A Word on the Talmud


The following contribution is

by “Hoss Cartwright”

For what it’s worth, here is a small piece on my experience with the Talmud, and a couple of graphics.

I mentioned that HWA should have used Talmud in his research. Ralph commented about a book that paralleled the Talmud with Paul’s letters. I’ve heard of a few books that make similar analyses, for example, showing Jesus as a typical Jewish rabbi.


While part of the Talmud is the written version of the Oral Law (and that’s a whole kettle of gefilte fish) it contains collection of Torah commentary, which I heard described as a “600 year long Bible study”.


Part of the Talmud derives 613 commandments, positive commands (thou shalt) and negative commands (thou shalt not) from the Torah. How many times had “God changes not!” been used by HWA to show we should keep a select, modified subset of the Law? Why were we told not eat unclean meat, but not told to wear tzitzis (tassels)? Both laws appear in the Torah as equally binding. The overseer of a new COG once wrote he would, time permitting, analyze each of the 613 commandments and tell us which ones we must still keep, and which were no longer required. There was a time when that would have put him between a bunch of rocks and a hard place, and Jesus’ comment on those who teach breaking “the least of my commandments.”

“Binding and loosening” was not authority given to Apostles to change laws; it gave authority to make judgements on how laws apply. Pharisees maxwellhad their Halachah (“walk”) that determined how they kept each law; Jesus accepted some of these customs and rejected others. For example, giving thanks before a meal was a Pharisaic tradition, in addition to the biblically-implied command is to give thanks after a meal. He rejected ritual hand washing before eating bread, and pointed out the “Biblical incorrectness” of abuses of Korban (Offering).

In Paul’s dealing with Gentiles, circumcision most likely referred to ritual conversion to Judaism, which the Talmud called the “Eighteen Measures” (not the Eighteen Truths). Ritual conversion required, amongst other things, circumcision and was concluded with immersion; following immersion the convert was “born again as a Jew.”

These are a few of the examples I came across (new truth!) that helped me put aside nagging vestiges of WCG doctrinal baggage.

(Note: rabbi, Judaism, etc, were words of convenience; in the first century these terms were anachronisms.)

When I first saw the first graphic on the PCG website,I felt it was just censoredbegging for this… And to borrow another line from the Simpsons, “If Flurry sues, we’ll claim Fair Use…”

herb ad

*Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. -John 14:6

This includes Gerald Flurry and the other “wannabee apostles”

10 Replies to “A Word on the Talmud”

  1. HWA was wrong is not what his accolades would say. He is innocent of rape and a prophet. They honor him for molesting his daughter and making up bullshit stories for his sheep.

  2. You walk into these Armstrong church at your own risk, because you think it leads to the future; not a future that will be, but one that is promised to be. These churches have patterned themselves after every oppressive dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. They have refinements, technological advancements, grand buildings, and a approach that makes way for the destruction of human freedom. But like every one of the Armstrong churches that preceded it, it has one iron rule: Logic is an enemy, and truth is a menace.

  3. “Hoss” brings out solid points on the Talmud. I was surprised to learn on studying Talmudic literature that baptism was merely a form of the “conversion ” process into Judaism. It does seem interesting, assuming there is truth to the John the Baptist story, that John was merely representing a repentance from one form of Pharisaical Judaism to a more “democratic” form as Jesus advocated in Matthew 23. I wrote before that Hillel was almost of the same generation as Jesus, so his “seven laws” would most likely have sparked a battle between the “elitists” of the Pharisees and the more democratic people who believed the law was given to all equally. This would mean that Jesus was not trying to save the world so much as he was trying to focus the peope back on the law as intended, which Matthew 5:17-19 would indicate. Jesus’ alleged conversation with Nicodemus, which actually involved Jewish ritual of baptism, would represent a new “conversion” from rabbinical control to a more democratic form of lawful application. Nicodemus saw no need for being “born again” as he was already born of the law at Sinai.

    “Hoss” brings up some interesting applications. If al this is true, then Jesus, and Paul, were actually saying the people are empowered to keep the law and honor it among themselves, which seems to be the basic concept of Jefferson when he wrote of Anglo-Saxon law, as well as trial by jury and parallels in constitutional law. Jesus was merely a reformer who believed in “power to the people”.

  4. “Hoss” also writes:

    “‘Binding and loosening’ was not authority given to Apostles to change laws; it gave authority to make judgements on how laws apply. Pharisees had their Halachah (“walk”) that determined how they kept each law…”

    Jesus goes more into that principle in Matthew 18:15-18, in settle ment of trespass. First, two people seek to settle themselves, avoiding the state and the judge, second, if they aren’at able, each select witnesses according to the two witness rule in Deuteronomy, a nd if that doesn’t work, bring it before the “church”, which would be any Jewish congregation knowledgeable of the law. IOW, early form of trial by jury. There is no “official authority” signified in this “binding and loosing” process. If the two involved settle the matter between themselves, the power to bind and loose is theirs.

    That Jesus was opposed to “official” authority is confirmed in Matthew 24 when he warned against deceivers who would come “in my name”(or messiah), meaning that the power of all lawful settlement remained ALWAYS with the people.

  5. “Yeah, but see — if the cult leader has all the power to settle disputes, it’s a lot quicker!”

    And efficient! Do what your told and don’t bother to think!

    Rule 1. Herbie was always right
    Rule 2. When in doubt, see rule one above.

    If you disagreed with any of the above then you had a bad attitude and got your ass kicked out of the cult.

    Ralph, Good points. I am reading “comparative religions” and some of the authors conclusions seem to settle in your court. More another day on this when I finish and contemplate his findings.

  6. Based on what “Hoss” wrote, a lot of things tend to fall into place. For example, if baptism(and circumcision) created a “born again” Jew by Jewish law, then Jesus, already a Jew, being baptized was a “born again” something else. Compare this to Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus, who admitted Jesus as a rabbi, then the idea of being “born again” would not be accurate. In fact, the Greek translation uses “anothen”, meaning “from above”. “Born again” comes from the Greek “annagennao”, literally referring to “again born”.

    So, if the Greek can be taken as a literal example, Jesus was tellng Nicodemus, “Unless a man is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven”. If we then look at verse 8 of John 3, we really don’t have any idea who these people are, which would make it impossible to organize them.

  7. Just some notes on “baptism” – Ablution in a mikveh (ritual purification bath) was a requirement to cleanse one who would enter the Temple in Jerusalem. The remains of some mikvot can still be seen around the temple mount area. That is how so many could be baptized on Pentacost – there was no trek of thousands down to the Jordan.

    Recall the baptism performed by John was different than the one prescribed by Jesus: John wanted to see “fruit” (and that did not mean website hits) whereas Jesus required repentance. Baptism could be seen to mark a change of status.

  8. Yes, Maccoby brings that out, that especially in messianic movements, baptism represented a change in status. In fact, if we take Jesus’ message to Nicodemus and apply it to Paul’s writings in Romans 9:7-15, along with Galatians 3:29 and 4:28, the status change shifted from the law given to Israel, back to the promise made to Abraham. Paul continually emphasized that those who accepted this promise were “born of promise”. Notice the division in Romans 9:8: “That is, they which are the children of the flesh(Israel), these are NOT the CHILDREN OF God, but the children of the PROMISE are counted for the seed”.

    Paul points out that the law came until the promise was fulfilled in Jesus, and a status change occurred(Galatians 3:17-19). “It (the law) was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the PROMISE was made. And it was ordained by angels in the hands of a mediator.”

    Therefore, those who were baptized into “Christ”(yeah, I know the pagan connotations)were no longer under law, but under PROMISE. Verse 22: “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the PROMISE by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”

    Te baptism of Jesus was a change of status, from law to promise, as Jesus, according to Paul, was the fulfillme nt of that promise. This is the simple point that HWA and the COGs miss.

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