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By: Abdul-Rahman (Brent) Klimaszewski
Additional rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's article
JESUS IN THE RABBINIC TRADITIONS
A long time ago Sam Shamoun wrote his article "Jesus in the Rabbinic Traditions", his article could be found at this link: http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/talmud_jesus.htm .
Sam's article was thoroughly refuted by my brother Sami Zaatari the link to brother Sami's original rebuttal to this article is here: http://www.answering-christianity.com/sami_zaatri/rebuttaltosamshamoun38.htm
Brother Sami Zaatari clearly points out that even at its best if Shamoun accepted these Rabbinic "traditions" they would then prove the NT false and give the Jewish story.
But there is some very important information that completely discredits the "Rabbinic traditions" and shows they are at best much later "insults" directed toward Christians.
Shamoun wrote: There are essentially two Talmuds. The first is known as Talmud Yerushalmi or the Talmud of Jerusalem, compiled around AD 400. The Jerusalem Talmud was the last product of Palestinian rabbinic Judaism. The second, called Talmud Babli or the Talmud of Babylon, was compiled sometime during the sixth century AD.
My Response: For once Shamoun gives us some solid information. Let us look a little more in depth at these 2 Talmuds, the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud.
Let us read first an excerpt from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talmud
Early Origins of the Talmud
Originally, Jewish scholarship was oral. Rabbis expounded and debated the law and discussed the Bible without the benefit of written works (other than the Biblical books themselves.) This situation changed drastically, however, mainly as the result of the destruction of the Jewish commonwealth in the year 70 C.E. and the consequent upheaval of Jewish social and legal norms. As the Rabbis were required to face a new reality—mainly Judaism without a Temple and Judea without autonomy—there was a flurry of legal discourse and the old system of oral scholarship could not be maintained. It is during this period that Rabbinic discourse began to be recorded in writing.
The earliest recorded oral law may have been of the midrashic form, in which halakhic discussion is structured as exegetical commentary on the Pentateuch. But an alternative form, organized by subject matter instead of by biblical verse, became dominant about the year 200 C.E., when Rabbi Judah haNasi redacted the Mishnah (משנה).
My thoughts: It's important we know what the word "redacted" means:
Redaction generally refers to the editing of text to turn it into a form suitable for publication, or to the result of such an effort. (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redact)
So Rabbi Judah haNasi was doing this "editing" process around 200 CE. Also we read about how Jewish scholarship had all been "oral" till after the defeat uprising against the Romans during the Jewish War (66 CE-70 CE). The Jews having been defeated by the Romans in 70 CE, then realized they had to from that point write out their discourses and discussions, the oral method would no longer work.
Let us re-read: As the Rabbis were required to face a new reality—mainly Judaism without a Temple and Judea without autonomy—there was a flurry of legal discourse and the old system of oral scholarship could not be maintained. It is during this period that Rabbinic discourse began to be recorded in writing. (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talmud)
Continuing my discussion:
Like Shamoun stated in his article the Talmud is separated into 2 books, or 2 Talmuds. These 2 Talmuds are the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud.
First regarding the time period of the earlier Jerusalem Talmud let us read:
The Jerusalem Talmud originated in Tiberias in the School of Johanan ben Nappaha. This is a compilation including teachings of the three schools of Tiberias, Sepphoris and Caesarea. It is written in both Hebrew and a western Aramaic dialect that differs from its Babylonian counterpart.
The Gemara of this Talmud is a synopsis of almost 200 years of analysis of the Mishnah in the Academies in Israel (mainly Tiberias and Caesaria.) Due to the location of the Academies, the agricultural laws of the Land of Israel are discussed in great detail. Traditionally, it was redacted in the year 350 C.E. by Rav Muna and Rav Yossi in Israel. It is referred to traditionally as the Talmud Yerushalmi (The Jerusalem Talmud): however, the name is a misnomer, as it was not written in Jerusalem. As such it is also known more accurately as the The Talmud of the Land of Israel. It has also often been referred to as the Palestinian Talmud, especially in sources that predate the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
Its final redaction probably belongs to the end of the fourth century, but the individual scholars who actually brought it to its present form cannot be fixed with assurance. By that time Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman Empire and Jerusalem the spiritual capital of Christendom. In 325 CE Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor, said “let us have nothing in common with this odious people”. This statement made a Jew an outcast and pauper. The compilers of the Jerusalem Talmud then didn’t have the time to produce the work of the quality that they had wished for. Instead it shows incompleteness and lack of continuity, which are hardly surprising after the economical and political deprivation they went through. Work on the Jerusalem Talmud probably came to an abrupt end in 425 C.E., when Theodosius II suppressed the Patriarchate and put an end to the practice of formal ordination. (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talmud)
So the Jerusalem Talmud began to be "formally" redacted (or edited) around the year 350 C.E. by Rav Muna and Rav Yossi in Palestine. The Jerusalem Talmud was then vigorously worked on by Jewish religious members, dealing much with Jewish agricultural questions and situations, until the year 425 C.E. when Theodosius II suppressed the Jerusalem Talmud effectively stopping Jewish scholarship on the Jerusalem Talmud.
Next let us read about the Babylonian Talmud: Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud)
An (almost) full copy of the Babylonian Talmud.
Since the Exile to Babylonia in 586 BCE, Jews had been living in settlements just out of Judea. Most captives didn’t return home. Through natural increase and migration, the population had increased. The most important of the Jewish centres were Nehardea, Nisibis, Mahoza, Pumbeditha and Sura. It was no longer necessary for scholars to constantly have to journey to Palestine to gather authentic tradition. The man who laid the foundations for the Babylonian Talmud was Rab. Rab became a disciple of Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi. The real editor of the Babylonian Talmud was Rabbi Ashi. Ashi was president of the Sura Academy from 375 to 427 CE. The work begun by Ashi was completed by Rabina. According to ancient traditions, Rabina was the final Amoraic expounder. Rabina’s death in 499 CE marked the completion of the redaction of the Talmud.
Talmud Bavli (the "Babylonian Talmud") comprises the Mishnah and the Babylonian Gemara. This Gemara is a synopsis of more than 300 years of analysis of the Mishnah in the Babylonian Academies. Tradition ascribes the initial editing of the Babylonian Talmud to two Babylonian sages, Rav Ashi and Ravina.
The question as to when the Gemara was finally put into its present form is not settled among modern scholars. Some of the text did not reach its final form until around 700 (Me: Of course that is 700 C.E.). Traditionally, the rabbis who edited the Talmud after the end of the Amoraic period are called the Saboraim or Rabanan Saborai. Modern scholars also use the term Stammaim (from the Hebrew Stam, meaning "closed", "vague" or "unattributed") for the authors of unattributed statements in the Gemara.
So the older Talmud, the Babylonian Talmud, was not completed till some scholars say around 700 C.E. and as we will soon see the Talmud's texts remained very unstable for a long time really up till this day.
Let us read: The first complete edition of the Babylonian Talmud was printed in Italy by Daniel Bomberg during the 16th century. In addition to the Mishnah and Gemara, Bomberg's edition contained the commentaries of Rashi and Tosafot. Almost all printings since Bomberg have followed the same pagination. In 1835, a new edition of the Talmud was printed by Menachem Romm of Vilna. Known as the Vilna Shas, this edition (and later ones printed by his widow and sons) have become an unofficial standard for Talmud editions. (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talmud)
Further info tells us: The word "Talmud", when used without qualification, usually refers to the Babylonian Talmud. (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talmud)
So the word Talmud used with distiniction usually means the later Babylonian Talmud.
A detailed list of the manuscripts of the Babylonian Talmud was produced by Michael Krupp. We will be dealing with some of the earliest and important ones here.
MS Oxford Bodleian Lib. 2673: It is the oldest firmly dated manuscript of the Babylonian Talmud. It is dated from 1123 CE and contains Keritot with lacunae.
MS Florence National Lib. III 7-9: It was completed in 1177 CE. It comprises about one third of the Babylonian Talmud. It is written in Italo-Ashkenazic script.
MS Hamburg 165: It was written in 1184 CE at Gerona. It is an exemplary representative of Spanish manuscript tradition.
MS New York Jewish Theological Seminary No. 44830: It is dated to 1290 CE and contains Avoda Zarah.
MS Munich Cod. Heb. 95: It contains the entire Talmud, written in Ashkenazic script and dated to 1342 CE. Its completeness makes it certainly the most important Talmud manuscript.
The are various other manuscripts of Talmud and the readers are kindly advised to refer to the above reference.
So the oldest manuscript of the Babylonian Talmud today is from 1123 C.E. long after the time of Jesus(PBUH).
Furthermore if the later Jewish texts, like the Talmud refer to Jesus, why do they do this? Let us discover why:
In conclusion, the value of the Talmud as a witness to the historicity of Jesus is at best uncertain. John Meier argues that the Talmud contains "no clear or probable reference to Jesus." And Twelftree states that the Talmud is "of almost no value to the historian in his search for the historical Jesus." Of course, as McDowell and Wilson point out, the Talmud never questions the historicity of Jesus. But that fact cannot itself be used as evidence for the historicity of Jesus, for two reasons. First, as Goldstein points out,
we must be careful not to make too much of [the] argument [that had Jews doubted the historicity of Jesus, they would have said so]. It is not conclusive. Can we attribute to ancient peoples our modern concept of myth, or historicity? Furthermore, this manner of logic lends itself to fallacious extension whereby one could attempt to prove that whatever the early Jewish tradition does not specifically mention in contradiction to the Christian tradition must have taken place.
Second, the Talmud can only provide independent confirmation of Jesus's existence if it relied on independent sources. Given our ignorance of the sources for the Talmud as well as its late date, it simply can't be used as independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus.
If Jewish Rabbinic traditions like the Talmud's refers to Jesus(PBUH) in the insulting manner it may this is only proof of Jews in a sense insulting back the Christians who had persecuted, ridiculed, and harmed them. We know that the first "Christians" were all Jewish Christians meaning they were Jews in EVERY SINGLE way they did NOT eat pork, they performed physical prayer, they fasted, the followed the covenant of circumcision; again they were in every way Jews. The ONLY difference between them and other Jews was that the followers of Prophet Jesus(PBUH) followed Jesus(PBUH) as having been a HUMAN, Jewish Prophet and he simply had been sent with the Injil to correct the wrongs and misdeeds that had seeped and Corrutped Judaism. By the time of the height of Rabbinic Jewish literature like the Talmud's that were far too late to be considered any "evidence" for the alleged Christian historical Jesus(PBUH). The Jerusalem Talmud (5th Century CE) and Babylonian Talmud (8th Century CE). Lastly, by the time of the Talmud's Jewish Christians had largely disappeared and been erased completely, the "Christian" church was know under the falsehood of Pauline Trinitarian Christianity. Most of these Pagan Pauline Christians were Gentile converts (like the Romans, Byzantines and those in Europe). Since these Pagan Pauline Christians were Gentile converts they had no problem being viciously anti-Semitic and showing much hatred for the Jews. Facing this rising tsunami of gentile Pagan Pauline Christian anti-Semitism it would be completely expected the Jews would write their insults against what their abusers and terrorizers worshipped. The Pagan Christians worshipped the human being Jesus(PBUH) as a God/Man and thus if the Jews wrote about Jesus(PBUH)
This is why Jesus(PBUH) was the "Jewish Messiah". Of course this is "Messiah" in the Jewish sense of the word (for Jewish definition of the Jewish Messiah see: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=510&letter=M&search=messiah). Judaism holds that the "Messiah" well be COMPLETELY human and a descendent of David(PBUH), Jews belief the "Messiah" (meaning simply anointed one) will lead the Jews to victory and ruler ship of the earth. Jews belief they as followers of Judaism will be on the side of the "Messiah" and God. Also many Jews believe along with the "Jewish people" those gentiles who agree to follow the "Noahide Laws" may also be under God's protection: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Laws_of_Noah
These "Seven Laws of Noah" or "Noahide Laws" Jews believe Gentiles must follow to win heaven and be under protection of what they view as the "God of Israel" are:
Prohibition against idolatry
To pray only to God
To offer ritual sacrifices only to God
Prohibition against blasphemy
To believe in the singularity of God, see, Monotheism
To honor father and mother
Prohibition against murder
No Moloch worship (infant sacrifice)
According to Maimonides's interpretation, no abortion
Prohibition against theft
No kidnapping of persons
Prohibition against sexual immorality
Formal legal marriages
No incest with close relatives
No sodomy (i.e. male to male anal sex)
Not to crossbreed animals
Prohibition against eating the limb of a living animal
Not to eat a limb of a living creature (whilst it is still alive)
Not to eat or drink blood
Not to eat carrion (for those recognised by a Beth Din)
Establish courts of justice
To establish courts and a system of justice
No false oaths
The contemporary Rabbi Aaron Lichtenstein counts 66 instructions but Rabbi Harvey Falk has suggested that much work remains to be done in order to properly identify all of the Noahide Commandments, their divisions and subdivisions.
Theft, robbery and stealing covers the appropriate understanding of other persons, their property and their rights. The establishment of courts of justice promotes the value of the responsibility of a corporate society of people to enforce these laws and define these terms. The refusal to engage in unnecessary lust or cruelty demonstrates respect for the Creation itself as renewed after the Flood. To not do murder would include human sacrifice.
Just as I as Muslim believe Trinitarian Christians are clearly Pagans and worship the human being Jesus(PBUH) who cannot benefit or harm them because he couldn't even benefit or harm himself he worshipped and asked from the One True God alone! Also in the Jews minds Pagan Trinitarian Christians break the simplest of the gentile "Noahide Laws" which is prohibtion against "idolatry" thus Christians turn the man Jesus(PBUH) into an idol that they call the "son of God" and a God/Man alleged pagan sacrifical saviour.
Now as a Muslim I believe that Prophet Jesus(PBUH) was the last Prophet sent directly and only for Bani Israel (or the people of Israel aka the Jews). So in the sense that he was the last Prophet sent directly and only to the Jews, Jesus(PBUH) was the "Jewish Messiah".
From the beginning of this article we can clearly see the Jewish Rabbinic traditions are much, much later starting around 200 C.E., continuing through traditional "completion" around 700 C.E., till much much later as the Talmud's continued to be edited throughout the Middle Ages due to the Pagan Trinitarian Christian Church's persecution, trials, and book burnings of the Jews. So this evidence is FAR TOO LATE to be any credible "evidence" for the historical Jesus(PBUH).
Lastly let us consider another very important point does the Jewish Talmud and other Rabbinic literature actually refer to Jesus(PBUH) or is this a false charge that had been spearheaded by Pagan Trinitarian Christians and their Church.
This is a difficult and complicated question to answer and there are arguments from those saying the Talmud has hate speech against Jesus(PBUH) and gentiles, but they are also those (including Jewish religious leaders) who deny these claims.
Some interesting articles are linked below:
First, this article's author is arguing that the Talmud does have hate speech against Jesus(PBUH) and gentiles: http://www.revisionisthistory.org/talmudtruth.html
And this next article is written as a response to those who says the Talmud has hate speech, the author is a modern day Jewish religious figure: http://www.angelfire.com/mt/talmud/
As for the argument if the Jewish Rabbinic literature has hate speech for Jesus(PBUH) and gentiles I can't really be sure either way, we can see today that there definitely are a few good peaceful Jews but there are mostly evildoer Zionist Jews who consider themselves only "ethnically Jewish" and are largely atheist and are concentrated in the illegal Zionist "state" of "Israel" and in the USA in places like (New York City, etc.). Because of the evil of these Zionist evildoers I conclude there is likely some truth to the Jesus(PBUH) and gentile hating claim lobbied against the Jewish Talmud.
See the link: http://www.answering-christianity.com/jews.htm
This of course does NOT matter in the debate over the "historical Jesus" since the Jeruslaem Talmud is from the 3rd Century C.E. (100s of years after Jesus(PBUH), the Babylonian Talmud is from around the 7th Century C.E., and the Talmud continued to undergoe much later editings till even times like the 16th Century C.E.
The Talmud's is FAR TOO LATE (even the earliest 3rd Century C.E. Jerusalem Talmud, which I doubt we have any manuscripts for before the Middle Ages) thus it is absolutely NO evidence for Jesus(PBUH). In addition to this late date, the Talmud's continued to undergoe much later editing thus we have NO clue what the "originals" truly looked like. So the Pagan Trinitarian Christian claim falls flat on its face as usual.
Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.
Contradictions and Errors in the Bible.
The Disciples' original writings declare that Jesus never got crucified.
Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) section.
Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) in Islam.
Articles by Abdul-Rahman Klimaszewski.
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