Questions about Jewish scriptures and the concept of the Messiah

Would like to try something different and be direct and brief with point form style

Would it ever be okay for a Jew to use a Bible for the Old Testament only?.

What is the Talmud exactly?.I’ve heard it described as teachings by Rabbis written after the Second Temple’s destruction.

Why was it made and when was the last time there was a new “entry” for it ?.

What is the main stand in current Judaism on the Messiah?.Is it still considered to mean a person?.

Pharisaic (Rabbinical) Judaism believes in a Written Law (Torah) and an Oral Law (Torah), and that both were given by G-d to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Oral Torah was then passed down from generation to generation and serves to explain and interpret the more challenging and elusive passages in the Written Torah. Eventually the Oral Torah was codified and written down in six orders and 60+ tractates which comprise the Talmud. There are several editions of the Talmud but the two most widely known are the Jerusalem Talmud and the later Babylonian Talmud. The Talmud consists of two sections: the Mishnah, which is the central text, and the Gemara, which are rabbinical commentaries on the text throughout the ages. Further, the Talmud is made up of legalistic rules and discussions, called Halakhah, and homiletic sermons, called Aggadah. In ancient times, the Sadducees, Essenes, and Karaites all rejected the Oral Torah, whereas in modern times, Orthodox Judaism (which directly derives from the Pharisees) and Conservative Judaism both accept the Oral Torah (i.e. Talmud), whereas Reform Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism do not. Karaite Judaism as it exists today continues to reject the Talmud, being basically a sola Scriptura movement of Judaism.

Judaism still believes that the Messiah will be a person, and not a Person. Even Nazarite (Nazarene) Judaism, which believes Jesus to be the Messiah, does not accept His divinity.

I honestly don’t understand the Torah completely. I’ve always thought it was the Jewish equivalent of the OT–as they don’t hold the gospels, epistles, etc which composes our NT portion of the complete Bible. I believe it contains OT scripture and perhaps some Jewish prayer and Jewish prayer tradition. It may have more or even perhaps fewer texts than the Bible. One disclaimer: I get my info from a Jewish friend, so how complete her understanding is could impact the veracity of my answer and opinion here.

One thing is for sure–it doesn’t include the life and teachings of Jesus. I have always pictured the Jews–especially in the post–Jesus period—as a people waiting outside without a jacket and umbrella and freezing in the pouring rain at a bus stop. They are hell-bent and determined to wait for a bus that came and went a long, long time ado–but they missed it then and continue to miss it even now! We as Christians pray that our Jewish brethren will find a copy of the correct bus route and schedule before they either die of frostbite or pneumonia— or miss the bus for that final time when it returns again on its very last stop off

You’ve mentioned these guys pretty often - are they an American thing because I’ve not come across any?

No, that’s the Tanakh but it’s organized quite differently from the Christian OT. The first 5 books of the Tanakh are the Torah - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

One thing is for sure–it doesn’t include the life and teachings of Jesus. I have always pictured the Jews–especially in the post–Jesus period—as a people waiting outside without a jacket and umbrella and freezing in the pouring rain at a bus stop. They are hell-bent and determined to wait for a bus that came and went a long, long time ado–but they missed it then and continue to miss it even now! We as Christians pray that our Jewish brethren will find a copy of the correct bus route and schedule before they either die of frostbite or pneumonia— or miss the bus for that final time when it returns again on its very last stop off

That’s because you have a Christian perspective, of course, and rather assumes that Judaism is Christianity minus Jesus and Christianity is Judaism plus Jesus. If you want to understand Judaism, you have to try to move outside that set of ideas - the two religions are very, very different with very different beliefs and foci.

I’m sure you are correct–as I stated, my grasp of Judaism as a religion is seriously limited. I do maintain the rain-bus stop comparison though!:thumbsup:

So do the Jews recognise texts such as Kings, Chronicles, Job, Psalm, Tobit, Maccabees, Sirach, and co?
I read some time ago that most of these books were translated (and re-translated since those language may be quite difficult to translate with the right context) to fit their Hebrew versions, typical example: the books of Tobit and Nehemiah, by St. Jerome at about the 5th century in the Holy Land.
Although i believe the names of the books may be different.
Are the texts used by the Jews really that different from what we have in the old testament?

So my question–as I’m determined to not be so ignorant on these things is this:

1, Are all the OT books in our own Catholic bibles in the Jewish version, and if so, are they the same or do they differ somehow?

  1. What are the extra books by name, and is there a particular reason that they are not included in the Catholic OT?

  2. A kind poster explained to me that there are 2 scriptural books that Jews use–the Torah, and something called the Tanakh, What exactly is the Tanakh, what is its purpose and to Jews, do the Torah and Tanakh go together in the same sense as the OT and NT together constitute our bible?

  3. Is the Tanakh lengthy and what is its purpose and actual use in the Jewish faith? Is it read on the Sabbath for instance?

I am sorry for having so many questions–if someone even has answers for a couple of them, I’ll be that much more enlightened! Thanks!:thumbsup:

The Tanakh is the whole Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), while the Torah consists of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. The Torah is the Written Law, which Moses received from G-d at Mount Sinai, and the rest of the Hebrew Bible consists of the Prophets and the Writings. The Talmud is the Oral Law, which some Jews believe was also G-d-given.

I haven’t met any Nazarene Jews either, but have read about them and their beliefs. I assume therefore they still exist today…somewhere.

I must humbly admit that my knowledge is also limited but I’ll tell you what I’ve learned just growing up about Judaism:

  1. The deuterocanonical books are not in the Torah or the Tanakh. The Protestant OT matches the Jewish Torah/Tanakh and is often used as an argument for the Protestants Canon legitimacy.

  2. Macabees, Tobit, etc are missing, although Jews consider them beneficial to read. I have no idea what the official reasoning is for them not being included; my guess is that they’re not believed to be inspired by God.

  3. When a Jewish person says, “Torah” think “First 5 Books of the OT” when one says, “Tanakh” think “The rest of the OT.” I’m simplifying of course as our Jewish brothers have explained.

They probably have terrible Internet feuds with Sabbatai Zevi followers.

Jewish humor to the core!

The Jews had the books of scripture before Christ but the Catholic Church was the first to compile the various books into a one volume “Bible.” The word Bible just means book. Jews would, of course, never use the term Old Testament.

King, Chronicles, Job, Psalms, yes. Tobit, Maccabees, Sirach, no.
here is a link to a list of every book in the Jewish canon, along with parallel Hebrew-English text for the entire Jewish Bible.

Jewish tradition states that at the beginning of the Second Temple Period, the “Men of the Great Assembly” - the 120 greatest sages of Israel, got together and sealed the canon. Some books, like Sirach, were left out and termed “external books,” for various reasons, including that the sages thought they had inaccuracies and/or were not 100% divinely inspired.
A quick look on a Catholic bible index shows me that the books listed in the “OT” that are NOT in the Jewish bible are: Tobit, Judith, Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch. Originally written in Hebrew, I don’t know if all of them still exist in the original Hebrew. MAccabees 1 & 2 for sure do.

Thanks, Moses613 for the link and the explanation.
Although it makes it seem as though Catholics forged those other books, but at least I understand.
Perhaps it could be likened to the Catholic catechism and the writings of saints (the writings are not taken as official church documents but provide valuable insight on what is expected of us as christians).
From the translation in the website, seems the only difference between the text and that on my Good News bible are merely in translation, but the meaning or sense look the same.

Well, I can’t vouch for the accuracy/veracity of the specific content of any of the books of the apocrypha as written down in the Catholic Bible, but it wouldn’t be accurate to say they were “forged,” as far as I understand. They were real books that were in circulation among some Jewish groups/sects during the period of Christianity’s inception. However, they were never accepted by the sages of the Talmud, whom we follow.

As far as translation is concerned, someone with a good command of Hebrew should be able to translate a large percentage of the verses in the same way. There are, of course, some words whose meaning is a matter of dispute, and different translators may take positions on their meaning with or without discussing that in footnotes. If I would look at a Hebrew text and make a free translation, it would probably match up pretty well with your Good News Bible also. Of course, bibles that are translating from the Septuagint or Vulgate to English are one step further removed than the ones translating directly from Hebrew.

To take a famous example, is the first verse of the Bible to be translated, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” or should it be translated, “In the beginning of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth.”? It is a matter of dispute among medieval Jewish commentators.

Also, are they the same as “Messianic Jews?” I always thought Messianic Jews are just another protestant denomination.

No, Nazarene Jews are not the same as Messianic Jews. The latter are themselves a diverse group: some identify as Protestants, others as Jewish, still others call themselves Hebrew Catholics. But they all believe in Jesus as Messiah AND G-d, whereas Nazarene Jews believe Jesus was the Messiah only, not G-d, and that Jesus did not come to fulfill the Torah (Law) but rather to follow it more fully and correctly.

Depends on the Messianic Jews, but it seems to me that at least some of them are something more (or perhaps, from the standpoint of Christian orthodoxy, less) than that.

Edwin

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