# 7 – The seventh line of reasoning relates to the prohibition against idolatry.
As a general rule, the argument about the authenticity of the traditions of Judaism is not very relevant to the debate between Judaism and Christianity. It is not necessary to believe in the traditions in order to reject the doctrines of the Church. The Bible itself provides more than enough evidence to refute the claims of Christianity. Historically, Jews who rejected the traditions of their fathers, (known as Karaites), were amongst the most vociferous opponents to Christianity. Conversely, there are Christians who accept the authenticity of many of the traditions and still believe in Jesus. It is clear that the traditions are not a central factor in the debate between Judaism and Christianity.
There is however one exception to this rule, and that is the tradition that defines the prohibition against idolatry. This tradition has been the central focus in the debate between Judaism and Christianity for the past 2000 years. When Jews chose death over Christianity, and tens of thousands made this choice, it was because they accepted the Jewish definition of the prohibition against idolatry. Amazingly, Brown never addresses this particular tradition in this book! The one detail of the traditions that plays such a critical role in the debate between Judaism and Christianity is not mentioned in this volume that purports to defend the Church against Jewish objections to Christianity that are based on the traditions!
This is all the more surprising in light of a communication that took place between Dr. Brown and myself ten years ago.
I presented the following challenge to Brown in August of 2001. (At that point in time, his projection for this series was that it would only contain three volumes, and it was the third volume that would include his arguments against the traditions, hence the reference to the third volume as opposed to the fifth.)
I will present you with a challenge. You are presently preparing the third volume of your book for publication. I did not see it, but I can tell you what it does not contain. I will list three objections to the Christian belief system which you were not planning to mention. Two of these objections lie at the heart of the Jewish resistance to any belief system aside from their own. Here they are.
1) The medium through which we learned that scripture is authentic is the testimony of our parents. These same people testified to us that there is a body of unwritten Mosaic law which is crucial in understanding how God wants us to live. If they lied about these unwritten traditions then why should we believe their testimony about scripture. (The Ibn Ezra articulates this argument in several places)
2) The one item which the Torah itself is most explicit and clear that we are to follow the testimony of our fathers, is the issue of “who are we to worship”. Scripture tells the witnesses of Sinai, “you should make it known to your children and children’s children”. It is obvious that God considered this a valid medium of transmitting information, that is the chain of parent to child. Once God explicitly designated a medium of transmitting information, we can be sure that He will ensure its preservation. Until today jews testify that God revealed Himself at Sinai as an absolute unity. All those who deviated from this tradition never claimed that with their worship they follow a tradition which goes back to Sinai. (This is the main point of the Jewish insistence on clinging to their belief system)
3) An honest reading of the NT will reveal that Jesus and his followers believed in, and observed the unwritten traditions which the Jews accepted as God‑given. (I hope to substantiate this at length later in this letter)
At the time, Brown responded by accepting the challenge and assuring me that he will address these arguments in his upcoming volume. But he did not. He devotes one paragraph, in an end-note (#131) to the first objection (- see our response below in point #16). He touches upon one limited aspect of the third of the three Jewish objections in the main body of the book (6.15 – see our response in point #69), but he completely ignored the second objection.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal