Archive for the ‘Talmud’ Category

h1

The Maccabee – Against the Documentary Hypothesis

October 15, 2011

‘Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’

– Jeremiah 23:29

Understanding the Documentary Hypothesis

Historically speaking, the theory that Moses ‘did not write the Pentateuch actually has been around for more than a millennium.’ Even so, the vast majority of believers, both Jew and Christian, ‘still maintained that Moses was its author’ well into the 17th century. It was around this time that the Dutch-Jewish philosopher Benedict Spinoza began to attack this common-held belief about Moses. This led to his eventual excommunication from Judaism by the Rabbinnical authorities some years later. This ‘questioning’ of the authorship of the Bible continued in the following manner:

– French physician Jean Astruc created the original Documentary Hypothesis in 1753 by listing the different names of God used in the Torah.

– After many changes and alterations, Karl Graf came out with a revised version of the ‘initial hypothesis in the mid-nineteenth century.’

– Julius Wellhausen then resummarized Graf’s Documentary Hypothesis and proceeds to preach and promote it ‘in European and American scholarly circles.’

– In the end, the refutation of Moses as author of the Torah, known as as the Documentary Hypothesis, also became ‘known to many as the Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis.’

Since these earlier times, attacks upon the Judeo-Christian belief in the authorship of Moses and the first five books of the Bible have, in fact, ‘been thrust consistently into the faces of Christians.’ A staunch belief in the Documentary Hypothesis has become near universal in secular settings. One sources notes that this still unproven theory has garnered a cult-like belief in others, especially non-believers:

It is becoming increasingly popular to believe this theory…Numerous commentaries, religious journals, and Web sites consistently promote it. And many professors who teach religious courses espouse it. Undoubtedly, it is champion among the topics discussed in classes on a critical introduction to the Bible. In most “scholarly” circles, if one does not hold to the Documentary Hypothesis (or at least some form of it), he is considered fanatical and uneducated.

To sum it up, the Documentary Hypothesis boldly claims that, instead of being written by Moses around 1,200-1,500 years ago, the ‘Pentateuch was compiled from four original source documents -designated as J, E, D, and P.’ It further contends that these four theoretical documents were all created ‘by different authors, and eventually were compiled into the Pentateuch by a redactor (editor).’ According to the classic Documentary Hypothesis, the conjectured dates of authorship can be seen in the following manner:

Alleged Authorship of the Torah

I. The J (Yahwehist) document was supposedly written around 850 B.C

II. The E (Elohist) document was supposedly written around 750 B.C.

III. The D (Deuteronomist) document was supposedly written around 620 B.C.

IV. The P (Priestly) document was supposedly written around 500 B.C.

V. The R (Redactor) document, or final version of the Torah, was supposedly written around 200 B.C.

These unproven, and basically unprovable, source documents, have now been accepted as historical fact by nearly all of those who ascribe to the Documentary Hypothesis. In many ways, the main point of their claims has to openly and boldly deny that Moses wrote the first five books of the Holy Bible. This is spite of the fact that these dates have no scientific validity whatsoever. As one scholar notes:

Every dating of the pentateuchal ‘sources’ rests on purely hypothetical assumptions, which ultimately only have standing through the consensus of scholars.

– R. Rendtorff

Some believe there is an underlying reason why the followers of the Documentary Hypothesis insist on such late dating of the authorship of the Torah. Their real goal may little more than an attempt to discredit Scriptures and, with it, Christianity. The denial of Moses as the author of the Torah usually provides a stepping stone for further denials concerning the Bible. Here are just a few statements by those who believe in the Documentary Hypothesis:

One of the certain results of modern Bible study has been the discovery that the first five books of the Old Testament were not written by Moses.

– Gottwald, 1959

It is obvious that the Book of Genesis was not written by a single author (Moses).

-Rendtorff, 1998

The most determined biblicist can see that there is no way Moses could have written the Torah.

– McKinsey, 1995

At present, however, there is hardly a biblical scholar in the world actively working on the problem who would claim that the Five Books of Moses were written by Moses – or by anyone per­son.

– Dr. Richard E. Friedman, University of California at San Diego

This conventional wisdom and denial of Moses’ authorship has now managed to permeate the entire world of academia and Biblical scholarship. Indeed, it is a given that statements such as those just cited ‘have made their way into thousands of classrooms.’ The results are quite tragic, as more and more students become non-believers due to this pernicious fallacy known as the Documentary Hypothesis. One source notes: ‘Sadly, before hearing skeptics and liberal scholars present their ineffectual arguments for such beliefs, students frequently become so spellbound by the intellectual façade and bold affirmations of certainty that they rarely even consider the evidence at hand.’ The evidence, if seen and studied carefully, still seems to indicate that Moses was indeed the real author of the Pentateuch. The scholarly facts, even today, are as follows:

The fact is that there are Old Testament specialists who have been trained in schools like Harvard and Princeton and Chicago University, who have received earned doctorates, who have become skilled in all of the relevant languages and archeological discoveries, who have attended and participated in all of the leading scholarly conventions, and who have authored texts that are studied by college and seminary students all over the world, who still adhere to the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.

Given all of the misleading scholarship out there these days, it should come as no surprise that when Andrew Brown, author of The Darwin Wars, wrote about a conversation he had with England’s leading Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, he became flabbergasted when ‘Dr. Sacks defended the proposition that Moses wrote (or dictated) the first five books of the Bible’. Andrew Brown surprised response was simply: ‘That is the most shocking thing I have ever heard an intellectual say.’ Nevertheless, more and more prominent scholars are now beginning to break with Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis and even going so far as to attack it as illogical and irrational. Here is one disgruntled scholar on the need for change:

Redaction history and tradition history are [not helpful]…in explaining the origin of the Pentateuch. There is a preference for the view that much of the Yahwistic material was written later than originally thought, implying a much longer period of oral and written transmission of many of the Pentateuchal narratives. The way literary criticism and tradition history were applied in the past is largely invalidated by current folklore research which should be used as a corrective as well as to devise a new theory on how the Pentateuch originated.

– Van Dyk, P. J., Current Trends in Pentateuch Criticism.

Most importantly, scholars of various stripes are also beginning to tear away at the specifics of the Documentary Hypothesis, most notably the four source document theory (J, E, P and D), which presupposes four unique original sources for the Pentateuch. Noted scholar Professor Kitchen now admits that ‘even the most ardent advocate of the documentary theory must admit that we have as yet no single scrap of external, objective…tangible, evidence for either the existence or history of ‘J’, ‘E’, or any other alleged source-documents’. His admission of error is starting to become more typical among the liberal circles of secular Biblical scholarship. Indeed, one writer claims that ‘certain liberals have been forced to admit that the JEPD hypothesis is really without merit.’ Just recently, a man named Umberto Cassuto, a professor at the University of Jerusalem, wrote a book called The Documentary Hypothesis. In the book, he freely confesses that the main arguments for Wellhausen’s theory are ‘without substance.’ Furthermore, he states that the entire Documentary Hypothesis field of study happens to be ‘founded on air’ and will inevitably become ‘null and void’. In summary, ‘there simply is no support for the documentary theories of the higher critics, and there is much evidence against them.’

Refuting the Documentary Hypothesis

The Documentary Hypothesis, sometimes called ‘the Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis after the two men, K.H. Graf and Julius Wellhausen, who gave it its classic expression’, presupposes that the five Books of Moses, namely the Torah or Pentateuch, are actually derived from four different source documents, called J (Yahwist), E (Elohist), D (Deuteronomist), and P (Priestly Code). These original sources can be organized in the following manner:

J- Starting with Genesis 2:4, it includes large portions of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy

E- Includes Genesis 15 and Exodus 3:15 for example

D- Includes most of Deuteronomy

P– Starting with Genesis 1:1, it includes large portions of Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers and all of Leviticus.

When going about the business of refuting the Documentary Hypothesis it is necessary to organize the arguments in fairly precise manner. One Biblical scholar R.N. Whybray, as well as others, has concluded that ‘the Documentary Hypothesis is founded on four presuppositions.’ Those four assumptions, with the pertinent refutation just beneath them, can be listed as follows:

ASSUMPTION: An evolutionary, unilinear approach to Israelite history.

REFUTATION: Most scholars agree that ‘Wellhausen built his theory on a now-discredited evolutionary philosophy with its roots in the thought of G.W.F. Hegel.’ Since then, the whole philosophy of Hegelianism has been thoroughly discredited. Because of this, it seems more than likely ‘that the history of Israelite religion cannot be portrayed in the simple, highly evolutionary manner that Wellhausen thought possible.’

 

ASSUMPTION: The possibility of dividing the Pentateuchal texts on the basis of stylistic criteria.

REFUTATION: Some of the earliest proponents of the Documentary Hypothesis claimed ‘they could easily separate one text from another on the basis of style.’ In reality, the entire Torah is written in standard Biblical Hebrew. The only real way a single style could ever really be found for each source document, namely J, E, P, and D, ‘would be if each monotonously and rigorously maintained a highly idiosyncratic style.’ This has not been the case when it comes to the Pentateuch.

 

ASSUMPTION: A simple compilation of documents by redactors.

REFUTATION: According to the claims of the Documentary Hypothesis, later editors of the Torah, called redactors, supposedly used the documents they had availible and then proceeded to use a ‘cut-and-paste’ procedure where they simply cut ‘up each document and then joining the whole into a continuous narrative.’ There is no actual proof that this sort of organizational effort ever existed. Indeed, ‘no true analogy to this somewhat bizarre editorial procedure is available.’

 

ASSUMPTION: Easy determination of the purposes and methods behind the documents and redactions.

REFUTATION: The founders of the Documentary Hypothesis believed they would be able to easily ‘deduce the purposes and methods of the redactors, despite the fact that enormous cultural differences existed between the scholars who studied Genesis and the men who wrote it.’ Scholars then began to speculate in a somewhat bizaare manner about the aims of the original writers and later editors (redactors). To be specific ‘it was assumed that each writer aimed to produce a single, continuous history but would tolerate no inconsistency, repetition, or narrative digressions.’ However, the editors (redactors) ‘were said to be utterly oblivious to every kind of contradiction and repetition.’ These strange assumptions bear no historical accuracy or proof that they are true.

It must be emphasized that the Documentary Hypothesis blithely assumes that the Torah was originally made up of four documents which were all ‘first composed as continuous, single narratives and only later were brought together and edited into the present work.’ This false assumption led to many errors in Biblical analysis. To bolster the arguments of the Documentary Hypothesis, many different ‘modifications were proposed.’ Problems with the original Hypothesis just caused their reasoning to become that much more complex and illogical. Some of the ‘modifications’ included ‘dividing the four sources into even smaller sources…whereas others reduced the number of sources, questioning the existence of E altogether.’ When it comes to the authorship of the Pentateuch, here are the seven major claims of the Documentary Hypothesis:

The Seven False Claims of the Documentary Hypothesis

1. TWO NAMES OF GOD: Torah Passages which refer to God as Yahveh originate from the J source document, while passages which refer to God as Elohim originate from the E (or P) source document.

2. DUPLICATION AND REPETITION: Genesis contains some duplicate stories and repetitions suggest they were originally portions of two different documents woven together into one text.

3. CONTRADICTION AND CONFUSION: Genesis contains contradictions which ‘indicate the existence of the separate documents.’ This implies ‘that one document had one tradition, but a second had another.’

4. LANGUAGE AND STYLE: The language and style of the original source documents vary. J is a masterful storyteller, while P is prosaic and wordy. Each document also seems to have its own preferred vocabulary.

5. MEANING AND THEOLOGY: Each original source document, ‘when extracted from the present text of Genesis, shows itself to have been a continuous, meaningful piece of literature.’ The source documents appear to have ‘a specific literary and theological purpose behind each.’

6. COMMON SENSE: Even a simple, basic reading of the Torah seem to indicate that the text ‘obviously involve more than one source.’ The best example is Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, ‘which can hardly come from a single source.’

7. PRIESTS AND LEVITES: The confusion over the ‘Israelite priesthood found in the Pentateuch is best explained by the Documentary Hypothesis.’ While some passage imply that all levites are priests, other passages state that only the descendants of Aaron are. This suggests at least two separate sources.

To summarize, it has been these seven claims that the Documentary Hypothesis has done fairly well in trying to explain. The fact of the matter, is that Wellhausen’s theory explains problematic parts of the Torah without ever suggesting that they may not be problems at all. What follows are detailed refutations of the seven false claims of the Documentary Hypothesis.

FALSE CLAIM #1: TWO NAMES OF GOD:

– The theory that passages using Yahveh (J source) or Elohim (E source) for God come from separate sources ‘has been challenged from several directions.’ To cite one example, Genesis 22:11 uses the name Yahweh even though it is considered to be a part of the E (Elohim) source document. Also, at the very beginning of the Torah, there is a combination of the two names into ‘the unusual Yahweh Elohim.’

– Biblical scholar M.H. Segal also shows that the two different divine names, Jahveh and Elohim, are used interchangeably in other Scriptures which are definitely known to have originated from a single source. In short, later Biblical passages use the two names for God as if the author saw the two names as simply different terms for the same God.

– The so-called decision of E and P sources not to use the name Yahveh (J) is simply a fictitious assumption. Likewise, there is ‘absolutely no reason that J should avoid’ using the word Elohim.

– The unexplained use of the two different names for God can also be surmised without resorting to the Documentary Hypothesis. In sum, Biblical scholar Umberto Cassuto claims that these two names simply ‘bring out different aspects of the character of God.’ Yahweh is seen as the covenant name of God, emphasizing his special relationship to Israel, just as Elohim speaks of God’s universality as God of all earth. Seen simply, ‘Elohim is what God is and Yahweh is who He is.’

– Another scholar named Segal also contends that ‘the interchange of the divine names is often for the sake of variety or reflects popular usage’.

– Biblical scholar Whybray proposes that ‘the alternation of names may be unconscious because of the [singular] identity of the two names’.

– It can rightfully be claimed that Yahveh and Elohim have ‘semantic overlap’. When the emphasis is about God as the ‘universal deity…Elohim is used’. Similarly, when a passage that mentions ‘God as covenant savior…Yahweh is more likely to be utilized’. Also, when neither aspect of God ‘is particularly stressed, the names may be alternated for variety or indeed for no specific reason’.

– The use of Yahveh and Elohim as different names of God doesn’t necessary imply two different sources for the text. Indeed, it appears there are ‘many examples from Egyptian and Mesopotamian sources of a single god being called by several names in a single text.’ It should be also noted that no ‘Egyptologist would ever use divine names for source criticism’.

– In conclusion: ‘the criterion of divine names, the historical and evidential starting point for the Documentary Hypothesis, is without foundation. It is based on misinterpretation, mistranslation, and lack of attention to extrabiblical sources’.

 

FALSE CLAIM #2: DUPLICATION AND REPETITION

– Some believe ‘the use of doublets and repetition as evidence for multiple documents in Genesis is perhaps of all the arguments the most persuasive for the modern student’. In reality, it is ‘the most spurious and abused piece of evidence’. Given everything, the use of duplication and replication in Biblical passages simply signifies ‘rhetorical concepts’ which made use of these exact forms of expression.

– On the contrary, when it comes to many ancient texts ‘there is no stronger indication that only a single document is present than parallel accounts.’ The use of what is called ‘Doublets’, menaing ‘two separate stories that closely parallel one another, are the very stuff of ancient narrative.’ They are, in fact, precisely ‘what the discriminating audience sought in a story.’

– Given the examples of other documents, it can be rightfully claimed that ‘simple repetition, first of all, is common in ancient Near Eastern literature.’ This can be seen ‘in the Ugaritic Epic of Keret’ where a certain King Keret receives specific instructions to go to the land of Udum, ruled by King Pabil, and then demand to marry the King’s daughter named Hurriya. The carrying out of these instructions is simply a repetition of what the original instructions actually state in the text.

– Repetition in the Bible is found in both the Old and New Testament. One involves the Book of Genesis 24, where the servant of Abraham meets the future wife of Isaac and the encounter is then repeated as a story. In the Book of Acts, Paul’s encounter with Christ on his way to Damascus is described three different times (Acts 9:1-19, 22:3-16, 26:9-18).

– In summary, and ‘in light of the love for repetition and parallelism in Hebrew narrative and poetry’, it should come as no surprise that ‘Hebrew narrative is sometimes redundant even within a single story.’ This practice may seem meaningless or pointless in the English language, but in its original tongue it is considered to be quite beautiful.

 

FALSE CLAIM #3: CONTRADICTION AND CONFUSION

– The Biblical account of Noah and the Flood first states in Genesis 6:2 that he should bring one pair of every kind of animal, but then it says in Genesis 7:2 to bring seven pairs of clean animals, This contradiction can easily be explained in that ‘provision had to be made to ensure that there would be sufficient livestock after the flood.’

– The entire flood story, according to the Documentary Hypothesis, is actually two sources (J and P) combined together to create one contradictory story. The reality is that ‘recent research has demonstrated the whole narrative to be far more coherent than was once recognized.’

– Some followers of Wellhausen’s theory have attempted to cite a discrepancy between the flood’s 40 days of rain and also its apparent 150 additional days of rain. This argument is completely wrong-headed and a misreading of Genesis. In reality, ‘the present chronology in the text is not the confusion it is sometimes implied to be.’

– One scholar named Emerton still insists that ‘there is a discrepancy between the 150 days of rain and the 40 days of rain’ in the story of Noah and the flood. To be sure, ‘the text nowhere implies that the rain lasted 150 days.’ Instead, the 150 days refers to ‘the time from the beginning of the flood until the water had abated enough for the ark to ground.’ With this in mind, the flood story can be said to be both ‘structurally unified and formally of a type of literature (flood narrative) that is far older’ than Wellhausen’s theory dates it.

– In conclusion, the story of Noah and the flood uses an ‘ancient narrative technique, as evidenced in its profound concern for narrative structure’. Given everything written down in Genesis concerning the flood, this account also ‘cannot be said to be chronologically confused.’

 

FALSE CLAIM #4: LANGUAGE AND STYLE

– The Documentary Hypothesis claims to have found ‘radically different styles’ of writing in the Pentateuch and finds this to be proof that it actually had at least two different sources (J and P). This is simply the ‘result of artificially dividing the text.’

– So-called differences in writing style found in the Torah cannot be proven because nobody knows anything ‘of the common speech of the people of ancient Israel’. Differing word choices could simply be ‘for the sake of a special nuance in a given circumstance, or indeed for the sake of variety’.

– Recent development of computer analysis of the Biblical text now shows that the so-called triple authorship underlying the Book of Genesis is unlikely. Instead, ‘there is massive evidence that the pre-Biblical triplicity [J, E, and P] of Genesis’ may well be a unity instead. The Documentary Hypothesis claim that Genesis was ‘worked over by a late and gifted editor into a trinity’ is basically considered to be false.

 

FALSE CLAIM #5: MEANING AND THEOLOGY

– The original Documentary Hypothesis contended that the evidence for multiple source documents, which then became the Pentateuch, included differences in metaphysical meaning and theology found in the texts themselves. The fact remains, however, that splitting a text into two opposing sources is actually quite easy. In short, opponents of Wellhausen have clearly proven ‘it is not difficult to separate a single Biblical narrative into two artificially complete documents.’ Because of this, any ‘theological analysis’ becomes ‘all the more tenuous.’

– Even the most staunch supporter of the Documentary Hypothesis has trouble these days in taking seriously any of the broad or sweeping generalizations concerning ‘the theological background of Genesis’.

– Under continuing assault by recent Bible scholars, the theological arguments promoting ‘the Elohist has disappeared from view entirely and the Yahwist is fast fading from existence.’ One scholar named Whybray has gone far in showing that ‘consensus for a theology of the Yahwist among critical scholars is collapsing.’

– In conclusion, the hypothesis claiming theological differences in the Pentateuch ‘has no value as a guide for continued research.’

 

FALSE CLAIM #6: COMMON SENSE

– Appealing to their view of the first five Books of Moses, which presupposes Moses did not write it, the Documentary Hypothesis and its adherents claim that common sense dictates in determining that the Pentateuch must have had more than one author who lived much later than Moses. However, recent authors who support the Documentary Hypothesis are now urging more ‘caution’ strongly suggesting that confidence in Wellhausen’s theory is waning and ‘that confidence in the criteria has eroded considerably’.

– In growing desperation, supporters of Wellhausen are starting to rely heavily ‘on specific texts as justification for continued adherence to the hypothesis.’ This is spite of the fact that interpretation of these specific Biblical passages are quite varied and heavily disputed today.

– One scholar makes the point that, even though it may be possible that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 may originate from separate sources, these particular sources most probably have ‘nothing to do with the four documents of the Documentary Hypothesis.’

– In conclusion, no matter what is involved ‘there is no text in Genesis which is best explained by the Documentary Hypothesis.’

 

FALSE CLAIM #7: PRIESTS AND LEVITES

– The Documentary Hypothesis contends that, since there is a discrepancy as to who is actually a Priest (a Levite or descendant of Aaron), there must be at least two authors responsible for the Torah. It also claims to have the ‘best explanation of why the term Levite is used inconsistently in the Old Testament.’ Nonetheless, there is little historical evidence to prove this to be the case.

– The reality is that, when it comes to the question of who exactly is a Priest, ‘a better solution can be obtained by reading the Pentateuch as a work that was substantially produced, as the text affirms, during the period of the Exodus.’

– Similar attempts at finding original source documents underlying the Greek classics the Iliad and the Odyssey proved to be popular in the last century, but are now considered little more than ‘antiquarian scholarly curiosities.’ It is to be hoped ‘that the same fate awaits their sister theory, the Documentary Hypothesis.’

Judaism’s Refutation of the Documentary Hypothesis

Although critics accuse biblical writers of revealing erroneous information, their claims continue to evaporate with the passing of time and the compilation of evidence.

– ApologeticsPress.org

Remember, the main theory of Wellhausen and company is that the Torah ‘was written by several different authors between about 950 BCE through 450 BCE, at which point it was assembled into the present single document, probably by Ezra.’ One should keep in mind that ‘this hypothesis is pretty much universally accepted by secularists.’ Even so, Judaism has a few resounding refutations to this theory. They can summarized as follows:

The Samaritan Pentateuch- The Samaritans have their own five books of Moses which is nearly identical to the Torah. However, Somaritans ‘have not shared a common tradition with Jews since the division of the United Monarchy following the death of King Solomon.’ This means that their Torah, and indeed both Torahs, must have written previous to Ezra (450 BC). This is because the Samaritans ‘would not have accepted a book composed by Ezra.’

Mention of Jerusalem- There is absolutely no mention of Jerusalem in the Torah, meaning that it was probably written at the time of Samuel or before, because the city of Jerusalem had become ‘the center of Judaism from the time of King David (1000 BC) up until the present.’

Religious Documentation- If Ezra (450 BC) assembled the Torah from different documents (J, P, E, and D) then there would most probably be evidence of their existence somewhere in the historical record (950-450 BC). This has not occurred. In fact, ‘no copies of the alleged pre-Ezra documents have ever been discovered anywhere, nor are they ever mentioned in any ancient literature.’ Logically speaking, if the pre-Ezra had been considered so religiously important to Judaism ‘it is implausible that they quickly and entirely disappeared.’

Talmud Without Torah- At the same time that scholars of the Documentary Hypothesis reject the Torah as historically false, they also place great emphasis on a certain passage in the Talmud (Bava Basra 109b) that speaks of the existence ‘in ancient Israel a priesthood descended from Moses’. From this single verse, they claim that these priests must have written the E source document.

Two Names for God- The Talmud many times mentions God’s two character traits – the trait of mercy and the trait of justice. Mercy is represented by the name YHVH while justice is represented by Elohim (Midrash Braishis Rabbah 73:3).

Different Styles in the Torah- Advocates of the Documentary Hypothesis point out that different parts of the Torah are written in different styles. There is a simple explanation for this. The Talmud Tractate Megilah 31b states that ‘Deuteronomy was written by Moses – it is a speech given by Moses, rather than having been simply dictated to him by God. Based upon this, we can understand why different portions of the Torah are written in different styles although they actually have a Mosaic authorship.’

In conclusion, the scholars who developed the Documentary Hypothesis were woefully ignorant of Judaism and Jewish folk-lore. Because of this, Judaism’s refutation of Wellhausen’s theology is especially convincing and accurate. Amused by all the fuss, one Jewish scholar simply states: ‘Rather than refuting the single authorship of the Torah, Bible critics have merely rediscovered the midrash.’

The Slow Death of the Documentary Hypothesis

If new approaches to the text, such as literary criticism of the type advanced here, deem the Documentary Hypothesis unreasonable and invalid, then source critics will have to rethink earlier conclusions and start anew.

– The Redaction of Genesis by Rendsburg

Is the Documentary Hypothesis a dying theory? Does this mean that Biblical scholarship can now move on into the 21st century, instead of being stuck in a discredited 19th analysis made by Wellhausen and others? Did Moses, in fact, write the first five Books of the Bible? According to some scholars, the answer to all these questions is yes. Even the on-line reference site Wikipedia, which is still in favor of the Documentary Hypothesis, is honest enough to admit it:

While the terminology and insights of the documentary hypothesis-notably its claim that the Pentateuch is the work of many hands and many centuries, and that its final form belongs to the middle of the 1st millennium BC-continue to inform scholarly debate about the origins of the Pentateuch, it no longer dominates that debate as it did for the first two thirds of the 20th century.

– Wikipedia, Documentary Hypothesis

The number of former believers and ex-followers of Wellhausen, and his theory concerning the authorship and dates of the Pentateuch, happens to be growing larger with each passing day. Many of them have realized that the general claim about the Torah being based upon four sources, namely the J, E, D and P source documents, is, in the end, utter nonsense. Some have gotten quite angry with Wellhausen’s continuing success and acceptance among modern Biblical scholars. Here are just a few opponents of the Documentary Hypothesis as it stands today:

The time has long passed for scholars of every theological persuasion to recognize that the Graf-Wellhausen theory, as a starting point for continued research, is dead. The Documentary Hypothesis and the arguments that support it have been effectively demolished by scholars from many different theological perspectives and areas of expertise.

– BibleArcheology.org

Gorden J. Wenham points out that there has been a significant change regarding the Wellhausen documentary hypothesis. In the past, rejection of this hypothesis had been from orthodox Jews and conservative Christians. However, questioning of the documentary hypothesis today has come from mainline scholarship.

– HISTORICAL CRITICISM OF THE BIBLE: METHODOLOGY OR IDEOLOGY? by Eta Linnemann

The whole structure of the Documentary Hypothesis is so vitiated with obscurantism and circular reasoning on the basis of unproved and unprovable hypotheses that it hardly deserves the status of true scholarship at all. It appears rather to be an exercise in biased subjectivism that shuns any serious consideration of conflicting evidence.

– Who Wrote the Bible? A Summary Critique, by Gleason L. Archer, Jr

The Documentary Hypothesis must be abandoned. Regardless of the theological presuppositions with which one approaches the text, and regardless of whether one wishes to affirm the tradition of Mosaic authorship or move in new directions, one must recognize the hypothesis to be methodologically unsound.

– BibleArcheology.org

Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis has come to an end. Other major scholarly views of the 20th century…are cratering. Nothing substantial, however, has replaced these views.

– Rendtorff, Rolf, The Paradigm Is Changing: Hopes – and Fears

It is now accepted that the documentary hypothesis is hampered with serious difficulties.

– Van Dyk, P. J., Current Trends in Pentateuch Criticism.

We must reject the Documentary Theory as an explanation of the composition of the Pentateuch. The theory is complicated, artificial, and anomalous. It is based on unproved assumptions. It uses unreliable criteria for the separation of the text into component documents.

– Moses H. Segal, professor emeritus at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem

The Wellhausen hypothesis...must be perceived as an exercise in subjectivism rather than a scientific treatment of the objective data bearing upon the date of the composition of the Pentateuch. The whole concept of differing recensions of the Mosaic tradition, a J-document originating in Judah and an E-document developed in the Northern Kingdom, has in this century been called into serious question by disillusioned Wellhausians like Wilhelm Moeller, B.D. Eerdmans, Johannes Pedersen, and Ivan Engnell, all of whom completely reject the whole Documentary Hypothesis as an artificial, modern occidental type of interpretation totally unsuited and irrelevant to ancient Semitic literature.

– Who Wrote the Bible? A Summary Critique, by Gleason L. Archer, Jr

These days, the old truths of Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis are becoming less and less accepted with each passing year and continue to be thoroughly discredited by a growing number of scholars and researchers. Indeed, the assumptions of the past concerning the actual origins of the Pentateuch ‘have disappeared, and in their place scholars are confronted by competing theories which are discouragingly numerous’ as well as ‘exceedingly complex’. The simple historical facts of Wellhausen’s theory are now gone with the wind. As one noted scholar opines:

The theories current in Old Testament studies, however brilliantly conceived and elab­orated were mainly established in a vacuum with little or no reference to the Ancient Near East, and initially too often in accordance with a priori philosophical and literary principles.

– Kenneth Kitchens, Ancient Orient and the Old Testament

The tried and true J, E, P, and D source documents, which continues to be the foundational cornerstone for the Documentary Hypothesis have also become invalidated by more and more current researchers. In his work The Redaction of Genesis, scholar Rendsburg openly proclaims that ‘the standard division of Genesis into J, E, and P strands should be discarded’. He blames their inadequacy on the fact that the Documentary Hypothesis is an old 19th century theology that has been hopelessly outdated. With today’s growing knowledge about the ancient world, Rendsburg states ‘there is much more uniformity and much less fragmentation in the book of Genesis than generally assumed’. This means that scholars are once again facing the same conclusion of the past, that Moses truly is the author of the Pentateuch . In the meantime, the Documentary Hypothesis, and all that it came with it, continues to pass away, to die, slowly but surely.

Moses Wrote the Torah, the Pentateuch

An objective and truly scientific handling of the evidence can only lead to the conclusion that Jesus Christ and the New Testament apostles were absolutely correct in assuming the genuineness of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.

– Who Wrote the Bible? A Summary Critique, by Gleason L. Archer, Jr

When one finally becomes convinced that the Documentary Hypothesis is indeed a incorrect theory, the question remains as to who wrote the Torah, also called the Pentateuch. Traditional Judaism has always believed that Moses was the author of the first five Books of the Bible and Christianity followed suit in the centuries after its formation. There is still every reason to believe that this is the historical truth even though the existence of Moses still cannot be scientifically proven. Considering the severity of laws espoused in the Torah, many Bible researchers say this indicates that it must have been written by Moses, before the people ever slipped into idolatrous practices. One auther states the following:

Consider the implications of Moses’ instructions to his people as recorded in Deuteronomy 13 and 17…In these two chapters we find the death penalty prescribed for any individual, family, or community that became involved in idol-worship. In the time of Josiah, or even in the time of Hezekiah, there was scarcely a community in all of the kingdom of Judah that was not infected with idolatry. Had such a law been propounded and carried out with rigor, it is safe to say that at least 50 percent of the total population would have been stoned to death. No school of prophets or priests would ever have ventured to propound such severe measures…these passages in Deuteronomy fits only a time in the history of Israel when the entire nation was committed to the worship of Yahweh alone. There is no known period which fits into this framework but the time of Moses and Joshua.

Two recent books also bolster the claim that the Book of Genesis may well be a unified document with only one actual author. One of these is called Before Abraham Was, by Kikawada and Quinn, and it shows ‘an INCREDIBLE thematic unity and artistry of the composer of Genesis 1-11.’ The other book is The Redaction of Genesis, by Rendsburg. This book goes far in proving that there truly ‘an INCREDIBLE linguistic unity and artistry of the composer of all of Genesis.’ Slowly, more and more modern scholars are returning to the belief that the Torah was written at a much earlier date than that espoused by the Documentary Hypothesis. Here is just one example of this phenomenon:

In the light of these considerations, the objective evidence of the text and of all pertinent historical records bearing upon the career of Israel leads us back to the genuineness of the Mosaic date as the only plausible period for the composition of the Pentateuch…Suffice it to say that the indications in the Pentateuch of a pre-Conquest time of composition of the books of Moses are altogether compelling.

– Who Wrote the Bible? A Summary Critique, by Gleason L. Archer, Jr

In Judaism, Genesis through Deuteronomy was always considered to be a singular work, usually called the Book of the Law. This is cited in 2 Chronicles 25:4 and Mark 12:26. This makes good sense because even a quick glance at the content ‘of its individual components will confirm that each book presupposes the one that precedes it.’ One scholar notes astutely:

Without Genesis, Exodus reads like a book begun midway; without Exodus, Leviticus is a mystery; and so on. They were not intended to be five separate volumes in a common category, but rather, are five divisions of the same book. Hence, the singular references: “the Law” or “the Book.”

– ApologeticsPress.org

Given this tradition, it seems incredible that the Documentary Hypothesis was ever believed or copied. One should remember, however, that the propenents of Wellhausen’s theory were neither Jewish nor Christian believers. It is safe to assume that they had ulterior motives in creating the Documentary Hypothesis. They knew full well that to prove that Moses did not write the Torah was to also discredit, and perhaps eventually, destroy the Judeo-Christian tradition. As one author contends:

Prove that Moses did not write the books of the Pentateuch and you prove that Jesus was totally mistaken and not the infallible Son of God he claimed to be. Upon your faith in Moses as the writer of the five books attributed to him rests also your faith in Jesus as the Son of God. You cannot believe in Jesus Christ without believing what Moses wrote.

– Genesis and Evolution, by M.R. DeHaan

One should also take into account the fact that the authorship of Moses is a given througout the Holy Bible, including the New Testament. Within the Pentateuch itself, one can read numerous times about how Moses wrote the law of God. Here are just a few pertinent passages from Scriptures:

– Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. (Exodus 24:4)

– The LORD said unto Moses, ‘Write thou these words…’ (Exodus 34:27).

– Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the LORD. (Numbers 33:2).

– Moses wrote this law and delivered it unto the priests. (Deuteronomy 31:9).

– The law was given through Moses. (John 1:17)

– And beginning from Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)

– For Moses from generations of old hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath. (Acts 15:21)

In addition, authors of the New Testament ‘showed no hesitation in affirming that Moses wrote the Pentateuch.’ Even Paul agreed with this, stating: ‘For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law,’ It is rather ironic that ‘both Jesus’ disciples and His enemies recognized and accepted the books of Moses.’ Christian believers should take care to understand that the authorship of the Torah should not be taken lightly and should feel assured in the belief that Moses wrote it. One scholar notes:

A final reason that one must defend the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, instead of sitting by idly and claiming that “it doesn’t really matter who wrote it,” is because Jesus Himself acknowledged that “the Law” came from Moses….The truth is, by claiming that Moses did not write the books of the Pentateuch, one essentially is claiming that Jesus was mistaken.

– ApologeticsPress.org

May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.

Advertisements
h1

The Maccabee – 10 Simple Reasons why Christianity should Practice Male Circumcision

September 20, 2011

‘Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’

– Jeremiah 23:29

For almost 2,000 years, the consensus of Christianity has been that male circumcision is not required for the faith. Nonetheless, there are numerous and fairly valid reasons to finally reintroduce this practice among Christians throughout the world. There are also some specific passages that seem to suggest that the religion of Judaism should also promote and perhaps even require circumcision among the Gentiles as a part of their own faith.

This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

– Genesis 17:10

The covenant of male circumcision started with Abraham, the founding father of the three major faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For Christianity to truly be a part of the House of Abraham, they should circumcise their male children. After all, Christians have fulfilled the prophecy that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sands upon the seashore. There are some who would claim that Christianity obeys the Seven laws of Noah and that only Jews are actually required to practice circumcision. That is the wrong assumption as the following passages from the Jewish Talmud clearly show:

The Master said: Every precept which was given to the sons of Noah and repeated at Sinai was meant for both [Noachides and Israelites]

– Sanhedrin 59a

But circumcision, which was given to the Sons of Noah, for it is written, ‘Thou shalt keep my covenant, and repeated at Sinai, And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised,’

– Sandhedrin 59b

This law was not learned from the teaching of Moses our teacher, until Ezekiel came and taught, ‘No alien, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh shall enter into my Sanctuary to serve me’

– Sanhedrin 22b

One should remember that the compromise concerning uncircumcised Christian Gentiles found in the Book of Acts was not a unanimous decision and was probably not meant to be an eternal dictate that Christians didn’t need to circumcise their male children. What follows are ten excellent reasons why Christianity should practice circumcision as a standard aspect of their faith:

Ten Reasons Why Christianity should Practice Circumcision

I. The Covenant of Abraham

BIBLE: This is my covenant, which you shall keep…Every man child among you shall be circumcised. (Genesis 17:10)

CONCLUSION: Though many Christians are not blood-related to Abraham, they are a part of his House and subject to the same law. Many followers of Abraham practiced circumcision.

II. The Gospels of Jesus Christ

BIBLE: It is easier for Heaven and earth to pass away, than one part of the law to become invalid. (Luke 16:17)

CONCLUSION: Circumcision is one of the oldest Hebrew laws and was commanded by God Himself. Regardless of past Christian tradition circumcision is still the law.

III. St. Paul’s Obvious Approval

BIBLE: What value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God. (Romans 3:1-2)

CONCLUSION: Although St. Paul appears to disapprove of circumcision in some passages, this is because he was fighting against those Christians who still believed it should be required. Paul himself was circumcised.

IV. To Be Like Christ – Christian

BIBLE: When eight days had passed for the circumcising of the child, His name was called Jesus. (Luke 2:21)

CONCLUSION: Jesus Christ was circumcised on the eighth day. To be like Christ is to be circumcised. To be a Christian mother is to be like Mary’s and to circumcise their sons

V. To Be Like the Apostles

BIBLE: And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child…His mother answered…he shall be called John.- Luke 1:59-60

CONCLUSION: All of the Apostles and all the Disciples were circumcised. Jesus Christ Himself was circumcised along with His father, his brothers and all his ancestors and early followers.

VI. To Honor the Christian Martyrs

BIBLE: They put to death certain women, that had caused their children to be circumcised.- I Maccabees 1:60

CONCLUSION: St. Peter, St. Jason, St. James, St. Stephen, St. Thomas, , St. John & many other Christian Martyrs were circumcised.

VII. To Renew the Hebrew Tradition

BIBLE: Abraham took…every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin.(Genesis 17:2)

CONCLUSION: To truly become a member of the House of Abraham, to distinguish oneself from the Pagans, and in order to fulfill the laws of God as commanded by Jesus, all Christians should now circumcise all their male sons by the age of 18.

VIII. To Remove all Pagan Customs

BIBLE: They…leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation. (I Maccabees 1:48 )

CONCLUSION: Today, a growing number of Jewish and Christian mothers leave their sons uncircumcised. In the years to come, more and more Pagans will become hostile to Christianity and to the practice of circumcision. Oppose the Pagans.

IX. To Convert the Jews & Muslims

BIBLE: Ishmael…was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised. (Genesis 17:25) Abraham circumcised his son Isaac at eight days old, as God had commanded him. (Genesis 21:4)

CONCLUSION: Jews and Muslims would more likely convert to a Christianity that practices circumcision. 

X. In Tribute to the Early Saints

BIBLE: Mattathias and his allies…forcibly circumcised any uncircumcised boys whom they found in the territory of Israel…They save the law from the hands of the Gentiles. (I Maccabees 2:45)

CONCLUSION: The first 5 Saints of Christianity, St. Judas, Jonathan, John, Simon, and Eleazar were all circumcised Jews who fought against the Greeks who butchered anyone that practiced or opposed the new law that banned circumcision.

Maccabee Christianity is fully supportive of the practice of circumcision by those of the Christian faith. Indeed, read carefully, Scriptures seem to indicate that the practice of circumcision may well be destined to become universal among all men on planet Earth. History, and the Bible, stands as a clear warning to those who would so blithely disdain male circumcision as a barbaric custom of the past. Here are just a few pertinent quotes:

In those days there appeared in Israel men who were breakers of the law, and they seduced many people…They covered over the mark of their circumcision and abandoned the holy covenant; they allied themselves with the Gentiles and sold themselves into wrongdoing.

– I Maccabees 1:11-15

Women who had their babies circumcised were put to death, in keeping with the decree, with the babies hung from their necks; their families also and those who had circumcised them were killed.

– I Maccabees 1:60-61

The King sent messengers with letter to Jerusalem and to the cities of Judah, ordering them to follow customs foreign to the land…to leave their sons uncircumcised, and to let themselves be defiled with every kind of impurity and abomination.

– I Maccabees 1:44-48

May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.

h1

The Hammer of God, Part V. In Search of the Maccabee Tombs

January 15, 2011

“Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?”

– Jeremiah 23:29

The Hammer of God

‘Maccabee’ is the word for Hammer in Hebrew

Part V. In Search of the Maccabee Tombs

Maccabee Tomb

Most Probable Site of the Maccabee Tombs

Jerusalem of the Second Temple period was surrounded by cemeteries and grave fields. Due to the sanctity of the city and the ritual impurity of the dead, burial was permitted only at reasonable distance from the city walls.

-Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra 2, 9

In general, the exact location of the original Maccabee tombs continues to remain a matter of dispute. A growing number of experts are becoming more confident that they are located just outside of the hometown of the Maccabees, called Modein. Even so, several sites that can be classified as Hasmonean tombs, including Jason’s Tomb, have been identified and can be seen as follows:

Hasmonean Tomb of Zachariah by hasmonean 

Zachariah’s Tomb, a Hasmonean Gravesite

The Maccabee Tomb of Jason by hasmonean

Jason’s Tomb, Rehavia, Jerusalem

Historically, the Maccabees are considered the founders of the Hasmonean dynasty which ruled ruled Judea and Israel until the days of Herod, an Edomite, who managed to murder all the remaining Hasmoneans directly related to the original five sons of Mattathias the Hasmonean, namely John Gaddis, Simon Thassi, Judas Maccabaeus, Eleazar Avaran, and Jonathan Apphus. Here is the original timeline of the beginning of the Hasmonean royal dynasty:

Leader(s) of the Maccabees Timeline
167 BC: Mattathias, the Hasmonean
166 – 161 BC: Judas Maccabaeus, the Hammer of the LORD
161 – 143 BC: Jonathan Apphus, the Wary
143 – 135 BC: Simon Thassi, the Zealous Guide

Although the Maccabees, and later their descendants, the Hasmoneans, managed to keep Israel free from foreign oppression for almost 150 years, this abruptly ended with King Herod who was not a Hasmonean at all. Wikipedia states the following:

The Hasmonean dynasty, which leaped onto the stage of history with such dramatic heroism, disappeared from that same stage with cruel suddenness. The despot Herod, whose régime was forced upon the unwilling Jewish populace by his Romans overlords, was fully aware that the aura of Hasmonean charisma would constitute a continual threat to his power, and hence he undertook to ruthlessly murder all the remaining descendants of that family, including his beloved wife Mariamne, granddaughter of the Hasmonean ruler Hyrcanus II. Herod executed her on trumped-up charges of disloyalty, as he did afterwards to the two sons she had borne him, Alexander and Aristobulus.

– Wikipedia

Thus, while many of the later Hasmonean tombs have been correctly identified, the Maccabee Tombs themselves have yet to completely verified and agreed upon by the various experts in history and archaeology. In general it is believed that the Tombs of the Maccabees are located west of Jerusalem in the Ben-Shemen Forest region right nearby the modern Israeli city of Modi’in, Israel. Historically, this is very close to where the original Maccabee rebellion first began against the Greek occupation. One source describes the site in the following manner:

Ancient cave-tombs riddle the area, but the Maccabee-country location of this cluster of limestone tombs, which appears to be that of one family, and their old Arabic name – “tombs of the Jews”- persuade many that the Maccabees were buried here. Hanukkah ceremonies honoring the ancient warriors have been held here for the past century.

– GoIsrael.com

Here are just a few pictures of the vicinity where the original Maccabees are believed to have been buried. Further research and scientific digs will most probably reveal additional information in the future. For the most part, the vast majority of professionals agree that this is the most probable location of the remains of Mattathias the Hasmonean along with his five sons, the Maccabee Brothers:

The Tombs of the Maccabees  

Tomb of the Maccabees

photo 

Site of the Maccabee Tombs

photo
Maccabee Tombs 

photo 

Location of Maccabee Tombs

Maccabee Tomb Graphic

The Maccabee Tombs

searchresult_watermark.phptombmaccabee by hasmonean

General Location of the Maccabee Tombs

May the LORD GOd bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.

h1

The Good News Talmud, Part IV.

December 13, 2010
Yet again, the Talmud and the Gospels appear as one and the same text, strongly implying that Joshua (Jesus in Greek), the lanky carpenter from the ‘certain Galilean’ countryside, studied with the best student Pharisees of His day. Embittered by their arrogant dismissal of his lowly pious father and mother, Joseph and Mary, this outsider Rabbi rebel with a cause has still managed to bring the greatest teachings of the Talmud to Gentiles throughout the world.

TALMUD: God has a seal, and His seal is truth. (Deuteronomy Rabba 1)

GOSPEL: He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true. (John 3:33)

TALMUD: If you sit in judgment and you find one of the litigants anxious to verify his statement by taking an oath, have suspicion against that individual. (Leviticus Rabba 6)
GOSPEL: ‘Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.’ And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, ‘Surely it is not I, Rabbi?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have said it yourself.’ (Matthew 26:24-25)

The Joshua Talmud

TALMUD: Consider the immeasurable distance from us of what we know as God’s dwelling-place, the Heavens; yet how near He is to us when we call upon Him. (Deuteronomy Rabba 2)
GOSPEL: Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on Earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth will be loosed in Heaven. (Matthew 18:18)

TALMUD: Heaven and Earth wept at the death of Moses. (Deuteronomy Rabba 11)
GOSPEL: It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the Temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When He had said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23:44-46)

TALMUD: If you sit in judgment and you find one of the litigants anxious to verify his statement by taking an oath, have suspicion against that individual. (Leviticus Rabba 6)
GOSPEL: Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all, either by Heaven, for it is God’s throne, or by the Earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. (Matthew 5:33-35)

TALMUD: God has a seal, and his seal is truth. (Deuteronomy Rabba 1)
GOSPEL: He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without measure. (John 3:33-34)

TALMUD: Heaven and Earth wept at the death of Moses. (Deuteronomy Rabba 11)
GOSPEL: For truly I tell you, until Heaven and Earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law (of Moses) until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:18)

The Talmud’s Classical Format

TALMUD: Justice is one of the supports of God’s throne. (Deuteronomy Rabba 5)
GOSPEL: Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. (Luke 11:42)

TALMUD: One of the reasons why Moses called upon Heaven and Earth as witnesses (Deuteronomy 33) is that by them the Torah was given (Deuteronomy 4). (Deuteronomy Rabba 10)
GOSPEL: For truly I tell you, until Heaven and Earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law (of Moses) until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:18)

TALMUD: If you are a man of distinction and entitled to a prominent seat at an assembly, seat yourself, nevertheless, two or three seats lower, for it is better to be told ‘Go up,’ than to be asked to ‘go down.’ Hillel was apt to say, ‘If I condescend I am exalted, but if I am haughty I am degraded.’ (Leviticus Rabba 1)
GOSPEL: Jesus said, ‘Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets.’ (Mark 12:38-39)

TALMUD: ‘I have created somethings in pairs,’ says God, ‘such as Heaven and Earth, the sun and the moon, Adam and Eve, male and female in all animals, this life and the future life; but I am One.’ He that proclaims the absolute unity of God proclaims the kingdom of Heaven. (Deuteronomy Rabba 2)
GOSPEL: ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. (Mark 10:7-9)

TALMUD: Death is designed for man from time immemorial. When the hour of man’s departure hence arrives, nothing will save him from it. (Talmud, Tanchum. Voeschanan)
GOSPEL: And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27)

TALMUD: ‘I have created somethings in pairs,’ says God, ‘such as Heaven and Earth, the sun and the moon, Adam and Eve, male and female in all animals, this life and the future life; but I am One.’ (Deuteronomy Rabba 2)
GOSPEL: Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. (Mark 6:7)

An Age-Old Talmud

TALMUD: If you are a man of distinction and entitled to a prominent seat at an assembly, seat yourself, nevertheless, two or three seats lower, for it is better to be told ‘Go up,’ than to be asked to ‘go down.’ Hillel was apt to say, ‘If I condescend I am exalted, but if I am haughty I am degraded.’ (Leviticus Rabba 1)
GOSPEL: When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: ‘When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited.’ (Luke 14:7-8)

TALMUD: If you want a vine to flourish it should be replanted on another soil. God replanted his vine, Israel, from Egypt to Palestine, and it became famous. (Exodus Rabba 44)
GOSPEL: When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’ (Matthew 2:13-15)

TALMUD If you are a man of distinction and entitled to a prominent seat at an assembly, seat yourself, nevertheless, two or three seats lower, for it is better to be told ‘Go up,’ than to be asked to ‘go down.’ Hillel was apt to say, ‘If I condescend I am exalted, but if I am haughty I am degraded.’ (Leviticus Rabba 1)
GOSPEL: When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 14:7-11)

TALMUD: ‘I have created somethings in pairs,’ says God, ‘such as Heaven and Earth, the sun and the moon, Adam and Eve, male and female in all animals, this life and the future life; but I am One.’ (Deuteronomy Rabba 2)
GOSPEL: After this the LORD (Jesus) appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. (Luke 10:1)

Old Preface to the Talmud

May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.

%d bloggers like this: