Tuesday, May 19, 2009

David Klinghoffer Pushes Phony "Noahide Laws"

David Klinghoffer, whom Skull and Bones Bill Buckley employed as a writer for his National Review (the opinion-shaping rag for his "respectable conservative movement") is revealing what Buckley's "respectable conservative movement" formula, which The Remnant and others have apparently adopted, is really about.

A Gentile Torah-Believer's Testimony

David Klinghoffer

Friday May 15, 2009

Recently a particularly thoughtful commenter on this blog mentioned in passing that he identifies as a Noachide, that is, a Gentile believer in Torah. I was so interested to hear this that I wrote to him and asked for his story, which he graciously provided. I am copying it below. It's truly a privilege for me to have such a person among my readers.

But first a note of introduction. A few weeks back I startled some Jewish readers by saying that Judaism in its classical sources is a missionary religion. Not that Jews are enjoined to convert Gentiles to Judaism, but rather to draw them to the primordial Torah religion of Noachism. This is assumed to be the faith practiced by Noah and bequeathed to humanity.

In this model, which the Talmud details in tractate Sanhedrin, Jews follow the moral and ritual Mosaic code, while Gentiles follow the Noachide code. But the model of spiritual reality revealed in the Torah is a gift given to both Jews and Gentiles.

Maimonides makes it very clear in his Mishneh Torah that Jews are commanded to use whatever means are at our disposal to encourage (that's putting it mildly) non-Jews in this Noachide path (Laws of Kings 6:10). Yes, Judaism is an aggressively missionary religion, if not in current practice then in theory.

That having been said, I'll introduce you to my reader and friend, Brian Beckman:

I'm a physicist, and was brought up as a very conservative, traditional Catholic. The church changed dramatically in my youth. From my point of view, it wasn't wrenching, because I didn't change. That left me without an emotional connection to God, but also free to pursue a more durable, intellectual connection.

It can be tricky to look for God in a science-saturated life, but if one digs deep enough, one will find the need either for an Original Cause or for an Anthropic Principle. While I grant that anthropism is logically coherent, I find it empty, like a tautology. It's equally sound to suppose that the universe is here because God wants it. At that point, all one needs to compose a logically coherent notion of God is to study and sift good ideas from bad ones, which, as a physicist, I know how to do.

I am an unofficial Noahide. I follow the Seven Laws of Noah found in the Torah and detailed by Maimonides. I'm unofficial only because I have not yet had the chance to take a formal oath, but I would certainly do so. In ancient Israel, I might have been ger toshav -- a legal alien, and I might have aspired to be ger tzedek -- a righteous gentile, a very high calling indeed, likely beyond my ability to achieve.

These laws contain nothing surprising to any typical American with a passing acquaintance with the Bible and the Ten Commandments. According to my reading of Rabbi Elijah Benamozegh (see Jewish and Christian Ethics, and Israel and Humanity), a typical American Christian trying to follow basic Christian ethics would, in fact, be a de-facto Noahide even if not aware of it. 

That's kind of the point though. How did an nice, ordinary, American Catholic boy like me end up in such an unusual place? Visions? Dramatic conversions? No, much more boring. I found it by studying and listening to smart people.

There are three aspects to my Noahism: how I act, how I think, and what I believe. 

Practically, I study Torah almost daily and, when I have the privilege, I share Shabbat and other events with my Orthodox Jewish friends. These are new habits for me, but not conflicting with the life I've led since I went into religious "dry docks" in the early 1970s. Like many others, my traditionalist ship was unable to respond quickly enough to the tidal changes in the Catholic Church and I just put religion in-toto into safe storage and got on with other things. 

In my thinking, I've reached a synthesis that I can articulate and defend. Orthodox Jews and Catholics regard the Torah (the five books of Moses) as a direct revelation from God. But there is a fork in the road: Orthodox Jews regard it as permanent and immutable, like the laws of physics. Catholic doctrine studies the Bible in the light of St. Paul and the Church fathers. In that light, Jesus' resurrection changed everything and the Old Law doesn't apply any more, even though Jesus himself didn't repudiate it. So which is it? After four years exploring the "permanent and immutable" hypothesis (just beginning, really), I haven't found anything yet to refute it. I know of no place where the Torah states that it is changeable, and I know many places where it states that it is permanent. So if it is, in fact, true, then it seems it must be permanent and immutable.

There are those who reject revelation and treat the Torah not like the laws of physics but as ordinary human literature. I like to note that the claim of Sinai (two million eye witnesses to the theophany) is so outrageous that it must either be true or the most astounding hoax in human history. I have met people who can name their ancestors back to Sinai and claim unbroken verbal transmission of the eye-witness account. It is impressive that a claim like this can last more than 3,000 years with an entire nation believing it. I'll take it on faith.

I believe there is One God, the God of Israel. This much is in keeping with Catholic doctrine, which adds the Mystery of the Trinity. I personally come to grips with this as follows. If Jesus is divine, then he is completely identical with God the Father (according to the doctrinal Mystery). It would then seem inconceivable that Jesus could have any objection at all to devoting oneself to God and to the selfsame Torah that Jesus himself embraced. I realize that this is a personal syllogism and that Catholics will barbecue me over it, but it's the way I have always seen things even when I was a churchgoer.

I am very fortunate to have found this path, and it is only because of the wisdom and kindness of certain Orthodox Jewish acquaintances, now dear friends, that I was even aware of it, let alone enabled to pursue it.



Who Says Judaism Isn't a Proselytizing System?

The REAL Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow


Anonymous said...

Sungenis skewers this freak-show's book in the latest Culture Wars Mag.

Maurice Pinay said...

Just like Buckley's National Review, E. Michael Jones' Culture Wars is part of the problem (cf. Jones' endless praises for his friend Rabbi Samuel Dresner, chief disciple of Rabbi Abraham Heschel who wanted to attack Christian souls through "dialogue").



Also, cf. Jones' alliance of expedience with Kabbalist Israel Shamir and their joint-effort hit job on Judaism Discovered. But if you've found "Culture Wars" to be edifying, by all means read it. Perhaps there's a way of restoring Christendom while yoked to rabbis and kabbalists that I'm too simple to understand.

Anonymous said...

Maurice - I have already purchased a copy of Michael Hoffmans monumental work 'Judaism Discovered' and was planning to buy E.Michael Jones tome on 'The Revolutionary Jew' but after reading the review of Hoffman's book in Jones's magazine, on a forum 'its kosher {ie factually correct} but stinks [ie draws the rational collection from the facts by saying say Judaism stinks), I am not sure if E. Michael Jones should be patronised.

Have you had a chance to read 'The Revolutionary Jew' yourself, Maurice, and if so do you consider it to be trustworthy.

Thanks for all the good work you do on this blog.

Maurice Pinay said...

Anonymous 5:16 wrote: "... I am not sure if E. Michael Jones should be patronised.

"Have you had a chance to read 'The Revolutionary Jew' yourself, Maurice, and if so do you consider it to be trustworthy."

Based upon what I've read and heard from E. Michael Jones in the past I didn't consider it worthwhile to access his Revolutionary Jew. So, no, I haven't read it. In consideration of his hit piece on Judaism Discovered, his close association with Abraham Heschel's chief disciple Rabbi Dresner and the Kabbalist Israel Shamir, his argument for Nostra Aetate(which Abraham Heschel, coincidentally, was instrumental in formulating) being a perfectly orthodox document, etc. I can't recommend his writing to anyone.

I assure you that railing against "the revolutionary 'Jew'" while simultaneously creating inroads into the Catholic resistance for the rabbis and Kabbalah is a formula for certain failure.

Anonymous said...

In the interest of fairness to E. Michael Jones, I recommend every Catholic read his book The Revolutionary Jew. I, too, am flummoxed by him sometimes, but I assure you this book is worth the money. And no, I do not know him or have anything whatsover to do with his business. But as a Catholic, I strongly urge my co-religionists to read his latest book. We all have our quirks, but he is well worth the read.

Maurice Pinay said...

anonymous 7:15 writes: In the interest of fairness to E. Michael Jones ... We all have our quirks ...***

E. Michael Jones has been handled more than fairly at this forum now and in the past. If you're suggesting that I've treated Jones or his writing unfairly in any way then state your case. And if you're saying it's a "quirk" that Jones has attempted to blacken the reputation and work of a fellow Catholic through falsehood and innuendo, then you've given an example of euphemism that would make a rabbi blush.

On the contrary, Jones' hit piece on Michael A. Hoffman and Judaism Discovered and his denial of adequate space for a response is a case of unfairness that is unsurpassed in the world of book reviews.

If fairness is your concern, then perhaps you'll contact Mr. Jones about allowing Mr. Hoffman an adequate amount of space to respond to the gratuitous hit piece he published in his Culture Wars magazine. To date, Jones says that his allowance of only a letter to the editor for a response is "fair."

Anonymous said...

No, Maurice, I certainly did not mean to imply that you have been unfair to Mike Jones. But when a reader indicated he might not buy Jones' book, I thought I would add my 2 cents that it's a great read. I think both men are brilliant scholars and I don't understand why Jones would be unfair to Mr. Hoffman, whose work I also admire. I have learned a great deal about the Faith and about the Jewish Revolutionaries from both men and I won't take sides. I am edified by both scholars.

Anonymous said...

As for Jones, I say loudly: Buyer beware. Yes, there is some good info but a lot of crap too. Jones has been consistent in peddling his "Jewish-Anglo" theory, which is believable only if one swallow the fiction that the Anglos aren't actually jews in Anglo clothing.

Sungenis is cut from the same cloth. While his skewering of Klinghoffer was excellent; his hatchet job on Hoffman was sour grapes. While I have only heard about Shamir's review...what can we expect from a jewish intellectual that "converted" EO and wasn't consequently assassinated by the IDF? It seems obvious that he is part of their show.

Anonymous said...

Noahide Laws? Isn't Catholicism, outside of which there is no salvation, the only self-sufficient religion?

Jeremy W. said...

The comments of MP re. Shamir are demonstrably false. If anyone had bothered to read Israel Shamir's Cabbala of Power then they would know that he absolutely reject Cabbala in the strongest possible terms. Yet here he is smeared as a defender of this pernicious practice/belief system. Also, when Shamir refers to "kosher" he clearly states that this refers to the book not being anti-Semitic. I realise the effort of reading the first paragraph is beyond certain people; perhaps those same people shouldn't post ignorant anonymous comments.
As to NA being an orthodox document - yes, shock horror - Jones is an orthodox Catholic. I presume that his critics (at least on this point) aren't.
As to Jones having been friends with Rabbi Dresner (is it now a crime to befired a Jew?) - if you are claiming that Jones in any way accepts Dresner's beief you clearly cannot have read Jones on the subject. You refer to Jones's "close association" with Dresner - is this some kind of guit by association tactic? How very Talmudic of you!
As to the claim that MH was treated unfairly by Jones - he was allowed ample space to respond to Shamir - yet expected to have a letter published nearly 3 TIMES the length of the original review. Apparently he has a "right" to this - although I can think of no other journal/magazine that would allow such a thing (not least because it wouldn't allow space for other reviews). The fact that Hoffman refused to write a shorter response (which he easily could have done had he not spent much of his response engaging in pointless vituperation and false personal attacks (Shamir is a Kabbalist, he's really an unconverted Jew etc. etc.) is entirely his problem.
As a matter of fact Edgar Suter had publised in the latest issue of CW a lengthy letter in defence of MP (oh, sorry, MH) which also LINKED to the FULL response of Hoffman. Apparently this just isn't good enough for MH. Well, what can one do? As to the review being a joint "hit job" Hoffman has been informed that it was nothing of the sort, and the Jones gave the book for review to a qualified reviewer who, it turns out, thought the book was poor. Jones was, if anything, surprised by the outcome. But sadly Hoffman /MP just assume that Jones is lying (on precisely no evidence). On the basis of previous exchanges, Hoffman's response, and the repetition of untruth here, I see no point in further discussion. The problem is with the likes MP/MH I fear. Poor scholarship and ad hominem point-scoring should have no place in Catholic discourse. I hope that you are interesed enough in free speech to publish this post. Thanks.

Maurice Pinay said...

Shamir's kabbalism is manifest in his attempts split Communism from its Judaic root and to coagulate it with Christianity.

For the antidote to this error, see: Judaism Discovered pp.853-877, "Moses Hess and the Secret Relationship between Judaism, Zionism and Communism."

It's highly conspicuous that Shamir's "review" was mute on this chapter which is a major roadblock for the dead end he's leading his readers down vis a vis Communism.

Jeremy W. said...

I do not agree with much of what Shamir has to say about communism. But what he does say has nothing whatsoever to do with Kaballah (unless you want to stretch that term to cover pretty much anything one happens to disagree with and use is as a term to attack ethnically Jewish writers who expose shoddy scholarship). Also, Shamir is clear in saying that it is precisely the godlessness of communism that led to its promotion of murderous persection.
As to mentioning the section of MH's book on the matter - MH seems to think a reviewer is duty-bound to mention everything in his very lengthy book - and that if he/she doesn't he is open to suspicion (i.e. he/she's frightened of addressing it etc. etc.).
Doubtless something else will be dredged up to show that Shamir is a Kabbalist (being anti-capitalist perhaps; being ethnically Jewish and knowing Hebrew?). Resorting to such tactics rather than addressing the many errors Shamir found in MH's book is a sign of immense weakness. Check out the letters section of the June issue of Culture Wars for more exposure of MH's errors.

Maurice Pinay said...

Jeremy W. writes: "I do not agree with much of what Shamir has to say about communism. But what he does say has nothing whatsoever to do with Kaballah ..."***

Well, that goes to show how little you must understand the matter you're ranting on about.

I haven't read the June issue of Culture Wars (or any other issue for that matter) and I don't intend to, so I won't comment on it. Have you read the book that you say contains "sloppy scholarship" and "many errors" or are you simply parroting the very confused Israel Shamir who seems not to have even read the book he "reviewed" himself? As Dr. Edgar Suter was forced to ask, "What book did Mr. Shamir read?"

As I've said before, if you find Jones' ideas edifying, I leave you to them. His method of "restoring Christendom" by allying with rabbis and providing a platform to "Orthodox" Communists while calumniating Catholics and their work at restoring Christendom may well be the winning formula. I'm probably just too dull to understand it.

Jeremy W. said...

It's clear you haven't read Shamir. And just because Hoffman calls something Kabbalistic doesn't make it so (except perhaps to ignoramuses incapable of scholarship/judgement etc.). I have read Hoffman, so I suggest you keep your peace on that score. It's also clear you haven't read Jones so your cheap guilt-by-association tactics won't work for anyone in the know.
As you don't seem interested in reading critiques of Hoffman I'll leave you to your uncritical admiration of the man's work (you seem to identify very closely with him).
And yes, you are too dull to understand what you refer to - not least because if you bothered to read that which you "critique" you would realise the falsity of the statements you make. By the way, you clearly accuse Jones of calumniating a Catholic (Hoffman). Yet he has never ever done any such thing. Yet another untruth on your part I fear. Not very Catholic - rather like Hoffman's response to Shamir/presumptions about Jones etc. etc.

Maurice Pinay said...

Jeremy W writes: "It's clear you haven't read Shamir." ***

From Israel Shamir's Pardes:

"For over a hundred years, right-wingers were certain that Communism is a Jewish plot.
Communism is Judaism, they stated, and stressed Jewish origin of Karl Marx and of the Russian
revolutionaries. But Judaism is a cult of Chosen-ness, of inherent difference between an evil
shard and a good spark. Christianity is the belief in inherent goodness of Man. Ontologically, Communists are Christians, not Jews."

Communism was indeed a plot of the Judaic Zionist, Moses Hess and his Judaic disciple Karl Marx who referred to Hess as "my Communist rabbi." Christians are not Communists, not ontologically, not in any sense. Communism seeks to steal the property of the common people and place it under control of a ruling class. This has a hell of a lot more in common with messianic Judaism than Christianity. Shamir is sowing terrible misdirection here.

Jeremy W writes: "It's also clear you haven't read Jones ..."***

From E. Michael Jones' website:

"[Samuel] Dresner considered [Rabbi Abraham] Heschel, who grew up in Warsaw, attended the Yiddish Real Gymnasium in Vilna, one of the great centers of Yiddishkayt, and the university in Frankfurt, 'the greatest Jew of his time.' Dresner wrote his doctoral dissertation on the Hasidim and would go on to become Abraham Heschel's closest disciple."http://www.culturewars.com/2003/rabbidresner.html

"Yes, I wish Rabbi Dresner were alive today. He was a man who was open to the truth ... I have no doubt that he was a sincere follower of Torah."http://www.culturewars.com/2008/JRSInterview.htm

"Rabbi Samuel Dresner has taken note of this cultural struggle from the vantage point of a Jew who is outside of the mainstream of Jewish life, which is to say, from the point of view of a Jew who still believes in the Torah and the God who is its author."http://www.culturewars.com/CultureWars/2000/May/apology.html

Rabbi Dresner was indeed a sincere follower of the "Oral Torah," which is to say, the Talmud and Kabbalah of Orthodox Judaism. God most definitely is not the author of that "Torah."

If Jones is saying that Dresner is a sincere follower of the Pentateuch, then He's contradicting Christ Himself: "There is one that accuseth you, Moses, in whom you trust. For if you did believe Moses, you would perhaps believe me also; for he wrote of me." (John 5;45-46) Samuel Dresner didn't believe in Jesus, therefore he didn't believe the books of Moses. Dresner was a believer of Talmud and Kabbalah which make the books of Moses of no effect.

Jones played the right-left dialectic for his Catholic audience by contrasting the "conservative" Rabbi Dresner favorably against "liberal" "secular Jews" as if there's something more virtuous in a disciple of Talmud, Kabbalah and Rabbi Abraham Heschel (the man who wanted to attack Christian souls through "dialogue" and who demanded that the Church cease converting "Jews" comparing it to Nazi genocide) than in a "liberal 'Jew'".


If you can't see the problem with the thinking of Shamir and Jones you have my prayers.

Anonymous said...

It sure seems like Jones has fallen for the kabbalistic left-right paradigm within Judaism. Ted Pike also made this mistake which Hoffman corrected.