Correcting Some Misconceptions
In the recent conversation with Brother Gilbert, some inaccurate statements were posted on this blog. For the sake of truth I do not want to leave those statements unchallenged.
Rabbi Yaakov Emden was quoted with some positive words about Christianity’s founders, Jesus and Paul. But this did not stop him from labeling Christianity as idolatry for Jews as well as for Gentiles.
Brother Gilbert insinuated that the negative characterization that the Christian Scriptures presents of the Pharisees holds true for the Shammai sect of Pharisees. This is untrue. No sect of Pharisees acted as did the Pharisees portrayed by the Christian Scriptures. Every written record bequeathed to us by history demonstrates that the Pharisees were the precise opposite of what the gospel writers would have us believe.
Brother Gilbert told us that the Church has repented for its crimes against the Jewish people. I would think that repentance for the vicious murder of myriads of innocents needs to go a bit farther than some apologetic words.( In this context, I recommend the book; A Moral Reckoning, by Daniel Goldhagen, which analyzes the attitude of the Catholic Church toward its own sins.)
Finally, Brother Gilbert alleged that when the Church burned people alive at the stake, that the Rabbinic community rejoiced because the victims of the Church were generally traitors to the Jewish faith.
This accusation has no basis in fact. The records that we have of the times demonstrate that the Rabbinic community yearned for the return of their brethren who had been forcibly converted. There is no record of any joy expressed by the Rabbinic community at the occasion of the murder of their brethren.
What history has bequeathed to us is a record of Catholic joy at the death of those who had been forced to convert to their faith of “love.” The auto da fe, where “heretics” were burned alive, were public spectacles designed for the entertainment of the Catholic faithful. For a Catholic priest to accuse Jews of rejoicing over the cruel deaths inflicted by the same Catholic Church is the height of hypocrisy.
I invite Brother Gilbert to rejoin the conversation on this blog. I cannot guarantee that every last commenter will respect your feelings, but I think that I can say that the discussion, no matter how painful, will ultimately lead to greater clarity. And clarity is a great gift.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal