They Didn’t Teach You This In Yeshiva Or Seminary

He was placed as an infant in a basket and sent off down a river. There was a cupbearer and a dream. A commoner rose to lead his nation. An epic was written. Have you read this story? You probably have, although not in its original form.

[Shamelessly borrowed from this post by DovBear.]

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60 Comments

Filed under History

60 responses to “They Didn’t Teach You This In Yeshiva Or Seminary

  1. formallyfrum

    yes, I have

    many of the stories written in the bible including the Noah story and many others where
    told and written about in other cultures many many years before the Torah was written.

    In addition,many of the laws written in Shemot are copied and or very similar Code of Hammurabi written many ages before the Torah was written.

    Could it be that the Torah was written by people and just copied from other cultures .

  2. Yos

    No, it wasn’t copied. Did the Aboriginal Americans copy Noach or Adam? That two separate cultures share similar themes in their legends doesn’t necessarily entail imitation.

    I even get offended when atheists accuse Xtians of this.

  3. formallyfrum

    Mesopotamia was right next door to Israel not a continent away so there is a good chance that the Torah writers where influenced by Mesopotamia society and culture. Mesopotamia was the dominate society of that time.

    If you look at the Code of Hammurabi and the laws in Shemot the style and wording are almost identical.

    Not sure why you get offended.

  4. David Levine

    Why is it that Judaism is always ‘taking from other religions’ and not the other way around? The wikipedia article you linked to says that text was originally sourced 700bce. wasnt the torah written around 1200bce?

    Also, considering that all of mankind stemmed from Noach, is it rly surprising that there are parallel stories about outside of Judaism? Such a major occurance, like a flood that distroys the whole world is bound to be written about in multiple places if it is true. Of course, after thousands of years, the stories get changed a bit (like a game of telephone), but in essence they still refer to the same thing.

    Concerning the Hammurabi:
    First off they arent “almost identical”, there is only a small handful of laws that are similar. However even if they were identical on what they talk about (note that the hammurabi is only legal consenquence for actions, not moral statements), i wouldnt find that so disturbing. If G-d and His rules are ‘just’, then certainly a wise person would be able to come up with laws that are similar.

  5. Not “written.” Dated to. The Torah is dated much later than that.

  6. FO

    It is most probable that the stories are copied (modified) from earlier Mesopotamian cultures, they are not similar themes that cultures in different areas and at different times could share due to the fact that these stories preceeded the biblical stories, and as such formed the basis for future cultures of that region.

    Historical evidence supports this chronology.

    The Noah story was preceeded by;
    Gilgamesh, Literary Hero / Royalty

    * Born: ca. 2700 B.C.
    * Birthplace: Uruk, Babylonia (now Iraq)
    * Died: ca. 2700 B.C. (= 400+ years
    before Noah)
    see The Epic of Gilgamesh
    So it is impossible that we are decendents of Noah, if Noah comes around over 400 years after the flood; life and people would of been flourshing already.

    The Moses story was borrowed from;

    “Sargon’s early life as castaway river baby predates the early story of biblical Moses, a theory of reflected story lines is probable.”

    “My mother was a changeling, my father I knew not. The brothers of my father loved the hills. My city is Azupiranu, which is situated on the banks of the Euphrates. My changeling mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose over me. The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, took me as his son and reared me. Akki, the drawer of water, appointed me as his gardener. While I was a gardener, Ishtar granted me her love, and for four and […] years I exercised kingship”

    The timeline (2334 – 2279 = 4500 years ago) is the key to these stories.

    Prior to the establishement of the agricultural lifestyle in Mesopotamia people were living as hunter gathers, this was the first palce were communities were established, since they were now established in one area community life dictated the formation of laws and religions.

    The first great edifices built by these newly formed communities were religious temples.

    The best timeframe when the Torah would of been written would be around 1400 BC more than 300 years after Hammurabis Code was established.

    All cultures borrowed and/or were infuenced by other cultures; No Culture is Autonomous.

    History is not always as we have been led to beleive that it was, it can be very disturbing when the facts conflict with thour long held understanding.

  7. Anonymous

    Borrowed???? What for??? If I am making up a legend I sure as hell would make up my own to top whatever legend is pre-eminent at the time. Who needs to copy when I can tell a better story.?

  8. Anonymous

    to David.

    “Also, considering that all of mankind stemmed from Noach, is it rly surprising that there are parallel stories about outside of Judaism?”

    This is a very big assumption on your part. You assume that it is true and that everybody else believes that the Noah story is true. If one disputes the Noach story then your argument falls short.

    As far as the other statement others answered better than I could have.

  9. FO

    It is much easier to borrow, it also is much more effecient in transforming these stories as they already have a historical basis, and people are aware of them in some respects.

    Besides the historical evidence confirms that these stories are most likely borrowed, which i a polite way of saying they were hijacked and taken as their own, this is reflective of most if not all cultures.

  10. FO

    No main stream biblical scholar, scientist (biological, archeaologist), historian, geologist etc… beleive in the truthfulness and accuracy of the Noah story, from the contradictory narrative (2 of each or is it 7 of each), to the bird bringing
    back a branch from an olive tree, which after a flood no trees would of been around due to the fact that they require sunlight for sustaining itself, let alone an olive tree that needs many years to mature.

    It reads as a childs story, except for the cursing and killings.

  11. Anonymous

    I guess if cultures that preceded the torah forbade murder, cannabalism, incest or rape, then the torah must of borrowed from them too, right? Just because someone comes up with some good ideas doesnt mean anyone copied anyone. If you notice, there are from what I see online, 282 laws in hammurabi’s code. Most of these laws sound like the opposite of the torah, only some show similarity to the torah. When you have 613 commandments in the torah and, lehavdil, 282 commandments in hammurabis code, its very likely that some will be similar, because many of these laws are completely obvious and practical for a society to function. But still, to say one borrowed from the other is a stretch, given the facts.

  12. FO

    Another important aspect to the Noah story is the indigenous animal species concept; how did animals that are indigenous to specifice geography such as; Australia (Kangaroo, Kuala Bear), South America (+++ animals), Artic(Polar bears etc…), and many other species get there from Noahs ark? Were they able to cross such vast oceans?
    FYI, most of the foods we are familar today were only made availbe to the western cultures after Colobus discovered the Americas; such as patatoes, coffee beans, tomatoes, egg plants, tobacco etc…., as well as numerous plants and animals.

  13. FO

    “I guess if cultures that preceded the torah forbade murder, cannabalism, incest or rape, then the torah must of borrowed from them too, right?”

    Exactly!

    By the way the majority of the 613 commandments are negative, do you know how archaic many of those are? Stoning women for adultary and children for misbehaving to mention but a sample.

  14. FO

    RE THE NOAH STORY:

    “I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own– a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism.”

    –Albert Einstein

  15. Anonymous

    FO, your answer “exactly” doesnt explain anything. All you have shown is that there were some similarities between these two law systems, but that doesnt prove anything conclusively.
    And so what if some of the commandments are archaic. That is ofcourse assuming that there was a literal interpretation of them throughout Israelite history (for example, eye for an eye isn’t literal according to tradition, unlike hammurabi’s code).

  16. formallyfrum

    Lets remember that the rime when the Torah was written and the Noah story was told people
    where likely to believe such things, especially if people in power and authority said it was true.

    Also we are assuming that the people at that time believed the Torah the way some do know, literally. Maybe, they looked at the Torah as parables, not to be taken literally, just stories to learn from.

  17. Anonymous

    When it comes to dating the noah story vs. the story of gilgamesh, I see that the actual texts of the story are at the latest, dated from 2100 BCE- 2000 BCE, and I cant find how much of the flood story, if any, was included in this oldest version. If Noah’s ark landed on mount ararat in 2105 BCE according to the torah, then the story could have been written a few years after Noah lef the ark. Just an idea.

  18. FO

    Either Gods laws are “temporal” or they are “eternal”, either way they must of been and more probably were literal observed and put into practice.

    If they are to be taken as temporal ( only for that period) then they were in the very least applied in that period.

    If they are eternal than they were practiced during that period and have not been practiced since, although they still would apply today.

    Please correct me if I am wrong this – thanks

  19. Anonymous

    “My mother was a changeling, my father I knew not. The brothers of my father loved the hills. My city is Azupiranu, which is situated on the banks of the Euphrates. My changeling mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose over me. The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, took me as his son and reared me. Akki, the drawer of water, appointed me as his gardener. While I was a gardener, Ishtar granted me her love, and for four and […] years I exercised kingship”

    You forget to mention the line before this, “A Neo-Assyrian text (7th century BC) describes his birth and his early childhood:” So this whole above mentioned text comes from a 7th century text. Thats a little after the bible, wouldn’t you say? Just because these stories say they describe some person who lived long ago, doesn’t mean that they weren’t in reality composed and developed much later. Its very possible that they copied from the torah.

  20. “So this whole above mentioned text comes from a 7th century text. Thats a little after the bible, wouldn’t you say?”

    Our oldest copy of the Torah dates from many hundreds of years AFTER that. This is an actual text that was found by archeologists. It is that text (i.e., tablet) that dates to the 7th century BCE. The story is much older.

  21. Anonymous

    Whether or not historically the torah’s laws were practiced in every literal detail is still a topic of debate. But rabbinic Judaism says that they weren’t practiced in every literal detail. And yes they are eternal laws, but some apply only when certain conditions and circumstances are met (like sacrifices in the temple).

  22. Anonymous

    So Shmarya, all you can say is its a nice little theory that attacks the torah, but shows nothing conclusive. THere are plenty of those out there; its really easy to try to cast doubt on something. Look at all the holocaust deniers. WHen you find some conclusive proof to one of these theories, let me know.

  23. FO

    According to the Torah, Moses express is that the it can be read to the people during one sitting, this seems impossible, if it is the Torah in its present form, as such it must be a much shorter version.

    At the end of the 5th book Moses strangely talks about himself in the third person, and talks about his own death, continuing by stating, I paraphrase; ” and no one knows where he Moses is buried until this day” indicating a later writting date and different writer as well.

    The earliest date the Torah was written according to most historical scholars and linguist is circa 5th-7th century BC.

    In Mesopotamian history there is no mention of Hebrews until during the Assyrian conquest which is much later date than that prescribed in the Torah. They could not of been insignficant as not to be noticed, the biblical stories to the contrary tell of great tales of Hebrew and Israeli tragedy and heroics, How can that be?

    “Israel” is first mentioned in a contemporary archaeological source around 1000 BC.

  24. Anonymous

    1 Where does the torah state it can be read in one sitting?

    2. There are different explanations regarding the last few verses of the torah. One says that Joshua wrote those last few verses.

    3. Those historical scholars and linguists are playing a guessing game, and can only provide theories based on the limited information they have.

    4. From what I understand, archaeologists believe the assyrian conquest occurred around 721 BCE. And to quote Catholic Jim from an earlier post, “OTOH arguements from silence are by nature weak. Before the 19th century secularists claimed the Hittits mentioned in the Bible where a fictional race invented by the writers of the Bible UNITL twentyith century archeologist dug up the Hittits.” We have a lot to dig up and learn about the past before coming to conclusions about what really happened 3000 years ago.

  25. Yochanan Lavie

    “Also we are assuming that the people at that time believed the Torah the way some do know, literally. Maybe, they looked at the Torah as parables, not to be taken literally, just stories to learn from.”

    Spot on. The torah is not a science or history textbook. It is a guide for life. What better way than to tell allegorical stories each one can understand on his/her own level.

    (Although I do think some history is in it, too.)

  26. FO

    Joshua could not of written the last few lines, read the following excert;

    “That the preface to Deuteronomy could not have been written by Moses, inasmuch as he had never crossed the Jordan.”

    “That the whole book of Moses was written at full length on the circumference of a single altar (Deut. xxvii, and Josh. viii:37), which altar, according to the Rabbis, consisted of only twelve stones: therefore the book of Moses must have been of far less extent than the Torah. This is what our author means, I think, by the mystery of the twelve, unless he is referring to the twelve curses contained in the chapter of Deuteronomy above cited, which he thought could not have been contained in the law, because Moses bade the Levites read them after the recital of the law, and so bind the people to its observance. Or again, he may have had in his mind the last chapter of Deuteronomy which treats of the death of Moses, and which contains twelve verses. But there is no need to dwell further on these and similar conjectures.”

    “That in Deut. xxxi:9, the expression occurs, “and Moses wrote the law:” words that cannot be ascribed to Moses, but must be those of some other writer narrating the deeds and writings of Moses.”

    “That in Genesis xii:6, the historian, after narrating that Abraham journeyed through the and of Canaan, adds, “and the Canaanite was then in the land,” thus clearly excluding the time at which he wrote. So that this passage must have been written after the death of Moses, when the Canaanites had been driven out, and no longer possessed the land.”

    “We must also remark that the history relates not only the manner of Moses’ death and burial, and the thirty days’ mourning of the Hebrews, but further compares him with all the prophets who came after him, and states that he surpassed them all.There was never a prophet in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” Such testimony cannot have been given of Moses by, himself, nor by any who immediately succeeded him, but it must come from someone who lived centuries afterwards, especially, as the writer/historian speaks of past times. “There was never a prophet,” &c. And of the place of burial, “No one knows it to this day.”

    The Torah being read in one sitting and more about Moses attribution to writting it;

    “For in the passage of Deuteronomy, where it is related that Moses wrote the book of the law, the writer/historian adds that he handed it over to the priests and bade them read it out at a stated time to the whole people. This shows that the work was of much less length than the Torah, inasmuch as it could be read through at one sitting so as to be understood by all; further, we must not omit to notice that out of all the books which Moses wrote, this one book of the second covenant and the song (which latter he wrote afterwards so that all the people might learn it), was the only one which he caused to be religiously guarded and preserved. In the first covenant he had only bound over those who were present, but in the second covenant he bound over all their descendants also (Dent. xxix:14), and therefore ordered this covenant with future ages to be religiously preserved, together with the Song, which was especially addressed to posterity: as, then, we have no proof that Moses wrote any book save this of the covenant, and as he committed no other to the care of posterity; and, lastly, as there are many passages in the Torah which Moses could not have written, it follows that the belief that Moses was the author of the Torah is ungrounded and even irrational.”

    More;

    “Now, as we have extent no book containing this covenant of Moses and also the covenant of Joshua, we must perforce conclude that it has perished, unless, indeed, we adopt the wild conjecture of the Chaldean paraphrast Jonathan, and twist about the words of Scripture to our heart’s content. This commentator, in the face of our present difficulty, preferred corrupting the sacred text to confessing his own ignorance. The passage in the book of Joshua which runs, “and Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God,” he changes into “and Joshua wrote these words and kept them with the book of the law of God.” What is to be done with persons who will only see what pleases them? What is such a proceeding if it is not denying Scripture, and inventing another Bible out of our own heads? We may therefore conclude that the book of the law of God which Moses wrote was not the Torah, but something quite different, which the author of the Torah duly inserted into his book.”

  27. Yos

    “According to Wyandot mythology, Iosheka created the first man and woman and taught them many skills, including all their religious ceremonies and rituals.”

    Those darn Rabbis steal from everyone. Or it could be that everyone has a different memory of the same events but only the Israelites received the Law.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_mythology

  28. FO

    “Those darn Rabbis steal from everyone. Or it could be that everyone has a different memory of the same events but only the Israelites received the Law.”

    The laws according to the historical record were in fact created and not received, according to Albert Einstein this is infantile thinking, not that of critical thinking people.

    Those damn Rabbis may not be thieves but rather darn they are very good at creating fictional stories, and then instilling them with fear and punshishment and Woala! you got a God fearing people = morality based on fear/ fear based morality is it morality? once again also according to Einstein.

  29. FO

    I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation.
    My religiosity consists in a humble admiratation of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance — but for us, not for God. (Albert Einstein)

    If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. (Albert Einstein)

    The idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I am unable to take seriously.” (Albert Einstein)

    The foundation of morality should not be made dependent on myth nor tied to any authority lest doubt about the myth or about the legitimacy of the authority imperil the foundation of sound judgment and action. (Albert Einstein)

    I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it.(Albert Einstein)

    I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one (Albert Einstein)

  30. Yochanan Lavie

    You may be interested in “Religion is not about God,” by Loyal Rue. Also, “The God Gene.” Religion is a basic human need, like sexuality. And like sexuality, it can be horribly abused. However, it is here to stay. I believe that the torah is divine parables meant to teach the Jewish people The Way (Chinese: tao; Hebrew: Halacha). I can offer no proof for that, nor will I attempt to pass it off as “science.” It is my belief, that makes me whole.

    (I blog here ’cause I can talk honestly. Also, I think rabbis can corrupt Judaism into a power trip- although some are good).

  31. Anonymous

    FO you’re above criticisms of the torah are a joke. I will post a response very soon.

  32. Anonymous

    “That the preface to Deuteronomy could not have been written by Moses, inasmuch as he had never crossed the Jordan.”

    If you read Joshua 22, you will these this phrase “בְּעֵבֶר, הַיַּרְדֵּן, meaning “across the Jordan” is clearly explained as meaning on the east side of the jordan. Joshua 22:1-4 says, ” 1. Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.
    2. And he said to them, “You have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, and have obeyed me in all that I commanded you
    3. You have not left your brothers these many days to this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the Lord your God. 4. And now the Lord your God has given rest to your brothers, as He spoke to them; and now turn and go to your dwellings, to the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the OTHER SIDE OF THE JORDAN (בְּעֵבֶר, הַיַּרְדֵּן).”
    A few passages later Joshua defines the area west of the Jordan. Joshua 22:7, “And to the half- tribe of Manasseh, Moses had given [inheritance] in Bashan, but to the other half Joshua gave among their brothers on THIS SIDE OF THE JORDAN WESTWARD מעבר (בְּעֵבֶר) הַיַּרְדֵּן יָמָּה
    Clearly Across the Jordan means on the east side, so It wasn’t saying that Moses had already crossed into the land.

  33. formallyfrum

    “So Shmarya, all you can say is its a nice little theory that attacks the torah, but shows nothing conclusive. THere are plenty of those out there; its really easy to try to cast doubt on something. Look at all the holocaust deniers. WHen you find some conclusive proof to one of these theories, let me know.”

    Please the comparison of the two issues is ridicules. There is vast empirical/concrete
    evidence that the holocaust did happen. There is NO evidence that the stories written in the Torah happened. The only evidence is the Torah itself.

    “And so what if some of the commandments are archaic. That is ofcourse assuming that there was a literal interpretation of them throughout Israelite history (for example, eye for an eye isn’t literal according to tradition, unlike hammurabi’s code).”

    The interpretation eye for an eye isn’t literal was only discussed and interpreted that way by the Gemorath. (don’t know how many years after the Torah was written)In the time of the Torah it was meant and practiced just like The Code of Hammurabi.

    FYI the style and the wording of the Torah to the wording of The Code of Hammurabi is much more than similar if one reads both one would say the Torah plagiarized he Code of Hammurabi. (this is not a knock on the Torah it just is)

  34. Anonymous

    “That the whole book of Moses was written at full length on the circumference of a single altar (Deut. xxvii, and Josh. viii:37), which altar, according to the Rabbis, etc:”

    The text Deut 27:2-3 says “…thou shalt set thee up GREAT STONES, and plaster them with plaster. 3. And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over;…”
    And Joshua 8: 32-35, “32. And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel….34. And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the Torah. 35. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua did not read before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that walked among them.”
    Whats so impossible about all of this? Archaeologists have found large stones with lengthy inscriptions about all types of things. The webpage http://www.malaspina.com/jpg/gilgamesh.jpg shows a huge ancient inscription of the story of your favorite hero Gilgamesh. If they could do that, why couldn’t the ancient Israelites inscribe the torah on stones as well? It might have taken awhile, and the stones had to be very large, but they did have a few hundred thousand men available for work. And theres nothing in the text that says they read the whole torah in one day. They may have read it to the Isrealites over a period of weeks or longer.

  35. Anonymous

    That in Deut. xxxi:9, the expression occurs, “and Moses wrote the law:” words that cannot be ascribed to Moses, but must be those of some other writer narrating the deeds and writings of Moses.”

    If Moses wrote the other books of the torah as well, and there he spoke in the third person, why couldn’t he have done it in deuteronomy too? Just because someone speaks in third person doesn’t mean they weren’t referring to themselves. In the book of Ezra 7:10 and 7:27,28, Ezra referrs to himself both in the first person and the third person.

  36. Anonymous

    “That in Genesis xii:6, the historian, after narrating that Abraham journeyed through the and of Canaan, adds, “and the Canaanite was then in the land,” thus clearly excluding the time at which he wrote. So that this passage must have been written after the death of Moses, when the Canaanites had been driven out, and no longer possessed the land.”

    I don’t see how this verse is “clearly excluding the time at which he wrote.” The torah is just telling us that at the time, the Canaanites were in the land. One might have thought that they weren’t in that specific area that abraham had encamped, or perhaps they hadn’t yet completely settled all areas of the land that became known as Canaan. Its just telling us that at this time canaanites were living there, having settled in the land.

  37. Anonymous

    “We must also remark that the history relates not only the manner of Moses’ death and burial, and the thirty days’ mourning of the Hebrews, but further compares him with all the prophets who came after him, and states that he surpassed them all.There was never a prophet in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” Such testimony cannot have been given of Moses by, himself, nor by any who immediately succeeded him, but it must come from someone who lived centuries afterwards, especially, as the writer/historian speaks of past times. “There was never a prophet,” &c. And of the place of burial, “No one knows it to this day.”

    This is all speaking from the certainty that Moses wasn’t a prophet. If he was, then he could have written about his own death before it happened, and he could have foreseen that no prophet in the future would be as great as he was. This might seem like ludicrous answer until you take into account that the torah has been right on with some very specific prohecies about the Jewish people, so this cannot be discounted. However I still feel you haven’t proven how Joshua couldn’t have written the last few verses of the torah.

  38. Anonymous

    As for your last two paragraphs, I think I’ve answered their conclusions based on my earlier posts. You haven’t convinced me of anything, and all those moron bible historians need to rethink their positions before they right anymore stupidity.

    And formally frum your back up your statement, “In the time of the Torah it (the law of eye for an eye) was meant and practiced just like The Code of Hammurabi.” Show me some evidence for this. And show some proof for your claim, “FYI the style and the wording of the Torah to the wording of The Code of Hammurabi is much more than similar if one reads both one would say the Torah plagiarized he Code of Hammurabi. (this is not a knock on the Torah it just is).” Are you an expert at analyzing ancient cuneifrom grammar and style vs. ancient hebrew? If you read the ancient Roman laws, they also sound similar and are written in a style that resembles the torahs laws and hammurabis code. Just because they share characteristics and deal with common law questions like crime and property, doesnt mean they had any influence on each other.

  39. yehud

    “There is NO evidence that the stories written in the Torah happened”
    Are you kidding? archaeology is full of evidence that many events described by the torah did happen. THere are the moabite stone, and the Tel Dan Stele just for starters.

  40. FO

    “FO you’re above criticisms of the torah are a joke. I will post a response very soon.”

    I eagerly welcome and await your response(s)!

    However you must assure that it will be clear, logical/rational, and based on well reasoned foundations, please no twisted interpertations, and no selective commentary without facts and real historical evidence to support it.

    Historical evidence means based on real hard facts, because someone believes something does not make it a fact, that would be at the most an opinion, historical truths must have solid foundations, or else one would be able to rely on any number of opinions that may suit his fancy in order to accommodate the lifestyle he choose fits him best, and consequently we would have to respect it, since we would be asking that our own beliefs based on certain opinions without FACTS be respected. NO, no, this can not do!

    I am not critical of the Torah simply to be critical, but rather as Einstein says, it is what mature people must do, and that is use critical thinking that seeks factual evidence to form our opinions and judgement, and a result of this the world will be better a better place, science and free thinkers have already made this a better world than of any so far, it would also stop us from acting like children when our beliefs are challanged.

    I am well aware of what belief does for people, some can not function without it therefore it has its role, but having a role in one life is not to say that because of this than it should be primary, and at the expense of free thinking and critical thinking , we would still be in the dark ages if we left our world with this kind of thinking.
    And the dark ages were not a nice place, nor was any other period in history as good as the one we have now, so I appreciate and enjoy your world, always in moderation though.

    If you can really challange what i have posted you will truly be quite the scholar, because what i posted was not mine but rather by one of the greatest thinkers of the western world, even Einstein admired greatly his keen imtellect. Till today there is not one Rabbi who can challange his reasoning, Yes, he is even graeter than Maimonides.

    So if you can truly challange factualy and with sound reasoning these insights, you will be one of the great ones. Good luck !

  41. FO

    Obviously SOME of the stories mentioned in the Torah did occur; however, and unfortunetely in most cases they did not occur in the way it is stated, and not in the period it is said to of happened, to many contradiction, events and places that did not exist till much later after his passing.

    How can this be ? There should be absolutely no discrepencies whatsoever.

    IF ONE AND NOT TO KNOW.

    Someone as Moses with the help of the devine should at least get the facts in order and they should be quite straight forward.

  42. Anonymous

    FO, I just recently posted my challenges above, perhaps you missed them? I’d like to know what you think.

  43. FO

    Correction

    IF ONE CHOOSES TO BELIEVE, THEN ON HE CHOOSES TO BELEIVE AND NOT TO KNOW !

  44. Anonymous

    I feel I answered your statements above. If you have new ideas, like contradictions of time and place etc. then let me know. I agree that if Moses is a prophet he should get the facts in order. But I’m not clear what facts you claim he confused.

  45. formallyfrum

    “There is NO evidence that the stories written in the Torah happened”
    Are you kidding? archaeology is full of evidence that many events described by the torah did happen. THere are the moabite stone, and the Tel Dan Stele just for starters”

    Harry Potter went to Kings Crossing (a real train station) does not mean or prove Harry Potter exits. (ps Cannot wait for book 7)

    In addition moabite stone was written about
    in Tanach not the Torah (I think in this discussion we are talking about the first 5 books) and of course as always there are discrepancies.
    This inscription can be interpreted as supplementing and corroborating the history of King Mesha recorded in 2 Kings 3:4-27, thereby earning it a prominent place in the corpus of Biblical archaeology. However there are significant differences. In the Bible it is Ahab, Omri’s son, who conquers Moab, and the rebellion is against Ahab’s son Jehoram. Further, in the Bible, it is not Chemosh who gives victory to Mesha but Jahweh who gives victory to Jehoram. Israel withdraws, according to the Book of Kings, only because they are disconcerted when they see Mesha sacrifice his son.

  46. formallyfrum

    Code of Hammurabi
    Read and think very very similar

    If god wrote it wouldn’t you think he could come up with something a little different style.

    PS The reason religion is called a believe and the statement “I have Faith or “amunah”
    is simple because there is no empirical
    evidence. For example, one does not say
    I believe there is a sun, moon etc.

    If it was so self evident and could be proven with real and concrete evidence that
    all in the Torah is true, one would not need
    faith or emunah.

  47. formallyfrum

    “I feel I answered your statements above. If you have new ideas, like contradictions of time and place etc. then let me know. I agree that if Moses is a prophet he should get the facts in order. But I’m not clear what facts you claim he confused.”

    The Torah within itself has numerous contradictions starting from chapter 1 and the Noah story

  48. Anonymous

    Formallyfrum, ancient kings lied all the time back then. The moabite stone confirmed that these kings did live, and these wars occurred, even though the details may be different. There are also numberous finds in archaeology, as well as the word use and description of life of ancient egypt in the torah, that someone who hadn’t lived there couldn’t have known.
    And I’ve read the code of hammurabi, and I still say it doesn’t prove that anyone borrowed from anyone. The torah has what may seem contradictions, but taken as a divine text, those seeming contradictions are actually very deep lessons about the torah and its laws.
    Finally the word emunah translates better as trust, not faith. Judaism and the torah provides ample evidence proving its accuracy and divine origin, through a number of facts and occurrences in Jewish history. There is a whole body of literature out there that proves the torah. I’ve personally read a good amount of it, some of it holds up to scrutiny, other parts don’t. I’ve compared it with the literature trying to prove other religions, and there is no comparison. The jewish people’s history, accomplishments, uniqeness and fulfilled prophecy is unmatched by any other nation or people in history. But this is another whole topic of debate.

  49. FO

    “The torah has what may seem contradictions, but taken as a divine text, those seeming contradictions”

    If God is the giver of all the laws and regulations, why are there contridictions?

    The results of the contorted opinions you provide would be offensive to God, because your are saying that God does not know how to tell a story, and more importantly that God is not omniscient.

    Just one contridiction puts the whole story into question ! And upon critical scrutiny it does not stand up.

    Outside of the biblical stories VERY few, to few in fact have any historical confirmation to be of of any significant value to state the the work is factual or original.

    For the record, the stories about King David, little or no evidence, King Solomon, little or no evidence, the Exodus is refuted due the lack (none) of evidence, etc…etc…

    Again, in the mainstream of academia the consensus is that the Torah is not a divinely created work, but rather created and attributed to at the least 4 authors, J =Jahweh, E = Elohim, P =Priestly, D = Deuteronomy, and possibly R for Redactor.

    “The jewish people’s history, accomplishments, uniqeness and fulfilled prophecy is unmatched by any other nation or people in history”

    Now, Now! Yes according to the fantaical stories of the Rabbis, but in geaneral/real history thats another story.

    Many cultures claim uniquess, jewish continuity, suffering are very jewish, but many cultures also have continuity, Chinese comes to mind, oldest culture as well domcumented back to 10,000 years.

    Romans(italians today), Greeks whom formed the cradle and foundations of western civilization and the basis for science, philosophy, democracy, etc…

    Maimonides a great student of Aristotle introduced by a Arab /Muslim philosopher without whom there may of not been a Mishna Torah.

    America, discovered by Italian (Colombus) named after an Italian (Vespucci Amergio).

    American form of Government – republic ( Roman), Executive Branch, Congress, Senators, Govenors, all Roman political features, orignal language considered by founding fathers – Greek, however they thaught better of it thankfully. The founding fathers of the American consitution all had Greek nicknames used in their penships.

    Classical Greek History, the Renaissance, Of which none of these would of been known today if not for Arab Muslims who saved Greek thaught, which formented the Renaissance.

    Now lets add this little bit of real history to the jewish contribution and it makes for better and richer quilt. Don’t you think !

    Living in a cocoon we can easily ne made to beleive we are the greatest.

    FYI – the greatest Jewish minds of the Western world/culture are Marx, Freud, Einstein and Spinoza all of whom refuted the biblical idea that God existed and that he was the writer of these childish stories.

    You can choose to beleive or you can inquire and know.

    A conservative Rabbi in LA declared yo his congeration that we must now accept the fact that science has proven or refuted the Exodus story, and this during the week of Passover, many were shocked by this declarition, but many others thanked the Rabbi for his honesty and truthfullness of his postion.

    The C Rabbi was later confronted by an orthodox Rabbi who challanged him, hpw could he state such things to his people, the C Rabbi responded that he felt that his people should know what is the view on such matters by the academic world, and that he didn’t want to keep new knowldge from them, so as not to treat them as children, the orthodox Rabbi responded by stating : but they are children”. The End

  50. Anonymous

    Fo, where do I start? I think you need to look at history again. I have spent years reading and researching this subject, I’m not just a blind follower. The Jewish people ARE the most unique people in the world. Jews make up one fourth of Nobel prize winners, did you know that? Have you looked at lists of famous Jews? We our .08% of the population, yet we are spoken of all the time. Given our numbers we have contributed more to society pe capita by far. Do you know how many moslem nobel prize winners there are? last time I checked the number was, I believe, 5, one of whom being yasser arafat. The Jewish people have survived onslaughts and massacres that have destroyed thousands of nations in the past. THe Romans themselves swallowed up hundreds of tribes and nations. The jewish people were the only nation to truly be spread over the entire world until recently, just as the torah predicted. I can go on and on with facts about the Jewish people that no other nation can come clsoe to claiming. Any attempts at explaining away these accomplishments have fallen short, and it is one of the amazing occurrences in history that the Jewish people have done and lived through everything they have.
    You speak about rambam and aristotle. I posted earlier that aristotle learned from plato, who learned from socrates, who was a member of the pythagorean cult. There is a large amount of evidence that pythagorus learned a large amount of his knowledge from Jewish teachers. You mention Columbus; did you know that it has been shown that he was a Jew? If you can’t find it online, I would be happy to elaborate how this is proven.

    You say “If God is the giver of all the laws and regulations, why are there contridictions?

    The results of the contorted opinions you provide would be offensive to God, because your are saying that God does not know how to tell a story, and more importantly that God is not omniscient.

    Just one contridiction puts the whole story into question ! And upon critical scrutiny it does not stand up.” I’m not saying that there are contradictions, only things that appear as contradictions. THe tanach is over 30,000 verses. Obviously, things are going to arise that first sound contradictory, but can then be shown to be perfectly in harmony. One could say that the commandment not to kill, and the commandment to execute a murderer are contradictory. Then you learn that the commandment is not to murder in cold, however there are times that it is required to kill, like war. Also, by writing the torah with seeming contradictions, it causes people to read it more closely to understand what is going on, and when these contradictions are explained, the person has learned something new. It is a way that G-d was able to incorporate hundreds of thousands of teachings in a text that is only 30,000 lines long. I think that it was ingenious of G-d to do this.
    You complain about lack of evidence. Just because there are legends, for example, of atlantis, yet we haven’t found it, do we assume that there never was an atlantis? No, we keep searching because there could very likely be one. Just because we haven’t found aliens in space yet, do we claim, “There are no aliens and I’m sure of this.” No we keep searching. In ancient times, people believed there were only a few thousand stars in the sky, because that is all that they could count with the naked eye. Yet the torah says many times, “your descendants will be like the dust of the earth…like the sand of the sea…LIKE THE STARS IN THE HEAVENS…too many to count.” A person could read that and say, “well the torah must be wrong, because clearly there are only a few thousan stars in the sky.” But now we know that to be untrue. BTW, I would recommend a BBC video called “who was Moses” that actually proves that details in the torah about egypt could only be written by someone who had lived there ~3300 years ago.
    As for those morons who talk about different authors in the bible, their entire system is very flawed and they are playing a guessing game more than anything. Their theories actually complicate who wrote the torah as opposed to explaining it in an ordered fashion. I feel that in the coming years all these theories will be shown for the foolishness that they truly are.
    As for spinoza, einstein, etc. regardless of the fact that they excelled and happened to be non religious, they came from a Jewish society and Jewish thinking, and that says a whole lot about the torah and the system the rabbis have put together. The jewish system produces leaders and geniuses, and the torah itself says this. You will be a light unto the nations,” “all nations will be blessed through you and your descendants” “You will become an astonishment, a proverb, and a satyre, among all the peoples where the Eternal shall lead you.” And whatever orthodox rabbi said, “they are children” has the wrong attitude. The torah can be proven, if you simply put all the pieces together. It is still being done, but I personally try to keep up with all the most recent proofs for and attacks against Judaism. And I have to say, most people make up their mind before even scratching the surface of the biblical debate.

  51. FO

    “where do I start? I think you need to look at history again. I have spent years reading and researching this subject, I’m not just a blind follower”

    Maybe you are not blind, but certainly narrow minded and very bias no doubt, you refuse to accept the historical record evidence. I do not know what history you have studied, is it self taught or do you have actual degrees? because it does seem like it.

    I have a Minor in History with a pretty good average, the books studied in those courses are not the ameturish ones found easly at book stores, so that the contents are in fact supported by facts and evidence, not opinions and conjectors only.

    Again that is your choice, One can Choose to Beleive or Choose to Know.

    Your idea of research seems to seek out any little shred of information that can support your pre-established opinions and views, rather than seek the knoweldge in a critical and taughtful way.

    “The Jewish people ARE …noble prize winners there are?

    You again seemed to have missed the point, jewish society has in fact produced many, many greats, in a greater percentage to their numbers, one of the largest part being in recent history, Yes.

    But this is not at the same level as to what the Greek Classical thinkers contributed to the world during there time, they were not just famous and successful, these persons created the laid foundations for western civilization and academia, all at a much higher level, and they were an even smaller part of the world population on a per capita basis.

    Socrates, Plato, Aristotle (greatest minds of all time) to name but a FEW of those great thinkers of this period that we All owe a great deal to.

    Then we have the Renaissance, greatest period in history after the Greek Classical period, greats such as; Gallileo ( the fater of modern science), Dante, Machivelli, Da Vinci, Micheal Angelo, again to name but a Few.

    And this period may not of occured if not the Muslim great thinkers who preceeded this period and re-introduced the Greek Classical thinkers to the world once again.

    It is on these shoulders that all other great minds stood and stand on, including Einstein, Marx, Spinoza, Freud etc…those I previously mentioned.

    I will resit bragging on there behalf.

    Bragging would be childish and silly, No?

    With regards to all the un-sound points you make to defend those weak propositions, I re-iterate and must stand by the historical record and evidence as supported by the vast majority of scholars, it is on a much more solid footing, period.

    As for the Exodus and Moses, the historical record and the consenus in academia is that it DID NOT OCCUR, IT DID NOT OCCUR. Stop with the delusions!

    “I posted earlier that aristotle learned from plato, who learned from socrates, who was a member of the pythagorean cult. There is a large amount of evidence that pythagorus learned a large amount of his knowledge from Jewish teachers.”

    This is really silly, it is clearly only propaganda invented by the Rabbis to try and introduce in the record that there were jewish thinkers in the same league as the Greeks, NO Evidence whatsoever outside the Rabbinical stories. A Complete delusional fantacy ! But effective, you bought into it.

    “You mention Columbus; did you know that it has been shown that he was a Jew?”

    There is no link because it is bunk, i saw the documentry, and the professor who made the documentry declared both in the show, and on a discussion panel that the jewish idea was ruled out early on, as there was no basis whatsoever for it, The conclusion was that he may of been of Spanish origin, but the evidence on this was inconclusive.
    Sorry, another delusional fantasy!

    As you seem to enjoy the per capita forula,
    did you know that the jewish population has the highest per capita persons in Re-Hap (drugs, alcohol etc…)

    Finally;

    “As for spinoza, einstein, etc. regardless of the fact that they excelled and happened to be non religious, they came from a Jewish society and Jewish thinking, and that says a whole lot about the torah”

    One they rejected the Torah, and secondly they pursued non-jewish and secular lifestyles and professions, preferring Greek and Renaissance thinkers rather then Rabbinical ones.

    Unfortunately, the rest of the post is again based on unsubstantiated evidence, and based on opinions and at best conjectors, they seem just ramblings of the indoctrinated teachings you must of received.

    PS “and whatever orthodox rabbi said, “they are children” has the wrong attitude”

    I do not beleive it is a wrong attitude, but rather the essence of the Rabbis view of there people – my opinion you may disagree

    You would qualify as a one of those great children, and surely the Rabbis would be pleased.

    PPS Please no more post, you are clearly set in your ways, and i respect that, no facts will change ever your mind.

    Goodday,

  52. Anonymous

    I have to respond because you are wrong. First off, the Jewish bible’s definition of morality has influenced the entire world. The Jews gave the world monotheism and morality. With all the great system of government the romans developed, their laws were totally immoral. Like torture, and killing infants that were undesirable, both banned in ancient israel. THe torah of the Jews civilized the world.

    You say, “Then we have the Renaissance, greatest period in history after the Greek Classical period, greats such as; Gallileo ( the fater of modern science), Dante, Machivelli, Da Vinci, Micheal Angelo, again to name but a Few.
    And this period may not of occured if not the Muslim great thinkers who preceeded this period and re-introduced the Greek Classical thinkers to the world once again.”

    If the Jewish people had equal rights and weren’t always on the run under persecutions they would have accomplished much more. A people can only be judged when they are free to express themselves without fear, like today.

    “This is really silly, it is clearly only propaganda invented by the Rabbis to try and introduce in the record that there were jewish thinkers in the same league as the Greeks, NO Evidence whatsoever outside the Rabbinical stories. A Complete delusional fantacy ! But effective, you bought into it.”
    Wrong! Read Josephus.

    “Hermippus of Smyrna baldly accused Pythagoras of the “imitation of the doctrines of the Jews and the Thracians, which he transferred to his own philosophy.”
    Josephus, in emphasis, added a pointed comment of his own, “For it is truly affirmed of Pythagoras that he took a great many of the laws of the Jews into his own philosophy.””

    The bottom line is Jews are the leaders in everything they do. Regardless of whether they are religious or not, they are jews. Maybe its genetic, I dont know.

    Finally, The Exodus could have occurred, and academia can and is wrong many times; history has shown that.

    I think you are the one who has bought in to the stupidity of the so called scholars.

  53. FO

    WOW! Easy Now, Let us start again;

    “with all the great system of government the romans developed, their laws were totally immoral. Like torture, and killing infants that were undesirable, both banned in ancient israel. THe torah of the Jews civilized the world.”

    Is this a moral God and religion?

    “And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. And the LORD said unto Moses, ‘Take all the heads of the people and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel.'” (Numbers 25:3-4)

    “And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.” (Numbers 16:32-35)

    “And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.” (Exodus 11:4-5)

    “And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God…” (Deuteronomy 13: 5)

    “If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;” (Deuteronomy 13: 6)

    “Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.” (Deuteronomy 13:8-9)

    “Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.” (Deuteronomy 13:15)

    “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” (I Samuel 15:2-3)

    “Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.” (Judges 4:21)

    Do you not feel ashamed at these Atrocities?
    Does it not disturb you! Who is killing babies; God, Moses in the name of God or Romans, Not?

    In your opinion is this how the Torah can civilized the world? No! No! No! It can not be so !

    These are but a FEW, i have left many regarding sexual obscenities.

    BTW; Civilize is a Roman word and concept because they brought this idea and concept to the world.

    The Jewish world only became more civilized due to its exposure to Roman and Greek culture in particular, you owe a great deal to these cultures, regardless of your protestations.

    “For it is truly affirmed of Pythagoras that he took a great many of the laws of the Jews into his own philosophy.”

    Are those mentioned above the laws you are talking about that were stolen? Shame, Shame!

    “If the Jewish people had equal rights and weren’t always on the run under persecutions they would have accomplished much more”

    You forget to note that during this period anyone who spoke against the teachings of the Church were persecuted as well, and many did so even under penalty of death, many died for their ideas, Gallileo was imprisoned until his death. So the rights and punishment were equal to all to challange the church at the of death. But many choose not to for fear and /or due to lack of will.

    I have read and studied Josephus, and if you did so in a critcal and thoughtful manner you would know that he states that the Romans are Gods chosen during his lifetime, more importantly his work is highly exaggerated, however it makes for great reading though.
    He also preferred the Roman Life to the jewish life never went back to the homeland.

    “The bottom line is Jews are the leaders in everything they do. Regardless of whether they are religious or not, they are jews. Maybe its genetic, I dont know.”

    I am getting tired repeating it, this is silly.
    Yes, there are many Famous and successful and scholarly jews, but most are surpassed by the greatness of those Greeks of the Greek Classical period or those great and courgeous Italians of Renaissance period produced.

    Also there was no persecution of Jews during the Greek Classical period, where are They? Only in Rabbinical stories, how convenient, when can whatever one wants after the fact and try and pass as part of the historical record.

    Again like Josephus they all seem to prefer the other lifestyle. Interesting. HUM !

    “Finally, The Exodus could have occurred, and academia can and is wrong many times; history has shown that.”

    No, it COULD NOT of occured NO EVIDENCE EXIST THAT IT DID AND NO SCIENCE has ever indicated that it could, it is pure delusional fantacy. Get over it, you can not make it so by continually repeating it, The facts nothing but facts will do.

    “I think you are the one who has bought in to the stupidity of the so called scholars”

    Is not this an oxymoron ? HUH.
    Nice try !

    BTW- Please do not take offense to the biblical excerts, they are not easy to read or accept – very disturbing indeed.

    PS You did not answer about your where you obtained your study of history.
    PPS Washington DC – relica of abcient Rome,form of Governments, monuments and all !

    Please reply promptly !

  54. Anonymous

    Again, where do I start? All those verses you quote above dealt with Israels ancient history. Genocide against amaleik and the canaanite nations may seem evil. But I ask you, if you were told that there was a village and every person in that village would grow up to kill jews as a suicide bomber, and you knew this for sure, would you be willing to kill those children before they grew up. A better example would be, lets say you could go back in time and kill hitler as a child. Would you do it? I would. When G-d told Moses his prophet to kill all these people, he was telling them to kill the souls of amaleik-the most evil people in the world who hate Jews. G-d knew that these souls would grow up to be evil and this is why they were commanded to do this. You automatically assume the torah to be untrue, but if you admit the possibility that G-d spoke to Moses, then it makes sense and is totally in line with morality what happened, because G-d told the Jewish people who was destined to grow up to become ancient canaanite al qaeda.
    The torah civilized the world by teaching that you should love your neighbor as yourself. Did you know that there was no word in Greek and Latin and throughout the middle ages that could define the hebrew word “chessed” When king James wanted to translate the bible into englis, they coined the term “loving kindness” to translate chessed, because no such word existed. Have you read about ancient societies before they were introduced to the torah? They were wild animals. The Jewish people taught about helping someone weaker then you because it was the right thing to do. It even taught care to prevent suffering to animals. The Roman world may have”civilized” Israel with tecnology and other ideas, but the Jewish people and the torah moralized the world. Can you imagine what the united states law would be without a basis in the torah? When the torah is followed according to the law, it is the best system in the world. The problem is the many people who twist and break the laws and pose as men of religion.

    Pythagorus learned from the Jews laws of morality, as well math, science, metaphysics and ideas about G-d. Not roman concepts of morality.

    You mention that everyone was persecuteed by the church. In no way can you say that the jews and christians equally suffered. THe Jews had countless laws passed against them, faced constant expulsions, pogroms, kindnapping of children etc. There is no comparison. If the Jewish people would have been free to study, like Maimonodies, they would have accomplished amazing things. Benjamin Disraeli was able to hold his position in Britain in part because he was converted from Judaism. Jews were always held back.

    Just because Jews aren’t quoted by Greeks, doesn’t mean they didn’t contribute greatly to the development of knowledge. Regardless, today Jews fill top positions in every university, large companies, and are inventors, doctors lawyers, scientists, actors and everything else in numbers that are astounding. You blow it off like, “yea yea, the jews accomplish things,” but this is an amazing feat. They have been the leaders of every major movement in the last few hundred years. Please explain how this is possible before you discount it.

    Just because no evidence exists of something happening 3300 years ago, doesn’t mean that its a pure delusional fantasy. It simply hasn’t been proven yet.

    Finally, Josephus was a practicing Jew the rest of his life. He loved the jewish people and tried to protect them from antisemitism and all other attacks. The Jewish people rejected Josephus as a traitor, so he couldn’t go back and live with them if he had wanted. Just because he lived among Romans, doesn’t mean he agreed with their values and way of life.

    As for history, I attended UC San Diego, but most of my history I have learned on my own outside of a classroom.

  55. formallyfrum

    Whether the Jews are or not "The Jewish people ARE the most unique
    people in the world. Jews make up one fourth of Nobel prize winners, did you
    know that?"
    And even if one agrees that the Torah inspires us to
    become great does not prove the God wrote the Torah. It only proves that the
    Torah was written and inspired a nation/people. And lets NOT Forget Mayer Lansky,
    Bugsy Segal, Murder Inc (mostly Jews and some from religious family even
    shomer shabbos, would not
    kill on shabbos) and many others.

    What if the USA and the constitution last 2,000 years and spreads democracy
    and freedom (real democracy and freedom) would that prove that the constitution
    was divinely written?

     

    "Also, by writing the torah with seeming contradictions, it causes
    people to read it more closely to understand what is going on, and when these
    contradictions are explained, the person has learned something new."

    Well yes, just look at this web site http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/ concerning j k rowling the author of Harry Potter, the people discuss and
    analyze the books every word she wrote and spoke about Harry Potter.
    Many times, they find a contradiction, but under closer reading they
    realize they learned something new about the wizard world? Does this mean Harry Potter
    was divinely written?

     

    "Also, by writing the torah with seeming contradictions, it causes
    people to read it more closely to”Makee
    things up
    like not eating milk and meat, when the Torah clearly sates COOK and only under
    a certain case, cook a calf with the milk of its mother.

     

    And there are time line errors in the Bible, and stories told twice yet
    differently. But of course if one thinks God wrote the Bible one can always
    come up with an elaborate twist and turns to answer those seemingly errors just
    like those web site dedicated to Harry Potter.

  56. formallyfrum

    “Again, where do I start? All those verses you quote above dealt with Israels ancient history. Genocide against amaleik and the canaanite nations may seem evil. But I ask you, if you were told that there was a village and every person in that village would grow up to kill jews as a suicide bomber, and you knew this for sure,”

    This excuse will always be used by those who persecute others. Hitler was also convinced that the Jews where a danger to Germany, so I guess according to you Hitler only seemed to be evil but really he was only doing a moral act to save Germany.

    you seem only to prove your arguments about the Torah from the Torah itself. Of cause killing all the woman and children was the right think to do because god said so. How do I know this because it is written in the Torah. That is like me saying, you know I am the smartest person in the world. How do I know this to be absolutely true, well if I am the smartest person in the world I would know this.

    PS It is because of people who think like you so absolute that someone can speak to a God and give his message without any error, that there is suicide bombers. I guess if you mentor or Rabbi would tell you he spoke to god and said you should kill all Jordanians because God know that each and every Jordanian will grow up to kill Jews (no matter how absurd that statement may seem) you would nuke the whole country without hesitation.

  57. Anonymous

    Formally frum, you totally missed the point of my statements and ideas you quoted. I don’t even know if I want to take the time to answer.

  58. Anonymous

    Fine, I’ll answer. The Jewish people being the best at, and accomplishing amazing things in all areas of life (including crime), although it has yet to be properly explained (and I don’t know that there is a rational explanation that doesn’t involve G-d), nevertheless, Jewish accomplishment alone would not necessarily prove the torah was divinely written. And neither would the US spreading democracy and freedom to the world prove that the constitution was divinely inspired (although I’d actually like to see the US do it. Israel and the bible have done the impossible by spreading to the world the concept of moral behavior, and kindness. THe US has a long way to go to spread dmocracy and freedom to the world). But when you put together all the uniqueness, the history, the accomplishments, and the fulfilled, detailed prophecies, it gets you thinking that something very special is occurring. When you then compare all these aspets of Judaism to other religions (which I have done and continue to do) and you find that the other religions can in no way provide proof for their beliefs, you start to really appreciate the torah and judaism as something divine. Now I’m sure you’re probably going to question “what prophecies were fulfilled?” and the like. We’ll get to that if it comes up.
    BTW, you mention Bugsey Segal. People like him show you how a jew who uses his gifts and blessings for evil, and doesn’t heed the morality of the torah, can become a very succesful, wealthy, psychopathic individual.

    When it comes to Harry potter contradictions, yes you can do that with just about any story–find contradictions and somehow explain them away. The point FO made, that I was addressing, was his claim that a divinely inspired book couldn’t have any seeming contradictions. I just showed that G-d decided to write the torah that way, and he did so with the intent to give insights into his divine wisdom, which is a very special blessing for us (unlike learning more about the world of wizards). This explanation is ofcourse given with the accepted premise that the torah is true.

    As for your complaints about rabbis reading this into the torah, this is another common misunderstanding of rabbinic law and reasoning. To sum up a long answer that I have posted on this blog before(which I would be happy to link if you would like), the torah would be a sealed book without a tradition about what it means. The torah is full of both literal and metaphorical statements. You can’t just open up a book that is a few thousand years old and say that you know how and when the author was being literal and when he wasn’t. Furthermore there are too many unexplained parts (for example what does it mean when it says, “you will bind them as a sign on you arm and they will be frontlets between your eyes”? With the tradition of Judaism we know this means tefillin). Again ofcourse, this answer is only rational to someone once they understand that the torah is a book from G-d.

    Lastly, you misunderstood the idea behind destroying amaleik and the caananite nations, which you compare to nazi germany. Hitler killed innocent Jews who did nothig wrong. Amaleik and the canaanites were a society of psychos who sacrificed their own kids, and attacked and killed the Jewish people for no reason. The torah tells of all the evils they did. Whats more, whereas the destroying of those nations was a one time event that has no effect on how we jews act and behave today toward our fellow man, nazis and arab terrorists’ policies is to consistently engage in this practice, aginst innocent people, not against criminals and wrongdoers. Whats more, no sane jew would do anything as intense as help destroy an entire nation, unless they saw the miracles that G-d did in egypt and mount sinai and in the desert, and then be told by a proven prophet to do this. Again, this may only sound fully rational to someone who understands that the torah is a divine book. But regardless, if you take judaisms halacha to its furthest extreme, you still, except for a few rare exceptions, dont end up with homicidal maniacs, ulike other systems and religions that turn to extremism.

  59. formallyfrum

    last statement (maybe)

    Some maybe cannot explain Jewish greatness does not mean God was involved. There could be many other reason that we do not know, yet. From not knowing does not imply god. For example just beacuse something is not black, does not mean it is white.

    All some of are saying if one uses scientific and historical evidence the stories of the Torah do not hold up to that standard.

    PS. A little joke in this heated debate. A friend of mine who was frum at one time and now is an agnostic says, being an agnostic
    means one can never say I told you so. If the afterlife is true and after we die and there is a god who wrote the Torah etc. you can tell me and FO “see I told you so.”
    However, if there is no god and the Torah is all made up, I can never tell you, I told you so.

  60. Anonymous

    Funny. Have a good shabbos!

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