Greetings all! My last post showed the wisdom of the Talmud, but most Christians do not know what it was or who or when it was written. From my book:
The Talmud is second only to Torah as the most sacred and influential written work for Jews. Judaism considers studying Talmud full-time to be one of the most honorable occupations an individual can perform. Adin Steinsaltz de-scribes the Talmud as follows:
The Talmud has two main components: the Mish-nah, a book of law written in Hebrew; and commentary on the Mishnah, known as the Talmud (or Gemarah), in the limited sense of the word, a summary of discussions and elucidations of the Mishnah written in Aramaic-Hebrew jargon . . . The Talmud is the repository of thousands of years of Jewish wisdom, and the oral law, which is as ancient and significant as the written law (the Torah), finds expression therein.
Author Morris Adler notes its complexity:
The Talmud is not a code though it contains cases laws and legal decisions. It is not history though it abounds in historical information and is so indispensable a source-book for the period it covers that those who have written of that era without adequate knowledge of the Talmud have been invariably betrayed into error. It is not a biographical dictionary though sages and scholars are cited in it . . . It is not an anthropological treatise, yet is a mine of folklore. It is not a theological tract though Rabbinic thought is a major element in the Jewish outlook. It does not present us with a philosophical system, yet perceptive students have found an organic unity underlying its rich diversity . . . It is not a book neither of religion nor of history nor of ethic nor of philosophy, yet each of these disciplines and others are embraced by it. Indeed, the Talmud is not a book at all. It may more appropriately be described as a literature.
Orthodox Jews believe that the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, was handed down from God to Moses. For Jews, the Torah is the written Law of God. The Torah is also referred to as the Pentateuch, from the Greek word, penta- plus -teuch, meaning five books. According to some sources, during the third century BCE, a group of 72 Jewish scholars, six selected from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, translated the first part of the Hebrew Bible into Greek for the Hellenized Jews living in Egypt—a translation that was called the Septuagint. The Talmud, the other great book of Judaism, was also first spoken to Moses by God and, as I have noted, at first passed down orally.
6 Adin Steinsaltz, The Essential Talmud (New York: Basic Books, 1976), 4.
7 Adler Morris, The World of the Talmud (New York: Schocken Books, 1963), 16.
I have found many post and blogs on the web stating that the Talmud was written from 2 CE to 8 CE. That may be true, but it was based on much older Jewish oral traditions. Similar to ancient Native American narratives that were written down in the 1800s. The laws are very old, and most likely just as old as the Bible. The reason it was written down was because after the Roman rebellion, that lead to the destruction of the Temple, Jews realized they were about to be dispersed and may lose the wisdom of the Talmud. The result was a written version of the oral laws, including the integral idea and the belief in eclipses being bad signs. It also contains the commentary of the 2nd century Rabbis who wrote down the oral laws. Some of their comments were very hostile to Christians and Jesus. From The Essence of Perfection:
Over the next few centuries, some of the more unflattering suggestions made throughout the Talmud contributed to Christian negativity. According to James Parkes, the few references to the life of Christ mentioned included the following:
Jesus was the illegitimate child of a soldier called Panthera. He performed His miracles by Magic, which He had learnt in Egypt. After His death, which was a legal condemnation in which He was given every chance to prove His innocence, His body was stolen by His disciples in order to invent the story of the Resurrection. He was a ‘deceiver of Israel’ and His teaching was evil.
Before the destruction of the Temple, there still remained a small amount of civility between Christians and Jews, but that was short-lived. Their separation most likely occurred sometime after the Gospel of Matthew was written. Matthew provides evidence that Jesus desired his followers to observe the Law of Moses. In Matthew 5:17–18, Jesus said,
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
Most scholars place the writing of Matthew after 70 CE and as late as 110. Perhaps its selection in the New Testament occurred during a time of struggle between the two religions. Whatever the case, the Torah would remain a staple of Christianity, while the Talmud was to become a more contentious issue. It must be remembered that the Talmud was just starting to be translated from oral to written around the time of, or soon after, Matthew.
According to Parkes, it was the non-Jews who created the rift: “Had the Judeo-Christians been the only members of the new faith, the breach between them and the Jews might have been healed, for they also desired to observe the Law.”[Therefore it was the Gentile Christians who were ignoring the Law.
This relationship became even more strained by the second century, when most of the Christian leaders were Gentiles. It was no wonder that Christians had no desire for Jesus to be connected to Judaism, as attacks against Jesus mounted in the Talmud and other Jewish writings, and Jews would not even consider Jesus a Jewish prophet. To them, his life and death were just another magician’s trick, and as Messiah he failed to end Roman rule.
20 James Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue (Cleveland, Median Books, 1964), 109.
21 Ibid, 77.
Thus, even today many Christian refuse to have anything to do with the Talmud. We must remember that what was written by the Rabbis was done because they were human, and worried that Judaism may be destroyed by a Roman Empire under the control of the Christian Church. The Rabbis were under competition and later persecutions from Christians. When Christianity became the official, and only, religion of the Empire the Talmud was banned and burned. This was the same time the Integral Idea never became the significant philosophical concept it should have. Next week I will blog about two questions pertaining to the Nativity that I did further research on, and found some interesting facts. In the upcoming weeks I will explore the Nativity and provide a reasonable date that correspond with the Integral Idea. Until next week GO WITH GOD!
14 years ago I became interested in the date that Jesus was born. This led to several years of research, I quickly realized that there was no valid information that provided any real answers to this question. Since this website is getting some interest I will post from time to time some of the information I learned during this quest.