Skip to comments.Does Jewish Oral Tradition Equal Roman Catholic Oral Tradition? (Also, Are They Similar In Nature?
Posted on 03/27/2014 12:43:01 PM PDT by Laissez-faire capitalist
A.) Is there an existential difference between that Jewish Oral Tradition handed down over the centuries (or even millenia from the time of Moses until that Oral Tradition was codified) and Roman Catholic Oral Tradition passed on from Bishop to Bishop until it was later codified?
B.) If an Oral Tradition is carried from person to person over a period of time (from say 33 A.D. until 90's A.D. - around the time of John's death) and that New Testament Oral Tradition was being codified during that time period, is that codification different or greater in authority (given that it could have been subject to the Apostle John's acceptance or rejection) than Oral Tradition that is/was codified over a much larger expanse of time - say from after John's death up until the Counter Reformation?
How do we know that that Oral Tradition which emerged after John's death has any veracity or authority at all? If we say "We know that it is truthful and authoritative because it was passed from Bishop to Bishop and because it was passed from Bishop to Bishop we know that it is true," isn't that circualr reasoning?
If so, doesn't that hold true for Jewish Oral Tradition that is outside of the canon (Torah) or the canon (Genesis to Malachi) - whichever one of the two one accepts as being authoritative?
How do we know that the Oral Interpretation of the codified letter (the book of Jeremiah or Genesis for example) that may have been given much later - say hundreds of years later - carries any veracity or authority at all? Did those Jewsish authorities who interpreted those written scriptures and later codified their interpretation(s) (or had their interpretation(s) codified by others "down the road a bit") have some authority that was almost Ex Cathedra in scope or nature?
As a digression, when one speaks Ex Cathedra, do they lose Free Will? Does God take over so that that Pope cannot commit error? If so, is that equal to what the Apostle Paul said in the New Testament: "All scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for doctrine..."
In the end, if any Oarl Tradition is equal in veracity and authority (be it Jewish or Roman Catholic) why not - for example - place that codification in a canon and include it right alongside say Genesis to Tobit and Baruch to Revelation?
The same for Jewish Oral Tradition?
“A.) Is there an existential difference between that Jewish Oral Tradition handed down over the centuries (or even millenia from the time of Moses until that Oral Tradition was codified) and Roman Catholic Oral Tradition passed on from Bishop to Bishop until it was later codified?”
I did not know there was a Roman Catholic oral tradition. Which Bishop did it start with and when?
The Torah has two parts: The “Torah Shebichtav” (Written Law), which is composed of the twenty-four books of the Tanach, and the “Torah Sheba’al Peh” (Oral Law).
God told Moses1 that he will give him “the Torah and the commandments.” Why did God add the word “commandments?” Are there any commandments which are not included in the Torah? This verse (amongst others) is a clear inference to the existence of the Oral Torah.
The Oral Torah was transmitted from father to son and from teacher to disciple
Originally the Oral Law was not transcribed. Instead it was transmitted from father to son and from teacher to disciple (thus the name “Oral” Law). Approximately 1800 years ago, Rabbi Judah the Prince concluded that because of all the travails of Exile, the Oral Law would be forgotten if it would not be recorded on paper. He, therefore, assembled the scholars of his generation and compiled the Mishnah, a (shorthanded) collection of all the oral teachings that preceded him. Since then, the Oral Law has ceased to be “oral” and as time passed more and more of the previously oral tradition was recorded.
The Oral Law consists of three components:
1. Laws Given to Moses at Sinai (Halachah L’Moshe M’Sinai):
When Moses went up to heaven to receive the Torah, God gave him the Written Torah together with many instructions. These instructions are called “Halachah L’Moshe M’Sinai” (the Law that was given to Moses on Sinai). Maimonides writes that it is impossible for there to be an argument or disagreement concerning a Halachah L’Moshe M’Sinai, for the Jews who heard the instructions from Moses implemented them into their daily lives and passed it on to their children, who passed it on to their children, etc.
“How do we know that that Oral Tradition which emerged after John’s death has any veracity or authority at all? If we say “We know that it is truthful and authoritative because it was passed from Bishop to Bishop and because it was passed from Bishop to Bishop we know that it is true,” isn’t that circualr reasoning?”
Indeed, that would seem to be the case to me. Of course, Catholics may say that the Holy Spirit guides their magisterium, much like the Holy Spirit guided the apostles. However, I don’t think that is such an easy matter to establish.
“If so, doesn’t that hold true for Jewish Oral Tradition that is outside of the canon (Torah) or the canon (Genesis to Malachi) - whichever one of the two one accepts as being authoritative?”
Similar to the apostles being around to vouchsafe the New Testament, the Jews had prophets who could attest to the verity of their scriptures. At some point, the prophets departed from Israel, so I think at that point, any of their additional traditions become unreliable.
They’re similar in nature, definitely. In terms of codifying Jewish scripture, for one thing, it was already codified in Jewish law and doesn’t need a new revision.
However, the rabbinical tradition did allow for adaptation as long as it did not violate the foundations. Christianity comes out of a mixture of the rabbinical and hieratical traditions. That is, Jews do not accept Jesus as the Messiah, but Catholics do, so no matter how great are the similarities between Jews and Catholics, the starting point is important.
Because Catholics believe that all doctrine is based on the foundational doctrine under their feet and expressed through layers of interpretation and reinterpretation, I’d say they’re quite similar but simply starting from a different point.
Perhaps the “commandments” were something else? Could one be engaging in mere or rampant extrapolation to say that “Tis verse is a clear inference to the existence of the oral Torah.” And you yourself say that it is inferred. It could mean something else.
Was the Oral Torah passed from father to son and teacher to disciple without any possibility of human error? Was this transmission absolutely perfect in every way, form and fashion, so that no possibility of error exists today?
Why not write it down then and there (at least part of it in Moses’ time) so as to eliminate this possibility of error?
Yah'shua rebuked the Pharisees when they impugned His Written Word with their Oral Tradition.shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
The Jews had prophets who could vouchsafe...
But what after the time of the Jewish Prophets had passed - from a Jewish POV?
Did any interpretation of the scriptures from anyone other than one of the Jewish Prophets carry equal veracity to that of the Jewish Prophets?
How could any Jew today (or even from Malachi until now) have any authority that could match a Jewish Prophet?
This thread sounds like an invitation to a Jewish vs. Catholic vs. Protestant food fight. I’m going to stay out of it.
“B.) If an Oral Tradition is carried from person to person over a period of time (from say 33 A.D. until 90’s A.D. - around the time of John’s death) and that New Testament Oral Tradition was being codified during that time period, is that codification different or greater in authority (given that it could have been subject to the Apostle John’s acceptance or rejection) than Oral Tradition that is/was codified over a much larger expanse of time - say from after John’s death up until the Counter Reformation?”
The Oral Torah was given to Moshe Rabbienu (Moses) at Mount Sinai 3,000 years ago along with the Written Torah. It was written down about 200 years after the Christian’s rabbi did his thing. Keep in mind that the Christian’s rabbi followed both the written and oral as well as the spirit of those words. And he encouraged his fellow Jews to do the same. He never said a negative thing about either the written or the oral, but he did have some choice words for the religious and political leadership who weren’t very consistent in their walk because of the influence of Hellenism at that time and also the fact that the Hasmoneans (from which the whole Maccabean revolt started against the Selucids some 167 years previous) were from the tribe of Levi and claimed the throne of Judah. Why they did this no one knows for sure.
About 100 years before the Christian’s rabbi came on the scene, Romans and other non-Jews started becoming very interested in the Torah. This suddenly increased after the death of JC to the point that questions were being raised by the rabbi’s students about whether non-Jews should follow Torah, should Jews eat non-kosher food, etc.
This was the start of the B’nai Noach (Children of Noah) movement.
The number of non-Jewish followers of the Torah exploded to the point where they started forming their own B’nai Noach congregations locally as well as in other parts of the Middle East. There were questions by these congregations about how they should follow the Torah. I don’t think JC’s students were ready for this but they did their best to answer their questions in replies by letter back (aka The Epistles).
I’m sure JC’s students used what they knew of the written as well as the Oral Torah to help these non-Jewish, God-fearing congregations in their walk. How much of it was transmitted to the Bishops, after Rome did a corporate takeover of the B’nai Noach congregations (under Constantin in 312) and converted them to churches of the Catholic Church, I don’t know.
No, no!! Don't do that. Praise the Lord and and pass the mudpies.
It should be pretty easy. The Apostles were directly led by the Holy Spirit and it not only showed in their lives but also it manifested itself in their acts of healing (lame could walk and blind could see). So any claims they have of direct succession would be readily apparent.
I’m Noachide, but the old Episcopal cannon had a concept called REST; Reason, Experience, Scripture, Tradition. It never drew any complaints from me.
Keep in mind there are various classes of mitzvot (aka commandments) of the 613 listed here.
All 613 are listed here.
One of these are the “Chukkim” (aka statutes) which are given and have no reason as far as we can tell.
Let’s look at Deuteronomy 12:21
“If the place that the LORD your God will choose to put his name there is too far from you, then you may kill any of your herd or your flock, which the LORD has given you, as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your towns whenever you desire.”
There is no information given in the Written Torah as to the proper procedure for slaughtering kosher animals or even why it is supposed to be done.
If you study Oral Torah you’ll find out how to do the the slaughtering properly and correctly. It’s very detailed and requires quite a bit of training to be able to do it right.
Oral Torah also tells us how the words were spaced in the Written Torah as well as the cantillation and the vowelization of the words.
After our prophets, the (yes, the infamous, G-d forbid) Rabbis of each generation used a Torah-derived formula of exegesis. This is the Jewish point of view on “authorized” interpretation. The authentic tradition (that embodied by the Pharisees) was supported by the (again, Torah-mandated) majority opinion of the scholars. So “...That’s just from the Rabbis!!!” is actual 100% authentic Judaism.
No one today has the authority of a prophet of old, until Moshiach.
Uriel-— this is the crux of the J for J paradox, isn’t it? A Jew is for the Pharisees, not for Jesus.... They, according to the Judaism ‘messianics’ shun, were right, and so is the prevailing Orthodox rabbinical opinion today. A Jew couldn’t light a fire in his dwelling on the Sabbath then, and one can’t flick a light switch on Shabbos today. So a religion (or a single man) claiming that they are wrong has no basis in Judaism.
Laissez-— you may find it interesting (and perplexing, even maddening to gentile and many, many Jew) that we have arguments in the Oral Law. Rabbi X says so and so, Rabbi Y disagrees....and we follow the majority. There are certain Mishnas where there is no disagreement. These are considered to be word for word, exactly as Moses taught us. We read a portion of this Mishna every day before morning prayer— as the prayer of our lips stands in the place of the sacrifices that took place in the Temple.
It’s not that the Oral Torah was inferred from the Written but that the evidence of the Oral Torah can inferred by what is and isn’t written in the Written Torah. Moshe had questions that right when he questions, the 70 Elders who followed him had questions, and the rest of B’nai Yisael had their questions, too.
Moshe would go to God and He would explain it. Then he tell the 70, then the 70 would tell all of the men from the various tribes, then those men would tell it to their sons, so on and so forth.
“How could any Jew today (or even from Malachi until now) have any authority that could match a Jewish Prophet?”
Speaking for myself, I don’t think they can. I’m not sure what the Jewish opinion on the matter is. It seems to me they resolve disputes now by kind of theological debate between the rabbinical authorities until they come to a consensus. So, that may be their replacement system, not having an absolute authority to appeal to anymore.
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