torsdag 10 april 2014

Answering "Why the Jews are Not the Enemies of the Church"

Why the Jews Are Not the Enemies of the Church
March 6, 2014 By Dr. John Lamont

"One such attack maintains that the Jews are enemies of the Church in virtue of their religious beliefs. The religious beliefs in question are those of Rabbinic Judaism, which has been the dominant form of Jewish religious belief for the past two millennia. Rabbinic Judaism developed as a result of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70, which removed the center of Jewish religious life. Some replacement for the Temple was required if Jewish religious existence was to continue. In the century or so after the destruction of the Temple, the study and observance of the Jewish Law was developed as this replacement."

There is a replacement. It is the Temple that tore down itself and raised itself in three days. It is present in the Eucharist. It is the live body of a Jew who never broke one iod of the law in his eartly life. SO, accepting rabbinic Judaism involves rejecting that Catholicism is the correct replacement.

And it even does so at a pretty basic level.

"The reason why Rabbinic Jews are not enemies of the Church can be put briefly. Such Jews do not seek to convert Christians to Judaism, or to prevent non-Jewish Christians from exercising their faith. They only refuse to become Christians themselves, which does not suffice to make them “enemies” of the Church.

This can be seen by contrasting Rabbinic Jews with Muslims."

Hang on a second. What if a Jew becomes a Catholic? Have they never ever done anything to either prevent or revenge conversions? I would NOT believe that to be completely factual, no.

Or what if good relations (such as sometimes occur) between Catholics and Jews lead to some of the latter becoming Catholics, will the other ones not try to stop the bleeding? I mean they see that as a bleeding of the Jewish community.

Or if someone had a grandfather or greatgrandfather who was Jewish but became Christian, will they not see this as him being past the cursed generations and "offering him a chance" to join Judaism again? I somehow think they will and sometimes they do not take no for an answer either the first or the second time.

And what about avoiding parts of their Community becoming Catholics, will they never ever lie about the Catholic Church or "honestly" believe the most denigrating lie available about it? I think sometimes they will.

"These passages [St. Peter’s statements as recorded in Acts 2:22-23 and Acts 7:52-53, and on St. Paul’s statement in 1 Thess 2:14-16, as Lamont mentioned after Bishop Fellay previously] cannot, however, be understood as applying to all Jews. The statements of St. Peter condemn those Jews who were themselves personally involved and responsible for the death of Christ in bringing about his crucifixion."

As if any subsequent generation of Jews distanced themselves from these?

Thus far I have posted replies on Karl Keating's facebook wall. [Two of these have "disappeared". I e I could still copy it, but next time I log in it won't be there.*] Now I continue:

Honour thy Father and thy Mother. This means generally speaking approving of what they do. When their lives are not possible to approve, under Old Testament and also later among Rabbinic Jews, their generation of iniquity is not counted. In the genealogy of Christ legally, as legal child of St Joseph, St Matthew omits three generations starting with the husband and ending in the grandson of the impious woman Athaliah.

To certain Jews, this is basically how I should treat certain Christian generations. To me, that is how Jews SHOULD treat the generations who crucified Our Lord, who persecuted Christians by lynching first and by denunciations to Nero's and Domitian's henchmen later. They. Do. Not. Many have no doubt not thought the question through. But those who have and remain Jews, well, it is safe to say they approve in principle of this. If they are really Christian friendly, they may say "well, maybe it was a bit harsh". But they do not count the generations who killed St Stephen and St Polycarp as rebels against their fathers and misleaders of their children. Which. They. Were.

"Denial of Christ’s divinity and messianic status was not, and could not have been, the center of Rabbinic Judaism, because the founders of Rabbinic Judaism had little contact with Christians, and knew very little about them. When the Mishnah was completed in 200 A.D., Christians were still a small, illegal community with no profile in the Roman Empire. They lived predominantly in the Greek-speaking cities of the Empire, and used Greek as their language of communication. The founders of Rabbinic Judaism wrote in Hebrew and Aramaic, generally had little or no knowledge of Greek, and took little part in the life of the Hellenistic cities where the Christians were active. They were not seriously confronted with the Christian message, and were not concerned with it. The Jewish communities that were active in opposing Christians, and that were referred to by St. Paul in the passage quoted above, had been almost totally destroyed by the Romans in their suppression of the Jewish revolts in Palestine, Alexandria, Cyprus, and Cyrene between 70 and 136 A.D. – which killed between 90 and 100% of the Jewish populations in those areas."

Nice try, but not likely. Not likely at all that ALL the Jews who opposed Christians were speaking Greek since it involved Palestinian Jews. Not likely at all that ALL the Jews who opposed Christians were destroyed in the Roman suppressions of Jewish revolts.

The Palestinian Jews were speaking Aramaic and probably in connexion with other groups of Jews speaking Aramaic. Including the factual founders of Rabbinism. Before they were possibly all killed off by Romans.

By the way, if they were, then the inheritors of Palestinian Jewry of 1:st Century are those Christians of Jewish, Samarian and Galilean origin who fled to Pella from the Romans and returned. In other words, the Christian Palestinians.

Not at all likely either that the only Jews who were persecuting Christians were those that were in Palestine, Alexandria, Cyprus and Cyrene. Though, I must admit for this thesis, after the martyrdom of St Polycarp, Jewish involvement in the Roman persecution seems to cease for some while.

This is why there are very few references to Christ and Christianity in the Talmud, and those references that exist are brief and inaccurate. They are scurrilous and abusive, but they make no reference to Christ’s claims to divinity or messianic status, and it seems unlikely that the authors of the Mishnah knew about these claims.

In a month's time or two, will Lawrence Krauss remember ANYTHING about a film called The Principle? His reference to Sungenis' and DeLano's claims he was filmed knowing what he was doing are already getting scurrilous and abusive. Now, he is an Atheist, but he belongs, insofar as longranging family traditions are concerned, to that community. Could there be, through Rabbinic Judaism, a certain kind of connexion to Mishnahic authors and their relation to Christianity?

It seems certain that they would have denounced Christ’s claims if they had heard of them. There would have been no obstacles to their doing so, since the Christians were still an illegal and persecuted group, who could not have posed any sort of threat.

There is no OBSTACLE to Lawrence Krauss suing Stellar Motion Pictures either. The three persons involved are not exactly a physical threat to him, nor bound up with the administration and able to harrass him for it. The kind of risk there is, is the risk he amdits wanting to avoid: the risk of these getting attention to their claims. And the exact nature of these claims (Karl Keating seemed to think The Principle was mainly about the Church condemning Galileo and not really retracting that, while it is rather about the contrast between Copernican Principle and its status in Scientific Community with the lack of empiric back up for it). And the evidence for these exact claims being true (like the footage - Rick DeLano claims he has five hours with Krauss).

In the days when Apostles were daily making miracles, would not a community trying to keep their flock outside the Apostolic Church show some kind of discretion? Well, look at Krauss' tactics now!

The claim that Rabbinic Jews work to deny the doctrine of the divinity of Christ is, therefore, misleading. They deny it themselves, and seek to prevent Jews from accepting it, but they do not work to make non-Jews deny it, and do not work to prevent Gentiles from accepting it. Nor do they seek to destroy the Church in order to oppose it.

That is really and truly different from Jew to Jew. There are those who say they would prefer all Gentiles to be Noahides (i e accepting the Noahidic commands and accepting Jews as a kind of priesthood among them, not unlike how Jews treat Levites among themselves or Levites and Jews treat Cohanim). There are those who state they would prefer each Gentile nation to keep its ancestral gods as long as they will not be Noahides. There are those who, when not being convinced Judaism is religiously superior to Christianity, will opt for Atheism to avoid the problem such a question would pose to them. And there are plenty who, while full of goodwill to a Christian will prefer if he is Protestant rather than Catholic or Orthodox, because these Churches DO claim, in a way that rivals Jewish claims, to be the People of God. Mostly Protestant confessions do not. The Covenanters who did were much more Rabbinic Jewish than the Anglo-Catholic and Roman Catholic adversaries of their ideal. Indeed, Shylock in Shakespear is likely to be a Puritan rathern than a real Jew in certain aspects. Especially his dislike for Venetian Carnival. Shakespear was in an England which alas had Puritans, but not Jews. And if someone is Catholic or Orthodox, and they care at all about him, it is likely they prefer him to be the Vatican II kind or the Neohimerite kind, rather than a Sedevacantist or a Palaeohimerite.

The Jewish belief was that, with a few praiseworthy exceptions, adherence to religious error was in the nature of Gentiles.

Especially so after failed rebellions and even later after seeing Christianity in power, right?

The idea of getting Gentiles, as a whole, to reject religious error was thus considered unfeasible, and prior to the coming of Christ, was never entertained by any Jews.

Not even by the Prophet Malachi?

1:11 For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.

I think Dr. John Lamont ought to think again. He should not take Rabbinic Jewish words for what Jews previous to Christ thought. Indeed, he should not take the words of Rabbinic Jews about how marginal the Christians were in the Roman Empire either when Judaism was being rebuilt without the Temple.

But this idea of Gentile nature clinging to religious error IS an incentive to such Jews as regard Christianity as their enemy (and they DO exist) to prefer seeing Gentiles in Non-Christian religious errors, such as both they and we Christians would regard as erroneous, to seeing them as Christians. Therefore there is a drive among Jews to make Gentiles apostasise. To be somewhat fair to them, our prophecies might seem to indicate that their conversion and return to grace will come about in the times when Gentiles apostatise from Christian truth.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Hezekiel

* I reposted, will see if they stay and are answered. So far, they are still on his wall.


Noteworthy and not to be rejected are these paragraphs on the Talmud:

This is not the judgement of Catholic theology or of the Magisterium of the Church. The Church had little awareness of the Talmud until the 13th century, when she intensified her efforts to convert Jews. The accusation that the Talmud was immoral and anti-Christian, through and through, originated largely with Jewish converts to Christianity of this period, such as Nicholas Donin. One may guess that these converts were influenced in these accusations by a reaction against their former religious position, and by feeling a need to prove their loyalty to Christianity. The inaccuracy of these accusations made them ineffective for missionary purposes, which, in turn, led to Catholic theologians making a thorough study of the Talmud. The most authoritative Catholic work resulting from this study was the “Pugio Fidei,” a magisterial attack on Rabbinic Judaism and Islam written by the Dominican, Raymond Martin. This attack dismissed the claim that the entire Mishnah was received by Moses on Mount Sinai as absurd, but did not reject all the contents of the Talmud. Instead, Fr. Martin accepted that some of the Talmud really did pass on an oral tradition received by Moses, and argued that this genuine tradition proved the truth of Christianity; the rest of the Talmud he dismissed as human invention.

The general principle that the Talmud is a mixture of good, bad, and indifferent elements, rather than a work that should be entirely rejected, is thus the most authoritative position among Catholic theologians, and can easily be seen to be correct by a consideration of its text. The tractate on the “Wisdom of the Fathers,” for example, which contains a number of ethical and religious teachings from rabbis who mostly lived before the time of Christ, obviously contains valuable elements. The fact that this important Talmudic text largely predates Christ, shows the falsity of the claim that the main idea of Rabbinic Judaism is the rejection of Christ’s messianic dignity.

This principle conforms to the judgment of the Church on the Talmud. When the Talmud was burnt in Paris at the instigation of Nicholas Donin, French Jews appealed to the Pope, who judged that it could be permitted, if it was expurgated of any anti-Christian remarks. A similar judgement was made by the Council of Trent. A commission of Jews approached the Council to request that it rule that the Talmud could be printed. The Council passed their request on to the Congregation for the Index, which again ruled that it could be printed if any anti-Christian statements were removed. This evaluation of the Talmud was more positive than that given to the works of Luther, Calvin, Peter Abelard’s Introduction to Theology, and Samuel Richardson’s Pamela – all of which were banned in their entirety by the Church.

However, this does not detract from the fact that the bad is there, in editions of Talmud which are not subjected to the restrictions of the Church. Nor do I agree that the tractate on pre-Christian rabbis shows the falsity of the claim that the main idea of Rabbinic Judaism is the rejection of Christ's messianic dignity. It is as much and as little the main idea of Rabbinic Judaism as rejection of Masses for the Dead and of Purgatory are the main idea of Lutheranism. They cannot be the main idea in any religion as lived, but they can very well be the main idea in the origin of a community as distinct from one other community, or in other words, the main idea of a specific polemic issue./HGL

Update: Whether a Jew not Christian worships the true God because of the Torah, or a false "god" because of Talmud or Kabbalah, is as I suppose known to God alone. If he converts, one may hope he was already loving the true God before conversion. If not ... one more thing:

The general principle that the Talmud is a mixture of good, bad, and indifferent elements, rather than a work that should be entirely rejected, is thus the most authoritative position among Catholic theologians, and can easily be seen to be correct by a consideration of its text.

A Christian trusting Gospel and Tradition is in a position to cherrypick the good from the bad in the Talmud. A Jew reading Torah through the Talmud is not. And since the Torah is entirely good in itself, while the Talmud is not, he will sometimes be reading the good through the bad. A risky business.

Sorry I didn't say this yesterday, but I was, to say the least, tired.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
Pope St Leo I, the Great

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