Talk:Jewish views on religious pluralism

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First section -- Regarding the Golden Rule[edit]

The comment about the Golden Rule contains a factual error. The "golden rule" traditionally refers to Jesus' commandment, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The commandment cited, "Love your neighbor as yourself," was identified by Jesus as the second greatest commandment in the Law, or else as one of the two equally greatest commandments in the Law (interpretations differ).

The Golden Rule may be found expressed in Luke 6:31. The second greatest commandment is discussed in Mark 12:28-31. A simple google search for "Golden Rule" will confirm that the second greatest commandment is nowhere called the Golden Rule, though Bertrand Russell may have labored under that misunderstanding along with his others. This article, though, doesn't make it clear whether the article itself is identifying the Golden Rule with the greatest commandment or else just reporting that Russell identified it that way.

The term "Golden Rule" is not actually found in the Bible, but it has traditionally been applied only to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I have never heard it applied to "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Jewish Rabbinical sources from before the time of Jesus expressed something similar to the Golden Rule: "Do not do to others anything you would not want done to yourself," but it has been pointed out that Jesus' formulation is in the positive and stronger than the Rabbinical formulation (which I believe comes from Hillel). Jdavidb

Actually, Jdavid, the formulation given by Jesus, while in the positive, is not stronger (philosophically and/or rhetorically). Kung Fu Tzu (Confucius) came up with a similar negative formulation to Hillel's, which Jesuits dubbed the "Silver Rule" to simultaneously both honour the rule and undermine it (in comparison to the "Golden Rule") for missionary purposes. Modern scholarship, however, has exhaustively demonstrated that the "Silver Rule" cannot be demonstrated to be logically fallible, whereas the formulation given in the gospels is. I'll demonstrate this briefly: If you're a masochist, by following the Golden Rule you would hurt others since you would want such things done "unto you", but most others would undoubtedly dislike this sadistic behaviour. However, using the Jewish or Confucian formulation, there is no harm done, as you wouldn't be participating in any actions that would have a direct negative impact on another person. While conceivably there might be some indirect negative fallout, the resulting behaviour between individuals would be overwhelmingly harmonious, or at least "cordial". You can find this demonstrated by quite a few notables in their fields, from ad naseum tenured philosophers to mathematicians who can demonstrate it much more succinctly in formulae using logic models. Quite interesting stuff, really. Kaelus 14:46, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

While this reasoning is subtle I think both it and, on the other hand, the Christian claim that the positive rule is "greater" than the negative rule are just too subtle and ultimately false. In actual fact, in practice, the content of "treat others are you would like to be treated" and "don't treat other as you would not like to be treated" are essentially equivalent, technical logical argumentations using examples such as masochism notwithstanding. In fact this very example could be inverted and the negative rule could be taken as a basis for the masochist to inflict on you what you don't like and he likes, because he does not like not to be inflicted such things on. But seriously, the essence of the rule (in both its negative and its positive formulations) is that when you do something that affects others you should "put yourself in their shoes", you should try to see things from their point of view, in other words the essential content of (both) those rules is a plea to move from a position where you think yourself the center of the universe and treat other human beings from that posture, to a more symmetrical position where you view both you and another human being as being equivalent. This is what both rules try to convey and so they are essentially equivalent. Contact Basemetal here 20:37, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Second section[edit]

Moved from article: "The Tanakh teaches that gentiles (non-Jews)." What did this originally mean? Dan 00:26, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Some of this should be moved to the Interfaith section, where Judaism is strikingly absent. --Yodamace1 06:41, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Noahide laws and Lubavitch[edit]

This article states that the concept of Jewish religious pluralism implies that, so long as Gentiles observe the seven Noahide laws, that they are allowed to maintain their own religions. However, I have heard from the Lubavitchers that this is forbidden; that is, Gentiles are not allowed to have their own holidays except for those given by the Torah. The Lubavitchers seem to be rather extreme in their interpretations; do other Orthodox Jews have differing views on this matter? Perhaps this topic should be included in this article.

Yogensha 02:34, 27 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Actually, I find that fairly hard to believe, except perhaps among some of the more fringe schools of thought within Chabad, as the Lubavitchers have pioneered the modern Noahide movement. Kaelus 14:46, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

What you were told is correct. The followers of Chabad are merely following the undisputed words of the Rambam:
"The general principle is that we do not allow them to make new religious rituals and to make Mitzvot for themselves based on their own decisions. Rather, they may either become a righteous convert and accept all the Mitzvot; or stand fast in their laws [the Noahide Code] without adding or detracting from them." Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings, 10:9. Yehoishophot Oliver 14:50, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

Misquoting the Mishnah[edit]

From the second paragraph of General classical views on other religions:

"... (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5) The Mishnah continues, and states that anyone who kills or saves a single human, not Jewish, life, has done the same (save or kill) to an entire world." -- (Emphasis added)

I have consulted one edition of the Mishnah so far (Mishnah Sedurah), and confirmed my clear recollection that the emphasized texts above are NOT as stated.

1) The quote about saving the world appears several sentences before the analogy of the coins (but that is a minor quibble)

2) The text I've learned, and have before me, reads

"וכל המקיים נפש אחת מישראל, מעלה אליו הכתוב, "כאילו קיים עולם מלא.""
V'chol ham'qayem nefesh echat m'Yisrael, ma‘aleh alav hakatuv, k'ilu qiyem ‘olam male". -- (Again, emphasis mine)
The text specifically says Jewish (literally, from Israel), and not "human".
While I very much sympathize with the desire to promote religious tolerance and inter-faith dialogue -- in fact, I got to this page while considering adding a "Religion respect" userbox to my user page -- I don't think that mistruths ever serve the cause of rightness.

3) The text speaks solely about the saving of lives, and does not mentioning killing.

Because I am aware that there are variant texts of the Mishnah, I will do some more checking before changing the page. Feedback is appreciated. --Eliyahu S Talk 16:21, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Interesting! Although my earlier "minor quibble" about the order of the two sections remains, I have found a version of the text which supports the quotation in the article as written.

לפיכך נברא אדם יחידי בעולם, ללמד שכל המאבד נפש אחת, מעלים עליו כאילו איבד עולם מלא; וכל המקיים נפש אחת, מעלים עליו כאילו קיים עולם מלא. -- http://www.mechon-mamre.org/b/h/h44.htm

This Mechon Mamre text is based on the version of the text upon which the Rambam (Maimonides) wrote his own commentary. And it says roughly, for those who can't read Hebrew:

Therefor an individual man was created in the world, to teach that any[one who] causes a single life (lit. "soul") to be lost, is credited (lit. "burdened") as if losing an entire world, and any who saves (lit. "raises" or "brings to existence") a single life, is credited as if saving an entire world.

Note that this text, too, shows the coin analogy after the above-quoted sentence in the same mishnah. So I think that the article needs to be reworded a bit to take that into acount. Volunteers? :)
Anyway, I retract my earlier comment. But does anyone else think (as I do) that there should be some kind of comment about textual variations? Especially given the parenthetical remark "not Jewish," which appears there.... --Eliyahu S Talk 13:37, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Viewpoint[edit]

This article's current organization into "classical" and "Modern" views, with the "Modern" views represented largely by Conservative rabbis and one or two Orthodox rabbis with views Conservative rabbis might find palable, seems to significantly understate both sides -- both those on the Orthodox side (particularly the Hareidi viewpoint) who largely reject pluralism or dialogue as an obstacle to Jewish self-preservation, and those on the Reconstructionist/Progressive side who reject the idea that there is anything Chosen about the Jewish people and regard chosenness as an outdated obstacle to pluralism and dialogue. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 04:38, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Hebrew phrases[edit]

The article contained in one instance two alternative pronuciations of a Hebrew phrase: "Gilui arayot" (which is standard modern pronunciation) and "Gilui arayos" (which is the traditional Ashkenazi pronunciation). I left it there (pointing out that the second pronunciation was a restricted one). But frankly, there are numerous traditional pronunciations of Hebrew. There is no point littering an article, for every single Hebrew phrase, with all its possible pronunciations. Especially since, when it is done (as in this case) on a random basis, this will leave the reader with the impression that for the other phrases the pronunciation is uniform, which of course not the case. Except for articles whose topic is concerned precisely with the varieties of pronunciation of Hebrew, I believe the only sane thing to do is to use the more or less standard modern Israeli pronunciation of Hebrew (flawed as it may be) when representing the pronunciation of a Hebrew phrase. This is nowadays done in most departments of Hebrew studies all across the world even in the study of Biblical Hebrew and there is no reason why this should not be done in WP. Contact Basemetal here 20:13, 21 June 2013 (UTC)