Coming back to the need to be crystal clear about sources
There is a letter which had much currency on the net around 2006-8, from a Jewish boy who turned Christian and wrote to a Rabbi, who unfortunately went the old-style dogmatist at the kid, before shutting down all communication. I salvaged part of the long series of posts. This is a reply from the maybe 20ish lad to the Rabbi:
Now to your statement that the words “yachid” and “echad” mean the same thing. I have studied this intensively, and I have found that they definitely do not mean the same thing. “Yachid” is used in the Bible when an absolute, indivisible one is intended; this is the word Moses Maimonides used to describe God in his second Principle of Faith.
On the other hand, “echad” is used in the Bible for a compound, divisible unity, as, for example, when God says in Genesis 2:24, “And they (husband and wife) shall be one (echad) flesh.”
In your letter, you say that “yachid” was simply the Medieval Hebrew meaning the same thing as the Biblical Hebrew word “echad.”
This does not hold true, however, because Moses used both words in the Torah, so we see they were used concurrently. The only conclusion I can reach is that Maimonides was trying to cover up important Biblical evidence for the tri-unity of God by calling Him an absolute one (yachid).
My purpose, N.O. reader, in including that was to show that even what a term originally meant is by no means a given, even among scholars. Many is the time someone has come in with something like “the original Aramaic does not impart such a meaning”. How the hell would he know? Was he there at the time?
No, he was not there at the time, he is relying entirely on “scholars”, among whom I’d like to humbly class myself. And one thing I’ve learnt over the years is that they show a thousand little biases, even down to choosing one of maybe two or three possible translations – the one which supports his own case. Far too short a time here for me to get into all that.
Suffice to say though, I trust “scholarship” as much as I trust CNN or the BBC to give unbiased news. And everyone quotes his favourite “scholar”, the one he feels supports his own view.
People almost worship the ground scholars tread, just as they worship “scientists” as some sort of demi-gods. All scholars and scientists should do is ask questions about how things work. That’s all. That’s all we are. And every single one of us has our own prejudices and world view, to pretend otherwise is disingenuous.
Would it be fair to say that most westerners still [reducing by the day as fewer and fewer Christians are being produced] know much about the Talmud, though they know about the Torah through the Old Testament.
1. The closer and higher, the further inwards you get to the dogma producers, the more fanatical and bizarre, the more prescriptive and less tolerant of shades it is. On the other hand, at the other end of a supposed line, there are the godless, the rudderless, those just like the leftists out there with their pussy parades, their window smashing violence, the way they can stand in the way of a clear mandate from the people.
There is a lot to the old saying about building on the rock, not on the shifting sands. There was a time in the Church when gnosticism made a full on assault, trying to twist Christianity away from its roots and scripture, by introducing demi-urges and so on, plus the cult of dualism.
So yes, there does need to be a set of codified precepts and they become the basis and thus assaults from outside can be repelled by reference to these precepts. Easiest to mention are the Ten Commandments, perhaps even the Beatitudes.
But when it gets down to me being burnt at the stake for preferring the consubstantiation theory to the transubstantiation theory, then that is insane – I get whiffs here of the smoke of satan in those people, especially if pointy hats. Put this down to my British upbringing.
2. Which Jewish tribe is which and where they are today, Dan seemingly being one of the rotten ones – this thing is a blinkin’ minefield.
And it’s not helped by the book of Revelation, in which whoever wrote it mentions certain tribes who get the nod of approval but two which don’t. Or is that one which doesn’t? Here’s a look at it:
If you can truly say you just read all that, then let’s proceed, otherwise, what’s the point?
You see the issue? I’d lay odds you clicked in there, skimmed down, read a bit, maybe quite a bit, then clicked out, thereby missing some of the key points.
And if you, the reader, did that, then how can you discourse scholastically on what the Jews are? I include myself in this – there is just too damned much to take in. It would take you days to get through all the links in this Saturday mini-series.
Let’s press on in Part eight.