Brief History of Talmud and Jewish People


…by Jonas E. Alexis


Heinrich Graetz
Heinrich Graetz

There are two versions of the Talmud: the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud. Of the two, the former is considered more authoritative.[1]

The Talmud is a massive book. As one commentator puts it, it’s an almost endless book with another book inside of it. It purports to explain not only the written Torah (the five book of Moses), but also nearly everything that pertains to life for the Jewish people. (Some people confuse the Talmud with the Torah, and that is a huge but elementary mistake.)

These interpretations and explanations are designed to make the scriptural writings fit within the external framework of what the rabbis consider proper Jewish life, which is a direct reversal of biblical practice of exegesis.

Heinrich Graetz, arguably one of the most exponents of Jewish historiography, states, “Every righteous and moral deed, as well as every misdeed, possessed its religious importance”[2] in the Talmud.

Because of this, a method of reasoning grew out of the Talmud that encourages scholars to question and sharpen their rhetorical skills by challenging key aspects of all religious thought. In practice this makes any reasoning very complicated, as Russian Jewish historian Leon Poliakov shows:

“A goy insisted that a Talmudist explain to him what the Talmud was. The sage finally consented and asked the goy the following question: ‘Two men climb down a chimney. When they come to the bottom, one has his face covered with soot, the other is spotless. Which of the two will wash himself?’

“‘The one who is dirty,’ answered the goy. ‘No, for the one who’s dirty sees the others’ clean face and believes he is clean too. The one who’s clean sees a dirty face and believes his is dirty too.’ ‘I understand!’ the goy exclaimed. ‘I’m beginning to understand what the Talmud is.’

“‘No, you have understood nothing at all, the rabbi interrupted, for how could two men have come down the same chimney, one dirty and the other clean?’”[3]

If this illustrated the scope of Talmudic reasoning, it would be possible to unravel it, for many philosophers through the ages have employed similar question-and-answer methodology.

Yet, as we shall see, the Talmud is much more controversial, for its foundational claims conflict with any culture that has adopted the moral, political, and economic order.

Not only is this rhetorical questioning central to the Talmud, but it goes out of its way to make the most blasphemous statements about Gentiles in general and Christians in particular.[4]

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More importantly, history demonstrates that whenever the teachings of the Talmud are consistently practiced, the consequences have proven detrimental to the Jewish people as well as to the Gentile nations wherein they dwell. This is where the conflict really lies, not in so-called good or bad DNA—an issue we have addressed numerous times.

 In the thirteenth century, when the Jews were heavily involved in the teachings of Kabbalah, the Talmud was supplemented by another Jewish text, the Zohar.

Moses Hess
Moses Hess

Although Graetz calls the Zohar a “lying book” and a “book of falsehood”[5] because of its detrimental implications and because many Jews blindly followed its teachings,[6] this book “was held by Jews as a heavenly revelation”[7] and considered “the Bible of the Kabbalists.”[8]

In order to properly question the Torah, the Zohar by definition must claim to be superior to the book of Moses—and even Moses himself.

“The Zohar makes Simon bar Yochai [its author] exclaim ‘that I behold now what no other mortal since Moses ascended Sinai for the second time has beheld, aye, even more than he. Moses knew not that his countenance shone; I, however, know that my countenance shines.’”[9]

In fact, Simon bar Yochai “is almost deified in the Zohar.”[10] Graetz continues,

“The underlying principle of the Zohar is that the historical narratives and religious statutes of the Bible were never intended to be understood in a plain, simple sense, but that they contain something higher, mysterious, supernatural.

“‘Is it conceivable,’ the Zohar makes one of Simon bar Yochai’s circle exclaim, ‘that God had no holier matters to communicate than these common things about Esau and Hagar, Laban and Jacob, Balaam’s ass, Balak’s jealousy of Israel, and Zimri’s lewdness?

“Does a collection of such tales, taken in their ordinary sense, deserve the name of Torah? And can it be said of such a revelation that it utters the pure truth?’”[11]

The author of the Zohar continues:

“We can produce in our time a book as good as [the Torah], aye, perhaps better. No, no! The higher, mystical sense of the Torah is its true sense.

“The Biblical narratives resemble a beautiful dress, which enraptures fools so that they do not look beneath it…Woe to the guilty, who assert that the Torah contains only simple stories, and therefore look only upon the dress.”[12]

After questioning key aspects of the written Torah, the author of the Zohar then pronounced this malediction upon his perceived enemies:

“The Zohar identifies all blasphemers and wicked people with the evil principle of the ‘shells’ (Kelifoth)—the first serpent, Cain, Esau, Pharaoh, and Esau’s empire, Rome, and the civil and spiritual power of Christendom in the Middle Ages, which rested on violence and injustice.”[13]

These issues are rarely discussed among the majority of evangelical Christians and even some anti-Zionists because of the unquestioned assumption that Rabbinic Judaism is essentially the same as the Old Testament.

Yet even the most cursory study of Judaism proves that not only are the Old Testament and Rabbinic Judaism different, but that “Judaism and Christianity diverge” on all essential points, as the New Jewish Encyclopedia acknowledges.[14]

Jewish scholar Jacob Neusner adds that the Talmud “has formed the definitive statement of Judaism from the time of its closure to the present day.”[15]

In another book, he speaks even more plainly:

“Judaism is Rabbinic Judaism, and the Talmud of Babylonia is the authoritative statement of the Torah that Judaism embodies.”[16]

He adds that “it is clear from both Talmudic and Christian sources that Judaism and Christianity met in bitter conflict.”[17]

In an effort to set the record straight, Neusner wrote his seminal work Jews and Christians: The Myth of a Common Tradition, in which he unapologetically declares that

“if one is right, the other must be wrong. Nowadays Judaic theologians, rabbis, and scholars issue statements to obscure the fundamental differences between Judaism and Christianity…Judaism and Christianity never meet anywhere.”[18]

So, what are the origins of the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud?

 The Talmud has a long, complicated history, yet for our purposes here, a bird’s-eye-view summary will suffice.

talmudWhen the Jews went into captivity in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, many of the Jewish scribes were faced with the challenge of interpreting the laws of Moses for their own purposes. Jewish historian Solomon Grayzel declares that the scribes “molded the destiny of the Jews.”[19]

After the return of the Jews from Babylon, and after the death of the major and minor prophets,

“the entire transformation in the life of the Jews from this time on was the result of teaching and interpretation… [the scribes] created literature; they formulated laws. They derived from the sacred books those ideas which were to guide their own people and, in time, inspire others.”[20]

These scribes “gave new meaning to the Sabbath,” and like the later rabbis “differed among themselves. Their discussion became embodied in traditional interpretations of the Bible which, under the name of Oral Law, guided the Jews of later ages.”[21]

A few generations after Alexander conquered Asia Minor and after the Hellenization of the conquered peoples, the scribes got divided into two parties: the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Once purely political, they gradually became religious.[22]

Moreover, from the beginning both parties were involved in political upheaval and covert operation and frequently disagreed with each other.

The Sadducees upheld the Written Torah alone as truth and tried to abide by its words; the Pharisees believed equally in the Written Torah and the Oral Tradition.

Grayzel tells us that if the Pharisees

“could find little support for their proposed laws in the Written Torah, they argued that there was also an Oral Torah, or teaching, a sect of traditions which had been handed down to them by the scribes of former days, who in turn must have received it by tradition from their predecessors, all the way back to Moses.”[23]


After the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, the Sadducees

“disappeared altogether, leaving the regulation of all Jewish affairs in the hands of the Pharisees. Henceforth, Jewish life was regulated by the Pharisees; the whole history of Judaism was reconstructed from the Pharisaic point of view, and a new aspect was given to the Sanhedrin of the past…

“Pharisaism shaped the character of Judaism and the life and thought of the Jew for all of the future…The Jewish religion as it is today traces its descent without a break through all the centuries from the Pharisees.”[24]

In the Judaism shaped by the Pharisees, the Torah was only valid when it proved their point; when it did not, they reinterpreted it to suit their ideological framework. The Pharisees

“attempted whenever possible not to abolish it, but to introduce some legal fiction whereby the authority of the law was upheld and yet at the same time rendered null and void for all practical purposes.”[25]

Hellenized Jews more or less sympathized with the Sadducees, while the Orthodox Jews sided with the Pharisees. Since both parties were heavily involved in politics, their doctrine eventually led to political wars which took the lives of thousands of Jews.[26]

Within a few generations, however, the two parties ceased to have political power in government.[27]

During the final phase of the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, the Oral Tradition would have been lost had it not been for Jochanan ben Zakkai, who escaped Jerusalem during its last hours in a coffin by having his students say “their master had died and asked permission to carry his body for burial outside Jerusalem.”[28]

(Some have argued that he also was pretending to be dead “so that the Zealots would not kill him.”[29])

Whatever his motivation, ben Zakkai was carried out of the war zone alive. When the dust settled, he requested permission from Vespasian to open a school, who agreed, never knowing that ben Zakkai’s school

“would save the Jewish people, keep it alive for many hundreds of years, and prove, more than any other single event in history, that Spirit is mightier than Sword.”[30]

Ben Zakkai gathered around him a number of individuals who were eager to take Rabbinic Judaism to a new height. His school, with teaching based primarily on the Oral Tradition, eventually produced a number of erudite rabbis who compiled and codified the Oral Tradition into a text—the Talmud—that “became the law and the religion of the whole race of Israel.”[31]

This particular book “was to the Jews what the Roman law was to the lawyers, the canons of Councils, the decrees of Popes, the whole authorized theology of the Church, to the clergy of Christendom.”[32]

The Talmud’s teachings were unknown to Christians at that time, and therefore even Gnostic sects treated Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity as if they were compatible.[33]

Thus from its inception, Judaism was not established upon the words of the Written Torah, but upon the interpretations of the scribes, which over time culminated in the Talmud.

Jacob Neusner
Jacob Neusner

By the time of the New Testament, the Pharisees and Sadducees had become the legal authorities to interpret the Old Testament according to their own traditions and hermeneutics. As Graetz puts it,

“As expounders of the law the Pharisees formed the learned body of the nation. Their opinions were framed, their actions governed by one cardinal principle—the necessity of preserving Judaism. The individual and the State were to be ruled alike by the laws and customs of their fathers.

“Every deviation from this principle appeared to the Pharisees as treason to all that was most precious and holy…The Pharisees owed their influence chiefly to their knowledge of the Law and to the application they made of it to the affairs of daily life, and they alone were called the interpreters and teachers of the Law.”[34]

After the Bar Kochba revolt in AD 135 (the last Jewish revolt against Rome), Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph, who helped fan the flames of the revolution, wrote that “just as a fish cannot live outside of water, so the Jewish people cannot live outside of Torah,”[35] meaning the Oral Tradition, which culminated into the Talmud.

While the Pharisees acknowledged the written Torah (the five books of Moses), they believed that the Oral Tradition—which they claimed was more reliable—was vital in order to interpret and explain the Torah exegetically.[36]

This is the main source of the confusion between Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism: when Christians hear that Jews follow the Torah, they assume Judaism gives the same divine weight to the first five books of the Old Testament that they do, making the two religions essentially the same. This is not the case, since Jews believe that the Torah is useless without the Talmud.

 Rabbinic Judaism—grown from the root of Pharisaic teachings—has shaped the course of the Jewish people throughout history. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia notes,

Leon Poliakov
Leon Poliakov

“The Jewish religion as it is today traces its descent, without a break, through all the centuries, from the Pharisees. Their leading ideas and methods found expression in a literature of enormous extent, of which a very great deal is still in existence.

“The Talmud is the largest and most important single member of that literature, and round it are gathered a number of Midrashim, partly legal (Halachic) and partly works of edification (Haggadic).

“Through it all run the lines of thought which were first drawn by the Pharisees, and the study of it is essential for any real understanding of Pharisaism.”[37]

Understanding these texts is vitally important in order to understand Jewish ideologies, something no serious Jewish scholar would deny. Louis Finkelstein (one of the most dedicated Talmudic scholars and an expert on Jewish law) declared,

“Pharisaism became Talmudism, Talmudism became Medieval Rabbinism, and Medieval Rabbinism became Modern Rabbinism.

“But throughout these changes of name, inevitable adaptation of custom, and adjustment of Law, the spirit of the ancient Pharisee survives unaltered. When the Jew reads his prayers, he is reciting formulae prepared by pre-Maccabean scholars.”[38]

This central point is accentuated by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, a recipient of Israel’s highest civilian honor, the Israel Prize. Steinsaltz wrote in his book The Essential Talmud:

“In many ways the Talmud is the most important book in Jewish culture, the backbone of creativity and of national life. No other work has had a comparable influence on the theory and practice of Jewish life, shaping spiritual content and serving as a guide to conduct.”[39]

At the end of 2010, a new edition of the Talmud was complete, and Jewish communities in Palm Beach and Broward counties, Florida, celebrated the monumental event. On that day, Rabbi Michael Stern declared,

“The Talmud is the lifeblood of the people. Most Judaism practiced today is not the Five Books of Moses. You would find it in the Talmud.”

Israel Shahak
Israel Shahak

Rabbi Alan Sherman added, “It’s not just rabbis who study the Talmud; all Jews do, in one way or another.”[40]

Moses Hess, a friend and collaborator of both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (actually converting Engels to communism), stated the same thing.[41]

Hess’s grandfather, like Karl Marx, was a rabbi. He not only maintained—like the Talmudists—that the Oral Tradition is much more reliable and sophisticated than the Written Torah, but that

“it is to this oral development of the law that Judaism owes its existence during the two thousand years of exile; and to it the Jewish people will also owe its future national regeneration.”[42]

Scholar Ken Koltun-Fromm writes that for Hess “Jewish identity is rooted in a complex web of national and religious commitments.”[43] Hess believed that this religious commitment was grounded in Rabbinic Judaism, which has been at war with Logos since the first century.

The late Israeli academic Israel Shahak wrote,

“It became apparent to me, as, drawing on knowledge acquired in my youth, I began to study the Talmudic laws governing the relations between Jews and non-Jews, that neither Zionism, including its seemingly secular part, nor Israeli politics since the inception of the State of Israel, nor particularly the policies of the Jewish supporters of Israel in the diaspora, could be understood unless the deeper influence of those laws, and the worldview which they both create and express is taken into account.”[44]

Historian Lloyd P. Gartner of Tel-Aviv University concurs in his History of the Jews in Modern Times:

“Almost all Jews lived within the rich but constricted world of Judaism…Like Islam and Christianity, Judaism claims to be the truth…The path of life for a Jew was set forth in the sacred writings and summed up by rabbinic sages in law codes, whose prime source was the Talmud and its interpreters.”[45]

Jacob Neusner puts the issue even more simply, declaring that “the Talmud is the prism, receiving, refracting all light.”

Neusner says that the centrality of the Talmud in Jewish thought and culture does not stop there, because it

“formed the starting point and the ending point, the alpha and the omega of truth; justify by appeal to the Talmud, rightly read, persuasively interpreted, and you make your point; disprove a proposition by reference to a statement of the Talmud and you demolish a counterpoint. In reading the written Torah itself, the Talmud’s exegesis enjoys priority of place…

“In all decisions of law that express theology in everyday action, the Talmud forms the final statement of the Torah, mediating Scripture’s rules. Innovation of every kind, whether in the character of the spiritual life or in the practice of the faith in accord with its norms, must find justification in the Talmud.”[46]

Likewise, Graetz says that “the spiritual life of the Jews” is “ultimately bound up with the Talmud.”[47]

During the thirteenth century, when copies of the Talmud were confiscated and burned, the Jews realized that they could not “exist without the Talmud as without their souls,” and asked Pope Innocent IV permission “to retain their Talmudical writings.”[48]

Neusner and Graetz are not alone in acknowledging the centrality of the Talmud in the consciousness of the Jewish people at large. Robert Goldenberg, Professor of Judaic Studies at the State University of New York, tells us that

“the Talmud provided the means of determining how God wanted all Jews to live, in all places, at all times. Even if the details of the law had to be altered to suit newly arisen conditions, the proper way to perform such adaptation could itself be learned from the Talmud and its commentaries…

“The Talmud revealed God speaking to Israel, and so the Talmud became Israel’s way to God.”[49]

Isaac D’Israeli, whose son Benjamin Disraeli became British Prime Minister, declared,

“The Talmud…forms a complete system of the learning, ceremonies, civil and canon law of the Jews; treating indeed on all subjects.”[50]

(D’Israeli also stated that “Judaism has been totally corrupted by the dictators of the human intellect, the Rabbins,”[51] for which, most likely, he would have been labeled anti-Semitic if he had not been a Jew.)

Then comes Rabbi Yehiel ben Joseph, who tells us that

“without the Talmud, we would not be able to understand passages in the Bible…God has handed this authority to the sages and tradition is a necessity as well as scripture…Anyone who does not study the Talmud cannot understand Scripture.”[52]

 Talmud_setThe idea that the Torah and Talmud should be linked was largely the responsibility of the Pharisees. They taught that there were two inspired revelations to the Jews: the written laws Moses received on top of Mount Sinai, and oral traditions acquired by the seventy elders who came to the base of the mountain but were forbidden to proceed further.[53]

According to Rabbinic tradition, God gave Moses the Written Law with “Comments” and Moses “delivered the Comments to Aaron and his Sons, and to the Elders of Israel, by Word of Mouth, who by oral Tradition handed them down to the Prophets, and the Prophets to the men of the Great Synagogue.”[54]

Thus when Jews refer to the Torah, more often than not they mean the Talmud rather than the Old Testament. Neusner writes,

“the Torah is represented by sayings not found in Scripture, set forth by sages not credited with the authorship of Scriptural books. What is implicit, then, is that an oral component of the Instruction of Sinai, alongside the written part, forms the medium of God’s revelation to the Israelite community.”[55]

(Since there was no historical or archaeological basis for this, it took time to develop and refine. Judaism largely had its inception without a written text during the time of Alexander the Great, when Jews around the time began to define themselves in a new way of life, during which time it was called iudaismos.[56])

Having established this concept, the Pharisees began to teach that the oral traditions from the elders were much more reliable, extensive, and accurate than the law of Moses; a revelation that was never written down, never known to the Hebrews at the time of Moses, somehow took precedence over the written law. And Grayzel declares that this view is correct.[57]

Rabbi Samuel ben Nahman, who was one of the leading Amora’im of Judaism (AD 300), wrote,

“Oral laws have been proclaimed and written laws have been proclaimed and we cannot tell which of these is more precious.

But since it is written ‘For in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel,’ we may infer that the oral precepts are more precious.”[58]

Immanuel Jakobovitz, former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, confirmed,

“The true character of Judaism cannot be appreciated except by an intimate acquaintance with the Oral Law…What makes us and our faith distinct and unique is the oral tradition as the authentic key to an understanding of the written text we call the Torah.”[59]

Eisenmenger quotes a rabbi as saying,

“Do not imagine that the Written Law is the foundation or ground-work; for on the contrary, the Oral Law is the foundation; and on this Law the Covenant was made.”[60]

Ovadia Yosef
Ovadia Yosef

Yet when challenged to give concrete evidence for the supremacy of the Oral Torah, the rabbis resort to the idea that since the Oral Torah was unwritten, direct evidence from Scripture and even archaeology cannot be expected, a highly circular argument and dubious enterprise that can only make sense in the minds of those rabbis.

Other rabbis would argue that “the Oral Law was not delivered to us in Writing because its measure exceeds the dimensions of the world.”[61]

When Jesus came to earth to fulfill all the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, the Pharisees and Sadducees were His greatest opponents.

They accused Jesus and His disciples of transgressing and violating “the tradition of the elders,” and Jesus in turn accused them of transgressing and violating “the commandment of God by your tradition” (Matthew 15:2-3).

Jesus told the Pharisees that they made “the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered” (Mark 7:13), and declared, “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9).

Jesus even warned His disciples to “take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6, 12). Jesus later explained that the “leaven” was the doctrines of the Pharisees.

Put simply, by keeping the “traditions of the elders,” or the oral Torah, the Pharisees rejected the commandments of God. Jesus warned the Pharisees that, by formulating, refining, and promoting their own traditions, they were rejecting everything their own ancestors taught.

“For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:4).

By creating their own theology and refusing to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the Pharisees turned their backs on God. Jesus stated bluntly:

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).

During His ministry, Jesus exposed the Pharisees as the most dangerous leaders the Israelites had ever had because their traditions and theological interpretations had far more damnable implications than they could ever have imagined. As the Jewish Encyclopedia tells us

“Pharisaism shaped the character of Judaism and the life and thought of the Jew for all the future.”[62]

Jews owe their national heritage to the theology of those Pharisees who rejected Jesus as the Messiah.

 cambridgeThe most important thing to understand about the Oral Tradition of the Pharisees was that it was just oral tradition. There was no definitive written collection that the Pharisees could point to as their text to interpret the Written Torah.

However, all of that changed within a few centuries after the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. Graetz writes,

“The subject matter of tradition, which had been so greatly augmented, enriched, and purified by a long series of generations and the diversity of schools, was henceforward to be set in order. This tendency of compilation was represented by Ashi.”[63]

Jewish sage Rabbana Ashi (352-427) was responsible for beginning to collect and transcribe the oral traditions, primarily the Mishna, which is the first part of the Talmud. His contribution to Rabbinic Judaism, Graetz declares, was immense:

“Ashi was enabled to undertake a work, the consequences of which were incalculable, both as regards the fate and the development of the Jewish people. He began the gigantic task of collecting and arranging the explanations, deductions, and amplifications of the Mishna, which were included under the name ‘Talmud.’

“The immediate motive which suggested this undertaking was undoubtedly the consideration that the immense accumulation of matter, the result of the labor of three generations, ought not to be allowed to vanish from memory through lack of interest.”[64]

This was a laborious task, but marked “one of the most important epochs in Jewish history. From this time forward the Babylonian Talmud became an active, potent, and influential element.”[65]

It was only after it was written, Grayzel believes, that the Jews became “the People of the Book.”[66]

In general, the Mishna assumes that the whole of the Torah, including such of the precepts of the Law as do not appear immediately in the Pentateuch, is composed of ancient traditions, received by Moses on Sinai, communicated by him to Joshua, who handed them down to the Elders, who in their turn transmitted them to the Prophets, who finally handed them down to the members of the great assembly.

All such laws as do not appear in the Pentateuch are designated in the Mishna by the term “the sayings of those learned in the Scripture…There repeatedly occurs in the Mishna the assertions of the equivalence of all religious commands and duties.”[67]

 In short, the Talmud is to Orthodox Jews and indeed the Jewish people as a whole what Christ is to the Christians. Grayzel notes that

“the Jews looked upon the Talmud as the Bible in action, as the principles of the Bible applied to daily life,” and that it served “as a unifying element among the Jews. It prescribed the fundamentals of their life. It helped to bind them together in action and in thought.”[68]

In the process of time, it became “the basis for Jewish life in every part of the Diaspora and played a most important part in the preservation of the Jewish people,”[69] although there were exceptions to this rule.

“The political factions among the Jews became critical schools following the destruction of the Temple. The school of Shammai, having espoused the cause of the Zealots, now returned to espousing rigorism in scriptural exegesis.

“The School of Hillel became the school of peace with the Romans. After the Jewish religion was redefined as a religion of the book, or of competing interpretations of the book, these two schools would define the options for generations of Jews.

“There would be Jews drawn to assimilation, after the model of Jochanan and Hillel, and there would be Jews drawn to political messianism, after the model of Eleazar the Zealot and the school of Shammai.

“Jewish life oscillated between these poles for two millennia, and the two options manifest themselves in various ways: Roy Cohn urging the death sentence for the Rosenbergs during the ben Israel’s era; or in contrast, Spinoza’s excommunication by Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel’s synagogue in Amsterdam.

“Jews could emulate Moses Mendelssohn on the one hand, or Theodor Herzl on the other; they could emulate David Brooks or Noam Chomsky.”[70]

Nicholas Christakis
Nicholas Christakis

Here again and again we see that the issue is quite complicated but can be understood fully through its origin: theology. It certainly cannot boil down to genetic or “race” precisely because Christ himself was a Semite.

It was Christ who told the Samaritan woman that “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). Later, Paul talked about the Israelites, and “from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah…” (Romans 9:5).

The central issue again boils down to theology and not biology. As we have seen in previous articles, biology has grossly and erroneously been concocted and manipulated by many writers and “scientists” to marshal the philosophically and intellectually disgusting and nasty weltanschauung that Jewish behavior is genetic.

Many of those so-called scientists are not really interested in the truth. So long that they can preserve their cherished ideology, and so long that some research seems to support their claims, they will more than likely embrace it without serious examination.

Moreover, many of those scientists start with an ideological foundation—such as Jewish behavior is genetic—and then go find the evidence to support the claim. What about evidence that seems to give a different picture?

Sometimes they ridicule it without serious counterarguments or ignore it altogether.  For example, Kate Yandell, writing for The Scientist, reports that “Jewish heritage written in DNA.”[71]

James H. Fowler
James H. Fowler

Of course, this sounds like publicity stunt. Playing with biology to prove behavior is genetic is like using carbon dating to prove that the earth is old or young–a fraudulent enterprise. The key issue basically boils down to who is doing the research.

For example, professor of medicine and sociology Nicholas A. Christakis of Yale (formerly of Harvard) and professor of medical genetics and political science James H. Fowler of the University of California produced a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences arguing that we share some DNA with our close friends, which is comparable to the genes we share with our fourth cousins.[72]

Friends who are not biologically related may be similar to each other genetically? If this turns out to be true, that certainly would question the widely held theory about Jewish behavior. Fowler declared,

“Looking across the whole genome we find that, on average, we are genetically similar to our friends. We have more DNA in common with the people we pick as friends than we do with strangers in the same population.”[73]

In fact, Kristakis and Fowler suggested that their theory is related to “kin selection,” a Darwinian interpretation which deals with “survival” and evolutionary explanation.[74]

Kristakis declares that he and Fowler wanted “to provide a deep evolutionary account of the origins and significance of friendship.”

The crucial point here is that one should never build his/her entire premises on weak science such as this, for using biology to prove behavior is not like using mathematics to prove a theory where rigorous evidence is shown and defended on intellectually logical ground.

As we have shown numerous times, the data can be manipulated to fit an ideological worldview. In fact, even some physicists would deliberately—yes, deliberately!—distort what others have said so that they can preserve their own philosophical belief.

To illustrate this point, watch the following clip very carefully. It is about a letter that noted cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin sent to Lawrence Krauss dealing with the beginning of the universe. Krauss deliberately deleted the essential point of what Vilenkin was saying and presented only the version that fit his ideological premise. I certainly was stunned:

 [youtube AkvckQG71oc]

Moving on to the thirteenth century, it was Nicholas Donin (a Jew who converted to Christianity) who made Pope Gregory IX aware of the Talmud’s nefarious theological metaphysics.[75]

In short, theology is where the conflict begins and ends. The sad part is that many people who seek to understand the origin of the issue would quickly dismiss theology and then move on to assert axiomatically that the issue is primarily genetic or “racial.” If the Zionist regime in Israel declares that the issue is racial, the genetic theorist would quickly agree.

Yet the simple fact is that the same regime does not accept Jews who have converted to Christianity as Jews! We have cited in a previous article Shmuel Oswald Rufeisen, known as “Brother Daniel.” Born to a Jewish family in Poland, Rufeisen was a flaming Zionist as a teenager and fought against Nazi occupation.

A group of nuns actually saved him from being handed to the Nazis for betrayal, which led him convert to Christianity. Rufeisen eventually intended to settle in Israel in 1958. The state would not give him citizenship because he became a Christian.[76]

How can the state declare that issue be really genetic when in fact Rufeisen, who was more “Jewish” in his youth than Benjamin Netanyahu, had been denied citizenship? And how can anti-Zionist movements embrace this same genetic clap-trap?

The issue is quite clear: Zionism cannot survive without its Talmudic metaphysics, which is both racist and anti-Semitic.

It is anti-Semitic because it denies Jews who have converted to Christianity their basic rights, and it is racist because it elevates Talmudic Jews above any other human beings.

As Civilta cattolica put it, it reduces the Gentile world, most specifically Christians, into “moral nothingness, which contradicts the basic principles of natural law.” If you think that Civilta cattolica was exaggerating, listen once again to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef:

“Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world; only to serve the People of Israel. Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat

“With gentiles, it will be like any person: They need to die, but God will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money. This is his servant. That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew.”[77]

In 2001, the same rabbi postulated that the Arabs are “vipers” and must be annihilated from the pages of history:

“It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.”

Was that racist and diabolical comment ingrained in the rabbi’s DNA? Or was it actually a function of Talmudic metaphysics? If you say that it was ingrained in his DNA, then you are indirectly and subtly embracing what the Church would have called classic definition of anti-Semitism.

This form of anti-Semitism can never explain how decent people like Brother Nathanael Kapner, Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir, Mortimer Adler, and many Christians of the first, second, and third centuries got rid of their so-called bad DNA.

What is even worse is that genetic theorists are implicitly using the same useless arguments that the Pharisees were trying to force on Jesus, which he rejected out of hand. So, should we seriously pay attention to those genetic theorists? The answer is no.

[1] See R. C. Musaph-Andriesse, From Torah to Kabbalah: A Basic Introduction to the Writings of Judaism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), 40.

[2] Heinrich Graetz, History of the Jews, Vol. II (Philadelphia: Jewish Publications Society of America, 1891), 473.

[3] Leon Poliakov, The History of Anti-Semitism: From the Times of Christ to the Court Jews, Vol. I (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1955), 253.

[4] See for example Peter Schaeffer, Jesus in the Talmud (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007).

[5] Graetz, History, 5:6, 121.

[6] Ibid., 5:24-25.

[7] Graetz, History, 4:12.

[8] Graetz, History, 5:142.

[9] Graetz, History, 4:13.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid., 4:15.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid., 4:17.

[14] David Bridger, New Jewish Encyclopedia (West Orange, NJ: Behrman Publishers, 1976), 453.

[15] Norman F. Cantor, The Sacred Chain: History of the Jews (New York: Harper Perennial, 1994), 112.

[16] Jacob Neusner, Rabbinic Judaism: Structure and System (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1995), 205.

[17] Jacob Neusner, A History of the Jews in Babylonia, Vol. V (Leiden: Brill, 1970), 24.

[18] Jacob Neusner, Jews and Christians: The Myth of a Common Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), xi.

[19] Solomon Grayzel, A History of the Jews (Philadelphia: Jewish Publications Society of America, 1947), 37.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid., 38.

[22] Ibid., 76-78.

[23] Ibid., 78.

[24] Pike, Israel: Our Duty, Our Dilemma, 20.

[25] Ibid., 15.

[26] Grayzel, A History of the Jews, 79-83, 85-88.

[27] Ibid., 112.

[28] Ibid., 195.

[29] Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht, The Fate of the Jews (New York: Times Books, 1983), 31.

[30] Grayzel, A History of the Jews, 195.

[31] Henry H. Milman, History of the Jews, Vol. III (New York: Hyperion Books, 1986),39.

[32] Ibid., 3:428.

[33] Ibid., 3:428-429.

[34] Graetz, History, 2:18, 20.

[35] Grayzel, A History of the Jews, 185.

[36] Robert Goldenberg, “Talmud,” Back to the Sources, Barry W. Holtz, ed., 130.

[37] Isaac Landman, ed., The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, 8:474.

[38] Louis Finkelstein, “The Pharisees: The Sociological Background of their Faith” (

[39] Adin Steinsaltz, The Essential Talmud, 3.

[40] James Davis, “Jewish Communities in South Florida Celebrate New Edition of the Talmud,” Palm Beach Post, November 5, 2010.

[41] Moses Hess, Rome and Jerusalem: A Study in Jewish Nationalism (New York: Bloch Publishing, 1918), 98.

[42] Ibid., 104.

[43] Ken Koltun-Fromm, Moses Hess and Modern Jewish Identity (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001), 2.

[44] Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion, 2.

[45] Lloyd P. Gartner, History of the Jews in Modern Times (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 2.

[46] Neusner, Rabbinic Judaism, 205.

[47] Graetz, History, 3:575.

[48] Ibid., 3:579.

[49] Quoted in Michael Hoffman, Judaism Discovered (Coeur d’Alene: Independent History and Research, 2008), 141.

[50] Ibid., 191.

[51] Ibid., 195.

[52] Ibid., 344.

[53] For a basic understanding, see Jacob Neusner, The Talmud: Law, Theology, Narrative, xiv,

and Judaism when Christianity Began, 6-9.

[54] Eisenmenger, The Traditions of the Jews, 100.

[55] Neusner, The Talmud, xiv.

[56] See Skarsaune, In the Shadow of the Temple, 39-40.

[57] Grayzel, A History of the Jews, 241.

[58] Hoffman, Judaism Discovered, 183.

[59] Brown, What Do Jewish People Think about Jesus?, 32.

[60] Eisenmenger, The Traditions of the Jews, 166.

[61] Ibid., 166.

[62] Isidore Singer, The Jewish Encyclopedia, 9:665-666.

[63] Graetz, History, 2:605.

[64] Ibid., 2:607.

[65] Ibid., 2:609.

[66] Grayzel, A History of the Jews, 209.

[67] Graetz, History, 2:471-472.

[68] Grayzel, A History of the Jews, 239, 241.

[69] Ibid., 259.

[70] Jones, Jewish Revolutionary Spirit, 47.

[71] Kate Yandell, “Jewish Heritage Written in DNA,” The Scientist, September 9, 2014.

[72] Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler, “Friendship and Natural Selection,” PNAS, July 14, 2014.

[73] Steve Connor, “DNA tests prove your close friends are probably distant relatives,” The Independent, July 14, 2014; “Study Finds Friends Are Genetically Similar,” Medical News Today, July 15, 2014.

[74] “Study Finds Friends Are Genetically Similar,” Medical News Today, July 15, 2014.

[75] See E. Michael Jones, Jewish Revolutionary Spirit, chapter 3.

[76] For the complete story, see Nechama Tec, In the Lion’s Den: The Life of Oswald Rufeisen (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990).

[77] Quoted in Marcy Oster, “Sephardi leader Yosef: Non-Jews exist to serve Jews,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 18, 2010.

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