Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What Is Judaism?

 

Dennis Prager has a really interesting article out, called “What Is Judaism?” Mr. Prager has written and taught on the subject (including two years as a member of the Brooklyn College Department of Judaic Studies). This is how he leads:

If you’ve ever wondered what Judaism is, here is a list of its principal beliefs. This is not an official list, but these beliefs have been widely held by religious Jews for thousands of years.

The 27-item list boils down the essentials of Judaism. Here are the first three to get a feel for his article.

I. There is one universal God.
This God is the Creator of the world and the God of all humanity.

II. One universal God means there is one universal morality.

III. God is:
a) Incorporeal (not physical): All matter comes to an end.
b) Eternal: All matter has a beginning and an end. But God exists outside of time.
c) Outside of nature: God is not in nature. And nature is not divine.
d) Personal: God knows each of us.
e) Good: God is moral, just and compassionate.

Of course, my mind went to how Christianity differs to any of his points. Excluding where obviously something is specific to Judaism, such as the Torah as central, I thought I found three points that were at least different in perspective or emphasis. Let me take them one at a time.

V. God’s primary demand is that people be good.
Therefore, God cares more about how we act toward one another than how we act toward Him — just as we humans care more about how our children treat one another than how they treat us.
Therefore, right behavior matters more than intentions and even more than faith.

(1) I don’t know if in Christianity one could say that God cares more about how we act toward each other than to God. When Christ is asked what is the greatest commandment He says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Mat 22:37-40). It’s really equal, not one greater than the other. If anything, greater would be love of God.

(2) Intentions do matter. If your intentions are good, but you miscalculated, then it is not a sin. If you attempt to help an old woman across the street and you trip and fall and bring the woman down, then not only was it not a sin, but your conscience was working in the proper way. If you think that global warming is destroying the earth and you try to advocate laws to save the planet, that is acting morally. If you think that global warming is a waste of money and you are acting to stop the waste of money toward the environment, then you are also acting morally. Your intention matters.

VI. There is an afterlife — God rewards the good and punishes the bad.
If good people and bad people have the same fate, there is either no God or a God that is not just.

The fate of your soul is not a simple summation of good and bad. Obviously we all do good and bad things. The fate of your soul rests on the state of your heart at death. You can be a bad sinner all your life, but if you have a change of heart—a true and sincere change of heart—you can be saved. Scrooge in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a literary example. But the key is sincere contrition. God knows if it was sincere and the habit of constant sin leads to a hardening of the heart, making it extremely difficult to change.

VIII. Reward in the afterlife (“heaven”) is available to all good people, not just good Jews.

Now here you might have a variety of views within the various Christian denominations. On the one extreme, you have those where faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is absolutely fundamental. You cannot be saved without that as a founding principle. On the other extreme, salvation could be open to all people who have shown love to their neighbor. I lean to the latter but it comes down to the state of the heart.

Those are the ones I found distinctions. But, not being Jewish, I found this one very interesting.

XIV. Judaism, too, has a trinity: God, Torah and Israel (meaning Jewish peoplehood and the Land of Israel).
The removal of any one of them is no longer Judaism. It would be as if the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit were removed from Christianity.

I never thought about Judaism that way, but I can see his point.

This all rests on Prager’s understanding of Judaism. He certainly knows more about it than I do. (Side note, I got one of my degrees from Brooklyn College, where he taught.) I wonder if any of the Jewish people here would dispute any of Prager’s points, and do any of the Christians here see other distinctions. Of course, do you even agree with my distinctions?

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There are 85 comments.

  1. Arahant Member

    Manny: I wonder if any of the Jewish people here would dispute any of Prager’s points

    I laughed.

    • #1
    • December 10, 2019, at 12:43 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  2. Manny Member
    Manny

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Manny: I wonder if any of the Jewish people here would dispute any of Prager’s points

    I laughed.

    I take it you would expect them too. I’m not sure how to take your answer.

    • #2
    • December 10, 2019, at 12:51 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    Manny (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Manny: I wonder if any of the Jewish people here would dispute any of Prager’s points

    I laughed.

    I take it you would expect them too. I’m not sure how to take your answer.

    Have you ever heard the phrase, “Two Jews, three opinions?” I just searched for the phrase in Google for this statistic:

    About 15,200,000 results (0.56 seconds) .

    • #3
    • December 10, 2019, at 12:56 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Manny (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Manny: I wonder if any of the Jewish people here would dispute any of Prager’s points

    I laughed.

    I take it you would expect them too. I’m not sure how to take your answer.

    I think @arahant may be saying that Jews argue about everything. And they do! It’s a tradition.

    • #4
    • December 10, 2019, at 12:56 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  5. Arahant Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I think @arahant may be saying that Jews argue about everything. And they do! It’s a tradition.

    Indeed, which reminds me of an old joke:

    A new rabbi comes to a well-established congregation. Every week on the Sabbath, a fight erupts during the service. When it comes time to recite the Shema prayer, half of the congregation stands and the other half sits. The half who stand say, “Of course we stand for the Shema. It’s the credo of Judaism. Throughout history, thousands of Jews have died with the words of the Shema on their lips.” The half who remain seated say, “No. According to the Shulchan Aruch (the code of Jewish law), if you are seated when you get to the Shema you remain seated.”

    The people who are standing yell at the people who are sitting, “Stand up!” while the people who are sitting yell at the people who are standing, “Sit down!” It’s destroying the whole decorum of the service, and driving the new rabbi crazy. Finally, it’s brought to the rabbi’s attention that at a nearby home for the aged is a 98-year-old man who was a founding member of the congregation. So, in accordance with Talmudic tradition, the rabbi appoints a delegation of three, one who stands for the Shema, one who sits, and the rabbi himself, to go interview the man. They enter his room, and the man who stands for the Shema rushes over to the old man and says, “Wasn’t it the tradition in our synagogue to stand for the Shema?”

    “No,” the old man answers in a weak voice. “That wasn’t the tradition.”

    The other man jumps in excitedly. “Wasn’t it the tradition in our synagogue to sit for the Shema?”

    “No,” the old man says. “That wasn’t the tradition.”

    At this point, the rabbi cannot control himself. He cuts in angrily. “I don’t care what the tradition was! Just tell them one or the other. Do you know what goes on in services every week — the people who are standing yell at the people who are sitting, the people who are sitting yell at the people who are standing—”

    “That was the tradition,” the old man says.

    • #5
    • December 10, 2019, at 1:01 PM PST
    • 14 likes
  6. Manny Member
    Manny

    Ha! I get it. Thanks.

    • #6
    • December 10, 2019, at 1:05 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Manny: (1) I don’t know if in Christianity one could say that God cares more about how we act toward each other than to God. When Christ is asked what is the greatest commandment He says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Mat 22:37-40). It’s really equal, not one greater than the other. If anything, greater would be love of God.

    G-d expects us to love our fellow man and he makes it a priority, because through our love of others, we actualize and reinforce our love for Him. Loving those around us, we learn to deepen our love for Him. Conversely, we can’t just love G-d and not love each other.

    Manny: (2) Intentions do matter. If your intentions are good, but you miscalculated, then it is not a sin. If you attempt to help an old woman across the street and you trip and fall and bring the woman down, then not only was it not a sin, but your conscience was working in the proper way. If you think that global warming is destroying the earth and you try to advocate laws to save the planet that is acting morally. If you think that global warming is a waste of money and you are acting to stop the waste of money toward the environment, then you are also acting morally. Your intention matters.

    I didn’t read the article but I listened to Prager for years. I’m quite sure he is saying that just intention is not enough, because we must take action. It is also possible to use poor judgment with good intentions (look at the Left) and we end up with disaster. We are accountable for those outcomes.

    Manny: The fate of your soul is not a simple summation of good and bad. Obviously we all do good and bad things. The fate of your soul rests on the state of your heart at death. You can be a bad sinner all your life, but if you have a change of heart—a true and sincere change of heart—you can be saved. Scrooge in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a literary example. But the key is sincere contrition. God knows if it was sincere and the habit of constant sin leads to a hardening of the heart, making it extremely difficult to change.

    Jews don’t believe you can be forgiven for repenting at the last minute, whether we mean it or not. Actually, we spend little time thinking about or discussing the afterlife, because how we live our lives is so much more important. I assume (and this may just be me) that the afterlife will turn out okay if I do the best I can to be a good person. I don’t give it a lot of thought, since how I live my life (not what comes afterward) is most important to me.

    I hope I addressed most of your questions, @manny. Prager tends to rely on the rational a lot, which I think can take away from the symbolic or mystical, but is legitimate.

    • #7
    • December 10, 2019, at 1:08 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  8. Eridemus Coolidge

    I happened into and watched this today. I don’t know how mainstream this Rabbi is, but as a non-Jewish person I found it very interesting, coherent, and comforting even if based on some expansive interpretation….about whether there is an “afterlife.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzFUXKk2B4I

    • #8
    • December 10, 2019, at 6:56 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  9. Manny Member
    Manny

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    G-d expects us to love our fellow man and he makes it a priority, because through our love of others, we actualize and reinforce our love for Him. Loving those around us, we learn to deepen our love for Him. Conversely, we can’t just love G-d and not love each other.

    Yes, it’s the same in Christianity. But Prager said it was more important to love our fellow man than to love God. He even emphasized it. In Christianity it’s supposed to be equal.

    I didn’t read the article but I listened to Prager for years. I’m quite sure he is saying that just intention is not enough, because we must take action. It is also possible to use poor judgment with good intentions (look at the Left) and we end up with disaster. We are accountable for those outcomes.

    If that is what he’s saying, I can understand. It would be the same in Christianity. We are required to put our faith into action to bring the Kingdom of heaven down to earth. Our mandate is to create on earth what heaven is supposed to be. Now let me qualify that. Not all Christians apparently believe that. There are a segment of Evangelical Protestants who maintain that faith alone is all that is required, not works. Perhaps that’s the distinction Prager is trying to make. My take on Prager is that he understands Christianity through Evangelical Protestant eyes. Evangelicals are most definitely wrong on that.

    Jews don’t believe you can be forgiven for repenting at the last minute, whether we mean it or not. Actually, we spend little time thinking about or discussing the afterlife, because how we live our lives is so much more important. I assume (and this may just be me) that the afterlife will turn out okay if I do the best I can to be a good person. I don’t give it a lot of thought, since how I live my life (not what comes afterward) is most important to me.

    This perhaps is the most significant distinction between Judaism and Christianity. Interesting.

    I hope I addressed most of your questions, Prager tends to rely on the rational a lot, which I think can take away from the symbolic or mystical, but is legitimate.

    Oh yes, thank you. I used to listen to Prager more a while back. Then I stopped. There was something off-putting about him. Yes, it’s overly rational. Perhaps that’s it. I’m still not sure. But I still can’t help feeling that many Jews would disagree with some of his points.

    • #9
    • December 10, 2019, at 7:26 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. Manny Member
    Manny

    Eridemus (View Comment):
    I hope I addressed most of your questions, @manny. Prager tends to rely on the rational a lot, which I think can take away from the symbolic or mystical, but is legitimate.

    Thanks. I listen to a good deal of it. I enjoyed it.

    • #10
    • December 10, 2019, at 7:43 PM PST
    • 1 like
  11. Mate De Coolidge

    V. God’s primary demand is that people be good.
    Therefore, God cares more about how we act toward one another than how we act toward Him — just as we humans care more about how our children treat one another than how they treat us.
    Therefore, right behavior matters more than intentions and even more than faith.

    Uh, where did he get this? Of course God cares how we act towards him. It’s in the 10 commandments. ” I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other Gods before me”. I would say that commandment means God cares how we act toward him. Didn’t Dennis Prager write a book on the 10 commandments?

    • #11
    • December 11, 2019, at 8:52 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Mate De (View Comment):

    V. God’s primary demand is that people be good.
    Therefore, God cares more about how we act toward one another than how we act toward Him — just as we humans care more about how our children treat one another than how they treat us.
    Therefore, right behavior matters more than intentions and even more than faith.

    Uh, where did he get this? Of course God cares how we act towards him. It’s in the 10 commandments. ” I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other Gods before me”. I would say that commandment means God cares how we act toward him. Didn’t Dennis Prager write a book on the 10 commandments?

    I think you misunderstand what Prager says. It’s not a competition about whom we love more. He didn’t say G-d doesn’t care about whether we love Him. He is simply saying that G-d is saying that our relationships with each other should also be treasured, especially since our relationships can be difficult and challenging. G-d doesn’t complain about our not taking out the trash.

    • #12
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:05 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. Manny Member
    Manny

    Mate De (View Comment):

    V. God’s primary demand is that people be good.
    Therefore, God cares more about how we act toward one another than how we act toward Him — just as we humans care more about how our children treat one another than how they treat us.
    Therefore, right behavior matters more than intentions and even more than faith.

    Uh, where did he get this? Of course God cares how we act towards him. It’s in the 10 commandments. ” I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other Gods before me”. I would say that commandment means God cares how we act toward him. Didn’t Dennis Prager write a book on the 10 commandments?

    I would agree with you, @Mate De And it is the first commandment. I recall God being furious when Moses came down from the mountain to find the Jews are worshiping the golden calf. My impression from reading the prophets would also lead me to think that. In fairness to Prager, he isn’t saying that it’s not important to love God but that it’s less important than caring for humanity. I’m not Jewish or studied Judaic theology, but from my reading of the OT I would disagree with Prager. So then my mind jumps to the questions, why the stipulations on holiness? Why wear a yarmulke? Why the female head coverings? Why must Moses take off his shoes when he approaches God? I don’t know if it’s more or less than caring for other people but it’s certainly not secondary thing that Prager suggests.

    • #13
    • December 11, 2019, at 12:48 PM PST
    • 1 like
  14. Manny Member
    Manny

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Mate De (View Comment):

    V. God’s primary demand is that people be good.
    Therefore, God cares more about how we act toward one another than how we act toward Him — just as we humans care more about how our children treat one another than how they treat us.
    Therefore, right behavior matters more than intentions and even more than faith.

    Uh, where did he get this? Of course God cares how we act towards him. It’s in the 10 commandments. ” I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other Gods before me”. I would say that commandment means God cares how we act toward him. Didn’t Dennis Prager write a book on the 10 commandments?

    I think you misunderstand what Prager says. It’s not a competition about whom we love more. He didn’t say G-d doesn’t care about whether we love Him. He is simply saying that G-d is saying that our relationships with each other should also be treasured, especially since our relationships can be difficult and challenging. G-d doesn’t complain about our not taking out the trash.

    @susanquinnThe way Prager phrased it, he does make it sound like it’s not that important.

    • #14
    • December 11, 2019, at 12:50 PM PST
    • Like
  15. Manny Member
    Manny

    On this issue of whether one is supposed to love God more or less than caring for other people, let me emphasize something in Christianity I didn’t above in my OP. Here are Christ’s words again:

    “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Mat 22:37-40).

    I highlighted what seems to be the least important phrase in those verses, “The second is like it.” That’s always kind of confused me until I realized that there is a mystical element to it. Why would loving God be the same thing as loving your neighbor? But if you realize that every human being has an element of God in them, after all every human is made in God’s image, then by loving your neighbor you are mystically loving God. And by loving God you are mystically loving your neighbor. That’s why in Christianity they are equal and the same.

    • #15
    • December 11, 2019, at 12:59 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Manny (View Comment):

    On this issue of whether one is supposed to love God more or less than caring for other people, let me emphasize something in Christianity I didn’t above in my OP. Here are Christ’s words again:

    “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Mat 22:37-40).

    I highlighted what seems to be the least important phrase in those verses, “The second is like it.” That’s always kind of confused me until I realized that there is a mystical element to it. Why would loving God be the same thing as loving your neighbor? But if you realize that every human being has an element of God in them, after all every human is made in God’s image, then by loving your neighbor you are mystically loving God. And by loving God you are mystically loving your neighbor. That’s why in Christianity they are equal and the same.

    I don’t want to debate that question, because it is Prager’s interpretation and I don’t think Jews would normally debate it. I will say, however, that the quote from Jesus is often misquoted. It’s from the Shema, only it reads, “You will love the Lord your God, with all your Heart, with all your soul and with all your might.”  

    Unless he’s not quoting the Shema; “Might” in Hebrew is Mee-oh-decha–strength, or might.

    • #16
    • December 11, 2019, at 1:07 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  17. Scott Wilmot Member

    Manny: On the one extreme you have those where faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is absolutely fundamental. You cannot be saved without that as a founding principle. On the other extreme, salvation could be open to all people who have shown love to their neighbor. I lean to the latter but it comes down to the state of the heart.

    Interesting post Manny.

    My 2 cents here is that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. The normative way this happens is through Baptism and abiding in Christ. We are bound by the sacraments but God is not, so we can’t say who is or isn’t saved. Another way to state this is that all who are saved are saved through Christ and His Church – we’ll find out at our particular judgment and then be in that state for eternity.

    • #17
    • December 11, 2019, at 1:47 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  18. Scott Wilmot Member

    Manny (View Comment):
    There are a segment of Evangelical Protestants who maintain that faith alone is all that is required, not works.

    I know you are not saying this, but for others who don’t know, we Catholics don’t think we can earn our way into heaven. See my previous comment for the normative way to salvation.

    • #18
    • December 11, 2019, at 1:54 PM PST
    • 1 like
  19. Saint Augustine Member

    Manny:

    Excluding where obviously something is specific to Judaism, such as the Torah as central, . . . .

    It’s just as crucial to Christianity. The meaning of the Messiah is in reference to promises to Abraham, Moses, etc.

    • #19
    • December 11, 2019, at 5:01 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. Manny Member
    Manny

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    On this issue of whether one is supposed to love God more or less than caring for other people, let me emphasize something in Christianity I didn’t above in my OP. Here are Christ’s words again:

    “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Mat 22:37-40).

    I highlighted what seems to be the least important phrase in those verses, “The second is like it.” That’s always kind of confused me until I realized that there is a mystical element to it. Why would loving God be the same thing as loving your neighbor? But if you realize that every human being has an element of God in them, after all every human is made in God’s image, then by loving your neighbor you are mystically loving God. And by loving God you are mystically loving your neighbor. That’s why in Christianity they are equal and the same.

    I don’t want to debate that question, because it is Prager’s interpretation and I don’t think Jews would normally debate it. I will say, however, that the quote from Jesus is often misquoted. It’s from the Shema, only it reads, “You will love the Lord your God, with all your Heart, with all your soul and with all your might.”

    Unless he’s not quoting the Shema; “Might” in Hebrew is Mee-oh-decha–strength, or might.

    Good observation. I’ve never seen that pointed out. It never dawned on me there was a discrepancy. The NT is written in Greek, so I wonder if that’s a translation issue or Christ put a variation to it.

    • #20
    • December 11, 2019, at 5:36 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. Manny Member
    Manny

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Manny: On the one extreme you have those where faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is absolutely fundamental. You cannot be saved without that as a founding principle. On the other extreme, salvation could be open to all people who have shown love to their neighbor. I lean to the latter but it comes down to the state of the heart.

    Interesting post Manny.

    My 2 cents here is that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. The normative way this happens is through Baptism and abiding in Christ. We are bound by the sacraments but God is not, so we can’t say who is or isn’t saved. Another way to state this is that all who are saved are saved through Christ and His Church – we’ll find out at our particular judgment and then be in that state for eternity.

    Yes I understand, your first sentence is actually tighter and more restrictive than the one I called the tightest.

    • #21
    • December 11, 2019, at 5:39 PM PST
    • 1 like
  22. Manny Member
    Manny

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):
    There are a segment of Evangelical Protestants who maintain that faith alone is all that is required, not works.

    I know you are not saying this, but for others who don’t know, we Catholics don’t think we can earn our way into heaven. See my previous comment for the normative way to salvation.

    I am definitely not saying you can work your way to heaven. But clearly as in Matthew chapter 25, sins of omission are also sins, even if you have faith.

    • #22
    • December 11, 2019, at 5:43 PM PST
    • 1 like
  23. Manny Member
    Manny

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Manny:

    Excluding where obviously something is specific to Judaism, such as the Torah as central, . . . .

    It’s just as crucial to Christianity. The meaning of the Messiah is in reference to promises to Abraham, Moses, etc.

    Yes it is. I was just striving to point out some of Prager’s points are particularly Jewish.

    • #23
    • December 11, 2019, at 5:47 PM PST
    • Like
  24. Saint Augustine Member

    Manny (View Comment):
    I highlighted what seems to be the least important phrase in those verses, “The second is like it.” That’s always kind of confused me until I realized that there is a mystical element to it. Why would loving God be the same thing as loving your neighbor? But if you realize that every human being has an element of God in them, after all every human is made in God’s image, then by loving your neighbor you are mystically loving God. And by loving God you are mystically loving your neighbor. That’s why in Christianity they are equal and the same.

    I think there’s a non-symmetry. I think I wrote about it on Ricochet.

    I think it’s one of those posts I haven’t launched yet. Maybe after the exams are graded.

    It’s not that “every human being has an element of G-d in them” because we’re made in G-d’s image. It’s that every human being has something like G-d in them.

    • #24
    • December 11, 2019, at 6:01 PM PST
    • 1 like
  25. Saint Augustine Member

    Manny (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I will say, however, that the quote from Jesus is often misquoted. It’s from the Shema, only it reads, “You will love the Lord your God, with all your Heart, with all your soul and with all your might.”

    Unless he’s not quoting the Shema; “Might” in Hebrew is Mee-oh-decha–strength, or might.

    Good observation. I’ve never seen that pointed out. It never dawned on me there was a discrepancy. The NT is written in Greek, so I wonder if that’s a translation issue or Christ put a variation to it.

    This one is a real puzzler. On the surface, it looks like he’s misquoting or paraphrasing from Deut. 6.

    It doesn’t look like there’s any Hebrew-Greek issue. Jesus would have been speaking in Hebrew/Aramaic, and Matthew has every reason to translate Jesus to Greek using the preexisting Greek vocabulary by quoting the Septuagint.

    But the Septuagint appears to use a derivation of dunamis (δυνάμεώς here), a standard word for power or might.

    Consulting this book, it looks like some New Testament scribes added a word for strength or might, ischui, which is inserted in front of mind in some of the old NT manuscripts. So they also thought this was weird and tried to sort out what they thought was a mistake in the texts, or they were going on autopilot and filled in a word for strength automatically. But even they usually include mind.

    It really looks like Jesus said “mind” instead of “might.”

    Continued:

    • #25
    • December 11, 2019, at 6:25 PM PST
    • 1 like
  26. Saint Augustine Member

    Why would Jesus not just quote properly? Why paraphrase? Why add another term? I do not know.

    I can hazard a guess, and only a guess, but it is drawn from context: Go to Matthew 22 and re-read verse 29. Then read the passage after the one in question, the one about interpreting the Psalms.

    Jesus is dealing with Pharisees who do not think through the Scriptures carefully. What they need is precisely to think through the Scriptures using dianoia, the word for mind Jesus uses here. It means thinking through things carefully, trying to see through a matter to get to the other side. They need to do this with the Tanakh, from the Gospel of John.

    Say I’m arguing with a leftist who doesn’t give a rat’s hemorrhoid for states’ rights and I borrow but modify some familiar language from Lincoln, saying that America is to be a nation “of the states, by the states, for the people.”

    I’m not misquoting as such, or paraphrasing. I’m just asking the leftist to reconsider his categories: Maybe the Constitutional design is that the rights of the people be safeguarded by the states.

    Maybe Jesus is asking the Pharisees to reconsider their categories: Maybe the Torah points to a law of love of G-d and neighbor rather than rules, and maybe it points to a Messiah.

    • #26
    • December 11, 2019, at 6:25 PM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Arahant Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Why would Jesus not just quote properly?

    Mine is a translation of the Peshitta, and has heart, soul, might, and mind in Matthew 22:37. Deuteronomy 6:5 has no mind. 😉

    • #27
    • December 11, 2019, at 6:38 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  28. Joseph Stanko Member
    Joseph Stanko Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Manny: VI. There is an afterlife — God rewards the good and punishes the bad.
    If good people and bad people have the same fate, there is either no God or a God that is not just.

    In the NT we see this point was disputed, the Sadducees denied the resurrection while the Pharisees affirmed we will all rise again one day. My understanding was that this disagreement had never really been settled and some modern Jews still don’t believe in an afterlife.

     

    • #28
    • December 11, 2019, at 7:51 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  29. Saint Augustine Member

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Manny: VI. There is an afterlife — God rewards the good and punishes the bad.
    If good people and bad people have the same fate, there is either no God or a God that is not just.

    In the NT we see this point was disputed, the Sadducees denied the resurrection while the Pharisees affirmed we will all rise again one day. My understanding was that this disagreement had never really been settled and some modern Jews still don’t believe in an afterlife.

    I believe Josephus also chronicles this division. There are some delightful passages in the Talmud where rabbis argue that resurrection is in the Tanakh.

    This has come up before on R. I can probably find an old link. But definitely not from my phone here.

    • #29
    • December 11, 2019, at 8:02 PM PST
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  30. Manny Member
    Manny

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):
    I highlighted what seems to be the least important phrase in those verses, “The second is like it.” That’s always kind of confused me until I realized that there is a mystical element to it. Why would loving God be the same thing as loving your neighbor? But if you realize that every human being has an element of God in them, after all every human is made in God’s image, then by loving your neighbor you are mystically loving God. And by loving God you are mystically loving your neighbor. That’s why in Christianity they are equal and the same.

    I think there’s a non-symmetry. I think I wrote about it on Ricochet.

    I think it’s one of those posts I haven’t launched yet. Maybe after the exams are graded.

    It’s not that “every human being has an element of G-d in them” because we’re made in G-d’s image. It’s that every human being has something like G-d in them.

    OK. I don’t understand what you mean by it being non-symmetric.

    • #30
    • December 11, 2019, at 8:12 PM PST
    • 1 like