An obscure passage from the Babylonian Talmud possibly about the gospel(s).

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Ben C. Smith
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An obscure passage from the Babylonian Talmud possibly about the gospel(s).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:35 pm

What is the following Talmudic passage about?

Babylonian Talmud, Shabbath 116a-116b (Soncino edition, slightly reformatted, select footnotes bracketed into the text):

116a .... It was stated in the text: The blank spaces and the Books of the Minim, we may not save them from a fire. R. Jose said: On weekdays one must cut out the Divine Names which they contain, hide them, and burn the rest. R. Tarfon said: May I bury my son if I would not burn them together with their Divine Names if they came to my hand. For even if one pursued me to slay me, or a snake pursued me to bite me, I would enter a heathen Temple [for refuge], but not the houses of these [people], for the latter know (of God] yet deny [Him], whereas the former are ignorant and deny [Him], and of them the Writ saith, and behind the doors and the posts hast thou set up thy memorial. R. Ishmael said: [One can reason] a minori: If in order to make peace between man and wife the Torah decreed, Let my Name, written in sanctity, be blotted out in water, these, who stir up jealousy, enmity, and wrath between Israel and their Father in Heaven, how much more so; and of them David said, Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? And am I not grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate then with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. And just as we may not rescue them from a fire, so may we not rescue them from a collapse [of debris] or from water or from anything that may destroy them.

R. Joseph b. Hanin asked R. Abbahu: As for the Books of Be Abedan, may we save them from a fire or not? — Yes and No, and he was uncertain about the matter. Rab would not enter into a Be Abedan [לבי אבידן], and certainly not into a Be Nizrefe [לבי נצרפי]; Samuel would not enter a Be Nizrefe, yet he would enter a Be Abedan. Raba was asked: Why did you not attend at the Be Abedan? A certain palm tree stands in the way, replied he, and it is difficult for me [to pass it]. Then we will remove it? — Its spot will present difficulties to me. Mar b. Joseph said: I am one of them and do not fear them. On one occasion he went there, [and] they wanted to harm him. [Uncensored text, on the authority of Rabbinowicz: R. Meir called it ‘Awen Gilyon (= the falsehood of blank paper); R. Johanan called it ‘Awon Gilyon (= the sin of blank paper).]

Imma Shalom, R. Eliezer’s wife, was R. Gamaliel’s sister. Now, a certain philosopher lived in his vicinity, 116b and he bore a reputation that he did not accept bribes. They wished to expose him, so she brought him a golden lamp, went before him, [and] said to him, ‘I desire that a share be given me in my [deceased] father’s estate.’ ‘Divide,’ ordered he. Said he [R. Gamaliel] to him, ‘It is decreed for us, Where there is a son, a daughter does not inherit.’ [He replied], ‘Since the day that you were exiled from your land the Law of Moses has been superseded and another book given [codex Oxford: "and the law of the Evangelium has been given"], wherein it is written, ‘A son and a daughter inherit equally.’ The next day, he [R. Gamaliel] brought him a Lybian ass. Said he to them, ‘Look at the end of the book, wherein it is written, I came not to destroy the Law of Moses nor to add to the Law of Moses (= Matthew 5.17-19), and it is written therein, A daughter does not inherit where there is a son. Said she to him, ‘Let thy light shine forth like a lamp.’ Said R. Gamaliel to him, ‘An ass came and knocked the lamp over!’ ....

To wit:
  • What are the Be Abedan and the Be Nizrefe? R. Travers Herford suggests on pages 167-170 that Be Abedan is ᾠδεῖον (= odeum), a kind of Greco-Roman hall for the performance of music, filtered punningly through the root אבד (= "to destroy"), and that Be Nizrefe is a meeting place for the Notsrim (= the Talmudic name for Christians/Nazoraeans), filtered punningly through the root צרפ (= "to unite"). These are weird hypotheses, but the terms themselves are also weird, and their meaning is not at all clear. Are these the best guesses? Or are there better?
  • Is there some gospel or other heretical book (from a Jewish point of view) which says that sons and daughters are to inherit equally? Is there, for that matter, some gospel or other heretical book (from a Jewish point of view) which contains both the assertion, "I came neither to destroy nor to add to the law of Moses," and the precept that daughters are not to inherit where there are sons? Is this equality of inheritance between the sexes merely an extension of what one might find, say, in Galatians 3.28 ("not male and female"), or in equivalent sectarian literature?
Thanks in advance for any help in illuminating this passage.

Ben.
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StephenGoranson
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Re: An obscure passage from the Babylonian Talmud possibly about the gospel(s).

Post by StephenGoranson » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:17 am

I discussed this passage in 1990 on pages 92-94 here:
http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/Joseph_of_Tiberias.pdf

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: An obscure passage from the Babylonian Talmud possibly about the gospel(s).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:39 am

StephenGoranson wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:17 am
I discussed this passage in 1990 on pages 92-94 here:
http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/Joseph_of_Tiberias.pdf
Okay, very interesting. Thanks for that. What are our sources for the following (from page 94)?

...we know some rabbis condemned noṣrim but not 'evionim....

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StephenGoranson
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Re: An obscure passage from the Babylonian Talmud possibly about the gospel(s).

Post by StephenGoranson » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:53 am

Pages 89-91 on the versions of the Birkat haMinim that also included Notsrim. And footnote 60.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: An obscure passage from the Babylonian Talmud possibly about the gospel(s).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:50 am

StephenGoranson wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:53 am
Pages 89-91 on the versions of the Birkat haMinim that also included Notsrim. And footnote 60.
Okay, thank you.

I have downloaded this thesis and will read it all soon. :)
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Re: An obscure passage from the Babylonian Talmud possibly about the gospel(s).

Post by arnoldo » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:41 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:35 pm
. . .Is there, for that matter, some gospel or other heretical book (from a Jewish point of view) which contains both the assertion, "I came neither to destroy nor to add to the law of Moses," . .
Ben.
Not sure, but this issue is addressed in the following passage FWIW.

1. [Celsus' Jewish critic]: The converts from Judaism. have forsaken the law of their fathers, in consequence of their minds being led captive by Jesus; that they have been most ridiculously deceived, and that they have become deserters to another name and to another mode of life.
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/celsus.html


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Re: An obscure passage from the Babylonian Talmud possibly about the gospel(s).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:40 pm

arnoldo wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:41 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:35 pm
. . .Is there, for that matter, some gospel or other heretical book (from a Jewish point of view) which contains both the assertion, "I came neither to destroy nor to add to the law of Moses," . .
Ben.
Not sure, but this issue is addressed in the following passage FWIW.

1. [Celsus' Jewish critic]: The converts from Judaism. have forsaken the law of their fathers, in consequence of their minds being led captive by Jesus; that they have been most ridiculously deceived, and that they have become deserters to another name and to another mode of life.
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/celsus.html

Thank you.
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Joseph D. L.
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Re: An obscure passage from the Babylonian Talmud possibly about the gospel(s).

Post by Joseph D. L. » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:00 pm

I also find it odd that the man who quotes from the Evangelion is a "philosopher". I wonder what the significance of that is. Early Christians seems to have styled themselves as philosophers as well.

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