Elizabeth Dilling and the Talmud


#1

I am looking for a dispassionate critique of Dilling’s The Jewish Religion: Its Influence Today. I realize that it is in large part an antisemitic rant, but it is cited so frequently on “conservative Christian” websites that I was wondering whether anyone had studied the work with a view to clearing the wheat (if any) from the chaff. I haven’t read more than a few exerpts, but find the tone and the allegations disturbing.

Please note that this post is not an attempt to provide a platform for Dillings views.:o

Irenicist


#2

I have never heard of her. Could you provide a link?


#3

[quote=deb1]I have never heard of her. Could you provide a link?
[/quote]

Ok, but I am not responsible for the contents of here work.

come-and-hear.com/dilling/

Dilling herself seems to have been a classic antisemite as was common in the pre-war years. Her work is enthusiastically quoted on antisemitic web sites today (just google her name).

Her allegations are not entirely new, however, and even so thoughtful a saint as King Louis IX of France had copies of the Talmud ritually burnt because of derogatory passages concerning Christianity. Jewish websites denounce her work as “infamous”, but don’t rebut it in any detail. So I can’t tell if they dismiss her work because she used a version of the Talmud with later interpolations, because she completely fabricated some of her evidence, because she failed to take the time period the Talmud was written into consideration, or simply because they find her conclusions hateful.

This is why I am looking for a dispassionate critique.

Irenicist


#4

According to David Klinghoffer (Why the Jews Rejected Jesus), there are nasty references to Jesus as a false prophet in the Talmud and they were censored by medieval Jews because Christians were persecuting Jews on the basis of those texts. Whether all Dilling’s references are accurate I don’t know–quite probably they aren’t. But passages speaking of Jesus’ condemnation do exist, according to Klinghoffer. (I’m not sure if he’s Conservative or Orthodox–I suspect the latter–but he’s a Jewish writer who writes for First Things and whom I generally trust to be fair and accurate.)

You will excuse me for not wanting to wade through Dilling’s diatribe. However, some of the other accusations often brought against the Talmud are taken out of context. The Talmud contains multiple viewpoints, so you can prove almost anything by an out-of-context quote. For instance, anti-semites often quote passages from the Talmud expressing hostility to Gentiles. But there are other passages of a very different tenor. That the rabbis considered Jesus to be a false prophet is upsetting to us but should hardly be surprising. Most of the other stuff people say about the Talmud should be dismissed, unless you’re willing to study it carefully for yourself.

One other note–I believe that many alleged references to Jesus are under the name “Balaam.” So it’s not always clear when they are talking about Jesus (using “Balaam” as a code word) and when they are talking about the OT Balaam or about false prophets in general.

Edwin


#5

Hi all!

Well, I got a few paragraphs through Chapter I before I felt my breakfast beginning to come back on me. What anti-Semitic rubbish!

See talmud.faithweb.com/ & geocities.com/Athens/Cyprus/8815/ for refutations of the calumnies against the Talmud.

Be well!

ssv :wave:


#6

Hello, stillsmallvoice,

Your breakfast may have begun to re-announce
its presence, but you’ve got a stronger stomach
than I do…I wouldn’t even go to site and read
the "material."
Best,
reen12


#7

[quote=stillsmallvoice]Hi all!

Well, I got a few paragraphs through Chapter I before I felt my breakfast beginning to come back on me. What anti-Semitic rubbish!

See talmud.faithweb.com/ & geocities.com/Athens/Cyprus/8815/ for refutations of the calumnies against the Talmud.

Be well!

ssv :wave:
[/quote]

Thanks, and sorry for spoiling your breakfast. :o

I wasn’t so much looking for a defence of the Talmud, though, as a thoughtful critique of Dilling’s work. Was she intellectually honest in her work (misguided or misrepresenting)? Is it a total hatchet job or is she right on some things and wrong on others? Did her views change over time? To what extent did she influence other, possibly less antisemitic authors? That sort of thing.

Irenicist


#8

Irenicist…Dilling was investigated by the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities and then tried for Sedition by the FDR administration.

11 term Congressman Samuel Dickstein (D-NY) introduced the bill creating HCUA and led the charge against Dilling. He was a Soviet agent (Codename: CROOK). During the worst of the depression, Dickstein was paid $1,250 a month by Stalin.

The Army knew about Dickstein when Dilling was on trial. but didn’t want the Soviets to know we had broken their code. Americans only discovered Stalin told Dickstein to create HCUA (later referred to as HUAC) when the Venona transcripts and KGB archives were made public in the 1990s.

Yes, Dilling was way out of line. But she didn’t start out that way. She began by simply opposing communists and their agents in our government. Rather than reply to the attacks on her (most of which were from Jewish supporters of the New Deal and some of whom were NKVD or GPU agents) on an individual basis, she (wrongly) made blanket statements about all Jews.


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