Review—Four Views on the Apostle Paul

Michael F. Bird (ed), Four Views on The Apostle Paul. Counterpoints: Bible and Theology. Zondervan, 2012. 240pp. R198.00

Available: Good Neighbours; Bischopsford; Amazon; Loot   

In this Counterpoints series from Zondervan, Michael Bird edited this volume which includes four views from Pauline scholars: Thomas R. Schreiner, Luke Timothy Johnson, Douglas A. Campbell, and Mark D. Nanos. The Counterpoint series is always a helpful in exposing readers to a diversity of perspectives on any given issues, and Four Views on the Apostle Paul is no exception.

Hotly debated today, below is a summary of the four perspectives presented, looking specifically at four aspects of Paul’s theology: 1) Paul’s thought; 2) The centrality of Christ; 3) Paul’s view of salvation; 4) Paul’s vision of the church; followed by a brief critique of the strengths and weaknesses of each view.

Thomas R. Schreiner

Paul’s thought, according to Thomas R. Schreiner, lies in the “already but not yet character of his eschatology,” (22) that is to say that the “new exodus, the new covenant, and the new creation have arrived in Christ,” whilst simultaneously maintaining that it has “not been consummated” (21).

Concerning the centrality of Christ, Schreiner points out that Christ is certainly the heart and soul of Pauline theology (22), and that he fulfills Old Testament prophesy,” and that it was God’s “purpose to unite all things in history in Christ” (27)—everything from early church sacraments and liturgy, to the good news of his cross points to and centers on Jesus Christ; he is supreme, God, creator, Lord, and our life (Col 3:4) (23–26).

In regards to Paul’s view of salvation, it is quintessentially a salvation that is Christ–centered, that is, salvation is understood through a Christological lens as being a prophesy fulfilled and a mystery revealed that entails an already but not yet aspect to it (27)—it is the revelation of God’s great gift of grace seen in the sacrificial death of Christ to atone for the sins of all those who would repent of their sins and place their trust in Christ (35) so as to escape the just wrath and judgment of God and at the same time be united to Christ in his death (34) whereby they await the final redemption of their bodies (35), although enjoying justification and life in the Spirit through faith (40).

Concerning Paul’s vision of the church, the fundamental reality in the people of God is—once again—Christ (44); for she (the church) is the “true” Israel (41), comprised of all those who have trusted in “the cross of Jesus Christ for salvation instead of obedience to the law,”(41) thus sharing in the same faith as Abraham (41–42), existing as the temple (42–43), and the body of Christ (43), are ruled by the peace of Christ in their corporate interactions (45), so as to enshrine God’s saving plan, purpose, wisdom, and so function as the locus of God’s glory, as it is and continues to be rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ, her head and groom (46–47).

Critique of Schreiner

Regarding the strengths of Schreiner’s perspective on Paul, I was certainly helped by and appreciated the wide scope that he presented in his view of Paul—it was comprehensive and robust, entailing significant references to many different passages of the Pauline corpus—if anything this proved that Schreiner attempted to garner the full sense of Paul’s work and interact with it.

Another strength of Schreiner’s chapter was the Christological lens and focus of it: indeed for Paul, the framework of his thought, idea of salvation, and understanding of the church all hinges on the person and work of Christ (47).

Other strengths of Schreiner’s chapter were his comments on union with Christ, (34, 40) the “inaugurated eschatology,” (37) the wide meaning and “justification,” (40) and the church as the Israel of God (41). Since I maintain a lot of Schreiner’s perspective, there is not much that I can critique him for. The only “weakness” that I could pinpoint would be in certain emphases that Schreiner brought up, yet I am sure that they were done so for a reason, most probably in light of the competing views of Paul.

Luke Timothy Johnson

For Luke Timothy Johnson, the framework of Paul’s theology lies in what he refers to as the “gospel of God,” or the “gospel of Christ,” (73) which consists of “three religious realities” (72): firstly, central to Paul’s theology is his own, personal experience, which included his encounter with the risen Lord Jesus, as well as the reality of his mystical union with Christ (72–73); second, is the religious experience of Paul’s readers, who also had experienced the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and thus were also considered to be “in Christ” (1 Cor 1:2) (73); and the third reality was that of the “complex traditions and practices of the community already in place,” (73) which would include such practices as baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the traditions of Jesus—it is into this context, or framework that, for Johnson, Paul is set apart from other first-century religious and philosophical literature (73).

The significance of Christ—in Johnson’s perspective on Paul—is certainly the center of Paul’s religious experience and the traditions in which he ministered (74), and is “richly complex,” however, what it vital is the resurrection of Christ; (Christ thus sharing in the presence and power of God) (74–75) the work of the Holy Spirit (75); Christ as the “last Adam,” and as a “life-giving spirit” (76); Christ as creator and divine (77); and finally the crucifixion, which functions as the “key hermeneutical lens for the interpretation of Torah,” (80) represents God’s power present in human weakness (80), expresses Jesus’ human character (80), and is given as a “pattern for community behavior.” (81)

For Johnson, the meaning of salvation fundamentally is wrapped up in two ideas: that of salvation as being “accomplished by God through the death and resurrection of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit,” not “something accomplished by humans by their own efforts” (82); and it entails a personal (as opposed to social) change “from a negative to a positive condition” (82) that is wrapped up in many metaphors throughout the NT (cf. 84–85), wherein its recipients are restored and elevated to a higher state of being (83), is a reality that is experienced “now” (85), yet it is “not fully realized” (86), for not just individuals but a “presently-being-rescued community.” (88)

Finally, concerning the role of the church, Johnson envisions believers gathering into “associations” common in Greco-Roman culture,” (89) that consisted not so much of a consistent structure (91), but that were called by God (91), simultaneously discontinuous and continuous with Judaism (92–93), who had as her source and guide the Holy Spirit (91), struggled with tensions in reconciling egalitarian ideals and social realities (95), yet was nonetheless both the body of Christ and a temple (95), in which their work was to reconcile humans to God (96).

Critique of Johnson

In terms of the strengths of Johnson’s view on Paul, I was truly edified by his emphasis on the religious experience found in both Paul and his readers (72–73). Johnson’s comments surrounding the “new creation,” and the eschatological significance of Christ was invigorating to read (76). Regarding the weaknesses of Johnson’s chapter, I did sense his lack of clarity—even absence—of talk surrounding the subject of faith as a short-coming in his view of Paul. Whilst “absent from the Corinthian and Thessalonian correspondence,” (71) faith in Christ as the basis for our union with him is a vital and dominating subject for Paul in the rest of his letters (Col 2:12; Gal 2:16; 3:26; Rom 3:22, 30; 4:13; 5:1; Eph 2:8; 3:12, 17; Phil 3:9; 2 Tim 3:15).

Furthermore, Johnson’s ecclesiology, I thought, was particularly weak in his presentation of polity, which apparently was exempt of any consistent structures (91). However, if we are to remove the apostolic presence (in the book of Acts at least), there does appear to be a clear and definitive pattern—which Paul himself refers to as “order” and “practice” (Tit 1:5; 1 Cor 11:16). And secondly, Johnson’s comments about Paul struggling to “reconcile egalitarian ideals and social realities” were unfounded and anachronistic; the timeless gospel remains timeless in the order and ethics that arise from it—none of them needing redefinition or remodelling in a modern age.

Douglas A. Campbell

For Douglas A. Campbell, the framework of Paul’s thought can be extracted from Rom 5–8, which consists of two principled arguments: the first, an eschatological argument wherein believers are placed within the narrative of Christ and partake of the new creation through the missional activity of the Trinity—rooted in divine love (122)—a “new creation that awaits its final revealing” (125); and the second argument—an ethical one—being that Christ, both his being and narrative, are said to be “determinative for all humanity…dominating the being and narrative of Adam,” (128) thereby enveloping all persons into this Trinitarian revelation of Christ as the superior narrative.

The meaning of Christ, then, is that he is “God acting in our world…[he] is intrinsic to the identity of God and vice versa,” (121) fundamentally through the act of redemption, an act of rescuing a hostile world, an act rooted in divine love that precedes human action (122), and that essentially is determinative for all humanity in its affect, subduing the narrative of Adam (128), securing all believers into the “brotherhood,” the community that shares in the image of Christ (124), who is the revelation of the Trinity’s being and identity (122).

Salvation, for Campbell is this very Trinitarian activity—the “revelation of the solution” (129)—wherein “Christ enters into a hostile world to rescue it” (122), as a gift (124), and who presents and brings about a  “vastly superior” kingdom when compared to the “first one associated with Adam” (127).

Finally, regarding the church, Campbell envisions her existence as stemming from God’s gift of himself in Christ, which invariably “calls a community into existence, and the nature of this community simply follows from the nature of the God who created it” (124); they are—according to Campbell—“brothers,” all bearing the image of the resurrected Christ (124); living as a networked entity (125); with their behavior, inseparable from who they are (125); they are eschatological, participating in the “new creation,” whilst waiting for its final revelation (125); nevertheless existing as embodied beings that transcend earthly distinctions (125). 

Critique of Campbell

Now concerning the strengths of Campbell’s chapter, I was enthralled by the depth and width of his cursory exposition of Romans 5–8. As much as this analysis was his strong point, it was also his downfall, for Campbell assumed too much of Rom 5–8, insisting that it was the crux and complete substance of Pauline theology. That being said, the theology of the “brotherhood” (124) was truly edifying; contemplating the rich biblical theology surrounding Christ’s narrative and being as being that narrative and being that believers are incorporated into is a wonderful reality.

Nevertheless, since his scope was too narrow, Campbell’s insistence that all are wrapped up in this superior narrative of Christ was also where he erred; for surely this incorporation is dependent on the electing—which by virtue assumes those not elected—love of God to be received by faith. Otherwise, Campbell’s strength lies in his narrative and biblical theological reading, which, if it had incorporated a wider scope of the Pauline corpus, would have been that much more beneficial.

A final critique of Campbell would lie in the flexibility of ethics that renders the Christian life as “free” and “diverse” (139). Campbell appears to contradict himself in that he states that the activities of the new community will “have a certain shape,” and be expressed in “new concrete possibilities,” (138) yet at the same time the “specifics may vary,” and be “rather free and flexible in specific terms” (138–139). How can ethics be simultaneously concrete and flexible? Surely the variety of ethical teaching from Paul arises from the occasional context of his letters? And that Paul had in mind “order” (Tit 1:5), “practice” (1 Cor 11:16), and the “obedience of the faith” (Rom 1:5, 16:26).

Mark D. Nanos

For Mark D. Nanos, central and vital to understanding Paul’s thought is a very important distinction that ought to be made between Jews and non-Jews, a distinction wrought in a “chronometrical” conflict over the meaning of Jesus: (179, 185) that is, that the Jews who followed Christ were to remain as Jews, both in identity and behavior, viz., they were to be Torah observing; on the other hand, the non-Jews existed as an “alternative within the wider parameters of first-century Second Temple Judaism” (179); thus, for Paul, his teaching to these two respective groups divided along the issue of “circumcision/proselyte conversion (the matter of “identity”)”, and “Torah observance (the “behavior” incumbent on those with Jewish/Israelite “identity”)” (182).

The reception and meaning of Christ, then, differed for each respective group: for the Jews, he was the promised one for Jews (16), who were still under covenant; and for the non-Jews, Christ also brought about and extended mercy to Gentiles, who upon receiving Christ entered into “Jewish communal life and its culture,” however with no need to “becoming Jews” (192); they were nevertheless reconciled to the God of Israel through Christ (192).

Salvation, for Nanos, also separated along this Jew/Gentile line: for the Jews, as already noted above, Christ was the promised one for all those in covenant with the God of Israel, the new age had arrived with his death and resurrection (172), however Jews were to “remain Israelites and thus remain faithful to their covenant obligations,” (172) thereby representing Christ “by way of observing the Mosaic Covenant,” (173) for they were already in covenantal relationship with God; conversely, non-Jews were given the opportunity to be rescued and restored to the worship of the God is Israel (16), with “works of law” as referring (189).

Finally, for Nanos, the idea of the church, is also encapsulated with a divide among the Jew/Gentile line: Christ-believing Gentiles were to be integrated—as a sub-group (167)—within Jewish communities, embracing Jewish life, but not Jewish identity (circumcision).

Critique of Nanos

Concerning the strengths of Nanos’ chapter, I was certainly helped by the Jewish perspective that in many ways served to balance my preconceived ideas and misconceptions. I was somewhat confused by his distinction between circumcision (proselyte conversion) and Torah observance (157). Whilst the two are indeed not synonymous, that one can have one but not the other is even refuted by Paul (cf. Rom 2:25–29).

Though it is helpful to view Paul as a Jew and to consider the Jewish context into which the church began, it is however very clear in my mind that Paul had certainly left Judaism—at least in the sense that Nanos infers he did not. Paul can refer to himself as considering all his “Jewish-ness” as filth—as dung!–when compared to Christ (Phil 3:8–9), he was also willing to “observe the law” in attempts to win over Jews (1 Cor 9:20)—what could this mean except that he did not see himself as under Torah? Indeed Galatians 2:11–14 clarifies this point again, suggesting that Paul insisted that the “Jews abandon the Torah for the sake of the Gentiles, so that the Gentiles would realize that salvation is not based on works of law.” (195)

It is to this reality that Nanos’ perspective of the church is also erroneous: she is not a sub-group of Gentiles who merely embraced Jewish culture (167), she is in fact the true and eschatological Israel (1 Cor 10:11; Eph 3:10), purchased by the blood of Christ on the cross (Col 1:20); a reality revealed to those whom Christ so desires (2 Cor 3:14). For the rest, a veil remains over their hearts (2 Cor 3:15).   

3 Comments

  1. A popular saying:  The victors write the history books.  The kabbala of chariot mysticism stands on the distinction that, unlike a wagon, a chariot rolls upon two wheels – daat & t’shuva, function as the two wheels whereby kabbala rolls throughout the Ages.  This kabbala, up to the present, transmitted orally from a rabbi to his talmid.  But the Independence of the Jewish State and the exile of Xtianity from Europe changes this reality.

             Da’at separates and distinguishes external events from internal feelings and reactions. T’shuva struggles to define how a person dedicates his or her life before HaShem in the coming year, based upon contrition upon previous errors committed in this last year.  The wheels within wheels within the Shemone Esri have gone full circle with the annual reading of the Torah beginning anew with בראשית ונח.  The dedication of middot blocks directly learns from the annual weekly reading of the Torah.  Both the Torah and tefilla begin with the k’vanna of the general Big Picture concepts of faith, prior to delving into the specifics of the Cohen family of Avraham.“The Existence of God.”   What evidence do atheists accept as valid? The Koran, the New Testament, the Hebrew T’NaCH, or perhaps the faiths as taught from India, Japan, and China?

             The Koran declares “Only one God lives”. This bold declaration, blatantly negates the Sinai 2nd commandment: “Do not worship other Gods”. By logical inference: if only one God lives, which the Muslims name as Allah, why does the Sinai revelation command not to worship other Gods? Shall we attempt to declare that Par’o of ancient Egypt worshiped only Allah? Therefore based upon the false declaration of Monotheism made by “the prophet”, who declared himself a prophet on the order of T’NaCH prophets, the Koran strict monotheism stands totally debunked.

             The title: New Testament makes reference to the foundation of Torah faith known as “the brit”. The first word of the Torah בראשית this word contains within its 6 letters ברית אש\brit fire. The translation of brit into English, based upon the stories of the Avot: alliance. The opening Book of the Torah directly and repeatedly addresses the subject of cutting political alliances. The skill required to cut a political alliance with others, applies equally to us as it did to them.

             The problem with the ”New Testament”, that collection of books never once brings the Name revealed in the 1st Commandment at Sinai. The Name – exists as the living Spirit, and not just another word. Despite the declaration otherwise, as found in the opening pages of the book of John’s gospel. Moshe the prophet forbade pronunciation of the Name, according to the grammar of its four letters. The opening account of Creation, the Name blew his Spirit unto clay, transforming this clay into the living man – named Adam – and Israel at Sinai heard the sound of the Shofar.   Pronouncing the Name, as revealed at the Sinai revelation, perverts and defiles the Spirit of the Name.  It demotes the Name to that of a common word. The kabbalah of writing a Safer Torah stands upon this fundamental distinction.

             Never in all the pages of the New Testament do any of these Greek books bring the Name as revealed at Sinai. Translation of words from language to language, compares words with other words. But you can not translate a Spirit by making it into a word.  It requires great skill to define the nature of a color using word metaphors.  HaShem does not compare to anything in the earth, heavens or Seas. Words simply do not breath life. Quote Shakespeare to dead person and the corpse remains dead. To cut a Torah brit alliance requires swearing a Torah oath using the Name. This kabbalah learns directly from Moshe the prophet. Therefore both the New Testament & the Koran, stand totally debunked. Both counterfeit faiths failed to discern that brit means alliance.

             A proof that brit does not translate into covenant: Where do the Gods ‘Father’ & Allah live? The counterfeit religions teach that their Gods live in the Heavens. The brit alliance, this faith by contrast teaches that HaShem lives within the hearts of the Cohen nation. The mitzva of tefilla, based upon the authority of the halacha, exists as a duty of the heart. The halacha requires that a Yechudi face toward Jerusalem, in order to teach the mussar that a Man must turn unto his heart. Torah faith teaches that HaShem lives within the hearts of his Cohen people. The brit faith established by Avram at the brit between the pieces, our father made an oath alliance which sets the pre-condition that HaShem lives within the hearts of the Cohen seed of Avram. This brit faith defines the idea of the ‘Chosen People’.

             Torah commands the opposite of Muslim Monotheism, it validates the existence of many Gods. Clearly the Hindus and Chinese peoples never swore a Torah brit alliance. Atheists in Russia, or Europe, or America, shall they make unilateral declarations which negate the Gods which these billions of people worship? Hubris arrogance, every atheist I ever met from Russia, Europe, or America does not speak the language of Hindu, Japan, or China, much less Vietnam or Korea etc etc etc. The Books these millions upon millions of people, upon which they base their beliefs in their Gods, these above mentioned hubris arrogant atheists from Russia, Europe, and America, their negative worship, it only validates their self centered Ego beliefs; which seeks to invalidate the traditions of peoples whom they do not know.  Atheism for this reason stands totally debunked by simple humility and logic.

    What      בראשית ב:ז – ויפח באפיו נשמת חיים ויהי האדם לנפש חיה … ועץ החיים בתוך הגן ועץ הדעת טוב ורע      faith does this teach touching the chosen Cohen nation? It seems to me, by the sh’itta taught to me from my Rav, that rabbi Akiva derived his kabbala of פרדס from

    ב: י – ונהר יצא מעדן להשקות את הגן ומשם יפרד והיה לארבעה ראשים.  [The concept of פרדס, the logic system format known as p’shat, drosh, remez, and sod].

             The פרדס kabbala taught by rabbi Akiva and all his students, addresses the meaning of the revelation of the Oral Torah logic system revealed unto Moshe at Mt Horev, 40 days after the sin of the Golden Calf; specifically: Moshe has died, who will teach us the rest of the Torah revelation at Sinai? Moshe derived through logical inference the 611 commandments which he commanded, as his primary source commentary to the opening two Sinai commandments, which the Cohen nation accepted upon the soul lives of all generations of our children, as our faith worship unto HaShem who brought the Cohen nation out of Egypt.  This פרדס foundation defines and gives purpose to all scholarship within the pages of the Talmud.

             The Big Picture concept of faith as taught by the Parsha of בראשית which defines the k’vanna of the opening daat blessing of the first ברכה within the 13 middle blessings of the Shemone Esri, [wheels within wheels], this concept of faith, weighs the commitment of the generations to walk in tohor before HaShem. The subject of tohor applies strictly and only unto the Cohen nation. Neither Goyim or Yidden who assimilate and kiss the calves of foreign non Jewish cultures and customs, this huge branch of Humanity has no concept or idea what tohor means. Keeping the commandments as the ‘sign’ of the brit, most essentially requires that the Cohen people commit before HaShem only to do avodat HaShem while breathing tohor spirits – as acts of holiness.

             Doing mitzvot לשמה understands that the din of כרת comes and cuts Israel off from Israel when ever the Cohen people behave with hubris arrogance and attempt to do avodat HaShem while breathing tuma spirits. On par with a woman, attempting tohorat ha’biet, who goes to the mikveh while holding a dead rat in her hand; comes out of the mikveh and declares to her husband that she has made herself tohor. As this example invalidates the mitzva of tohorat ha’biet, so too tuma spirits invalidates observance of all the תרי”ג mitzvot.

    ג: יד – ויאמר ה’ אלהים אל הנחש כי עשית זאת ארור אתה מכל הבהמה ומכל חית השדה וכו’.

             The נחש teaches a central Torah משל. The נמשל which interprets that משל, the tuma Yatzir Ha’Ra lives within the hearts of all bnai brit  – unto all eternity – together and likewise with the tohor Yatzir Ha’Tov spirits within our hearts. HaShem judges the struggle of the 2 Yatzirot within our hearts in each and every generation. The story of king David and Bathsheba, teaches as similar mussar משל.  Learning Torah requires that students ask: What mussar does the Torah\NaCH command each and every generation?
    דכתיב ג:יט – כי עפר אתה ואל עפר תשוב.

             Xtian theology preaches on a physical resurrection from the dead.  The daat of “soul”, by Torah faith, by contrast refers to the generations of the bnai brit offspring, as the Olam Ha’Bah of the Cohen nation. How many children did Avram have when he cut the brit between the pieces?  None.

             The story of Cain teaches the mussar of the tuma inheritance which the first murderer caused his children to inherit. The identical tuma which women who abort their children, they cause their seed to inherit; the most basic and fundamental of Torah curses, denounces an earth filled with violence and injustice. A simple proof: all women who abort their babies, such women never kept the mitzva of tohorat ha’biet. T’shuva, no regret or remorse can ever atone for the crime of abortion.  In like din, the same applies to gross European guilt during the 20th Century.

    בראשית ה:כט – ויקרא את שמו נח לאמר זה ינחמנו ממעשנו ומעצבון ידינו מן האדמה אשר אררה ה’.

             The 2nd wheel of the mystic Divine Chariot – t’shuva. The dedication within our hearts to keep the commandments לשמה, meaning through the dedication of tohor middot unto HaShem, do the generations of the Cohen nation validate t’shuva from g’lut? The Cohen nation commits to restrict avodat HaShem to tohor middot, which we breathe from within our hearts. Tefilla – strictly a matter of the heart. A man who does not discern between the tohor/tuma spirits within his heart, such a man cannot do t’shuva לשמה – meaning in the Name of tohor middot dedicated unto HaShem.

             Tonight Yidden light the first of the Hanukkah lights. The Gemara of Shabbat teaches the famous dispute between Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel concerning lighting the lights of Hanukkah. This famous dispute always puzzled me, what difference does it make whether one begins with lighting 8 candles the first night or only one? What does lighting the lights of Hanukkah have to do with the life and death struggle against Greek cultural domination of the tiny Jewish State?

             The B’hag, whose Torah shined during the waning domination of the Gaonim schools.  Reshonim scholarship followed the lights of the Gaonim schools. The B’hag holds that the rabbinic mitzvot of both Purim and Hanukkah, that their “light” shines as part of the 613 Commandments which Israel received from HaShem and Moshe Rabbenu.

             The Rambam denounced the “light” by which the B’hag directed the generations of Israel. The B’hag links Hanukkah, as does the Talmud to the mitzva of Shabbat. He held that lighting the lights of Shabbat – this mitzva – too a Torah commandment; its light shines on par with the Torah mitzvot of Purim and Hanukkah. To comprehend the leadership direction, or “light”, as revealed by the Torah of the B’hag, Yidden must discern the common denominator between the Houses of Hillel and Shammai in their debates over lighting the lights of Shabbot. Their Talmudic debate within the Mesechta of Shabbot, teaches the halachic k’vanna of the mitzva of lighting the lights of Hannukah throughout the generations.

             Assimilation … the 1st face of avoda zara based upon the לאו דווקא commandment: do not follow the ways of Egypt and Canaan. G’lut Jewry traditionally faces extreme disasters when Yidden assimilate unto the culture and worship the Gods of those countries. The God of the US, the dollar. Pre Shoah Europe witness rates of assimilation similar to that which plagues g’lut Yidden today. Opening Gemara of גטין Yechudim in g’lut do not know how to do mitzvot לשמה. Proof: the Reshonim confused this opening line of the Gemara with that of the name of the woman. Problem with that understanding … the same problem did not occur in the writing of a woman’s כתובה. The mitzva of the Hannuka lights and its relationship to the war of Independence against the Syrian Greeks, Yechudim made a commitment to only interpret the Written Torah by relying upon the logic of the Oral Torah.

             Logic stands upon the יסוד of Order. Herein interprets the famous dispute between Hillel and Shammai: both in harmony and agreement teach the need for Order.The Rambam did not understand the kabbalah of Rabbi Akiva: his chariot פרדס sh’itta of Torah Sh’Baal Peh. The Rambam never wrote a commentary upon the Aggaditah of the Sha’s. No one learns the commentary on the Aggaditah made by the son of the Rambam. The sh’itta of פרדס pairs ד with פ, and ר together with ס. The first mentioned pair, required to learn Aggadita – 1/4th of the Sha’s. The 2nd pair links up with the Halacha. The Aggadita/Halacha Order found throughout the entire Sha’s compares to the Warp and Woof of weaving. The Rambam divorced Halacha from its wife Aggadita and his code failed to even give Aggadita her גט! The halacha of the Rambam compares to a mirror image of the halacha ruled by the Rif and the Rosh. But real life – 3 dimensional, whereas a picture or mirror of real life reveals only a 2 dimensional picture. The post 2nd Temple Talmud stands upon the יסוד of the pre-& 1st Temple T’NaCH kabbalah!

             Aggaditah, all Midrashim – developed by the Geonim scholars who preceded the Reshonim – explain the Aggaditah/Mishna Order by learning these or similar stories to the Midrash/TNaCH Order. The Yalkut Shemone, a very early Reshon might have composed, but it  toofollows faithfully the traditional Order established by Geonim classic Midrashim.   Alas, the ignorance of the Rambam of Aggadita has passed into the Yeshivot today. Many magid shior teachers of Talmud skip over Aggadita to focus upon the halachah. A fundamental error in learning. This silly sh’itta of learning Sha’s perverts what defines Halachah. Yeshiva students grow to assume that they keep the Halachah b/c it’s written in the Shulchan Aruch! Pathetic.

             Small wonder Reform Judaism revolted against Traditional Judaism. The purpose of Aggaditah, it follows the sh’itta of Mishnaic common law. The latter stands upon precedent. This explains every Gemara written upon every Mishna.The precedent which Aggadita searches to understand … the mussar within the pages of the T’NaCH. An Aggaditah employs a p’suk, something like a car requires a key inserted into the ignition to start the car. A p’suk operates in the identical manner. That p’suk quoted by an Aggadic source exists within a larger T’NaCH sugia. Just as the Talmud has sugiot so too does the T’NaCH.  All these sugiot which supply the basic Order of the T’NaCH; as opposed to the Order of chapters and verses imposed by the ignorant Xtians. Logic stands upon the יסוד of Order. רמז words within words, like as found in בראשית, ברית אש, ראש בית, ב’ ראשית. The concept of סוד expands like as in the ever repeated יסוד foundation.

             A person learns T’NaCH not to determine the p’shat, that’s טפש. A person makes a drosh upon the T’NaCH to learn the prophetic mussar applicable to each and all generations! Once the student of the Aggaditah links the quoted p’suk to its larger sugia, then the learning requires for that student to search for the mussar within that sugia of T’NaCH! The mussar of that T’NaCH sugia then transforms unto the P’shat of the Aggadic story within the Sha’s. The רמז סוד sh’itta permanently attaches to the Halachic components of the Talmudic warp/woof relationship. A person keeps the Halacha based upon the mussar learned by way of the Aggadic drosh back to the T’NaCH prophets.

             Rashi’s commentary to the Chumash teaches this concept of p’shat. Not so his commentary to the Talmud, which relies upon a completely different and separate sh’itta of P’shat!! Rashi did this, the 1st Crusades came toward the end of Rashi’s life, he sought in his Talmudic commentary to assist young students to correctly read a page of Gemara. Common Law stands upon precedents not reading a page of a law book. The pilpul sh’itta — totally false. The Baali Tosafot understood this and their Talmudic commentaries focused upon learning Talmudic law by means of bringing a precedent … like every page of Gemara on the specific Mishna which it learns.

             The Greek empire conquered the Persian empire, which uprooted the Babylonian empire, who destroyed Jerusalem and expelled the Yechudim from the lands ruled by the king of Yechuda of the House of David. Greek hostility to the Torah centered, not upon the Written Torah, but rather the Oral Torah. This latter Torah logic format/“light”, expresses itself through a unique t’shuva, by which Yechudim, following the error of the golden calf, dedicate their souls, meaning their children, to how the generation will interpret the language of the Written Torah.  The t’shuva made by post golden calf Israel, we rely strictly upon the Oral Torah logic format alone to interpret the k’vanna of the Written Torah. This logic format/Oral Torah/“light”, it alone guides how the Cohen nation, throughout the generations, understands the k’vanna of the Written Torah Constitution of the Jewish Republic.

             The Greek schools of philosophy taught completely different logic formats. The logic of Plato and Aristotle philosophers overshadow the ancient Greek contribution of knowledge to humanity unto the present day. Yidden, humiliated from our disgrace of the avoda zarah of the Golden Calf, the t’shuva made by our forefathers, we swear the same Torah oath, in all generations. The Yechudim people sanctify as our eternal dedication unto the Sinai Torah revelation — to interpret the Written Torah by the “lights” of Oral Torah middot logic, which Moshe the prophet orally heard at Horev, 40 days after the golden calf on Yom Kippor.

             The lights of Shabbot, the dedication to strive to achieve shalom among family and friends. The lights of reading the Megillah on Purim, the dedication of tohor, as opposed by tuma middot – unto HaShem. The Book of Esther, the only Book of the T’NaCH which lacks the Name of HaShem. The Name המן and המלך their numerical equality teaches a רמז Gematria of tohor as opposed to tuma middot. The k’vanna of “kingship” (To make a Torah blessing requires both Name and Kingship), as a king stands at the head of a nation, so too the sanctification of tohor, as opposed to tuma, middot unto HaShem – middot blocks of logic, expresses the faith touching the revelation of the Torah, throughout each and every generation. The mussar of the Book of Esther teaches middot, the contrast the middot expressed which contrasts the behavior of Mordecai and Haman and their social interactions with others..

             In similar fashion the Gemara of Shabbot, teaches the k’vanna of lighting the lights of Hannukah, expressed through the contrast of opinions taught through conflicting opinions of Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel. What defines the Oral Torah? Logic middot blocks serve as the יסוד/foundation of Oral Torah ordered thought and analysis. The Order of the middot block logic system contrasts with the ancient Greek mathematical logic formats, developed by Plato and Aristotle.

             An example of the Oral Torah middot blocks\tinker toys logic system:  You can not achieve justice, when Western leaders refer to civilian ‘colored’ casualties as “collateral damage”.  The great powers  ‘police actions’ have shaped the internal affairs of foreign societies – not just limited to the post WW2 Cold War, that pits the West against the East. A fundamental issue of the Western interventions and imperialism in the Middle East and North Africa, Western society dominates, even and has even conquers Arab and Muslim societies.

             But the stark contrast: Arabs and Muslims faith, to a large degree, remain strong in the Koran; whereas Western societies to an ever growing percentage embrace the scientific mathematical secular model as their central supporting column of faith. Western civilization has abandoned Xtian theology, perhaps due to the corrupt reputation the church’s evil and perverse actions of oppression, violent murder throughout the Ages. Today, Western societies view the Church on par with ancient Greek and Roman polytheism and the worship of mythical Gods. The question stands: How did the unfaithful conquer and defeat the faithful? A fundamental question that has no easy answers for the folks, which the West refers simply as “collateral damage”.

             What causes the disaster of internal revolution and Civil War, to rank as the worst natural disaster to any people or civilization throughout history? When the “ethical containment force” that makes a peoples’ culture and customs, separate and unique, from all other peoples and societies, when this “social fabric” rips apart and becomes a tattered rag blowing in the winds of war, generally – the first American Civil War excluded – with the collapse and anarchy of the Central Government. The consequences of social and political chaos, foreign governments intervene in the internal operations and government of such a collapsed society torn apart by internal revolution and Civil War.

             Lincoln, his illegal decision to initiate and invade the Confederate States, takes the first American Civil War out of the picture of virtually all other internal revolutions and Civil Wars. Because Civil War, by general definition, effectively means the collapse of Central Government order and stability. Even still, without the leadership of Henry Seward as Lincoln’s Secretary of State, Britain’s Prime Minister Palmerston at the time, would most probably have recognized the Confederate, ‘States Rights’ revolt against Lincoln’s extreme anti-Jeffersonian ideas of democracy.  Judge the wrestle which both enemies & allies build strength, dignity, and respect. In all Judicial matters of Capital Crimes Cases/din’a nefshot – Torah law requires no less than 2 witnesses. One witness in any Capital Crimes case – acceptance or reliance upon a single witness – tuma. Tuma, commonly expressed as l’shon ha’rah or mo’zteh shem rah.

             The Torah middot logic “blocks\tinker toys”, as expressed through every page of the Talmud, struggles to understand a “Case”, by making similar but different “Case” studies from different subjects.  The Case/Rule format style of the Mishna establishes this legal code upon a judicial format of Common Law.  Jewish common law justice, attempts to resolve conflicts through analysis of similar precedential prior Court Case rulings.  For example:  How does Israel differ from other nations who experience a terrorist attack?

    “DUHOK, Iraqi Kurdistan region,— A convoy of KDP Peshmerga
    militants came under attack by PKK militants when trying to enter
    PKK areas in the Chamalke district in Duhok province in Iraqi
    Kurdistan following a roadside bomb that exploded next to the
    KDP forces. The attack resulted in one death and three injuries,
    KDP-affiliated Kurdistan24 TV. Head of Culture and Media Culture
    Department at the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG ) Peshmerga
    Affairs Minister Babkir Faqe Ahmed told the KDP official media outlet
    that the PKK fighters fired from far distance and it was not a direct attack
    on Peshmerga forces”.

             A different “Case”: the ‘blood libels’ & pogroms came after the 1st crusade war crimes. Church mobs slaughtered German Jewry across, perhaps most, the kingdoms or fiefdoms; the soul of the German people, the Romans viewed them as – barbarians. What contrasts/opposes, perhaps mirrors or opposites, criminal violence?  The Talmud answers this question by proscribing lateral 3 Justices common law Courts . Prosecution and Defense, 2 of the 3 court judges.  These Court Judges comprise the opposing Court system of all Talmudic legal understanding, in both Torts and Capital Crimes Courts.   Two Yatzirot “wrestle” within the hearts of the bnai brit Cohen nation – light unto the nations — includes all Yechudim residing in g’lut.  Yaacov wrestled with the angel of Esau.  The Torah defines ‘angel’ in that case, as the agent who has power of attorney for Esau.  Meaning prior to meeting his brother, Yaacov struggled within his heart.  Torah logic interprets the k’vanna of the written word. Based upon the Mishna of ברכות, rabbi Yechuda understood לבבך, that the repetition of the letter ב refers to the struggle between the opposing Yatzirot.

  2. A bit more history of corrupt vile European barbarity and proof that their God has died long ago: based upon a poem written by T. S. Eliot -‘ Murder in the Cathedral.

    KNIGHTS!
    Where is Becket, the traitor to the King?
    Where is Becket, the meddling priest?
    Come down Daniel to the lions’ den,
    Come down Daniel for the mark of the beast.

    Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
    Are you marked with the mark of the beast?

    Come down Daniel to the lions’ den,
    Come down Daniel and join in the feast.

    Where is Becket the Cheapside brat?
    Where is Becket the faithless priest?
    Come down Daniel to the lions’ den,
    Come down Daniel and join in the feast.

             In 1532 Henry VIII broke with Rome and proclaimed himself the head of the Anglican church. Henry VIII, during the Protestant Reformation, desecrated Becket’s shrine, destroyed his bones, and ordered that all mention of his name cease. The Protestant Reformation began in 1517.  The Catholic Church started its Counter-Reformation in 1545. These conflicts culminated in the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), which devastated Germany and killed one-third of its population, a mortality rate twice that of World War I.

             In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses upon the church doors. It took only two months for the ideas expressed in his revolt to spread throughout Europe.  The newly developed printing press overwhelmed the abilities of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the papacy to conceal and revoke Luther’s rejection of the Church in Rome. In 1524–1525 peasants rose in revolt across southern and western Germany.  Luther condemned the peasants and that revolt ended with the slaughter of those peasants by both Lutheran and Catholic armies.

             Calvinism emerged in Geneva in the 1540s, preserved from its Catholic neighbors chiefly by Bern’s military strength. (Zurich, Bern and Glarus did not have treaties among themselves and were linked to each other only through the original cantons). Genevan Calvinism fused with the reformation of Zurich and northern Switzerland, which had been led by Zwingli and Heinrich Bullinger, to produce what became known as Reformed (with a capital R) Protestantism.  Calvinism qualifies in some ways as a confession faith made for war. This “movie” rated R faiths, viewed the Catholic religion, specifically the Papacy, as the antichrist.

             The extraordinary extent, duration, bitterness, and bloodiness of the wars that raged across France, the Low Countries, the British Isles, and Germany in the 90 years after 1560, all stems from strikingly evil competing theologies of faith.  In 1572 with a targeted group of assassinations, Catholic mob violence, comparable to pogroms, directed against the Huguenots (French Calvinist Protestants). A leopard doesn’t change its spots, and an apple never falls far from its tree. The genetic inherited nature of European cruelty and barbarism merits nothing but utter contempt.

             Paris August 1572, some 3,000 Huguenots slaughtered, and probably another 7,000 more slain in a dozen massacres that followed in provincial cities across France.  Periodically from 1612 to 1629. English, German, Scottish, Dutch, and Swiss troops aided the Huguenots; Spanish, Italian, German, and Swiss troops aided the Catholics.

             By the seventeenth century the R rated Church effectively ruled as the state church of the Netherlands; the Reformed agenda drove national policy. This meant that foreign Reformed communities aided their fellow Calvinists. Sebastian I of Portugal, his 1578 “crusade” against Muslims in Morocco ruined Portugal. Emperor Ferdinand II, the Holy Roman emperor of Bohemia, and of Hungary, his policies brought about the Thirty Years’ War—“Europe’s tragedy.”

             A war so destructive of both human life and property that it probably qualifies as the greatest disaster to affect Europe between the Black Death and the First World War.  Confessional divisions eventually helped to spawn the British civil wars that began in 1640 and lasted from 1641 to 1651, wreaking destruction across the whole of the British Isles. This era of religious debauchery culminated in the Cromwell ‘Round Heads’ Civil War. In 1653 Cromwell dismissed the Rump Parliament by force. This conflict started a completely different round of State imposed oppression and rule. And serves as validation of Nietzsche’s philosophy that the Xtian God is dead.

             Deicide, as expressed through the Gospels, does it command mussar? The Church chose theology over mussar. None the less, an interpretation of the Deicide Gospel story, it teaches a restatement\elaboration of the Cain and Abel first murder. Those who pursue violence and murder they kill God just as depicted in the slaughter and cross Gospel story.

             Those who honor the sermon on the mount, they witness the resurrection from the dead of Jesus their God. Da’at and t’shuva, upon these two wheels drives Divine Chariot mysticism. Blessing and Curse. The curse – Deicide guilt upon all generations of baptized believers – this Torah curse clings to all who pursue cruel violence, oppression and criminal murder. Those generations, one and all, guilty of Deicide, on par with and similar too, the plot to murder the Jesus messiah rebel who lead a revolt against Oral Torah based halacha, as told in the Gospel accounts.  As the Reformation witnessed a rebellion against the mother faith, so too the religion repressed through the New Testament depicts a similar event during the closing days of the 2nd Jewish Commonwealth under Roman tyranny.

             The sermon on the mount, viewed from the perspective of mussar rather than theology, Mohammad said Jesus was a prophet, the Torah defines prophet as a person who commands mussar. Therefore viewed from this perspective, the Deicide of God — the story of all 4 Gospels — teaches a mussar of violence, corruptions, and murder; mussar defines prophesy b/c the mussar commanded by a “prophet” — applies equally to all generations. Therefore all the generations of baptized Xtian believers who did these vile horrid crimes against humanity, the Crusades, or the pogroms, or enforced enslavement by compelling all Western Jewry to exist in ghetto poverty for some 300 years etc etc etc, all these generations of Xtian believers committed the crime of Christ Killer Deicide.

             The Sermon on the Mount makes a logical inference upon the Curses of the Torah. A logical inference turns an idea upon its head. In the place of Curses the inference changes them to Blessings. Therefore all the generations of baptized Xtian believers who committed war crimes against Humanity killed God. Nietzsche, his philosophy teaches that God is dead.Which God died? By viewing the Deicide Gospels, which calls Jesus God, then the dead God of Nietzsche – that’s the Xtian God … Jesus son of Zeus. Zeus being the “father” of the Gods, and the original language of the Gospels — written in Greek. Now a Xtian baptized believer who leads his generation not to do acts of theft, oppression, and murder, that generations witnesses the resurrection of the dead of Jesus their God – violently murdered by all the previous baptized Xtian generations who committed vile actions of theft, oppression, and murder. That’s a powerful mussar.

             The 2nd commandment commands the Cohen nation not to worship other Gods. Viewing the Deicide Gospels as prophetic, in that they “command” a powerful mussar which condemns all the generations of baptized Xtian believers who fill the world with horrible violence and bloodshed with the ruling of God murderers, this mussar validates the teaching of the Koran which declares Jesus son of Zeus, a prophet! The 2nd Commandment of Sinai validates that other Gods live. Only the chosen Cohen Nation has a brit with HaShem alone. This interpretation of Jesus, that imaginary man, viewed from the perspective of a prophet who commands mussar to all future born generations, validates Allah as God other than HaShem. The Cohen nation only swears an oath brit alliance with HaShem alone. This learning totally invalidates the false instruction known as Monotheism.

             Speculation of the Gods – that’s beyond my ability to comprehend. Yechudim learn Torah to keep the brit faith with HaShem. Speculations about other Gods lie outside of the oath brit Torah faith. Goyim can speculate about other Gods to their hearts’ content.  Israel – the chosen Cohen Nation – has sworn an oath brit with HaShem alone.   Only HaShem brought Israel out of Egypt.

             The sages of rabbinic Judaism have broken up the Shabbot reading of the Torah unto 54 Parshaot/divisions.  The last Parsha in the Book of V’ekra/Leviticus, and the Parsha Kee T’vo close to the conclusion of the 5th Book of D’varim/Deuteronomy, these two Parshaot of the Torah stand unique.  Both command blessings and curses.  The New Testament ‘Sermon on the Mount’ stands upon the foundation of blessings and curses.  Blessed etc the logical inference learns Accursed ect.  Subtract these 2 crowns of the Torah ie responsibility to keep the brit faith, the remaining Parshaot of the Torah = 52.  13 middot X the 4 letters of the Name = 52 Parshaot.  This concept of organization learns from the Gemara of ברכות which teaches: make your tefillot from a fixed location.  The term מקום, it seems to me, makes reference to the Name of HaShem.  Otherwise that language of ברכות, very difficult to understand.  Because tefilla, a matter of the heart rather than the place or location one da’vens.

             A central teaching of all the prophets, they worked to teach, through their mussar commandments, all the generations of Israel – how to pray.  The Order of the Shemone Esri blessings 3 + 13 + 3 = 613.  The Torah mandates 6 Yom Tovim.  The 13 middle blessings within the Shemone Esri affix to the 52 Parshaot, as do likewise the 13 middle blessings.  These individual Parshaot learn an affixed Torah tohor pronoun midda לשמה; meaning the pronoun middot orally heard at Mt. Horev, these pronouns, as opposed to adjectives, of the Name.  Each and every Parsha of the Torah strives to define the meaning of a specific tohor midda, as that specific tohor midda a Torah scholar affixes to a specific Parsha weekly reading.  Come the shabbot davvening, a Torah scholar dedicates a defined tohor midda unto HaShem; meaning that Torah scholar dedicates how he intends to direct his emotional mind in his walk before HaShem.  Herein defines the meaning and intent of daavening the Shemone Esri.

              The word One, in the קריאת שמע, carries the interpretive mean of: “upon myself”.  A person accepts upon himself the 3 separate oaths which the Avot swore as their oath brit yoke of faith.  Its for this reason that the Gemara of ברכות requires tefillin to accept the yoke of heaven.  The mitzva of tefillin – equal to that of a Safer Torah in matters of swearing oaths.  The distinction between the two, a person sits when he accepts the oaths sworn by the avot upon himself at mitzva of קריאת שמע.  Whereas a person who da’avens in a beit knesset stands before a Safer Torah.  Hence the Shemone Esri goes by the name Amidah – standing prayer.  A blessing qualifies as the offspring of oaths. 

              Jews view the New Testament as tuma.  Some might associate this with superstition and pat themselves upon their back for their superior wisdom.  Thebloody history of oppression against Jewish refugee populations throughout the last 2000 years demands an explanation.  This Torah scholar argues that breathing tuma spirits within the heart inspires and motivates wicked cruel behavior in all generations of mankind.  Yechudim, for example, do not traditionally learn on Xmas, a day of tremendous tuma avoda zara to Yidden.

             Xtianity has to have a physical Jesus.  This means physical disciples who lived and died, supposedly, in European countries.  Xtianity as a religion, it does not appear to me, based upon its theology, that it can continue to thrive as a dominant religion on this earth.  If Xtian believers accept the possibility that the Gospels tell mythical stories of an imaginary man.  Rava, a 6th generation Talmudic scholar, held that Job exists as an imaginary man.  T’NaCH teaches mussar, an imaginary man can teach mussar just as effectively as a real life person.  But the avoda zara of Xtianity stands upon its theology.  It rejects mussar just as it does Oral Torah logic פרדס formats of learning.

              From book burnings to placing entire Jewish communities into Ghettos, Hitler justified his violence based upon prior Xtian war crimes against the Jewish people.  Martin Luther advised rounding all the Jews of a town into their synagogues and burning those synagogues.

             Midrash, further organized the Talmud, this post sealing of the Talmud scholarship, a genius expressed by a group of scholars known as the Gaonim (600 – 950 CE).  Aggadita, the “earlier Midrash like” drosh stories within the Sha’s itself.  Gaonim scholarship, their organization of Midrashic stories centers around the Order of the Books of the Torah and NaCH.  The earlier Aggadita stories within the Talmud, by sharp contrast, the editors of the Talmud, rav Ravina and rav Ashi, organized those Aggadic stories around the Order of the Mishna!  The later Midrashim, the Gaonim scholars organized their Midrash compilations, in order to teach how to correctly learn Talmudic Aggadata within the pages of the Talmud. The drosh of פרדס pairs with p’shat, as the way to correctly study Aggaditah by means of the פרדס kabbala of rabbi Akiva. The point and purpose of the Midrashic commentaries, they served to teach later generations of students how to learn 1/4th of the whole of the Talmud – Aggaditah.  Specifically, Aggaditah employs a drosh kabbalah by which the Aggadic story seeks to “understand” the mussar within the Torah or NaCH.

             Weaving a garment most essentially requires a warp together with its opposing woof threads.  The “fabric” of the Talmud, its two essential opposing threads: Halacha and Aggadita.  Parables learn by משל\נמשל teaching.  They play an important function in Aggadita.  But the פרדס kabbalah of rabbi Akiva [he had 5 major students who lived through the Roman slaughter of the Jewish people.  These 5 students passed down the Talmud as we have it today], defines how to correctly learn and study the Talmud.  Every page of the Talmud employs the פרדס kabbala of how to learn.  The example brought earlier, whether one lights eight or only one light on the first night of Hannukka.  The harmony of this Mishna, both sh’ittot of learning focus upon Order.  As mentioned earlier, if you interpret the Sermon on the Mount as mussar, then it makes a משל\נמשל inference interpretation of the Curses located at the end of the 3rd and 5th Books of the Torah.  Church faith stands upon theology and dogmatism – not mussar.

              The earliest Gospel manuscripts, in existence today, all written in Greek.  The target audience of those Books, aimed to apeal to non Jewish readers.  The letters of Paul actually preceded the Books of the Gospels.  The letters of Paul, written about 70 AD, the Gospels written approximately 100 or more years thereafter.  The Book of John written in the later 3rd or early 4th century!!  Some scholars speculate that the Gospel writers received their salaries from Caesar who commissioned their work.  This line of non Jewish scholarship on the New Testament falls outside of my expertise.  I cannot comment on it other than simply acknowledging its existence.

              In my youth I speculated that the Apostle Paul functioned as an agent provocateur sent to stir up political chaos prior to the coming Jewish revolt against Rome. The story in the Book of Acts of the stoning of Paul, has serious fundamental problems of historic accuracy.  Only a small Sanhedrin Court could have ruled the death penalty of stoning.  Stoning, by authority of the halacha, the most severe of the 4 types of death penalties in Jewish law.  [Stoning, burning, sword, and strangulation].  The story of people throwing stones, does not comply with stoning commanded by Jewish law.  The execution of stoning entailed building a platform, about 3 stories high.  Taking the condemned prisoner up to the top and pushing that bound and naked prisoner off the edge unto a jagged boulder below.  The Talmud teaches that no person ever survived that horrific impact.

              Furthermore, the jurisdiction authority of a small Sanhedrin Court exists only within the borders of Judea.   A torts court of 3 judges, which tried Paul and found him guilty of the most extreme of the 4 possible ways to carry out a public execution.  Torts courts, unlike Sanhedrin courts, have a mandate to operate outside the borders of Judea.  But a Capital Crimes Sanhedrin Court, its jurisdiction exists only within the borders of Judea!  If Paul served as an agent provocateur the stoning hoax served as a pretext to infiltrate that new religion – later known as Xtianity.  In Syria only a torts court of 3 judges had jurisdiction.  Such a Court could never try any Capital Crimes case.  Unless, that the trial of Paul served as a pretext to permit this agent provocateur to infiltrate this rebel group who sought to abandon the Oral Torah פרדס kabbala of joining prophetic mussar together with halachic mitzvot ritualism.

             Syria on the border with Judea.  Paul preached that Goyim did not require circumcision.  A major turn off for Jewish supporters of this new replacement messiah theology.  When he traveled to Rome, by contrast, Paul emphasized the theology of Jesus as the Son of God.  Caesar considered himself as the Son of God.  In Rome, Paul likewise emphasized the theology of “the king of the Jews”.  Romans who believed in Jesus thus viewed him as ”the king of the Jews”.  A conflict of  loyalties thereafter ensued: do Romans give their loyalty to: Caesar the Son of God or to Jesus, king of the Jews? 

             The agent provocateur motive has its earlier precedent based upon the story of  Judah Maccabbee who declaredJudea’s servitude to a pretender to the Syrian throne.  On multiple occasions [divide and conquer], Syrian armies had to withdraw from a Judean campaign to destroy the Maccabbees, internal rebellion forced them to return to Syria to put down a revolt against the king. Judah Maccabbee pledged his allegiance to that alturnative “king”.  At that timethe Syrian Greek empire stood on dying legs.  Paul as an agent provocateur, sent by Rabban Gamliel, over 100 years after the successful revolt led by Judah Maccabbee.  To provoke Civil War in Roman society prior to the Jewish revolt.  As a study of revolutions at Texas A&M, speculated that all cultures in all societies have an “ethical containment force”.  Shatter that “ethical containment force” and that specific society fall into anarchy and chaos.

              By the time of the writing of the Book of John, Xtian theology had crystalized.  Many accounts in the Gospel of John have no counterpart in the Synoptic Gospels.  That Book focused its theme upon a “theological truth- Jesus as the Son of God”.   Fictional stories such as parables, for example, can be vehicles to teach mussar.  In classic Hebrew literature the teaching technique known as משל\נמשל employs the logic of making opposite inferences.  Yiddish, humor and curses, employ this identical technique.  Reading the histories written by Flavious Josephus, the most accepted historian of his Age on the Jewish/Roman Wars.  The Jews who lived in occupied Judea, prior to the Jewish revolt, existed in a state of almost total anarchy and Civil War.
             The Political and Moral concept of two essential Talmudic terms: KING and TEMPLE.  The sons of the prophet Sh’muel, a prophet 2nd in authority unto Moshe in the line of prophets; they accepted gifts and bribes like as did a son of Moshe the prophet, wickedly worship avoda zarah.  Later the kings of both Syria and Israel made league together to sit their man upon the throne of the House of David.  A dying prophet, Sh’muel pleads with the People, who demand from him to anoint a Meshiach as their king; this action done with the intent to transform Israel such that the Cohen Nation converts, and becomes similar to the other nations.  The dying prophet pleads: People: HaShem lives as your KING.  To which the People responded, anoint us a Moshiach King, so that our nation compares to the other nations – HaShem does not rule as KING of the other nations because the nations never accepted the revelation of the Torah at Sinai. 

             The command to have a king rule over Israel, accomplishes the desire of the People, their rejection of the Torah revelation, together with the oath brit which the Cohen Nation swore at Sinai.  This command by the People to Sh’muel the prophet directly compares to the desire of Reform Judaism to throw off the yoke of halacha.  A rebellion similar to that of early Xtianity.  The scholarship of traditional Judaism, following the rebellion of Reform against the authority of the halacha, attempts to make halachic Judaism relevant and not antiquated to the post Napoleon, post Ghetto European Age.

             What most essentially defines the revelation of the Torah at Sinai, in its functional relationship with both KING and TEMPLE?  Justice.  Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai left Jerusalem in a coffin, the Pharisees pondered how to enable Judaism to survive the Roman conquest.  Titus loved the words of Rabbi Yochanan, who told him that he would rule as emperor.  Titus asked him for a request that he would grant.  Rabbi Zakkai responded: “Give me Yavneh and its sages”.  Ben Zakkai sought to maintain a lateral Sanhedrin Court, as the means to enliven Judaism – the faith of justice – of the Cohen Nation, which accepts the revelation of the Torah at Sinai throughout all the generations of the children of Yaacov, Yitzak, and Avraham.

             HaShem took Israel out of the slavery bondage of Egypt to rule the Cohen Nation through justice.  Par’o unjustly invited the children of Yaacov and Israel to dwell as honored invited guests of the House of Par’o, in respect for the service rendered by Yosef to the Crown.  Compare the British agreeing to the Balfour Declaration, to honor the service rendered by Chaim Weizmann to the Crown during WW I.  The the injustice of two White Papers which betrayed all Jews and sealed the fate of my people to suffer close extermination in Europe.

             Both Par’o and Number 10 Downing Street dishonored their invitation to the Yechudim people.  Both Kingdoms employed political rhetoric with the intent to enslave the Jewish people.  Both kingdoms loved the services rendered by the Jewish people to the crown, but only as an expression of the crown’s political opportunism.  In similar intent, the league made between Syria and Israel to place their Man upon the throne of the House of David; King Shlomo united the nation to build the Temple, but his Court too loved political opportunism and failed to rule the people with justice, which eventually resulted in the total destruction of his kingdom by Nebuchadrezzar II.

             When the son of Shlomo traveled to Sh’Cem to be anointed Moshiach, the ten tribes, thereafter known as Israel, rejected the kingdom of the House of David.  All the kings of Israel, to a man, like Reform Judaism, rejected the revelation of the Torah at Sinai, the yoke and eternal obligation to rule the land through justice.  Justice instituted by and through the exiled Babylonian scholars who envisioned lateral Sanhedrin Courts of law, as expressed in every page of the Talmud.  This foundation of faith, king Shlomo refused to head the council of Natan the prophet, king Shlomo issued the command to build the first Temple, rather than establish the Federal Sanhedrin Court system which extends unto the 6 Cities of Refuge.

             In terms of ancient history, while the House of David devolved unto a cult of personality, the Babylonian g’lut permanently destroyed that error of Torah faith.  Throughout the reign of David, Civil War effectively sums up the hostile attitudes of the tribes forging the First Republic.  Forms of Government, like for example monarchy, to not assure political stability, only justice – compensation for damages – perhaps, with a blessing from HaShem, makes political stability possible.  Political stability, a very complicated problem which has multiple variables upon which all nations struggle to achieve. 

             The Torah viewed as a political Constitutional document does not favor the establishment of any cult of personality, much less a permanent family as Head of State for all generations unto eternity.  Moshe did not pass his leadership unto his children.  The House of Aaron, an inherited concept of Cohen, nonetheless views all Israel, who accept the Torah revelation at Sinai, as the nation of Cohanim.  Tefilla has replaced korbanot as the definition of avodat HaShem.

             A primary consequence of the justice idea, it does not depend upon any Cult of Personality, not the Apostle Paul, nor the God Jesus, or the Prophet Mohammad.  The classic false messiah movements whether New Testament Era or all later ‘messianic kings’, a the list of disgrace which shames not only the Jewish nation.  The Catholic religion seeks to duplicate the priesthood of the House of Aaron, woefully ignorant of the concept of the Oral Torah interpretation of tohora, as expressed through the weekly reading of the Torah.  A precondition which defines and limits Avodat HaShem to this very day.  Observance of Torah commandments in a state of tuma, brings no blessing upon the Jewish nation.

             Superficially a Catholic Bull which determines dogma compares to halacha like as does halal slaughter to kashrut.  But beyond the external similarities neither this nor that share any common ground with obedience to Torah commandments.  Just as the forms of Government do not determine law; law depends upon the substance of Government.  The Executive Branch of the United States, for example, now almost totally by-passes Congress through Executive Orders.  American legalism has devolved and made a בדיעבד emergency measure into the accepted ideal of American governance. 

             Congress too has devolved, it relies on Committees and in substance those Committees have replaced the Constitutional antebellum erapractice of holding Congressional debates made famous by John C. Calhoun.  Corporate lobbies present virtually all Bills to Congressional leaders.  Senators and Congressmen have divorced virtually all council from their State Legislatures.  Ron Paul, for example, publicly stated that he never discussed politics with the Governor of Texas.  The situation has reached such a rot, that no elected Official sent to Washington can clean that town from its total corruption and vice.

             Post Rambam, the halacha transformed itself and it now closely resembles to Papal Bulls.  But justice can not see the light of day when boxed in by halachic codifications.  The Rambam devolution of halacha divorces itself from the Aggadic mussar drosh which derives from the T’NaCH prophets who command mussar unto all future born generations.  Herein defines all T’NaCH prophets.  The g’lut Halacha which the Tur & Shulchan Aruch codes exemplify, following the Rambam Civil War, exists only as the klippah, the skin or shell, of the original Talmudic intent.  Goyim governments across Europe took full advantage of the Rambam Civil War.  They delighted in Jewish anarchy, and forced “their” over taxed, impoverished Jews, either to live in ghetto prisons or emigrate unto Eastern Europe, and later to the new world.  Justice died in g’lut, no European Court has ever condemned the Church for its abhorrent war crimes; much less sought to compensate the Jewish people for damages European governments inflicted.

             The rabbinic sages who produced, as the crown of their Torah learning – the Talmud; they sought to institutionalize justice, through the establishment of a lateral common law Sanhedrin Federal Court system.  Justice most emphatically does not depend upon the worship of cults of personality, as expressed in the ‘daughter religions’ of both Xtianity and Islam.  These sages possessed a clarity, akin to the founding fathers of America who established the jury system, that the State must not pay the salaries of either the Judges or the Prosecuting attorneys.

             The Talmudic ideal to establish a Torah institution of justice depends upon the Oral Torah logic format of middot.  Common Law stands upon the foundation of prior precedents.  By what means can a person compare a current case before the Court with a prior but similar case precedent?  The logic of Oral Torah compares to a child’s wooden building blocks or tinker toys.  [In my youth, used tinker toys to build complex organic molecules, as a tool to envision the shape of these molecules in 3 dimensions].  There, the child, he’s limited only to his imaginations, so too likewise the Oral Torah middot, they function something like a child’s building blocks or tinker toys.  This logic format does not depend upon any mathematical formulas, but then again neither does it oppose mathematical formulas. 

             Therefore this Oral Torah logic system works in completely different ways than does classic Greek philosophy of logic.  The contrast between Oral Torah and Aristotelian logic, compares to the stark differences between lateral and vertical Courts of Law.  The Talmud establishes a working model of lateral Common law.  The Gemara learns the Mishna through bringing of precedents based solely upon the פרדס Oral Torah logic system.  How the פרדס system understands Oral Torah strictly determines both the language employed in Rabbi Yechuda’s Mishna together with how the Sages of the Gemara brought precedents from all over the Sha’s by which to understand the specific Mishna which the Gemara comments upon.

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