Lies Damned Lies and What the Missionaries Claim the Rabbis say



We find in numerous materials, produced by missionaries, quotes from the Rabbis being falsely used to support their false beliefs. What I will bring here are a few special examples of these sources. These sources are from people who claim to be scholarly and to be writing scholarly works.


If a scholar claims a primary text says something, has a certain meaning, he is putting his reputation on the line. If the truth were that it doesn't say what he claims, or that the person edited the text to make it appear to conform to a false claim when it does not, we would challenge not only his honesty but also all the information he quotes in other places would be suspect. Similarly, if a scholar claims that a text has a certain meaning that is not true to the text, or that has been edited to make it appear there, when it is not, he is involved in deception, and dishonest scholarship. Even if it came from a secondary source, if the primary source is easily available, or he does not cite this secondary source as his source, then he is being deceptive.


Here we are going to deal with people who are or claim to be knowledgeable and approach their subject matter as a scholar does. They claim to be quoting from direct sources or translations of them. They claim to have the skills and/or resources to make these statements. For that reason the distortions I am going to point out have more significance.


The particular points I have chosen to expose here are not simple editing mistakes, or minor ones. When dealing with various languages, one can err in translation, or use words in an imprecise manner. They do not involve errors in citation or a lack of knowledge of some obscure Rabbinic source that would counter their argument.  Every book has them, and these works are no exceptions.  I hope to deal with these types of errors in other articles, but it would not be fair to be so hard on these authors for such errors, even though they are also serious. Here I will deal with errors that make any unbiased and honest person think again as to the integrity of the authors. I will explain how the errors here are so serious that even should they be changed later (one in fact has been changed) it does not change how we should view the other works of this author, because they damaged his reputation as a ‘scholar’ of the subject.


What makes this issue of especial importance is that if the Rabbis do not agree with Christian claims; the Christian arguments do not lose anything. They do not need support from the Rabbis. They already claim the Rabbis are wrong. If someone is not interested in the truth when it regards an issue that has no logical effect on their belief system, then how can we believe what they say when dealing with issues that do? There is a lesson to be learned, not just for these texts, but it should be applied to ALL interpretations they make. If they are lying and being deceptive about what the Rabbis say, which is of little value to them and their beliefs, then we should be even more doubtful of what they say on issues that DO have value.


© Moshe Shulman 2010


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