Judaism

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Judaism is a religion.

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  • The fundamental principle of the Hebraic commonwealth was that there are great moral laws not dependent on the will of monarch, oligarchy, aristocracy or public assembly.
    • Lyman Abbott, Life and Literature of Ancient Hebrews (1910)
  • Mankind, East and West, Christian and Muslim, accepted the Jewish conviction that there is only one G-d. Today it is polytheism that is so difficult to understand, that is so unthinkable.
    • T. R. Grover, The Ancient World, p. 186
  • It is against their own insoluble problem of being human that the dull and base in humanity are in revolt in anti-Semitism. Judaism, nevertheless, together with Hellenism and Christianity is an inalienable component of our Christian Western civilization, the eternal "call to Sinai" against which humanity again and again rebels.
    • Herman Rauschning, The Beast From the Abyss, pp. 155-56
  • Throughout our history there have been weaker elements who have shirked the sacrifices which Judaism entailed. They have been swallowed, long since, in the great majority; only the more stalwart have carried on the traditions of their ancestors, and can now look back with pride upon their superb heritage. Are we to be numbered with the weak majority, or with the stalwart minority? It is for ourselves to decide.
    • Cecil Roth, A History of the Jews (Oxford University Press, 1961) p.423
  • Far from having become 1900 years ago a stagnant or dried-up religion, as Christian theology declares, Judaism has ever remained "a river of God full of living waters," which, while running within the river-bed of a single nation, has continued to feed anew the great streams of human civilization.
  • Next to God's unity the most essential and characteristic doctrine of Judaism is that concerning God's relation to man. Heathenism degraded man by making him kneel before brutes and the works of his hand: Judaism declared man to be made in the image of God, the crown and culmination of God's creation, the appointed ruler of the earth, and vicegerent of God
  • Most firmly hold and never doubt that not only pagans, but also all Jews, all heretics, and all schismatics who finish this life outside of the Catholic Church, will go into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
  • Jews and Saracens of both sexes in every Christian province must be distinguished from the Christian by a difference of dress. On Passion Sunday and the last three days of Holy Week they may not appear in public.
  • His [Jesus'] object was the reformation of some articles in the religion of the Jews, as taught by Moses. That sect had presented for the object of their worship, a being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust.
    • Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Short, August 4, 1820, on his reason for compiling the Syllabus of an Estimate of the Merit of the Doctrines of Jesus. Published in Thomas Jefferson: Writings, Merrill D. Peterson, ed., New York: Library of America, 1994, pp. 1435–1440.[1]
  • [A]ll churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim, are simply human inventions. They use fear to enslave us. They are a monopoly for power and profit.
  • Every national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet; as if the way to God was not open to every man alike.
    Each of those churches shows certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.
  • "I will insist the Hebrews have [contributed] more to civilize men than any other nation. If I was an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations ... They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this Earth. The Romans and their empire were but a bubble in comparison to the Jews. They have given religion to three-quarters of the globe and have influenced the affairs of mankind more and more happily than any other nation, ancient or modern." ~ John Adams (From a letter to F. A. Van der Kemp [Feb. 16, 1808] Pennsylvania Historical Society)
  • The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. … For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them.
  • Judaism has some advantages over Christianity in that, for example, it does not proselytise—except among Jews—and it does not make the cretinous mistake of saying that the Messiah has already made his appearance. … However, along with Islam and Christianity, it does insist that some turgid and contradictory and sometimes evil and mad texts, obviously written by fairly unexceptional humans, are in fact the word of god. I think that the indispensable condition of any intellectual liberty is the realisation that there is no such thing.
  • Since Jesus came to the earth the first time 2,000 years ago as a Jewish male, many evangelicals believe the Antichrist will, by necessity, be a Jewish male. This belief is 2,000 years old and has no anti-Semitic roots. This is simply historic and prophetic orthodox Christian doctrine that many theologians, Christian and non-Christian, have understood for two millennia.
    • Jerry Falwell, quoted in "Religion, Politics a Potent Mix for Jerry Falwell" by Steve Inskeep in Morning Edition on NPR (30 June 2006)
  • The god of Moses would call for other tribes, including his favorite one, to suffer massacre and plague and even extirpation, but when the grave closed over his victims he was essentially finished with them unless he remembered to curse their succeeding progeny. Not until the advent of the Prince of Peace do we hear of the ghastly idea of further punishing and torturing the dead.
  • "This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always accepted the word of the Bible: In the beginning God created heaven and earth... [But] for the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; [and] as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries." ~ Robert Jastrow (God and the Astronomers.)
  • "...If statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky way. properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and had done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. ~ Mark Twain (Concerning The Jews)
  • The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?" ~ Mark Twain (Concerning The Jews)
  • "If we were forced to choose just one, there would be no way to deny that Judaism is the most important intellectual development in human history." ~ David Gelernter
  • "...it would be a mistake...to ascribe to Roman legal conceptions an undivided sway over the development of law and institutions during the Middle Ages... The Laws of Moses as well as the laws of Rome contributed suggestions and impulse to the men and institutions which were to prepare the modern world; and if we could have but eyes to see... we should readily discover how very much besides religion we owe to the Jew." ~ Woodrow Wilson
  • "Certainly, the world without the Jews would have been a radically different place. Humanity might have eventually stumbled upon all the Jewish insights. But we cannot be sure. All the great conceptual discoveries of the human intellect seem obvious and inescapable once they had been revealed, but it requires a special genius to formulate them for the first time. The Jews had this gift. To them we owe the idea of equality before the law, both divine and human; of the sanctity of life and the dignity of human person; of the individual conscience and so a personal redemption; of collective conscience and so of social responsibility; of peace as an abstract ideal and love as the foundation of justice, and many other items which constitute the basic moral furniture of the human mind. Without Jews it might have been a much emptier place." ~ Paul Johnson
  • "No ancient people have had a stranger history than the Jews. … The history of no ancient people should be so valuable, if we could only recover it and understand it. … Stranger still, the ancient religion of the Jews survives, when all the religions of every ancient race of the pre-Christian world have disappeared … Again it is strange that the living religions of the world all build on religious ideas derived from the Jews. …. The great matter is not “What happened?” but “Why did it happen?” Why does Judaism live?"
    • T.R. Glover (The Ancient World, Penguin, pp. 184-191)
  • "What is the Jew?...What kind of unique creature is this whom all the rulers of all the nations of the world have disgraced and crushed and expelled and destroyed; persecuted, burned and drowned, and who, despite their anger and their fury, continues to live and to flourish. What is this Jew whom they have never succeeded in enticing with all the enticements in the world, whose oppressors and persecutors only suggested that he deny (and disown) his religion and cast aside the faithfulness of his ancestors?!
The Jew - is the symbol of eternity. ... He is the one who for so long had guarded the prophetic message and transmitted it to all mankind. A people such as this can never disappear.
The Jew is eternal. He is the embodiment of eternity."
    • Leo Tolstoy (What is the Jew? Quoted in The Final Resolution, pg. 189, printed in Jewish World periodical, 1908)
  • When we scan the diaspora of Jewry over the entire globe and throughout the entire civilized world, we are surprised to see that this Nation, which is almost the most ancient in the world, is in truth the youngest in terms of the land under its feet and the sky above its head. As a result of the relentless persecutions and forced expulsions, most Jews are but recent new-comers to their respective lands of residence. Ninety percent of the Jewish people have lived in their new homes for no more than 50 or 60 years! (The Jewish People) are dispersed throughout over 100 lands on all five continents.
    • Leschzinsky (The Jewish Dispersion by in Discovery Booklet pg. 55)
  • "The Ten Commandments have lost their validity... Conscience is a Jewish invention. It is a blemish like circumcision..."
    • Adolph Hitler (Herman Rauschning, Hitler Speaks, p. 220)
  • "The preservation of the Jew was certainly not casual. He has endured through the power of a certain ideal, based on the recognition of a Higher Power in human affairs. Time after time in his history, moreover, he has been saved from disaster in a manner, which cannot be described excepting as 'providential.' The author has deliberately attempted to write this book in a secular spirit; he does not think that his readers can fail to see in it, on every page, a higher immanence"
    • Cecil Roth (History of the Jews, New York, 1963, p. 424)
  • "This people are not eminent solely by their antiquity, but are also singular by their duration, which has always continued from their origin till now. For, whereas the nations of Greece and of Italy, of Lacedaemon, of Athens and of Rome, and others who came long after, have long since perished, these ever remain, and in spite of the endeavors of many powerful kings who have a hundred times tried to destroy them, as their historians testify, and as it is easy to conjecture from the natural order of things during so long a space of years, they have nevertheless been preserved (and this preservation has been foretold); and extending from the earliest times to the latest, their history comprehends in its duration all our histories (which it preceded by a long time)."
    • Pensees by Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952 - Paragraph 620, p. 285
  • The Jews have played an all-important role in history. They are pre-eminently an historical people and their destiny reflects the indestructibility of the divine decrees. Their destiny is too imbued with the "metaphysical" to be explained either in material or positive historical terms.
I remember how the materialist interpretation of history, when I attempted in my youth to verify it by applying it to the destinies of peoples, broke down in the case of the Jew, where destiny seemed absolutely inexplicable from the materialistic standpoint. And, indeed, according to the materialistic and positivist criterion, this people ought long ago to have perished. Its survival is a mysterious and wonderful phenomenon demonstrating that the life of this people is governed by a special predetermination, transcending the processes of adaptation expounded by the materialistic interpretation of history.
The survival of the Jews, their resistance to destruction, their endurance under absolutely peculiar conditions and the fateful role played by them in history; all these point to the particular and mysterious foundations of their destiny...
The historical not only represented man's external relations, but that it might also reveal the very noumenon and essence of his being. The peculiarity of Jewish destiny consists in its incommensurability with either the pre-Christian or the Christian era. Scientific criticism applied to traditional Biblical history can neither discredit the universal role played by the Jews nor offer a satisfactory explanation of their mysterious destiny. Nor does this criticism grapple with the absolutely peculiar tie existing between the Jews and the 'historical,' and their extraordinarily intense feeling for history.
    • The Meaning of History by Professor Nicholai Berdysev, Moscow Academy - London 1935, pp. 86-7
  • "Israel's great achievement, so apparent that mention of it is almost trite, was Monotheism. It was an achievement that transformed subsequent history....One may raise the question whether any other single contribution from whatever source since human culture emerged from the stone age has had the far reaching effect upon history that Israel in this regard has exerted both through the mediums of Christianity and Islam and directly through the world of Jewish thinkers themselves"
    • from The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man, by H. and H. A. Frankfort, John A. Wilson, Thorkild Jacobsen, William A. Irwin

From "A Book of Jewish Thoughts" ed. J. H. Hertz (Oxford University Press, 1920)

  • Judaism is something more than a badge, something more than a birth-mark; it is a life.
    • Morris Joseph (1903), p.21
  • Salvation is attained not by subscription to metaphysical dogmas, but solely by love of God that fulfils itself in action. This is a cardinal truth in Judaism.
    • Chasdai Crescas (1410), p.25
  • When sometimes our own unchristian prejudices flame out agains tthe Jewish people, let us remember that all that we have and all that we are we owe, under God, to what Judaism gave us.
    • Lyman Abbott, p.131
  • Israel has given the world true humanitarianism, just as it has given the world the true God.
    • C. H. Cornill (1895), p.131
  • None of the resplendent names in history - Egypt, Athens, Rome - can compare in eternal grandeur with Jerusalem. For Israel has given to mankind the category of holiness. Israel alone has known the thirst for social justice, and that inner saintliness which is the source of justice.
    • Charles Wagner (1918), p.134

See also

External links

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