that it does (and note already this is the second time, ref Mike's comment above, that we're overlooking a crucial flaw in your logic), let's indulge your argument.

Problem 1
"There's more to the Tanakh than the books of Moses!" - frankly, duh. "T" in the word Tanach stands for Torah, "N" for Neviim, i.e. prophets and kh/ch for Ctuvim, writings. In other words, your implication that Jews have somehow forgotten the rest of Tanach is flawed, unless you're trying to include reference to the so called "New testament" - in which case you're back to christianity.

Problem 2
"But rabbinic Judaism while exalting the traditions of mere men, devalues the Prophets and Writings portions of the Tanakh, and these shed much light on this situation".
Firstly, the prophets were men. Secondly, and fundamentally, the rabbi's you are so quick to dismiss have an unbroken chain of tradition from those self same prophets. Even a novice at a little talmud will quickly realise not only the esteem in which the rabbi's held the tradition and the tanach but also the calibre of the people you're dismissing.
Thirdly, you are suggesting that the chap down the rode from the nazarene house of worship somehow has a better idea of what the prophets meant than the chaps whove spent their entire lives devoted to the traditions handed down in the name of the prophets. e.g. (lhavdil elef havdalos) you're reading shakespeare and trying to work out what he said without reference to the type of english he spoke, his milieu and the various critics he's had over the ages who know more.

Problem 3
"Not only that, even when it comes to the books of Moses the rabbis just get it wrong" - No doubt, based on your intimate connection to all things spiritual and Jewish you are qualified to make this statement.

General
Your entire theory is predicated on two things, one that the rabbi's made it all up in their own interest and two, that somehow you have a connection to "the truth". The problem with the first is that is shows a complete ignorance of the talmud. The problem with the second is not only its tenuousness, but more particularly the implication that indeed there MUST be an oral torah - and hence the outcome that if you don't have the oral torah you won't know what you're talking about and consequently you have just shown the impossibility of your own position.

If you'd like a link to some reading material on the Tanach, in line with the tradition handed down from teacher to student from Moses himself, I will be happy to provide you with the link. Note also, that as a gentile, you are free to receive all the pleasures of the world to come without becoming Jewish (given certain conditions, obviously) - and hence I'm not concerned about proselytising.

nJ

Mike, I agree with you about the dishonesty of the JfJ crowd. I also think that they should just be clear that they are Christians. That other Christian proselytising group, Jesus to the Muslims, is, at least, more honest.

But, my view is based on the fact that I think that people who use religious communal descriptors should be (even if just a little) religious - at least in terms of belief. I do not believe there is such a thing as a "cultural" follower of a religion. A "cultural Muslim" or "cultural Christian", for example, who does not believe in G_d is a misnomer, imo.

You said: "They are not Jewish. They pray at a church not a synagogue." That statement makes the point I have just made above. However, I have heard certain Jews (or people who self-describe as Jews) claiming that they are atheists. Or that they are "secular" Jews - meaning that not only do they not pray in a synagogue, they just don't pray anywhere. Would you say these are still Jews? Is there such a thing as a "cultural Jew" - someone who follows certain "Jewish customs" but, perhaps, does not believe in G_d or refuses to keep kosher or go to a synagogue, etc?

Hillel

Touchy subject there nj.

I think the matter is perhaps rather nuanced, but at the risk of over simplifying, I would suggest as follows:
- One needn't be "observant" per se, to be Jewish
- Nevertheless, one couldn't deny certain fundamental principles of "the club" and then claim to still be Jewish "culturally", "secularly" or "atheistically".

In the context of the discussion above, one couldn't be Jewish and claim that Jesus was the messiah. The two are incompatible. Unless you simply choose to redefine "Jewish" - which then goes back to the first point I made.

On the other hand, claiming to be Jewish and not being able to motivate yourself off the golf course and into synagogue on a sat morning is not necessarily a contradiction but perhaps rather a human weakness.

Hillel

On the other hand, irrespective of one's actions and beliefs, the "rules of the club" state that one can't opt out of being Jewish and change one's state,

Which is perhaps the reason d'etre for people to lable all weird and wonderful ideologies as "Jewish" in order to quell the deep sense of dissonance and disquiet.

Gary

I am a Traditional Jews and do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah or G-D incarnate, however in the last century far more Jews have been lost to humanism/Atheism/Marxism/Leftism and other secular assimilationst ideolgoies than to Christian missionaries.
I have a big problem with Jews For Judaism that they focus ONLY on combating Chrisitan missionary activities, and not other threats to Jewish identity.
What about all the so-called Jewboos, (Jewish Buddhists).
Why does no one in the Jewish establishment seem to mind Buddhism or Hare Krishna being spread among Jews.
Also the first thing they teach students in certain 'humanities' faculties at many universities is that there is no G-D, but Jews do not seem to mind their children attending their classes
humanism/Atheism/Marxism/Leftism is a far greater threat to our continuation as Jews, than Christianity is.
I am also far more concerned about Jewish gropus that advocate the destruction of Israel, and hatred against their fellow Jews in Israel, like Not In My Name et al, than I am about Jews for Jesus.

Cindy

Sure Hillel, I'd very much like the link mentioned. Not only did you disagree with my statements--which of course, is fine and even to be expected--but I must say, you did not seem to understand what I was trying to say, which is unfortunate since now you are disagreeing with something you think I said rather than what I actually said, but I will leave it at that. Please note, though, I would not impute motives, self-interest or others, to the rabbis as you suggest my premise requires, but just am asserting that their teachings conflict with the written Torah, for whatever reason. If you are referring to the "Noachide laws" when you say "certain conditions," well thank you for suggesting what you believe to be a good way for me to be right with God, thank you for caring, unfortunately, I disagree that this is biblical and in any case am quite certain I could not keep the Noachide laws. Thanks again for the link. God bless you. Cindy

(p.s. please pray for the situation we are in here in the USA regarding the pressure upon our leaders to screw Israel over bigtime with the upcoming Middle East Summit, the next week or 2 are critical in fighting US Senate Resolution 321 and support for the Summit)

Steve

Hi Cindy,
What are your reasons for not supporting the summit?

I have absolutely no issue with your religious beliefs. My only issue would be if you tried to force your beliefs onto others through whatever means, physical, or emotional trickery.

mike

Cindy and Nj, raise an interesting point. Jewish identity is extremely complex. Its both a national and religious identity. If 1 is discarded is a person still Jewish? I personally am very sympathetic to Cultural Judaism. But I don’t know if I could extent that to Christian Jews.

The Israeli supreme court death with all this in respect of the ‘who is a Jew clause’ in the law of return. If I remembered correctly some who has actively converted out of Judaism does not qualify (the brother Daniel Case). But I stand to be corrected.

I think that if Jews for Jesus were to base their existence on saying we are ethnically Jewish but follow a different religion, I might have more sympathy. But they do not do this. They claim to be Jewish on religious grounds/not ethnic ones. The symbols, words, messages etc are religious in nature and appeal to Jews on a religious not national level. In fact I have never heard of Jews for Jesus in South Africa every standing up for Israel. In fact one of their members signed one of those anti-Zionist petitions in the Mail and Guardian.

Hillel

Cindy,

"you did not seem to understand what I was trying to say,"
What part didn't I understand?

Steve, I'm sorry, I missed your Oct 15 post about how a name like Christians for Christ would be transparent but Jews for Jesus is not because--in your opinion--they are not Jews but Christians. Fine for you to think that, but Christianity does not teach that one ceases to be a Jew when one believes that Jesus is Messiah. One cannot both be Muslim and Christian or Buddhist and Christian or Hindu and Christian, but in the Christian opinion one can be both Jewish and Christian, and Jews for Jesus people are acknowledging both.

Re: your post about the Summit, which is now postponed to December, my opposition to it is that it is to yield concessions from Israel, including land. For theological, moral, historical, legal, and pragmatic reasons, this is wrong. Nothing (even support for bombing Iran) could justify this.

Yes, trickery is disgusting, as is false accusation of trickery without basis. There is a myth that evangelicals support Zionism b/c supposedly Israel must be in the land in order for Jesus to return or in order to be destroyed, something supposedly evangelicals will glee in. This lie is as true as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Cindy

Woops, looks like the last post came out with no name, it's me, Cindy. Something else just occurred to me, I forgot this blog's South African, which means that perhaps those of you in S.Africa have a view of Christianity shaded by the type of Christianity there--much influenced by "Reformed" theology, a/k/a covenant theology, which is not good when it comes to affecting views regarding the Jewish people or Israel.

Hillel

Cindy,

Perhaps in your christian theology one can be both christian and jewish. Very nice.

However, in Jewish theology, even in reform jewish theology, one cannot be jewish and christian and hence you are left with no working definition of judaism that is compatible with being both christian and jewish save for the one you're just defined/invented. As I pointed out above, being Jewish by definition excludes the possibility of accepting Jesus as the messiah. For sources, try the J for Jews website.

Steve

Cindy,
Were all the J4J missionaries born Jews? I doubt it. So what is Jewish about them? Why specifically call themselves Jews?

Are you really arguing that their motive is purely one of identity and NOT to try and convert Jews to a belief in Jesus/Yeshua/Christ...

I have no problem with most evangelical support for Israel. Israel is Holy to Christian people as well and its in their best interests that Jews rather than Muslims have control. (See the decline in Christian numbers in Bethlehem.)

I think we today have many common interests and that the Christianity of today is far far removed from the oppressive form of the past.

Brett

Hillel

When William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran, the game he was playing ceased to be football. There are those that still call it rugby football, but that is just a bit silly. I believe your post should have read ".......even reform theology"

nJ

Hillel: So what, in your opinion, is the bottom line in defining who is a Jew? Belief? Observance? A bit of both? Ethnicity? Lineage? A little of all of the above?

Hillel

nJ, it's not about MY opinion. As Brett so "tactfully" puts it, it's about the rules of the game.

In other words, ask your local orthodox competent halachic authority.

Or,
you can do like Cindy and make up your own definition and then anyone can be anything you like; black can be green and blue can be red and we can all love each other because we're totally confused.

Cindy

Hillel--only in Jewish theology according to *you,* Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Orthodox Judaism--rabbinic Judaism basically one cannot be Jewish and Christian together, but your opinion or my opinion matter zero, God will decide who is Jewish or not. I ask not that you agree, but that you understand that unlike what Mike suggested, I am not suggesting that Jewish Christians retain their "cultural" Jewish identity, I am saying that they are still spiritual Jews--even moreso! It comes down to choosing the Judaism of the written Torah or the Judaism of the oral Torah--they do not agree. Jewish Christians trust the written Torah, not what has been added to it by the rabbis.

Not only do the Jewish scriptures allow allows for Jews to be Christians at the same time, but such Jewish Christians are actually more Jewish, since they actually believe in and have a relationship with the Messiah--can hardly be more Jewish than that!

ER

Steve, to reply to your Q's, (1)I do think it's possible all the Js4J are born Jews (or perhaps spouses that tag along, maybe), just because that group is like that, unlike the mixed Jew-Gentile messicanic judaism movement, (2 & 3) what's Jewish about them and why call themselves Jews?--well, physically, they are descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and spiritually, they believe in the Law, Prophets, and Writings of the Tanakh, they love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul and might, (4)heheh, NO WAY!, I am *not* arguing that Js4J motive is about identiy, of course they are evangelizing, missionizing, whatever you call it, that's the point! It's like they have the word bound on their forehad, their doorposts, their gates, whether lying down or getting up, they can't stop reciting the scriptures and sharing to all the greatness of the Lord and Messiah.

Of course the Christian interest is best served by Jewish rather than Muslim control over all Israel, because our interest is not about us, but about God and His will, which is that Israel not give up any of His land that he give them. Am familiar w/the Bethlehem issue you mentioned--have been there; recommend Pierre Rehov's DVD Holy Land: Christians in Peril. Finally, in a previous post you mentioned "synagogue" versus "church," and really we aren't required to worship in a building called a church, but anywhere--Christendom has it's own traditions, and slowly we're learning about what is added on versus what's biblical, unfortunatley the added on stuff has done much damage.

Gary

Actually Cindy, I don't usually have discussions like this as my policy is to respect other people's faiths if they respect mine.
But you stated that Jesus IS the Messiah and Jews must believe in Jesus, and that the Torah validates Christianity and the New Testamant.
But their is actually proof that Jesus in not the Messiah IF you believe in the immaculate conceptions.
Because:

1 The Torah/Bible says the Messiah will come from the seed of King David (Dovid Melech Yisrael).
Now according to the New Testament, Mary's husband Joseph was a descendant of King David, and not Mary, but acording to the virgin birth Jesus was not Joseph's son, which means he is not the Messiah.
So either you disqualify the idea of the Virgin Birth or of Jesus being the Messiah as the one rules out the other.

2) In the translation of the Torah from Hebrew to Greek, the word for young girl is misconstrued as virgin. The Torah says that a YOUNG GIRL will give birth to the Messiah, not a Virgin.

3) The Torah says that G-D is one, hence the holy Trinity go's against the Torah.

SO, only if you discount the idea of the Virgin birth and of the Holy Trinity, could Jesus concievably be the Messiah.

Richard

Should I not be offended by your presumption of saying I am not Jewish and more so that I am deceitful? I was born to Jewish parents, I had a b'rit and was bar mitzvahed. I also BELIEVE beyond a shadow of a doubt that Y'shua (Jesus) is the Messiah of Israel promised by Moses and the Prophets, and that all that is said of Him in the B'rit Hadasha (the New Testament) is true and a fulfillment of the Messianic promise. Therefore I BELIEVE beyond a shadow of a doubt that the most Jewish thing to do is to believe in Him.

Therefore I BELIEVE I am Jewish (born a Jew - always a Jew) and I BELIEVE in Jesus. Now you can say that I'm a bad Jew, perhaps. You can say that I'm wrong in my beliefs, but to say I'm deceitful is both presumptuous, slanderous and, as you've put this in type - libelous.

I'm not saying this to frighten you but to make a point. My question is: have you honestly interacted with the claims of Y'shua such that you have a right to gainsay them? If not, then are you being intellectually honest?


Cindy

Gary, apologies to you and others for not keeping my name straight on these posts--the last one of mine appears under "ER," which alludes to a Christian handle ("EncompassedRunner") I go by sometimes on the internet, Cindy is my real name. Gary, thank you so much for your specific textual arguments, I'm familiar with each of those you made and disagree, that's all, to each his own. (The best contrary presentation from my point of view--i.e., that both a virgin birth and trinity concept are compatible with the written Tanakh-- is made in "Messianic Christology" written by the late Jewish Christian Arnold Fruchtenbaum, with Hebrew and English side-by-side, of course, or just pray to God to reveal the truth then study the Jewish written scriptures, and He will circumcise your heart and open your eyes.)

Richard, hello and much gratitude to you and your people, it was a Jewish belieer who first told me, a Gentile, about the Messiah, I owe my life to you all.

Brett

Richard, those that referred to J4J as deceitful did so not on the basis of what you believe, they made the claims based on the use of such beliefs in proselytizing. Like it or not the vast majority (in my opinion the entirety) of halachik authorities exclude the possibilty the J was the Messiah. Therefor, to actively attempt to convert Jews with the argument that they are still practicing Judaism is deceitful. Should J4J and the like proselytize with claims of a different religion - by all means, preach away, in fact I commend your commitment to your faith, just be honest with proselytees.

Cindy, contrary to popular belief what defines Judaism is not the written Torah. Oh, we belief in the written Torah, its divinity and therefor its absolute validity, but it is not what defines us as Jews. Our beliefs, practices, customs, laws and world view are all brought down in the oral law. This is what makes us Jewish. Judaism clearly states too that this oral law was not "added by the Rabbis" but was given to Moses along with the written law and holds the same validity. I will not digress with a history lesson on how it came to be written down by the Rabbis but will happily email you sources. The point being once again, you may chose to believe that the oral law is not G-d given, but if you do you are rejecting a, if not the, fundamental principle of Judaism and so your belief system ceases to be Judaism. You picked up the ball - the game is now rugby.

Gary, you name some good points, if you want a number of other I recommend a book called "You take Jesus I'll take G-d" by Samuel Levine.

Derikboy

I love proselytizing. It wouldn't be possible if G-d wrote down some stuff and said, "Do this!".

Oh well.

Hillel

Cindy,

It appears that one of the problems here, why we appear not to be making sense to one another, is one of semantics.

Definitions
So let us start with a few definitions. Since words have the meaning imputed by common reference and use, one is being intellectually lazy (or just deceitful) by trying to impute a different definition to the one in common use, and hence the need to be clear.

The definitions I submit below are intended to be clear and workable, not perfect or exhaustive.

OJ = Orthodox Judaism, refers to the Judaism practiced in accordance with the traditions of the communities accepted Rabbi's of each generation. PER DEFINITION, this Judaism flatly rejects the notion that one may be christian and jewish, or the notion that one may accept Jesus as the messiah. Call him Yeshu, or anything else, it doesn't change the fact.

RfJ = Reform Judaism, refers to that stream of Judaism, practiced in accordance with the traditions of the reform rabbi's. FOr sake of argument, let's say these are in general terms those who ally themselves with the reform movement in America. In this case, once again, PER DEFINITION, there is a rejection of Jesus etc.

You have then submitted two further terms, Biblical/Mosaic/Prophetic Judaism (PJ) and Rabbinic Judaism (RbJ). By Rabbinic judaism, I assume you are referring to the two definitions above. By Prophetic Judaism, you seem to refer to this VISTA Judaism which encompasses the ability to consider Jesus the messia, and rejects the teachings of the Rabbi's.

The Question(s)
1) The question we are trying to ascertain is whether, when someone talks about "Judaism" do they refer to OJ, RfJ, PJ or RbJ or all of the above.
2) The second issue is as follows. You're trying to suggest that my DEFINITION of OJ and RfJ are not correct because, according to you, they are not incompatible with believing J is messia.

Suggested Answer to Qu 1
Not being personally the oxford dictionary, this may be a little difficult to answer, and perhaps is really why the debate is raging. But I submit that the term Judaism, at best, incorporates OJ and RfJ and nothing further. I base this on the following:
- Up until RfJ came around, there was only one Judaism. The sadduccess, karaites, shomronim and christians were all either dead, or had made up their own religion and realised they weren't "jewish".
- RfJ was forced to coin the term Orthodox Judaism, in order not be in a situation where there was "judaism" and "Reform Judaism", in which case it would be obvious, at least semantically, that RfJ was the poor cousin. (the same applies to you being forced to resort to the term PJ)
- If one were to ask Joe Soap in the street, what a Jew is. He's likely to reply that Jew's are the chaps who reject Jesus, or who crucified him, etc

Suggested answer to Qu2
The next question, and I assume this is the one truly bothering you, is whether OJ and RfJ can accept Jesus as messiah. The answer is obviously not, since PER DEFINITION, they reject Jesus as being the messiah. (I refer you to Brett's pithy comment above)

The Real Question
You are now free to pose the question, is OJ or RfJ correct or incorrect in their rejection of Jesus. Or put differently, based on the axioms they are using would one or could one still come to accept Jesus as messiah.

This is a different question, and is clearly the question bothering Richard. (i.e. obviously we can't say Richard isn't Jewish, but we also can't say that his beliefs are in accordance with "judaism" unless we redefine our terms. The possibility exists that he indeed may be correct, that Jesus is the messiah, but that doesn't change the fact that his belief is not in accordance with "judaism")

As to the question of the validity of the claim of J to Messiah, there isn't space here, and I don't think it's the forum, but I would be very happy to engage in debate offline. Maybe you'd like to post a contact detail or ask Mike/Steve to pass on your email address.

Parting shot
If the messiah is the person to restore the Kingdom of David, G-d's dominion on earth, unite the Jews and a little world peace to boot, then Jesus doesn't fit the definition, and you have to say one of two things.
a) you don't like "Judaism"'s definition of the davidic messiah, or
b) Jesus is coming back to do the job properly next time.

H

Brett

Just an extension on Hillel's note.
There are 2 angles from which to reject the idea of J being the Messiah. The one is to, as Gary did above, find contradictions in the personal characteristics of bible's description of the Messiah. But this argument is entirely superfluous if one assesses whether or not he did what the bible says the Messiah is supposed to do. It is beyond the realm of discussion that none of the prophecies have been fulfilled and hence, as Hillel pointed out, the need for the second coming hypothesis.

Lets assess what FACTS we have, and lets be liberal, lets believe all the facts stated in the New Testament (though objectively you have to concede this is generous from my side). All we know is that around 2000 years ago there lived a charismatic prophet with the ability to perform miracles, who claimed to be the Messiah (or at least his followers believed him to be), was rejected by all his people save 12, who possibly rose from the dead and who fulfilled none of the qualities or predictions of the Messiah. He wasn't the first with charisma, nor the last. He was the first to perform miracles, nor the last. He wasn't even the only one to rise from the dead, and none of the others are messiahs. So to imply that Judaism's rejection of J as the Messiah as unfounded is a little bit unfair. If you wish to hold the opinion that when he comes back then we'll know for sure, so great, but thats not a proof now.

Once again, believe what you will, but when you try convince people to come over to your side, make it clear that it is another side entirely and not and small (but really true) corner of the same side.

Cindy

Brett & Hillel,
Yes, I am providing an email address here, and I hope both of you send me the websites you offered previously. Hillel, I do not use the terms you suggested of "Mosaic Judaism" or "Prophetic Judaism," but do use "biblical Judaism" (as I make no distinction in the degree of authority between the books of Moses, Prophets, or Writings) to emphasize what I've said time and again, that the difference between the Judaism of Jewish Christians and followers of one of the forms of rabbinic Judaism can be traced back to what is the source of one's authority--written Word of God or rabbinic authority. So now , with these definitions in mind, we know where we are coming from.

Hillel, re:your "parting shot," I go with option (b) Jesus is coming back, and also (a) since the rabbinic Judaism conception of Messiah, or "definition" as you said, is not inaccurate, just incomplete and not the one presented by the totality of Tanakh and so limits the understanding of the Messiah and contributes to people missing Him.

Anyway, it's been a pleasure exchanging with both of you if only to increase our understanding of alternative perspectives so that at least when we disagree with each other it will be disagreement about real positions and not disagreement over what we think the other believes when really they don't even believe that. Brett, I cannot in good conscience suggest biblical Christianity is some "other side," but agree that it can appear to be.

Finally, if you wish to keep up with and join urgent efforts to stop the parting of the land of Israel, please subscribe to israelunitycoalition dot org, and I can be reached at OrdeBonhoeffer followed by the at sign then gmail and then dot com. Farewell, and God bless.

Hillel

Cindy,

Definitions
Since you don't otherwise disagree with my definitions, you therefore agree that Judaism (i.e. what you termed rabbinic judaism, i.e. Reform and Orthodox) utterly rejects the notion that Jesus can be messiah. Hence, it follows logically, and is not a matter of "opinion" that if your movement considers Jesus to be the messiah it is impossible to be a Jewish movement.
(Unless, as pointed out, you pick up the ball, move the goalposts etc)
____________________________________________
The Sadduccees are back
"the difference between the Judaism of Jewish Christians and followers of one of the forms of rabbinic Judaism can be traced back to what is the source of one's authority--written Word of God or rabbinic authority."

In other words, "Jewish Christians" are reviving the Sadduccee claim. You don't place value on the authority of the rabbi's only on the "word of G-d". PER DEFINITION therefore, you (again) cannot be Jewish. You might use Jewish sources, but quoting Shakespeare doesn't make me Victorian.

The fact that a complete rejection of the oral law is entirely untenous will have to be left for another day.
___________________________________________
Definition of Messiah
"the rabbinic Judaism conception of Messiah, or "definition" as you said, is not inaccurate, just incomplete "
Once again, you're picking up the ball. I stated, and you didn't disagree, that Judaism's definition of the messiah precludes Jesus from having been the messiah. To which you countered that you don't like the definition.

Here's a little scary fact: if you're not in the club, you don't get to change the rules of the club. You're free to disagree, but the rules or definitions of the club can only be changed in accordance with the agreed framework (of the club) of how to change the rules.
________________________________________
Good Conscience
"I cannot in good conscience suggest biblical Christianity is some "other side," but agree that it can appear to be." - i read this to mean that you agree that "Jewish Christians" are not Jewish per definition ... in which case I must assume that you've been convinced that Judaism doesn't include Jesus and hence retract your statements where you suggested it could.

It also follows that your claims that the position is not incompatible with tanach is more accurately stated as being a disagreement between "your" interpretation and the Rabbi's interpretation of the tanach. In short, you're questioning the relevance/validity of the Rabbi's interpretation.

To anyone familiar with rabbinic literature this alone would be adequately convincing of your credentials.

Anyone considering your claims must then assess your sources and logic against rabbinic sources, hopefully in an intellectually honest way.

Gary

An aside , but I had to let you knopw that I noticed this.
"quoting Shakespeare doesn't make me Victorian", Hillel?
Er...Shakespeare was not in the Victorian age but the Elizabethan age some two hundred years before.

Hillel

Good point, apologies for the obvious error. Irrespective though, quoting shakespeare doesn't make me an subject of any queen ... not even freddy mercury.

Gary

No, Quoting Bohemian Rhapsody will make you a subject of Freddie Mercury...LOL

Gary

Actually on the topic of Freddie Mercury, arguably the gretest singer of the 20th century, you may be interested to see this example of Islamic bigotry
http://www.gay.com/news/article.html?2006/08/30/4

Hillel

But Gary, isn't Islam the religion of peace? (and tolerance and women's rights?) This must be a fake post by the neo-con dominated media to stir islamophobia.

Gary

Actually from a far-left perspective, what you say is really what they think.
In the USA, the Stalinist Workers World Party, which supports 'gay rights' in the USA, called on gay rights and human rights activists not to protest against the persecution of gays in Iran, as the Islam, like gays, are the victim of WEstern Imperialism, and Iran is in the forefront of WEstern Imperialism and once Western Imperialism is defeated, Gays will have full rights throughout the world.

Hillel

But Ahmad-"i have a funny surname"-jad said that there aren't any gay's in iran. So the stalinist workers party were obviously just responding to the uninformed media's war mongering.

I'm very glad that such clear thinking individuals, so free of Newspeak and politburo thought are considered the Intellectual Elite. Idiot's like me certainly couldn't grasp such intellectual brilliance.

Gary

Nope, rightwing retards like us just canot understand why totalitarian states and genocidal terror organizations are not virtuous.

Hillel

Indeed Gary.

Unlike the blood thirsty, war mongering, slavishly moronic neo-stormtrooper neo-cons, the totalitarians, dictators and elected despots (ala Gaddafi, Castro, Ahmadenijad, Kim Jung Il, Assad etc) really do want to wear jeans and tie-dyed t-shirts, hold up candles and break into ye olde faithful ... "all we are saying ..." If only Israel would get out the way, all these deep down nice guys could have Woodstock ME - coming to a Kaba near you.

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