Three Questions for Catholic Apologists


#1

I’d like to know how Catholic apologists would handle these three questions:

The story of the conception of Samson in Judges 13:2-onward is remarkably similar to the story in the NT of the conception of Jesus. This is also the most likely source of the nazarite/Nazarene confusion that occurs in Matthew 2:23, in the NT. It is my belief that the early Christians copied this story and applied it (slightly modified) to Jesus. What do you think of the remarkable similarities?

In Luke 4, Jesus is reported to have attended synagogue and been called to read from a section of Isaiah (Luke 4: 16-21).

Now in Orthodox Judaism, the practice has always been that on certain Sabbaths and holydays, a certain Torah (Law) portion is read, and then the Haftorah (which is a section of the Prophetical writings.) There are specific Torah portions and specific Prophetical portions to be read for each specific Sabbath/holyday. This has not changed in several thousand years.

Yet, when I looked up the portion of Isaiah which Jesus is supposed to have read, I find that it is not a portion for any Sabbath or holyday! Why do you think this is?

And finally, in the NT Jesus says many very profound things, and in one portion of the NT, it says, “He spoke with authority, not like one of the scribes” (Mk 1:22). Because he did not properly attribute his words to the rabbis he heard/learned them from (as they are recorded in the Talmud), he led others to think they were his own sayings when they were not (I have seen many examples of things Jesus said, in their original form, by the original authors, in the Mishnah, which is part of the Talmud, a body of Jewish rabbinical teachings which predate Jesus.)

If you pick up a volume of the Talmud, you will often see things such as, “Rabbi Bar Chanina said in the name of Rav Huna”, and so on. This is because in Judaism, it is considered stealing (plagiarism) to repeat what a teacher taught without giving proper credit. Yet Jesus did this, leading others to believe they were his original sayings when often, they were not.

How therefore, can Christians claim “Jesus kept the Law perfectly” when he clearly violated the command against theft?


#2

First, in case anyone hasn’t been paying attention for the past two years, I’m not a Catholic apolotist :). But I just wanted to post a few lines on the story of Samson. The story seems to be the least “Jewish sounding” story in the Tanach. IT has a much more Greek flavor. I have heard it suggested that the story of Samson, has a hidden referal to the sea people (Philistines) who came to settle at Joppa and mixed with the locals. Examined under the lense of Philistine/Greek culture, Samson becomes the only biblical hero who resembles the heroes of Greek myths. (Superhuman strength of Hercules (with fits of anger)). ALso, he’s really the only character in teh Bible to truly suffer from woman trouble. You can’t have Samson without Dailiah. There isn’t a whole lot of romance in the bible. The closest we come is to reading that REbecca replaces Isaac’s mother… woohoo.

samson gets involved with three beautiful and trecherous woman. This has a Greek myth quality to to it. The parts that sound Israeli, the barren mother and angel is seperate from the story of Samson himself.

Just thought I’d throw that out there.

In Luke 4, Jesus is reported to have attended synagogue and been called to read from a section of Isaiah (Luke 4: 16-21).

Now in Orthodox Judaism, the practice has always been that on certain Sabbaths and holydays, a certain Torah (Law) portion is read, and then the Haftorah (which is a section of the Prophetical writings.) There are specific Torah portions and specific Prophetical portions to be read for each specific Sabbath/holyday. This has not changed in several thousand years.

Yet, when I looked up the portion of Isaiah which Jesus is supposed to have read, I find that it is not a portion for any Sabbath or holyday!

I don’t know when the Haftora readings were finally set/standarized. I have read that the practice probably started a few hundred years before Jesus, but itis possible that which portions of the prophets were incorporated into the liturgy changed over time.

And finally, in the NT Jesus says many very profound things, and in one portion of the NT, it says, “He spoke with authority, not like one of the scribes” (Mk 1:22). Because he did not properly attribute his words to the rabbis he heard/learned them from (as they are recorded in the Talmud), he led others to think they were his own sayings when they were not (I have seen many examples of things Jesus said, in their original form, by the original authors, in the Mishnah, which is part of the Talmud, a body of Jewish rabbinical teachings which predate Jesus.)

If you pick up a volume of the Talmud, you will often see things such as, “Rabbi Bar Chanina said in the name of Rav Huna”, and so on. This is because in Judaism, it is considered stealing (plagiarism) to repeat what a teacher taught without giving proper credit. Yet Jesus did this, leading others to believe they were his original sayings when often, they were not.

I believe that this is also one of the things that bothered the Jewish leadership at the time. IN other threads, I’ve raised the issue of Jesus asking people to follow him instead of Torah. This would dovetail with his failure to attributed certain teachings to their teacher.


#3

No Catholic apologist takers?


#4

Well, the Scripture makes no reference to Samson being born of a virgin, and Jesus was certainly permitted to drink of the vine, so I must say that Samson is really more of a type to John the Baptist, who was born of an old, presumably barren woman, albeit conceived in the normal way. Her husband also communicated with the angel. John did not drink wine, and as I recall, was a Nazarite. Thus, Samson becomes a precursor to Jesus, although I have not studied what his exact role was in salvation history.

In Luke 4, Jesus is reported to have attended synagogue and been called to read from a section of Isaiah (Luke 4: 16-21).

Now in Orthodox Judaism, the practice has always been that on certain Sabbaths and holydays, a certain Torah (Law) portion is read, and then the Haftorah (which is a section of the Prophetical writings.) There are specific Torah portions and specific Prophetical portions to be read for each specific Sabbath/holyday. This has not changed in several thousand years.

Yet, when I looked up the portion of Isaiah which Jesus is supposed to have read, I find that it is not a portion for any Sabbath or holyday! Why do you think this is?

I think Jesus knew that He had the authority to diverge from tradition. He also wanted to make the point that He did.

And finally, in the NT Jesus says many very profound things, and in one portion of the NT, it says, “He spoke with authority, not like one of the scribes” (Mk 1:22). Because he did not properly attribute his words to the rabbis he heard/learned them from (as they are recorded in the Talmud), he led others to think they were his own sayings when they were not (I have seen many examples of things Jesus said, in their original form, by the original authors, in the Mishnah, which is part of the Talmud, a body of Jewish rabbinical teachings which predate Jesus.)

If you pick up a volume of the Talmud, you will often see things such as, “Rabbi Bar Chanina said in the name of Rav Huna”, and so on. This is because in Judaism, it is considered stealing (plagiarism) to repeat what a teacher taught without giving proper credit. Yet Jesus did this, leading others to believe they were his original sayings when often, they were not.

How therefore, can Christians claim “Jesus kept the Law perfectly” when he clearly violated the command against theft?

This is interesting, I haven’t heard this before. However, the rabbis taught with authority granted from God, correct? If Jesus IS God, then they are His words to begin with.
Anyways, could you give us a rundown of various quotes that Jesus makes of the rabbis?


#5

I’ll do that. I actually wrote an article a while back, a compilation of statements I found by Jesus in the NT that had parallels in the Jewish writings.

I’ll dig out the article over the weekend and see if I can post it here.

There are also statements by Paul in the NT that are right out of the rabbinical writings. Jesus’ statements are more from the Kabbalah and other writings of Jewish mysticism.


#6

#7

I can give you one example just off the top of my head.

Jesus said the entire Law is summed up in two commandments: love God, and love your neighbor as yourself.

But this is a well-known teaching from Judaism, as found in the Mishnah. Why did he not give proper credit, and made it seem as though it was his original thought?


#8

Just to clarify. It is not the recitation of the biblical passages that Hashemechad is citing as an example, but the “the entire Torah can be summed up in these words…” teaching.

Is that correct?


#9

Didn’t the Mishnah come after Jesus? AD 70-200?

And a lot of Jesus’ teachings should be seen in Judaism…He came to fulfill it after all, not destroy it (Mt 5:17)


#10

Yes…that, and other things he taught and said, that Christians think are original or unique. He seemed to especially borrow heavily from Kabbalistic teachings. The odd thing is, I never truly understood what Jesus was saying until AFTER I began studying Kabbalah, and then I saw the connection, and his words began making sense!


#11

The Mishnah was *written down *around the time of Jesus or shortly thereafter, but the *teachings themselves *existed long before, and were passed down orally.


#12

Interesting. Subscribing.:coffeeread:


#13

No I do not think so. During the discussion with the Scribes they asked Him a very pointed question about the Commandments and Jesus gave them back a straight answer. This was a test by the scribes to see what Jesus’ comment would be.

I do not think that it was meant as a new thought or idea. In fact in another passage in the Gospels Jesus ask a young scribe almost the same question in Luke 10:25-28

And behold, a certain expert in the law rose up, testing him and saying, “Teacher, what must I do to possess eternal life?” But he said to him: “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” In response, he said: “You shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart, and from your whole soul, and from all your strength, and from all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him: “You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live.”

So even this young scribe knew the answer to this one. Jesus didn’t come to do away with the Law but rather to fulfill it.


#14

I have another question: if Jesus came to fulfill the Torah, why did he tell his disciples to pull up wheat on the Sabbath? That is one of the things expressly forbidden to do on the Sabbath, and its not a rabbinical rule but straight from the Torah itself.


#15

Matthew 12:1-6 At that time, Jesus went out through the ripe grain on the Sabbath. And his disciples, being hungry, began to separate the grain and to eat. Then the Pharisees, seeing this, said to him, “Behold, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbaths.” But he said to them: “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law, that on the Sabbaths the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath, and they are without guilt? But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here.


#16

Deuteronomy 23:25 differentiates between plucking and harvesting. But the Pharisees extended the prohibition to include doing both on the sabbath.

Or so says the notes in my Ignatius Study Bible - Gospel of Matthew.

One of Jesus’ main messages was that the Pharisees added a lot of unnecessary burden to their followers (which they didn’t practice themselves), and got so wrapped up in the letter of the law that they missed the spirit of the law.


#17

There are several instances where Jesus seems to deliberately make points like this. But from the Christian perspective, since God is the author of all laws, and Jesus is God, he’s not stealing from anybody. They’re his laws.

In Matthew chapter 9, when Jesus cures the paralytic…

Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.
Mat 9:3 At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, This man is blaspheming.
Mat 9:4 Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
Mat 9:5 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
Mat 9:6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins–he then said to the paralytic, Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.

Jesus as God can forgive sins, but forgiveness cannot be “verified”. So Jesus performs a physical miracle to prove both his divinity, and his “authority.”


#18

Why did he not give proper credit, and made it seem as though it was his original thought?

hum… Because He is God and all revelation comes from Him, making Him the original source?


#19

Only Christians believe Jesus is divine. But I can see why Christians would think that if Jesus was divine, that he can break laws he supposedly gave.

But then, that becomes circular logic, because weren’t we supposed to believe that Jesus fulfilled (or kept perfectly) the Law?

As for the difference between harvesting and plucking, In Matt 23:1-3, Jesus himself says that the Pharisees have authority from Moses, and that therefore, Jesus’ followers are to do everything they say.

He goes on to claim they are hypocrites, yet he still says in Mt 23:1-3 that Christians are to do everything the Pharisees command, because “they have authority from Moses”.

So, if the Pharisees did add to the Law, Jesus himself says they had the right to do it!


#20

Are you saying that God is the original source for the Kabbalah and the Talmud? Of course Jews believe that, but what you’re saying is Christians also believe it?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.