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Judaism and Jewish Apologetics
By Guido G.B. Deimel
"Those who wish to seek out the causes of miracles, and to understand the things of nature as philosophers, and not stare at them in astonishment like fools, are soon considered heretical and impious and proclaimed as such by those whom the mob adore as the interpreters of nature and the gods. For these men know that once ignorance is put aside, that wonderment would be taken away which is the only means by which their authority is preserved." 
Most Jews will readily accept that the idol of Christianity, Jesus Christ, was neither the Messiah, nor divine, nor a perfect model for moral actions. This is simply because – fortunately for themselves, as well as for other persons – Jews are not in the habit of reading the Christian New Testament Scriptures. They have not been told by their parents to cherish or worship Jesus Christ when they were children, and thus they are not used to believing in the virgin birth or other absurdities.
But what about their own religion?
To many Jews the basic tenet of Judaism and Jewish teaching is a "message of morality, tolerance, peace and human dignity". 
Is this true?
It is evident that any critique of the Jewish religion is in danger of being labeled antisemitic. Judaism as a culture is much more than just a religion, and a person of Jewish background will be viewed – and likely view him/herself – as Jewish regardless of his/her personal religious convictions. For this reason the present article will refer to Judaism in the way Jewish theologians usually refer to Judaism: as a religious faith.
For several reasons Jewish believers are confronted with much less logical problems than Christian believers of most denominations. Jews never had to cope with logical inconsistencies of the New Testament. Accordingly, Jews in all of history also had the advantage of logic and consistency on their side, in so far as problems arose out of New Testament interpretations of verses taken from the Old Testament: this collection of sacred Scriptures is called the Tanakh by Jews and to them represents the entire Bible.
Similarly the Jewish interpretation of many Biblical passages differs significantly from Christian interpretations, often because the text of Christian Bibles was poorly translated from the Hebrew original. For example the most well known of the Ten Commandments, usually quoted as Thou shalt not kill, which apparently even condemns killing in self-defense, to Jews always had meant Thou shalt not murder. 
Since major parts of the Talmud, the second most important holy book of Judaism, consist of recorded discussions of ancient Rabbis – the Sages – on all sorts of things, which were written down including differing opinions of individual Sages, the idea that differing opinions have a place in the Jewish Faith – within certain limits, of course – has had a long tradition in most of the various streams of Judaism.
Still, for Jews believing in an all-powerful God, the "attempt to vindicate God's goodness in the face of the existence of so much evil in the world" , the logical problem already addressed by Euripides millennia ago and commonly referred to as theodicy, applies to Judaism in a similar way as to Christianity, like many other problems deriving from specific verses of the Bible , and I need not delve into details already covered in arguments challenging the truth of Christianity.
Especially since the Holocaust, many Jewish theologians acknowledge that
Apart from the fact that such a position has been the traditional Jewish answer long before the Holocaust, indeed even long before the pogroms of the medieval crusades , like other Bible oriented faithful our Jewish theologians refuse to address the obvious answer: that an almighty and loving God as described in the Bible simply cannot exist.
This is hardly surprising – after all, most theologians have to make a living of the beliefs of their religions' followers.
For the mentioned reasons this article will instead deal with the moral aspects of the Jewish religion. This is an all the more obvious approach, since in Judaism the "central stress has always been on performing [God's] commandments, unlike in Christianity where far greater emphasis is placed on faith." 
In review of a work written by an influential modern American Rabbi I will give examples of apologist claims typical for Jewish theologians, and name various reasons why these should be viewed in a critical light.
A note for Jewish readers: many Jews consider it impious to write the word G-d other than with a hyphen instead of an o. Since many Jewish theologians write God, and since my intention is to question beliefs rather than to support them, I have not adopted this usage, intentionally, though not out of lacking respect. Furthermore I would like to note here, out of necessity a single article as this can not deal exhaustively with every aspect or basic teaching of Judaism, so that topics considered essential by some Jews may not be addressed here, and others may not apply to all Jews.
The Jewish Bible, the Tanakh, is divided into
From ancient times the Torah was regarded as a law code, though as incomplete, since the "Torah is silent on many subjects" , and therefore had to be supplemented with what tradition calls the Oral Torah, or Oral Law. This represented the possibility to reshape or reinterpret many of the archaic laws of the Torah, for example the well-known verse an eye for an eye was explained by the Oral Law as "requiring monetary compensation: the value of an eye is what must be paid." 
According to Orthodox Jewish tradition, when "God gave Moses the Torah... He simultaneously provided him all the details found in the Oral Law" . These were discussed by Jewish Sages in oral form in the so-called Tannaïtic period, named after the Tannaïm (Aramaic for teachers), the Rabbis of the time who laid the ground for today's Judaism. At the time of the Jewish War with the Romans there existed primarily two streams of Judaism, the Sadducees and the Pharisees, the latter surviving the war and therefore the root of subsequent Judaism. The Pharisees were divided into two schools in the first century, named after their founders, Hillel – maybe the most important Rabbi ever to live: Jews attribute the Golden Rule to him – and his opponent Shammai. But already in ancient times these traditions were first written down around the year 200 C.E. by Rabbi Jehuda ha-Nasi, also known as Judah the Prince or simply as Rabbi.
For this reason the Oral Torah consists of these writings, the "sixty-three tractates in which Rabbi Judah set down the Oral Law" , which are called the Mishnah and constitute the basis for most Jewish religious practices. Mishnah verses are cited giving the name of the tractate, chapter and section number, e.g. Mishnah Sanhedrin 9:6.
Unlike the Torah, Jewish Law in the Mishnah is thus structured into orders of several tractates each, arranged according to the topics dealt with. For example, the order "Nezikin (Damages), contains ten tractates summarizing Jewish civil and criminal Law." 
After generations of Rabbis exhaustively studying the Mishnah (the word means copy or repetition), some of them began to write down their discussions in a series of books known as the Talmud, the Rabbis of Palestine finishing their work around 400 C.E., which today is known as Talmud Yerushalmi or Palestine Talmud. These additional commentaries are called the Gemara (i.e. completion).
More than a century later the Rabbis of Babylon compiled a similar series of books, which is far more extensive than the Palestine Talmud, became the more authoritative version and is now called the Babylonian Talmud or Bavli. In general the word Talmud thus refers to the Babylonian Talmud. Both are structured in the same order as the Mishnah, and most Talmud editions contain the Mishnah. Many Jewish schools carry the word Yeshiva in their name, although this traditionally refers to schools devoted to Talmud study.  Since the original Hebrew Talmud must be copied in the same layout as certain originals , a given page will always hold exactly the same verses. Passages of the Babylonian Talmud therefore can be quoted naming the Tractate and adding the number of the page (called folio) and the letter a or b, referring to front or back, e.g. Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Âbodah Zarah 37a. Occasionally a preceding letter b (for babylonian) or a letter j resp. y (for jerusalem resp. yerushalmi) designates the Talmud edition quoted, e.g. bBM 59b refers to the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Bava Mesia, fol. 59b.
Apart from these most important Jewish Scriptures there exist numerous other Rabbinical writings, some of them older than Mishnah and Talmud, for example the Tannaïtic Midrashim (Bible commentaries), the most well known of which is the Midrash Sifré Deuteronomy, often simply called the Sifré . Finally, the most recent Scriptures of Judaism were written by various famous sages until the late Middle Ages. Among the first to be mentioned are Rabbi Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), whose name is often given as the acronym Rambam (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) and Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzhak (1040?-1105) or Rashi.
In the Talmud the ancient Rabbis are engaged in two types of discussions: halakhic, meaning purely legal matters, and aggadic, i.e. folkloristic or ethical anecdotes . Living in accordance with God's commandments (mitzvot) is considered the prime goal of Jewish life by most of the different streams of Judaism, and already Talmudic tradition stated there is a total of 613 Commandments in the Torah, which are divided into 248 Positive Commandments and 365 Negative Commandments or prohibitions. 
No Jew follows all of these 613 Commandments today, although they are viewed as valid for all time. For example many are not applicable, among others those regulating the Temple services, ever since the only Jewish Temple of the Second Temple Period, the Jerusalem Temple, was destroyed in the war between Jews and Romans in 66-70 C.E.
Since these Commandments do not regulate every detail of Jewish life, additional laws and rulings were and still are issued by Rabbis, thus forming the whole canon of Jewish Law, the Halakha (the word means walking or path). A single decision is often referred to as a halakha, such as the prohibition to drive a car on Shabbat (Saturday), the holy day of Judaism. Observance of halakha and the Commandments are of different importance to each of the various forms of today's Judaism, for example most Reform Jews do drive cars on Saturdays. The most well-known body of Jewish laws, Kashrut, defines the sort and preparation of food proper to eat for pious Jews, in other words what is kosher.
Thus for most religious Jews with the exception of Reform Judaism there is no separation between religious and secular law. In the state of Israel today several legal areas are under Rabbinical authority, especially family and marriage laws.
One of the first comprehensive compilations of the 613 Commandments was written by Maimonides, the Book of Commandments (Sefer ha-Mitzvot) , though his most well known works are the Book of Laws (Mishneh Torah), and the Guide of the Perplexed (Moreh Nebukim).
He is also the author of the only Jewish equivalent to dogma, the Thirteen Principles of Maimonides  which were accepted by almost all streams of Judaism and which cannot be discussed here in detail.
Additional information about Jewish religious observance and practices can be found on many Jewish pages on the net, and is also provided by the Ontario Center for Religious Tolerance.
"Judaism believes that the purpose of Jewish existence is nothing less than 'to perfect the world under the rule of God' (...)
Few people would object to a better world, if this is put in such a general way. However, it does seem worth while asking exactly what kind of ethics are promoted by the Jewish religion, so some of these will be discussed below.
The Chosen People
One of the most common associations with Jews is the idea that the Jews are the Chosen People. "Does Judaism believe that chosenness endows Jews with special rights in the way racist ideologies endow those born into the 'right race'? Not at all. The most famous verse in the Bible on the subject of chosenness says the precise opposite: 'You alone have I singled out of all the families of the earth. That is why I call you to account for all your iniquities' (Amos 3:2). Chosenness is so unconnected to any notion of race..." 
Thus today's Jewish theologians most often interpret the idea of Jewish chosenness as the special Jewish obligation to "make God known to the world,"  an attempt to demonstrate the Jewish chosenness does not imply that Jews are somehow superior to other people, instead have special obligations. While there is indeed no Jewish conception of race, is it true that the idea of Jewish chosenness meaning Jews being superior to other people is incompatible with Judaism, alien to the Jewish Faith?
As the subject of a critical review Rabbi Joseph Telushkin's Jewish Literacy. The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History (New York: Morrow 1991) was chosen here as an exemplary work of Jewish apologetics for three reasons:
Although an evident approach of reviewing a book is to follow the order of the contents, I decided to address the topics dealt with here not always in the order they appear in Telushkin's text, but arranged in order of their importance, familiarity, or relevance to basic concepts of Jewish religious identity. On occasion other theologians' writings will be considered as well.
"The Hebrew Bible has been the most influential book in human history; both Judaism and Christianity consider it to be one of their major religious texts. Several of its central ideas – that there is One God over all mankind, and one universal standard of morality; that people are obligated to care for the poor, the widow and the orphan, and the stranger; that people should refrain from work one day a week, and dedicate themselves to make that day holy; and that the Jews have been chosen by God to spread His message to the world – have transformed both how men and women have lived, and how they have understood their existence," we read in the opening chapter of this compendium of Jewish knowledge. 
While probably no one will argue with the first two statements of the above paragraph, further reading and other sources show almost all of the other claims to be at least questionable concerning either the validity or the implicitly inferred positive impact of the Bible's teachings on humanity in history and present. This is the subject of the following discussion.
Any discussion of a monotheistic religion should begin with its central idea, the existence of a supernatural being as the first cause and creator of the world. This is not the place to discuss general philosophical or logical problems with this theistic conception. Still, referring to difficulties with belief in a god as described in the Bible, Telushkin writes:
While the Israelites may have had other reasons for their loss of faith, already ancient texts show, that to some people the biblical conception of God was unacceptable for reasons Telushkin does not even notice. A gnostic text of the first century comments on the Jewish god:
Jewish theologian Hyam Maccoby, who presented this quote as evidence of antisemitism in ancient times, does not comment with a single word on these qualities of God, an approach not at all unusual for theologians. 
Yet often pagans were repelled not by Jewish persons but Jewish conceptions of God:
Adam, Eve, and the Creation of Man
One of the most well known tales of the Bible is the narration of God's creation of man and Adam and Eve as ancestors of all humanity.
Telushkin here would have his readers believe the impact and goal of this basic biblical and Jewish teaching – "that all mankind descend from this one couple" – was to make clear all humans are brothers and sisters. Are we then to conclude we should treat other people, especially those not belonging to our own ethnic or religious denomination, as brothers and sisters?
This already appears dubious if one considers other excerpts from the same Torah text, especially God's commandment to the Israelites to exterminate certain other peoples such as the Canaanites (e.g. Deuteronomy 7), which will be discussed in detail below.
But the basic problem of this implicit argument of Telushkin can be shown more explicitly in the texts of one of the greatest teachers of Jewish law and ethics ever to live, Rabbi Maimonides, which were written more than a millennium after this basic premise, that all men descend from Adam, was available to Jews. Moreover, the following passage has the advantage of directly addressing this common ancestry, referring to Esau, grandson of Abraham, the ancestor of all Jews (Genesis 25:19-25).
In Maimonides' Book of Commandments we read:
Obviously his common ancestry with the Amalekites and "Judaism's abhorrence of bloodshed"  to this Jewish teacher presented no contradiction to God's commandment to annihilate these "brothers and sisters."
Moreover, this commandment (among many others) demonstrates that the concept of Holy War (milhemet mitzva, obligatory war) is not unique to Christianity (Crusade) or Islam (Jihad) but common to all three monotheistic religions based on the tradition of Abraham. 
The Ten Commandments
Many Jews consider the Ten Commandments to be the major contribution of the Jewish people to humanity's conception of ethics. Rabbi Telushkin writes:
Should we believe then, that without the Decalogue, there would be no morality? Already in ancient times this question has been answered well by the last pagan ruler of the Roman Empire:
One of the most well-known issues of Halakha (religious law) is Kashrut, Jewish dietary law. Modern Rabbis often claim that one major issue of these regulations was the ethical imperative to prevent cruelty to animals. Writes Telushkin:
Not surprisingly, Telushkin here fails to give any references for his claims of the ethical implications of Jewish dietary law. The reader who wants to know more and therefore looks up the relevant passages from the Jewish Scriptures is bound to be disappointed . None of these even mention the animal's pain, not once. 
Instead, one reads for example, concerning the question which slaughter is valid:
Of course it is impossible to present all the relevant details of Kashrut regulations here, but already these excerpts show that the Sages were concerned about ritual cleanliness and not in any way interested in the pain of the animal.
More than any other person acting in the Bible it is the character of Moses who is most often associated with Judaism. We read:
It must be acknowledged that on another occasion Telushkin mentions in exactly what way Moses "rages at the Jews,"
I leave it to the reader to compare these paragraphs to original biblical accounts of Moses' actions.
As is so often the case in the original sources of the Jewish religion (Torah, Talmud), idolatry is considered a crime the abolition of which apparently justifies the vilest atrocities, including the slaying of one's brothers or the enemy's women because they may have led the Israelites astray from the Lord.
Often Jewish theologians rationalize this by stating that the nations around the Israelites (e.g. the Canaanites, see below) practiced human sacrifices, the abolition of which is explained to be the rationale behind the Torah's abhorrence of Idolatry:
Apart from the fact that it is not very convincing to justify the slaying of one's idolatrous brothers or neighbors, or even the annihilation of entire populations to abolish human sacrifices for the sake of the "sanctity of human life" – an argument also used by Christians as a justification for exterminating the native populations in the New World – in the case of the Golden Calf that was out of question, there is no mention of human sacrifice, although burnt offerings and the wrath of God are mentioned (Exodus 32:6-10).
The Torah may have been "more horrified and angered by the ritual of child sacrifice than by any other aspect" of idolatry, but obviously it was not horrified by slavery (Leviticus 25:44), genocide (Deuteronomy 7:2, Deuteronomy 20:16, see below), rape of women taken prisoner in war (Numbers 31:18, Deuteronomy 21:14 ), the slaying of children (Numbers 31:17), execution of unbelievers (Exodus 22:20), and denunciation and execution even of one's own wife or brother for loss of faith (Deuteronomy 13:6-8), all of which is given as a commandment by God in the Torah.
The Promised Land and its Native Population
Contrary to most other theological apologists – especially Christian theologians – Rabbi Telushkin addresses one of the most problematical aspects of any belief system founded upon the biblical texts, the Bible's advocacy of genocide.
How does a Jewish Rabbi deal with this subject?
While Rabbi Telushkin certainly deserves respect for at least mentioning this problem, and while it would certainly be wrong to blame the ancient Israelites or even Jews for such horrid morals of warfare , the question arises – if it is indeed the Bible which "sensitized us" to more humane ethics – why it took more than two millennia before genocide was first officially addressed as a crime by a committee of societies consisting of a majority of Bible believers (incidentally this was the achievement of the tireless efforts of an infidel Jewish lawyer, Raphael Lemkin ).
This question becomes all the more evident since we have indeed verifiable evidence of how biblical ethics affected the behavior of historical societies confronted with exactly this moral problem. Since Telushkin obviously does not refer exclusively to Jewish Bible believers in this paragraph – and in any case most Jewish societies of the past two millennia were a suppressed minority lacking political power, so that Jewish warfare was out of question – this evidence may be derived from Christian societies. The Crusades come to mind, but we can even look at what Telushkin himself has given as example.
Apparently Christian colonists – "the men who slaughtered the Indians" – rarely were impressed by the Biblical ethics of "respect for human life" enough not to view native peoples as the Canaanites whom the Bible commanded them to exterminate. This can be shown for Spaniards who sacked the civilizations of Southern and Meso-America in the sixteenth century:
we read about the conquest of the native empire of Mexico.
Among the Puritan colonists of Massachusetts we find a professional interpreter of the Bible's teachings express a similar opinion: Puritan divine Cotton Mather, who is well known in connection with the Salem Witch Hunt of 1692, wrote:
Moreover, in this case we have explicit evidence of what "the men who slaughtered the Indians" had in mind. After one massacre in the summer of 1636 the Puritan commander-in-charge John Mason wrote:
referring to the slain Pequot Indians including women, children, and old men. In connection with the idea of the Promised Land, on another occasion again
Mason's comrade Underhill recalled how "great and doleful was the bloody sight to the view of the young soldiers" yet reassured his readers that "sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents". 
Witnessing such standards of total war was appalling even to these Indians' native enemies:
Indeed it is easy to show that the concepts of warfare prevalent in European societies was alien to the native populations of Northern America:
In short, Telushkin's claim that it was the Bible itself which "sensitized us to high standards of respect for human life" (a claim often paralleled by Christian theologians) can hardly be backed up with evidence, to say the least. This becomes even more obvious if we take into account what ancient European authors, who were not influenced by the teachings of the Bible, expressed about ethics of warfare, Roman lawyer and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero (ca. 44 B.C.E.), to name but one example:
Comparing this quotation of a pagan's morality with what the famous teacher of Jewish Law, Rabbi Maimonides, wrote more than a thousand years later:
Rabbi Telushkin comments on the Torah's commandment "to wipe out the Canaanite nations":
In other words, in order for a religion to survive, entire populations - men, women, children, and infants - had to be mercilessly butchered and exterminated ("pursue them throughout all generations until they are destroyed completely").
This then, if we are to believe Telushkin, is how a universal standard of morality and ethics was introduced to humanity.
Jewish theologians and cultural historians often claim that their religion was among the first to improve the status of women, and in this context especially the Jewish custom of making a marriage contract, the ketubbah, is mentioned:
Referring to the reforms introduced by Pharisaic Rabbis to Judaism of the first century, Jewish theologian Hyam Maccoby writes:
But as has been observed by a study specializing in research on the position of women in ancient Judaism:
It is therefore interesting to find that even in the cuneiform documents of the ancient Babylonian society of three thousand years ago marriage contracts such as the later Jewish ketubbah were anything else but uncommon. To give but one example:
It may be of further interest to note that roughly two millennia after the conditions of this contract were put down to form this document, a German Jewish Rabbi, Rabbi Gershom, first decreed divorces without the woman's consent illegal in Jewish societies, the same Rabbi who put a ban on polygamy in the tenth century. .
Referring to the ancient Rabbis' opinions on women the above mentioned study also finds:
In general, according to the Rabbinical writings, women should stay at their homes:
This view is supported by the results of another author's research:
which is exactly the reason why famous Jewish historian Josephus Flavius, referring to the Jewish War of 66-70 C.E.,
A similar situation held for the official positions granted to women in religious congregations in ancient Jewish societies, namely the question if there could be women Rabbis:
In contrast, women priests were quite common in non-Jewish ancient societies – Greek and Roman alike:
This, however, is not to say that Jewish women never had the opportunity of fulfilling an important role in Jewish societies of ancient times:
which may be the reason why Maccoby, in giving another example of the alleged comparatively high status of women in ancient Judaism names as positions Jewish women held in ancient synagogues not Hebrew titles but the Latin and Greek archisynagogissa ('head of synagogue') and presbytera ('elder' or 'member of council'), which were taken from excavations of ancient synagogues. 
In any case women priests, or rather, female persons educated as Jewish religious authorities, had to wait another two thousand years, until the 20th century: the first female Rabbi in history was Regina Jonas, whose ordination – the semikha – took place 1935 in Germany (which probably was not a wise thing to do at the time) .
One Standard of Morality: Widows, Orphans, and Strangers
There is no room here to go into a lengthy discussion of the question how much the Bible actually was the basis for our ethics today. It is obvious that other societies also had developed their own standards of morality, so a few examples should suffice to demonstrate that Telushkin's claim of the Bible being the very foundation or source of our "universal standard of morality" is at least questionable.
Three thousand years ago, the Babylonian Counsel of Wisdom recommended, apart from worship of various gods:
Also in Asia of Biblical times such a "standard of morality" can be shown:
Similarly in the case of the ancient Greek and Roman societies one finds:
Especially the protection and rights of strangers is often presented as evidence of the impact of Jewish morality on the development of the ethics of today's Western societies, though we have already seen that such ideas were not uncommon even in ancient pagan Rome and Greece. Writes Telushkin:
Here Rabbi Telushkin fails to tell his reader the Hebrew term ger (stranger viz. convert) was understood by the Sages and the Talmud to refer to a proselyte, and thus not referring to a non-Jew at all. Consequently, for a Gentile there are other Hebrew terms, such as nokhri and goy. 
Another modern Rabbi put it more bluntly:
This is also what Maimonides explicitly had laid down referring to this Commandment:
In contrast, on how to deal with non-Jews, Maimonides had stated, for example:
It is to be noted, however, that many other sources and Rabbis, in disagreement with Maimonides, declare this to be a permission rather than an obligation . Still there is obviously not much love for the non-Jewish stranger in this commandment.
As has already been stated above, Jews often attribute the Golden Rule to the first-century Rabbi Hillel, similar to Christians who attribute it to Jesus:
Another theologian indicates there is more to be said about the matter:
Indeed, for instance, we find this same principle also expressed by Confucius (Analects 12,2), Buddha (Dhammapada 10.129-130, which version probably spread from India to Hellenism and was therefore familiar in the cultural environment of Hillel), and, again, Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero:
The Jewish conception of the utter evil is the biblical nation of Amalek. The 188th commandment of God, the commandment to exterminate the people of Amalek has already been quoted above. Referring to Amalek, Telushkin writes:
In accord with the "animosity that the Torah mandates against Amalek," as we have seen, one of its 613 commandments prescribes the extermination of Amalek. It is even supplemented with an additional commandment to always remember this animosity towards Amalek. As Maimonides put it:
While Telushkin addresses the problem of the "inexplicable" animosity of God or the Torah against Amalek, he refuses to explain or even to mention several other logical and moral problems. It is true that according to the Bible the "Egyptians had caused the Hebrews more suffering than the Amalekites."
However, the biblical account (Exodus 17:8-16) gives no evidence for the nefariousness of Amalek's deed, there is nothing which suggests a comparison of the Amalekites with the Nazis. Were it not for God's commandment, even Telushkin should agree to the Amalekites' right to defend themselves from Hebrew invaders intending to conquer their territory ("do not fear the people of the land, for they are no more than bread for us; their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them," Numbers 14:9).
But even if the Amalekites cowardly and nefariously had attacked the defenseless "children and the aged" as Telushkin writes, does this justify the commandment to "wipe out the Amalekites" generations later? To wipe out defenseless infants and sucklings? God's commandment to Saul to destroy the Amalekites – and even their animals ("utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey", 1 Samuel 15:3) – for "that which Amalek did to Israel," means a punishment for deeds committed by the ancestors of these men and women, children and infants.
Telushkin comments on Saul's disobedience to God, i.e. sparing the life of King Agag instead of annihilating all the Amalekites:
The reader probably agrees with Telushkin that the "eternal animosity that the Torah mandates against Amalek is highly unusual": the massacre of Amalekite men, women, and children and the murder of the captive king Agag without mention of a trial, all in retaliation for deeds which had occurred generations before. After all, if these atrocities are no reason for Telushkin to express the slightest repugnance, one wonders what in all the world was so terribly wrong with what king Agag may or may not have done: the only difference between the (biblically not mentioned) deeds of the Amalekite king and the actions of Saul and the Israelites was that the latter believed they acted on command of their god.
Likewise, Telushkin apparently does not see a moral problem with Moses' order to the Israelites to slaughter the Midianite women and male children, the biblical account of which (Numbers 31) has been quoted above. And what is more, these were not even killed in battle, but slaughtered when they were already captives. Similarly the Bible gives many other accounts of atrocities committed by God or the Israelites, which apparently do not trouble Telushkin, for example the death of the firstborn of the Egyptians, including even babies (Exodus 12:29), and the slaughter of those Israelites who had worshipped the Golden Calf ("and each of you kill your brother, your friend, and your neighbor.," Exodus 32:27), both of which Telushkin mentions without any sign of unease . Yet the moral atrocity of these events should be obvious to anyone feeling the slightest respect for a fellow human being, even to Jewish Rabbi Telushkin.
One is inclined to conclude, therefore, that to Telushkin slaughtering men, women, infants, and babies for the sole reason of their nationality is morally wrong not in itself, but only if not commanded by God.
In other words, when "Haman, a descendant of King Agag," and thus, according to Jewish tradition in Telushkin's words the "ancient equivalent of the Nazis", organized "a genocidal plot to wipe out all the Jews," there would have been nothing wrong with this, had God issued the corresponding order for him to do so, and all the more so, since the Jews had been given the commandment to exterminate Amalek generations before.
Similarly, to Telushkin, there is nothing wrong with the divine commandment to enter and conquer the land of Canaan, "a land of milk and honey"  and to exterminate its population as commanded by God:
In contrast to Telushkin's claim, the Torah text does not mention it would have been Canaanites who would have massacred Hebrews:
To Telushkin apparently neither the Canaanites nor the Amalekites have a right to defend their territory from invaders approaching with the intent not only to conquer their land ("Let us go up at once, and occupy it; for we are well able to overcome it.") but even to exterminate them.
These intentions later are carried out by the biblical hero Joshua. Telushkin's comments on the book of Joshua, which tells the story of this gory conquest, give a hint to why the soil of the land of Canaan may be among the most bloodstained in the world even today:
The obvious problem of recommending sacred Scriptures such as these and the comparison with the situation of Israel today apparently evades Rabbi Telushkin. Yet it is by no means a coincidence that especially among the religious Jews in Israel, first and foremost among the fundamentalist settler communities, in the occupied territories places are still referred to by their biblical names, such as Judea and Samaria. 
Probably no event in Jewish history shook the foundations of Jewish theology more severely than the Holocaust, the murder of about six million Jews by German Nazis in the Second World War. While many Jews remained faithful to their religion,
Indeed, this reasoning makes little sense. After all, the question arises: what constituted the Nazis' moral abomination? That they murdered Jews? Had they been less evil if they had chosen to murder stamp collectors instead? It is no surprise that Jewish sources from the Nazi era show that "the Germans" were viewed as Amalek:
But as a consequence of the Holocaust, this experience of genocide, would it not have been a more logical conclusion to remove certain commandments – namely those obliging Jews to commit genocide, such as the commandment to exterminate Amalek – instead of adding a further commandment to the traditional canon?
The Sanctity of Life, and the Authenticity of Jewish Scriptures
The Talmud version of the Golden Rule (Shabbat 31a) has been quoted above. Under the heading Jewish Ethics and Basic Beliefs Rabbi Telushkin refers to another well-known Talmud (more precisely Mishnah) passage:
The only problem with this statement of Rabbi Telushkin, which is likely to be affirmed by those who derive their knowledge about Judaism from works intended for the layman, is that this is not what the Mishnah says. We read instead:
This discrepancy is addressed by Telushkin:
Again there are several flaws in Rabbi Telushkin's explanation.
First, he does not tell his reader why the passage has been altered at all: most Jews living in Europe in the Middle Ages and after had to live under Christian rule, and Christian authorities imposed censorship on the Jewish Scriptures, mostly concerned with blasphemies of Christian doctrine. In many cases, however, the Christian censors forced references to non-Jews to be altered or removed as well:
Secondly Telushkin does not say when the Mishnah has been altered, leaving the question open which reading was the original meaning. Obviously Telushkin wants to give the impression that in the original meaning the verse was not limited to an "Israelite soul." Yet whoever bothers to look up the wording in the sources finds that practically no modern translation claims the universal version to be original .
Thirdly, taking into account the context of the passage, Telushkin's argument that the alleged change of the verse to refer to Jewish lives exclusively, "makes no sense since the proof of the infinite value of human life comes from Adam," seems to be convincing, as long as other passages of the Talmud in this context and the original Hebrew wording are ignored. Actually the apparent contradiction disappears if one contemplates passages which explicitly classify non-Jews (gentiles) as not human beings (Hebrew adam), e.g. Yebamot 61a, Bava Mesia 114b, Keritot 6b. Other verses, taken in their literal meaning, implicitly lead to the same conclusion, referring to a non-Jewish woman as a she-ass and to gentile authorities as asses (Berakhot 58a). Examples are quoted below.
However that may be, as usual, Rabbi Maimonides, one of the greatest exegetes of the Talmud, has made unmistakably clear the importance of saving a non-Jewish soul in his Mishneh Torah:
There probably exist very few introductory works about Judaism which do not cite the famous Talmudic passage (Shabbat 31a) relating the formulation of the Golden Rule – what is hateful to you, do not unto others – as famous sage Hillel said to a would-be convert. 
Other Talmud passages are less well known, though the Talmud is the foundation document of the religion Judaism, essential to understand the Torah. Renowned Jewish scholar Jacob Neusner writes:
It follows that if one wants to know how God's image of humanity ensures a holy way of life, and how "the Talmud sets forth the way to the Godly life, in intellect and in practice"  to form a social order of "justice and equity," one has to study the Talmud.
The following quotes are taken from the recent American Translation by Jacob Neusner and other scholars. 
Gentiles and non-Jews
The first of the six orders of the Mishnah and hence the Talmudic commentaries, Zera'im, begins with the "most famous tractate in the Talmud,"  Berakhot (Blessings), and is a good starting point. Because of the vast amount of the Talmudic writings – thousands of pages – it is impossible to present more than a few highlights.
Other passages indicate more clearly that the Jewish "sages of blessed memory"  did not necessarily regard non-Jews as the subject of equity as prescribed by the holy way of life.
In the above – to inexperienced readers probably confusing – excerpt, Elijah appearing "in the form of a man" refers to the dead prophet Elijah descending from heaven (the miracle spoken of).
Such a view of equity of non-Jews is expressed not only by aggadic anecdotes in the Talmud, but can be found in halakhic (legal) passages as well:
The rationale for the Talmudic sages' strong bias against non-Jews has been explained by Jacob Neusner:
One of the reasons for the vast amount of Talmudic writings is the ancient Sages' intent to cover every legal aspect of a situation in life:
Indeed, there is practically no question left unconsidered by the Talmud, as it reflects on "the complicated sides of a situation." For instance, consider the implications of levirate marriage – the obligation for a Jew to marry his deceased brother's childless widow  – on the following situation (according to the Mishnah a woman can be given in marriage by sexual intercourse ):
Sometimes one has to read a passage twice to believe what has been written in the Sacred Books of Judaism: what has been decreed the way to a holy life by the "sages of blessed memory... whose words are the natural sounds of Judaism" :
The basis for these rulings is the following Mishnaic passage of Tractate Niddah (filth):
Thus, one "of the many important issues worked out in the Mishnah concerns proper conduct with women,"  and the "entire society of Judaism – that is, the community formed by the Torah – found in the Talmud those modes of thought and inquiry, those media of order and value, that guided the formation of public affairs and private life as well." 
While it is reassuring to see there was at least some limit as to what the sages would declare holy and moral, this ruling had severe implications on the interpretation of other topics as well. The Tannaïtic Midrash Sifre to Numbers in §157 comments on the above quoted commandment of Moses to kill the Midianite women as well as the male children:
According to the Tannaïte Rabbis, Moses therefore had ordered the Israelites to kill all women older than three years and a day, because they were "suitable for having sexual relations." 
Says the Rabbi...
After reading in the original Jewish sources proper (Tanakh, Talmud, Midrashim etc.), and comparing these texts with modern apologetics, one feels almost relief at another Rabbi's blunt acknowledgment of the basic contradiction between Judaism and modern values such as democracy and human rights:
Of course, because of his support for Jewish terrorist activities in the modern state of Israel, the author of this excerpt, the late Rabbi Meïr Kahane, is regarded as a fanatical fundamentalist by many of his colleagues . The basic problem, however, is not fanatism, but the fact that a fundamentalist is simply one who takes his Sacred Scriptures literally true, word for word. If such writings do not contain bigoted or evil teachings, no harm will follow.
In view of the fact that in most of history the Jewish people and Jews have been severely persecuted and harassed, first and foremost by Christians and persons raised as Christians – who often justified their actions with the same Bible revered by their victims –, it is almost surprising how much Jewish apologetics resemble those promoted by Christian theologians.
What is presented to the reader as the essential message of Jewish morality is largely a projection of modern, humane and humanistic values on the Scriptural texts, which are quoted very selectively. Like any human product the Sacred Scriptures – as a reflection of the thoughts and environment of their authors – contain both agreeable as well as problematic teachings and morals. Modern theologians consider largely only those verses which do not seem offensive in the light of today's ethics and value systems, which mainly derive from the era of enlightenment, occasionally even from ancient pagan sources, or are simply values which can be shown to be the basis of many, in other respects vastly different cultures. These selected verses then are claimed to be the essential message of the Sacred text and the religion based upon it, although in many cases the very next verse directly contradicts this picture.
Obviously Jewish theologians can rely on the fact that few lay readers ever bother to look up the original context of the passages they happily quote in support of their claims.
It is true that the "Hebrew Bible has been the most influential book in human history." 
Sadly, this history of atrocities, humiliations and oppression includes the long and often tragic history of the Jewish people.
The following works are categorized as basic (B), intermediate (I), and advanced (A).
Those marked with (!) are highly recommended.
Dots ... in quotes indicate omissions of less than a paragraph, dots in brackets (...) denote omission of at least one paragraph.
All insertions except [sic!] are original unless otherwise indicated.
Peter Anthony Brunt, The Fall of the Roman Republic, Oxford: Clarendon Pr. 1988. (A)
Frank Chalk, Kurt Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide: Analyses and Case Studies, New Haven: Yale 1990. (A)
Francis B. Drohan, Jesus Who? The Greatest Mystery Never Told, New York: Philosophical Library 1985. (B)
Mircea Eliade, (Ed. in chief), The Encyclopedia of Religion, New York : Macmillan 1987f. (I)
Tal Ilan, Jewish Women in Greco-Roman Palestine, Tübingen: Mohr 1995. (A!)
Meïr Kahane, Uncomfortable Questions for Comfortable Jews, Secaucus N.J. 1987. (B!)
Ross S.Kraemer, Her Share of the Blessings. Women's Religions among Pagans, Jews, and Christians in the Greco-Roman World, New York: Oxford Univ. Press 1992. (I!)
Arnold Krupat, The voice in the margin. Native American Literature and the Canon, Berkeley: Univ. of Calif. Pr. 1989. (A)
W.G.Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Literature, Oxford 1960. (A)
Pnina Navè Levinson, Einführung in die rabbinische Theologie (Introduction to Rabbinical Theology, German), Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft 1993. (B)
Jacob Neusner, The Way of Torah. An Introduction to Judaism, Fifth Edition, Belmont: Wadsworth 1993. (I)
Jacob Neusner (ed.), World Religions in America. An Introduction, Louisville: Westminster/John Knox 1994. (B)
Jacob Neusner (ed.), Judaism Transcends Catastrophe. God, Torah, and Israel Beyond the Holocaust, Macon: Mercer University 1994-1996. (I)
Jacob Neusner, The Talmud. Introduction and reader, Atlanta: Scholars Press 1995. (I)
Hyam Maccoby, Judaism in the First Century, London: Sheldon 1989. (B)
Hyam Maccoby, Paul and Hellenism, London: SCM Press 1991. (I)
Johann Maier, Friedensordnung und Kriegsrecht im mittelalterlichen Judentum. Dargestellt auf der Basis der Schriften des Maimonides (German), Barsbüttel: Inst. für Theologie und Frieden 1993. (I!)
Stuart Mews (ed.), Shirin Akiner, Religion in Politics. A World Guide, Essex, Harlow: Longman 1989. (B)
Jack Miles, GOD: A biography, New York: Simon & Schuster 1995. (I)
James B.Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, Princeton: Univ. Pr. 1969. (A)
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Talmud Reference Guide, New York: Random House 1989. (A)
David E.Stannard, American Holocaust. Columbus and the Conquest of the New World, New York: Oxford University Press 1992. (I!)
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Literacy, New York: Morrow 1991. (I)
Hugh Thomas, Conquest. Montezuma, Cortés and the Fall of Old Mexico, New York: Simon & Schuster 1993. (A)
Menachem Stern, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism, Jerusalem: Israel Acad. of Sciences and Humanities 1974. (A)
K. Lawson Younger, Ancient conquest accounts. A Study in Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical History Writing, Sheffield: JSOT Pr. 1990. (A)
Marcus T.Cicero, Cicero's Three Books of Offices, or Moral Duties, translated by Cyrus R.Edmonds, London: Bohn 1850. (I)
The Complete Parallel Bible, New York: Oxford 1993. Quotes were taken from the New Revised Standard Version, as this is based on the Massoretic text "fixed by Jewish scholars (the 'Masoretes') of the sixth to the ninth centuries," ibid., xvi.
Lazarus Goldschmidt, Der Babylonische Talmud (German), Berlin: Calvary 1897-1905; Berlin: Benjamin Harz 1925; Königstein: Jüdischer Verlag (1967) 1981. (A)
Karl Georg Kuhn, Der tannaitische Midrasch Sifre zu Numeri (German), Stuttgart: Kohlhammer 1959. (A)
Moses Maimonides, The Commandments (Sefer ha-Mitzvot) in two volumes, translated by Rabbi Charles Chavel, London: Soncino 1967. (A)
David Blumenthal (ed.) et al, The Talmud of Babylonia. An American Translation, Brown Judaic Studies, Atlanta et al.: Scholars Press 1984ff. (A)
James D.Newsome, Greeks, Romans, Jews, Philadelphia: Trinity Pr. International 1992. (I!)
Geoffrey Wigoder (ed.), The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia, New York: Oxford 1992. (I)
I would like to express my gratitude to several Jewish persons, none of which I will mention by name here, who offered their help in compiling the information in this document. If there remain errors of any kind they are, of course, mine.
 Cited in: Drohan 1985, 245.
 Excerpt from a personal e-mail to the author. Rabbi Telushkin writes: "Judaism believes that the purpose of Jewish existence is nothing less than 'to perfect the world under the rule of God'," see Telushkin 1991, 549.
 Telushkin, 56.
 Telushkin, 553.
 Such problems for example derive from the Bible's anthropomorphic conception of God, one of the reasons many ancient pagans rejected Jewish and later Christian conceptions of divinity: "[T]here was something alien to Judaism in the Hellenistic conception of God as an abstract Being, devoid of all categories and emotions, communicating with the world through intermediate agencies, the Logos and emanations. In rabbinic Judaism, God is a Loving Father, feeling emotions of love, anger, and sorrow; and the philosophical problems of reconciling such a God with the Absolute did not worry the rabbis, at least in their main intellectual labours," (Maccoby 1989, 31). Yet educated pagans often named exactly these philosophical problems as the reason for their rejection of the Jewish-Christian god, e.g. Roman philosopher Celsus in his Alethes Logos, or Pagan Emperor Julian in his Contra Galilaeos, both cited in: M.Stern, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism, Jerusalem 1974.
 Telushkin, 554.
 Beginning in the Bible (e.g. Amos 9:8, Micah 3:9-12), where the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. is interpreted as God's punishment for Israel's sins (see also Neusner 1993, 17), such a position is stated again in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 102a), the sin of the Jews being the worship of the Golden Calf (Exodus 32:34).
 Telushkin, 56, my insertion. See also Chavel 1967, vol.I, p.vii.
 Miles 1995, 411f. Telushkin 1991, 24f. See also Maccoby 1989, 3. Tanakh is an acronym for Torah, Nebi'im and Ketubim, Neusner 1993, 19.
 Telushkin, 149.
 Telushkin 149. See also Maccoby 1989, 41.
 Telushkin 149.
 Telushkin 120-150. Neusner 1995, 37.
 Telushkin 151.
 Telushkin 151.
 Telushkin 427.
 Namely copies of the Vilna edition, see Maccoby 1989, 28.
 There is one Sifré to Deuteronomy, as well as one Sifré commenting on Numbers, Neusner 1993, 11.
 Telushkin 154.
 Telushkin 496. Chavel 1967, v.I, p.viii.
 "[E]xclusive authority over Jewish marriage and divorce in Israel was officially recognized by the passing of the Rabbinical Court Jurisdiction Law (1953). The frequent calls for civil marriage and divorce have been rejected on the basis of the SQA (=Status Quo Agreement) and this act, and thus marriage between Jews, religious and non-religious, and non-Jews is not possible in Israel." Mews 1989, 126.
 Moses Maimonides, The Commandments (Sefer ha-Mitzvot) in two volumes, Chavel 1967.
 Telushkin, 177, 507. The Thirteen Principles are:
See also Chavel 1967, v.II, 367, 373.
 Telushkin 549.
 Telushkin 506.
 Telushkin 506.
 For example: Dennis Prager, Joseph Telushkin, The nine questions people ask about Judaism, New York: Simon and Schuster 1981. Style and argumentation of this book are comparable to publications of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
 Telushkin 24.
 Telushkin 57. Emphasis original.
 The Testimony of Truth (IX, 3), 47-8, cited in Maccoby 1991, 22.
 For example: Jacob Neusner, How through Halakha Judaism Sets Forth its Theology and Philosophy, Atlanta: Scholars Press 1996, 82f.
 Julian Apostata, Contra Galilaeos, 171E,155C-155D, cited in Stern 1974. My insertion in [ ].
 Telushkin 27.
 Chavel 1967, v.I, 202. The biblical reference to Amalek is Deuteronomy 25:19 and I Samuel 15:2-3. The Sifré reference (§296) has only the extermination of Amalek, however, this quote is found in the Talmud, e.g. Sanhedrin 20b.
 Telushkin 635.
 Maier 14f., 22, 25f., 48-59.
 Telushkin 55.
 Julian Apostata, Contra Galilaeos, 152B-152D, cited in Stern 1974.
 Telushkin 496. Emphasis original.
 Telushkin 634f. Emphasis original, my insertion.
 For example Pos. Commandments 146, 149, 150, Neg. Commandments 181, 184, 185. Sifré Deut., §75f., Talmud Tractate Hullin.
 The only possible exception I found was the prohibition to eat a limb from a living animal (Neg. Commandment 182), see Chavel 1967, vol.II, 179. Also not surprisingly, none of the sources I consulted has the term pain in the index.
 T. Zahavy, The Talmud of Babylonia, vol.XXX.A, Tractate Hullin, Atlanta: Scholars Press 1992, 168.
 Ibid., 170. My emphasis.
 Ibid., vol.XXX.B, 184. My insertion.
 Telushkin 44f. Emphasis original.
 Telushkin 58.
 Telushkin 37, referring to what Jews call the Binding of Isaak or the Akedah, Genesis 22.
 Telushkin 69.
 Telushkin 552. Emphasis original.
 Neg. Commandment 263 Selling a captive woman
 Telushkin 70. Emphasis original.
 The ancient Hebrews were only one of many cultures in the ancient Near East among which genocide was a common and divinely approved goal in warfare. An excellent overview of such cultures is given by Younger, 1990.
 Chalk/Jonassohn 1990, 8-9. See also: Raphael Lemkin, Genocide as Crime Under International Law, in: American Journal of International Law, Vol.41, 1947, no.1, 145ff.
 Thomas 1993, 71f. Cf. Joshua 6:20.
 Krupat 1989, 146. My insertion.
 Stannard 1992, 113f.
 Ibid., 111.
 Ibid., 114.
 Ibid., 113.
 Ibid., 114.
 Ibid., 111.
 Cicero, De Off., I,11,34-35 (34) Sunt autem quaedam officia etiam adversus eos servanda, a quibus iniuriam acceperis. Est enim ulciscendi et puniendi modus. Atque haud scio an satis sit eum, qui lacessierit iniuria suae paenitere, ut et ipse ne quid tale posthac et ceteri sint ad iniuriam tardiores. Atque in re publica maxime conservanda sunt iura belli. Nam cum sint duo genera decertandi, unum per disceptatione, alterum per vim, cumque illud proprium sit hominis, hoc beluarum, confugiendum est at posterius, si uti non licet superiore.
 Chavel 1967, v.I, 200f. The Bible references are Deuteronomy 20:17 and 25:19.
 Chavel 1967, v.II, 47f.
 Telushkin 69.
 Epstein 1927, cited in Eliade 1987f., v.6, 169.
 Ilan 1995, 91.
 Ibid., 167.
 Pritchard 1969, 543.
 Telushkin 178f.
 Ilan 1995, 186.
 Ibid., 186.
 Kraemer 1992, 97.
 Ilan 1995, 133. It is to be favorably mentioned, that Rabbi Telushkin does not hide the fact that this famine was not the (direct) consequence of the Roman siege:
 Kraemer 1992, 123.
 Ibid., 84.
 Ibid., 117-123.
 Maccoby 1989, 61.
 Levinson 1993, 127.
 Kraemer 1992, 197.
 Lambert 1960, 101.
 Eliade 1987, v.9, 32.
 Eliade 1987, v.3, 223-224.
 Telushkin 502.
 Telushkin, 624f. Incidentally, evidence of this can be found in Telushkin's own text:
 Kahane, 172f. My Insertion.
 Maimonides, Sefer ha-Mitzvot, ed. Chavel 1967, v.I, 222.
 Ibid., v.I, 213.
 Chavel 1967, v.I, 213.
 Telushkin 62f.
 Maccoby 1989, 120.
 Brunt 1988, 307.
 Telushkin 51f.
 Chavel v.I, 203. The Bible references are Deuteronomy 25:17 and 1 Samuel 15:2.
 Chavel 1967, v.II, 349f.
 Chavel 1967, v.I, 203.
 Telushkin 74f.
 On Exodus 12:29: Telushkin 49f. The death of Egypt's firstborns is not commented upon unfavorably by Telushkin. Yet that God later "punishes Moses and forbids him to enter Israel" for a minor offense "seems disproportionate," (ibid., 46).
 Telushkin 64.
 Ibid. Emphasis original.
 Telushkin 68f.
 For an overview of these fundamentalist groups see: R.Mergui, P.Simonnot: Israel's Ayatollahs. Meir Kahane and the Far Right in Israel, London 1987.
 Telushkin 387.
 Eliezer Berkovits, Confrontation –the Ultimate Issue, cited in Neusner 1994-1996, vol.I, 130.
 Telushkin 529.
 J. Neusner, The Talmud of Babylonia, vol.XXIII.B, Tractate Sanhedrin, Chico: Scholars Press 1984, 35. This edition has a misprint "...whoever saves a single Israelite sould" (sic).
 Telushkin 529f. Emphasis original.
 Steinsaltz 1989, 50.
 For example the following versions, apart from the one quoted:
 Moses Maimonides, Mishneh Torah (The Book of Knowledge), Abodah zara X,1. Quoted in Maier 1993, 85. My translation.
 Neusner 1995, 1ff.
 Ibid., 2.
 David Blumenthal et al., The Talmud of Babylonia. An American Translation, Brown Judaic Studies, Atlanta & Chico: Scholars Press 1984ff.
 Telushkin, 151.
 J. Neusner, The Talmud of Babylonia, vol.I, Tractate Berakhot, Chico: Scholars Press 1984, 389. The theological rationale for these and similar passages is the ancient Rabbis' opinion that pagans and heathens were not born holy, i.e. offspring of a valid Jewish marriage.
 Ibid., 393f.
 Ibid., vol.XXI.A-D, Tractate Bava Mesia, Atlanta: Scholars Press 1990, p.ix. See also vol.XIII.B, Tractate Yebamot, 155.
 Ibid., vol.I, Tractate Berakhot, Chico: Scholars Press 1984, 391f.
 Ibid., vol.XXI.D, Tractate Menahot, Atlanta: Scholars Press 1991, 29f. Emphasis original.
 Ibid., vol.XIII.B, Tractate Yebamot, Atlanta: Scholars Press 1992, 132f. Emphasis original.
 Ibid., vol.XXV.A, Tractate Abodah Zarah, Atlanta: Scholars Press 1991, 118. Emphasis original.
 Ibid., vol.XXIII.B, Tractate Sanhedrin, Chico: Scholars Press 1984, 159.
 Ibid., vol.XXV.A, Introduction to Tractate Abodah Zarah, 3. My insertion.
 Neusner 1995, 45.
 This refers to what Maimonides counted as
 J. Neusner, The Talmud of Babylonia, vol.XIX.A Tractate Qiddushin, Atlanta: Scholars Press 1992, 5.
 J. Neusner, The Talmud of Babylonia, vol.XX.A, Tractate Baba Qamma, Atlanta: Scholars Press 1992, 111.
 Ibid., vol.XXI.A-D, Tractate Bava Mesia, Atlanta: Scholars Press 1990, p.ix-x.
 Ibid., vol.XXIII.B, Tractate Sanhedrin 1984, 150. See also vol.XIX.A, Tractate Qiddushin 10a-b, 1992, 33. "Menstruating" here of course refers to the ritual "flux uncleanness" described in Lev.15.
 Ibid., vol.XXV.A, Tractate Abodah Zarah, 1991, 168. Emphasis original.
 J. Neusner, The Talmud of Babylonia. A complete outline, Part IV. The Division of Holy Things. B. Number 37. 1995, 704.
 Neusner 1993, 41.
 Neusner 1995, 7.
 Kuhn 1959, §157, 652f. My translation. In general, proselytes are not allowed to marry into the priesthood.
 Ibid., §157, footnote 86, 653.
 Kahane 1987, 172f. Emphasis original, my insertion in [ ] Shiksa is a Hebrew term for a non-Jewish (generally Christian) woman.
 Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason. Part I, Chapter VII.
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