Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Gene Shlomovich v. Yeshua of Nazareth: Examining Gene's Charge That Yeshua Distorted the Torah

So I just glanced through Gene's latest post entitled "Jesus' Five Most Unbiblical Teachings" in which he tries to forestall the Jewish reclamation of Yeshua by bringing five charges against Yeshua.  I'd like to respond to the 5th charge that Yeshua distorted Torah commandments.

The 5th charge Gene bases on Mark 7:18 which reads:
"And he said to them, 'Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him'"
Gene interprets this as Yeshua attacking Leviticus 11, the food laws regarding foods which cause defilement.

But was Yeshua's statement in Mark 7:18 an attack on Leviticus 11?

Here's a little excerpt from Furstenburg's article entitled "Defilement Penetrating the Body":
"Interpreting Jesus' saying in light of first-century Halakhah-- and not as a reaction against the biblical laws of ritual purity--offers us a completely different point of view with a new set of considerations.  Kister has suggested that, in its first-century context, the first limb of the logion, 'there is nothing outside a person which by going into him can defile him', could not be related to the impure animals listed in Leviticus 11 Their consumption was prohibited and thus they were not part of the normative diet.  Rather, Kister argues, this kind of statement might refer to foods which became contaminated by touching sources of impurity such as a corpse, swarming creatures or a menstruant.  Indeed, understood in this way, Jesus' statement lies on solid halakhic foundations.  Contaminated food does not cause the person eating it to become impure," Yair Furstenburg, Defilement Penetrating the Body:  A New Understanding of Contamination in Mark 7.15
In conclusion, Gene's 5th charge is rather frivolous as it deliberately avoids the first-century context and the rather obvious possibility that Yeshua, an Orthodox Jew accepted by large segments of the 1st Century Pharisees, was engaging in an intra-halachic dispute regarding two competing models of ritual purity during a time when halacha was less settled than it is today.

As for the other charges, Yeshua does claim to be Divine.  Indeed, His student John refers to Him as the Creator.  But this isn't a problem when once recognizes that the Torah says there would be a Divine Messiah who would die for the sins of Israel.

Shalom,

Peter

26 comments:

  1. "Gene's 5th charge is rather frivolous"

    Peter, you can argue with me, but not with the NT text. You assume that NT is internally consistent, but it's plain to see that it's not. The New Testament is a product of church scribes over several generations, full of interpolations, reductions and additions. For example, how about this little gem on the same theme:

    "For it doesn't go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body." In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean." (Mark 7:19)

    Some say this was a later Christian interpolation (it appears in virtually ALL NTs today). Regardless, since we have to, first and foremost, evaluate Jesus the Christian god by how NT presents him to us, the picture church scribes painted of him is not too flattering to say the least.

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    1. Gene,

      RE: "Peter, you can argue with me, but not with the NT text"

      Gene, not to embarrass you but you didn't cite to the NT source text but rather you cited to a poor English translation of the Greek source text. In this particular passage, the English translation you cited "Jesus declared all foods clean" butchers the Greek grammar. However, the translators for the King James, undisputed masters of Greek grammar, give the following translation of the source text:

      "Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats"

      Do you really think Yeshua would've be so admired by large segments of the Pharisees if He had "declared all foods clean"? That's a flagrant mistranslation of the grammar of the Greek source text. And it does not at all fit with the ritual purity dispute in the passage.

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    2. "translators for the King James, undisputed masters of Greek grammar"

      Peter, now you are being funny:)

      "Do you really think Yeshua would've be so admired by large segments of the Pharisees"

      Who says that he was "admired" by Pharisees? The NT? (And I should believe it because? (Of course, NT doesn't actually say that he was admired by "large segments" of anything other than ignorant, or as NT calls them "unlettered" people he appeared to have attracted, as do most cult leaders). The same book that scoffs and belittles Pharisees?

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    3. Peter, I posted another reply to your comments on my blog post (in the comments).

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    4. Gene,

      RE: " now you are being funny"

      No, stating a fact with some measure of ethnic pride (my father has a tome which records my English ancestry back hundreds of years). Ancient Greek language education was a very serious thing in England in the era in which the King James translation was produced. Did you know that children often arrived at school at 7AM and left at 6PM? . So, for a person of English descent, I look at the King James as a great literary achievement produced by unrivaled scholars of the Greek language.

      RE: "Who says that he was "admired" by Pharisees?"

      The Apostolic Writings record that many of the Pharisees defended Yeshua, stating that He couldn't be a sinner given the miracles He performed (John 9), Pharisaical members of the Sanhedrin went to Yeshua to receive instruction, the Pharisees warned Yeshua when Herod sought to have Him killed (Luke 13), etc.

      RE: "The NT? (And I should believe it because?"

      Because the consensus of Jewish scholarship believes that it is historically credible.





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    5. "stating that He couldn't be a sinner given the miracles He performed"

      That would have an utterly nonsensical statement to make of learned Pharisees in light of Deuteronomy 13:1-5, which teaches us to beware of false prophets who can perform signs and wonders. Indeed, the scriptures tells us it may be the test from G-d Himself.

      Jesus, of course, completely qualifies as a false prophet - he made numerous false prophecies that never came to pass (one in particular, of his imminent "second coming" during the lifetimes of his listeners, comes to mind) and even more grotesquely, he became an idol worshiped by untold masses of Gentiles - no true prophet of G-d would allow himself to be worshiped.

      "Because the consensus of Jewish scholarship believes that it is historically credible."

      A chutzpah is required to make such a statement. Most of the liberal scholars you regularly quote on your site do not even uphold the credibility of the Hebrew Bible, much less the NT.

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    6. Gene,

      RE: "That would have an utterly nonsensical statement to make of learned Pharisees in light of Deuteronomy 13:1-5, which teaches us to beware of false prophets who can perform signs and wonders"

      The argument the Pharisees were making was based on the Messianic miracles listed in Isaiah 35:5-6

      "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert."

      Since Yeshua was performing these miracles, they were profiling Him as the Messiah. The charge of "sinner" was frivolous given that the performance of these miracles on Shabbat cannot be construed as a "sin."

      RE: "A chutzpah is required to make such a statement. Most of the liberal scholars you regularly quote on your site do not even uphold the credibility of the Hebrew Bible, much less the NT."

      Name one Jewish scholar who is uneducated enough to proclaim "there is insufficient evidence for the historical credibility of the New Testament."

      Here's the reality: Jewish scholars are well aware that if they affirm the historical credibility of the Tanak based on the textual witnesses available, then they MUST affirm the historical credibility of the NT which has older and more numerous textual witnesses allowing the corroboration of source text with an extremely high degree of accuracy.

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    7. Peter, most of the stories about Jesus in the NT are "miraculous" in nature - from birth and on, miracle this, miracle that - do you seriously believe that your liberal scholars believe them to be credible? (You seem to be instead talking about the textual integrity of the NT - which is actually not very good, by that's besides the point - when you talk about "textual witness" - who cares if the same lies are repeated accurately from copy to copy??????) The ridiculousness of the brutal Pilate being Jesus' defense attorney alone defies all credibility of the Jew-smear you call the "NT":

      http://dailyminyan.com/2014/02/13/fact-or-fiction-pontius-pilate-as-jesus-defense-attorney/

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  2. As for the other charges, Yeshua does claim to be Divine.

    So Peter, are you a polytheist? Do you worship 2 gods. The father and Jesus? If Jesus is not G-d, then you break the first commandment.

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    1. "If Jesus is not G-d, then you break the first commandment. "

      Remi... Peter is really, really hoping that Jews got it wrong about this whole Jesus not being "god' thing. He's betting everything on Jews being wrong about the most important thing in the universe and Christians being right.

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    2. Remi,

      RE: "So Peter, are you a polytheist?"

      No. I believe in the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, the G-d of Ya'akov.

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    3. "No. I believe in the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, the G-d of Ya'akov." and Jesus. That's TWO. Sorry, three if you count the HS.

      Hi Peter, maybe I do not understand who you think Jesus is. Is he divine?

      If yes, do you believe that he is the same than G-d the Father? I would guess that you believe that he is somewhat divine, you probably don't believe in the trinity. Somewhat, the Father is G-d, Jesus is divine, but they are not the same. Jesus often talk to the father and obviously were not the same. But you will deny that they are two. Or maybe you will deny that echad means one.

      Regardless of your position on who Jesus is, you still believe in two/three gods.

      And you will tell me... "Remember your creator(s)". In Hebrew, it's plural! Elohim is plural, etc. Exactly, you believe in more than one god, because everything you try to find in the Tanakh, is to prove that it's OK to worship two/three gods.

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    4. Remi,

      Regarding the complex nature of G-d, I think the Zohar puts it rather well:

      Hear, O Israel, Adonai Eloheinu Adonai is one. These three are one. How can the three Names be one? Only through the perception of faith: in the vision of the Holy Spirit, in the beholding of the hidden eye alone! The mystery of the audible voice is similar to this, for though it is one yet it consists of three elements-fire, air and water, which have, however, become one in the mystery of the voice. Even so it is with the mystery of the threefold Divine manifestations designated by Adonai Eloheinu Adonai - three modes which yet form one unity. This is the significance of the voice which man produces in the act of unification, when his intent is to unify all, from the Infinite (Ein Sof) to the end of creation. This is the daily unification, the secret of which has been revealed in the holy spirit," (Quoted from Zohar II, 53b, as excerpted from Studies in Zohar by Yehuda Liebes)

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    5. Peter, does Zohar text speak about THREE PERSONS making up one G-d, does it talk about persons with different wills, the way Christianity and NT presents its "god"? Does Zohar have a flesh-and-blood man-god born and walking around on earth? It talks about "three names" in your own quote for goodness sake!!! G-d has many names in the Hebrew Bible itself. One can't even begin compare that the abomination which Christianity has birthed.

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    6. Hi Peter, I don't understand. You probably don't believe the Zohar. Why searching those books only to validate what you believe and ignore all the rest. I could tell you that the Quran say the G-d is one to prove my beliefs. Would that make sense. Or maybe it's because it's nowhere in the Tanakh that you have to desperately looking for somewhere else on condone your idolatry. The obvious meaning is the one that prevails. G-d is one and that's what the meaning of the verse stands. Zohar may have find hidden meanings that does not condone your idolatry, but the main meaning is always the most important.

      Just a question Peter, did you ever read the Zohar?

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    7. This reminds me. Being part of a sister supersessionist religion along with Christianty, Islam also relies on raiding texts of its predecessors to establish continuity and authority. Like Peter here with Jewish texts, Muslims use Christian texts to prove that Muhammad really was the last prophet. They likewise rely on texts otherwise diametrically opposed to their new religion to create an illusion of support by quoting things out of context to extract new meaning undreamt of by the original author. To use one example, they site John 14:16 "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever."

      Sure sounds like Mohammad, the "final prophet". That is if one chooses to willfully ignore everything else in the New Testament or Christianity in general that would contradict such a innovative idea. Like Peter is doing here.

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    8. Gene and Remi,

      First to address Gene's comment, there's no reason to think that the writers of the Zohar were unfamiliar with the passages in the Tanak which refer to G-d having the form of a human (e.g. "let us make man in our form according to our shape", "Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day", the story of G-d walking up to Abraham at Abraham's tent and Abraham addressing Him as "the Judge of all the earth", etc).

      Next, to address Remi's comment, you accused me of believing idolatry. However, I only worship HaShem, the G-d of Israel. I've never stated otherwise. I'll remind you that Abraham stood face-to-face with G-d and addressed Him as "the Judge of all the earth." Would you accuse Abraham of idolatry for addressing a human form as the "Judge of all the earth"? You are being ridiculous.



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    9. Gene,

      Supersessionism is about delegitimizing the Jewish People and usurping their place. An example of supersessionism would be the Christian claim that the Church has replaced the Jewish People.

      Messianic Judaism, on the other hand, teaches that no one has replaced the Jewish People and no one can ever replace the Jewish People. Speaking as a Messianic non-Jew, I can attest that there's nothing I love more than seeing Jews return to their Land and there's nothing more distressing to me than seeing the Islamists attack Jews. I would gladly take a stabbing to save even one Jewish life.

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    10. Hi Peter, I don't want you to ignore the fact that even the new testament say that Genesis 18 was angels.

      "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."

      It does not say theos, but aggelos. Which means messenger. But again maybe the writer of Hebrews got it wrong (like so many other twisted thing he said).

      Regardless, how many "virgin" birth did Jesus have? And how do you know it was Jesus? Let just say you are right that G-d has a human body, but Jesus is not the only human that claimed to be god. Maybe you are wrong, maybe you should bow to Antiochus Epiphanes. Why not? Why would Jesus be that god/man in Genesis 2 and Genesis 18?

      Don't you think it would be more logical the the "messenger/angel" would reeally be a messenger. And as such, spoke for the King, thus, when Abrahan talked to the messenger, it was as if he talked to G-d himself. I don't see why that explanation does not make sense. Actually, it would fit more than an messenger who is also the king. I will send myself, but listen, it's not me, we are different people. I will send my second part of the one person I am, and if you don't believe that the person I send is me, you will perish in hell.

      I mean, the whole book of Deuteronomy and the whole Tanakh warns against new arrival, other gods and not to worship other gods. Now, Jesus arrived and people did not want to bow down to him, because of the warnings of the Book.

      I will quote my "messianic" pastor: "It's, in a way, because the Jews love G-d, that they rejected Jesus". So, they rejected Jesus, because they love G-d, but will be punished because they wanted to listen to G-d? Some honest Jews, who refused to "kiss the sword" are in Hell fire forever because they refused to bow to another god, just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, but unfortunately for them, they are still in the furnace that you call hell. Think about the consequences of what you believe my friend! What kind of twisted god you believe in?

      “Yet you say, Peter ‘The way of the Lord is not fair (to forgive sin).’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive.

      Yet Peter, you say says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair (to forgive sin without an atonement).’ O Peter, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?

      Keep on worshipping your idol Jesus (a dead man in a tomb) and keep on trying to convince all the Jews to join your idolatry! Put your tzitzit and your yarmulke and go to "messianic" synagogue. Use nice Hebrew words like ruach hakodesh and fool all the gentiles and Jews to followed the ways of the kings of Israel, and keep on leading them to prostitute themselves, just as the house of Ahab did.

      Peter (sepha)'s father did not know Jesus! What does that mean? If your son secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods (Like Jesus),’...And you shall stone him with stones until he dies,

      They sacrificed to demons, not to God,
      To gods they did not know,
      To new gods, new arrivals
      That your fathers did not fear.

      Did Peter's father worship Jesus? Did your great-grand-father worshipped Jesus, Peter? I think he would have rather die before bowing to a new arrival god that was not at Horeb. But yet, you prostitute yourself, and want to say it is Okay.




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    11. I meant kiss the cross...

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    12. "G-d having the form of a human (e.g. "let us make man in our form according to our shape","

      Peter, do you seriously believe that G-d the Father literally has a body with a shape of a human being and this is what being "made in G-d's image" actually means? This is Mormonism 101!

      Even the New Testament says that G-d is a spirit. Spirits by nature do not have a body and a form. Perhaps being made in G-d's image doesn't mean that G-d has a body!

      Besides, you are forgetting that G-d supposedly acquired a body for the first time by his incarnation in Jesus! You are now suggesting that this was nothing special and G-d has incarnated many times in the past and may even that was Jesus (whenever you read about some man or angel appearing).

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    13. "Supersessionism is about delegitimizing the Jewish People and usurping their place. An example of supersessionism would be the Christian claim that the Church has replaced the Jewish People."

      It's actually a lot more than just that. I outlined why this is the case in my post "If you believe in Jesus, you believe in Replacement Theology":

      http://dailyminyan.com/2015/07/14/if-you-believe-in-jesus-you-believe-in-replacement-theology/

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    14. To Peter's Zohar quote,

      The Zohar does not promote polytheism. The 10 Sefirot are not individual deities nor are HaShem, Elohenu, HaShem three different deities. These different aspects of how we perceive HaShem in this world do not make him separate entities or anything of the like. He has no form, no parts, no body, he is not two or three, and that is NOT what the Zohar is doing by delving into the first verse of the Shema`, which ironically for you is the statement of HaShem Oneness.

      Let me explain it to you briefly. Elohim correlates to aspect of judgment that HaShem works in. Miracles come from this aspect of "gevura" because judgment and severity is likened to restriction. The work of creation is a constriction of HaShem's infinity to create a void, so-to-speak where all the universes, including the lowest one which is this physical universe, could be created. Therefore you'll see in Genesis 1 the common usage of "Elohim" instead of HaShem.

      HaShem, on the other hand, meaning the Tetragrammaton, denotes another aspect of how we perceive HaShem's actions from our point of view.

      When Zechariah says "in that day, HaShem will be One and His Name One", the Sages comment: isn't he already one? Yes, he is, but that our limited perception and consciousness makes it appear that HaShem acts sometimes in mercy and sometimes in judgment, etc. In the future when the real Messiah arrives, the world will be elevated to the understanding that everything HaShem does, even the "bad" things are truly good. That's why the Sages further state that we will only make the brakha "hatov vehametiv" and not also "dayyan haemet", as we say them both today.

      You have severely bastardized what the Zohar says, because in order to read the Zohar, you have to understand the basis of the Torah and halakha, which is that HaShem is One.

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  3. "Because the consensus of Jewish scholarship believes that it is historically credible."

    Of course, we all know that consensus even among just three Jews is an eternal impossibility, let alone among all Jewish scholars. This consensus is, therefore, among Messianic Jewish scholars. All Messianics must be in agreement with whatever the NT says.. or they wouldn't be Christians.

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    1. Moderator,

      RE: "we all know that consensus even among just three Jews is an eternal impossibility"

      And yet halacha has been codified for global Jewry.

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    2. A Jew make shipwreck on a desert island. How many Synagogue will he build?

      Two. One to go, and the other not to go.

      That's the kind of Jock I hear all the times at my messianic congregation.

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