Saturday, February 17, 2007

Judaism is Not the Religion of the Bible

From the book, Judaism and the Christian Predicament, written by Rabbi Ben Zion Boxer in 1966:

Pope Paul VI, in his Encyclical "Ecclesiam Suam," pleaded for friendly relations between the Church and other faiths. Speaking of the Jews he said: "Then we see another circle around us. This too is vast in it's extent, yet it is not so far away from us. It is made up of the men who above all adore the one, supreme God whom we too adore. We refer to the children, worthy of our affection and respect, of the Hebrew people, faithful to the religion we call that of the Old Testament." 1

This is not an uncommon impression and one finds it sometimes among Jews as well as Christians--that Judaism is the religion of the Hebrew Bible. It is of course a fallacious impression. ... whoever would seek to compare the classic Jewish tradition with the biblical world of faith and life would find some startling contrasts. ... Much of what exists in Judaism is absent in the Bible, and much of what is in the Bible cannot be found in Judaism. (Page 59)

Judaism is not the religion of the Bible. (Page 159, emphasis in original)

1 The New York Times, August 11, 1964, p.21


Itzchak said...


By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

THE hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has published a teaching document instructing the faithful that some parts of the Bible are not actually true.

The Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are warning their five million worshippers, as well as any others drawn to the study of scripture, that they should not expect “total accuracy” from the Bible.

“We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision,” they say in The Gift of Scripture.

The document is timely, coming as it does amid the rise of the religious Right, in particular in the US.

Some Christians want a literal interpretation of the story of creation, as told in Genesis, taught alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution in schools, believing “intelligent design” to be an equally plausible theory of how the world began.

But the first 11 chapters of Genesis, in which two different and at times conflicting stories of creation are told, are among those that this country’s Catholic bishops insist cannot be “historical”. At most, they say, they may contain “historical traces”.

The document shows how far the Catholic Church has come since the 17th century, when Galileo was condemned as a heretic for flouting a near-universal belief in the divine inspiration of the Bible by advocating the Copernican view of the solar system. Only a century ago, Pope Pius X condemned Modernist Catholic scholars who adapted historical-critical methods of analysing ancient literature to the Bible.

In the document, the bishops acknowledge their debt to biblical scholars. They say the Bible must be approached in the knowledge that it is “God’s word expressed in human language” and that proper acknowledgement should be given both to the word of God and its human dimensions.

They say the Church must offer the gospel in ways “appropriate to changing times, intelligible and attractive to our contemporaries”.

The Bible is true in passages relating to human salvation, they say, but continue: “We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other, secular matters.”

They go on to condemn fundamentalism for its “intransigent intolerance” and to warn of “significant dangers” involved in a fundamentalist approach.

“Such an approach is dangerous, for example, when people of one nation or group see in the Bible a mandate for their own superiority, and even consider themselves permitted by the Bible to use violence against others.”

Of the notorious anti-Jewish curse in Matthew 27:25, “His blood be on us and on our children”, a passage used to justify centuries of anti-Semitism, the bishops say these and other words must never be used again as a pretext to treat Jewish people with contempt. Describing this passage as an example of dramatic exaggeration, the bishops say they have had “tragic consequences” in encouraging hatred and persecution. “The attitudes and language of first-century quarrels between Jews and Jewish Christians should never again be emulated in relations between Jews and Christians.”

As examples of passages not to be taken literally, the bishops cite the early chapters of Genesis, comparing them with early creation legends from other cultures, especially from the ancient East. The bishops say it is clear that the primary purpose of these chapters was to provide religious teaching and that they could not be described as historical writing.

Similarly, they refute the apocalyptic prophecies of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible, in which the writer describes the work of the risen Jesus, the death of the Beast and the wedding feast of Christ the Lamb.

The bishops say: “Such symbolic language must be respected for what it is, and is not to be interpreted literally. We should not expect to discover in this book details about the end of the world, about how many will be saved and about when the end will come.”

In their foreword to the teaching document, the two most senior Catholics of the land, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, and Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh, explain its context.

They say people today are searching for what is worthwhile, what has real value, what can be trusted and what is really true.

The new teaching has been issued as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Dei Verbum, the Second Vatican Council document explaining the place of Scripture in revelation. In the past 40 years, Catholics have learnt more than ever before to cherish the Bible. “We have rediscovered the Bible as a precious treasure, both ancient and ever new.”

A Christian charity is sending a film about the Christmas story to every primary school in Britain after hearing of a young boy who asked his teacher why Mary and Joseph had named their baby after a swear word. The Breakout Trust raised £200,000 to make the 30-minute animated film, It’s a Boy. Steve Legg, head of the charity, said: “There are over 12 million children in the UK and only 756,000 of them go to church regularly.

That leaves a staggering number who are probably not receiving basic Christian teaching.”

titurator veritatis said...

Oh, it is you again.

Itzchak said...

titurator veritatis said...


De fide arguments or a fallacy that is an appeal to authority (that being your innumerable assertions relying on your knowledge or your perceptions derived from a set of beliefs i.e. Judaism)are the weakest forms of certitude. Anon 3:22 buttresses my opionion that you are heavily immersed in invincible ignorance. I think another once implied that about your kind and I am sure that He casts a long shadow upon your thinking and conscience, so I cannot fault you for coming to this site or to mull these issues over for I think we can agree that these issues are of primal importance.

February 17, 2007 11:30 AM
Itzchak said...

And your certitude is based on?

February 17, 2007 1:17 PM

titurator veritatis said...

Yes, we know it is you again

Itzchak said...

Did you miss the question about your certitude...?

titurator veritatis said...


I cannot entertain your circumstantial ad hominem. You keep questioning me about certitude and I told you from the outset (that is when we first encountered each other on this blog) that you suffer from
invincible ignorance. You question certitude and if I were to give you a reason you would then say it was in my interest to do so--then you would intellectually and volitionally disregard what I had said or offered while continuing to pick at what you still objected to or what I offered as an answer to your query--ad infinitum. The problem is invincible ignorance.

Itzchak said...

And you are, of course, a model of intellectual openess...
I won't even respond directly if you don't want me to..
I'm simply curious how anyone can actually believe in the reality of the virgin birth and the reality redemption through somebody's death...

titurator veritatis said...

"And you are, of course, a model of intellectual openess...
I won't even respond directly if you don't want me to..
I'm simply curious how anyone can actually believe in the reality of the virgin birth and the reality redemption through somebody's death..."

...And yet you did Itzchak, do you not know another friend you can invite to comment on this forum? I ask because I am growing tired of your duplicity and your invincible ignorance. You beg the question with each blog entry. You claim I am not the 'model of intellectual openness' while you know that I will say the same of you. It is circular which again leads us to the question of certitude. I posit that even if a measure of certitude was given for your perusal, you would intellectually and volitionally disregard what I had said or offered while continuing to pick at what you still objected to or what I offered as an answer to your query--ad infinitum. Obviously the details, stories, assertions offered on this site disturb you--as well they should. If you know anything about Catholicism or the history of Christianity, you would know that when issues are raised like the ones raised on this blog, your attempts to sway opinion with the readers of this blog will prove futile. One does not pursue these lines of thought or inquiry without a basis for doing so. Now you may question the basis for the pursuit but this will only reveal your epistemological peculiarities---that is; what you believe as compared to what you know. I don't question what you believe however, I do question what you know. What I know is that your tactics are disingenuous for rather than actually entering into a rational discourse, you provide articles to counter what 'Mr. Pinay' offers or you propose questions that display your disbelief; the sole objective of which is derision. I ask you to question your motives and reasons for incessantly opining on this blog-- for as I already mentioned; your attempts to sway opinion and persons here will be futile.

Itzchak said...

Believe me, I know that...
Considering the fact that this mythology has grabbed hold of so many for so long and those that are still entrenched in it are even more trenchant now than ever.
I am derisive for good reason.
There is nothing rational about the mythology of christianity,

Itzchak said...

And all you can do to explain its descent is to blame the "Judaics"...
How sad...

Anonymous said...

There is nothing rational about your argument, no matter how much you believe in them. You simply are caricaturing Catholicism.

Itzchak said...

Mister Anonymous:
There is nothing more rational than explaining that (just like there is no santa claus), the Creator of the Universe does not impregnate human beings or redeem humankind through the belief that one of them died for all human sins. That's unbelievable by every rational criteria.

Anonymous said...

No, it's not rational by your criteria or any other rationalist criteria. Just because it isn't "rational" doesn't mean it's not true. But that's something you'll never understand, barring a miracle.