Talk:Idolatry in Judaism

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The phrase "Many modern Jewish theologians"[edit]

The phrase "Many modern Jewish theologians" has to be severely qualified because the vast majority of Orthodox authorities would regard the contents of this section to be nonsense (esp. the first sentence which, contradicts countless traditional sources). --Zero 23:21, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Whoops! Thanks. Fixed (but the text is of course still open to improvement.) RK

The Maimonidean Controversy[edit]

Many modern day readers of Maimonides are unaware that he was not highly thought of formany centuries, and that his works were considered un-Jewish, heretical, and in fact were banned. (In one famous case his works were even burned.) While he is well-thought of today, that was not always the case. Since the mention of the Maimonidean controversy might not be believed by some readers, here is some starting information. The following excerpts are from "The Maimonidean Controversy", Encyclopedia Judaica, (c) Keter Publishing. RK 20:02, Sep 19, 2004 (UTC)

Despite common admiration for Maimonides and his all-embracing devotion to Torah and the Jewish faith, there was in reality no common language between the two radical positions. Gradually the opponents of Maimonides began to attack his very conception of a synthesis between Greek philosophy and Jewish faith. ...
The anti-Maimonidean camp turned to the great sages of northern France. Never having been acquainted with Aristotelian philosophy, they never felt the need for synthesis with it; therefore, they unhesitatingly pronounced a herem on Maimonides' philosophical works. Some report that they excommunicated even parts of his halakhic code. In Provence and Spain the anti-Maimonidean camp was led by Solomon b. Abraham of Montpellier, Jonah b. Abraham Gerondi, the poet Meshullam da Piera, and above all Nahmanides.
The controversy returned to the Muslim countries in the East. Maimonides' son, Abraham ben Moses ben Maimon, was outraged at what had happened in the West. He attacked "many overseas [scholars who are] mistaken. They cling to the literalistic sense of biblical verses, Midrashim, and aggadot. This pains our heart; at the sight of this our eyes have darkened, and our fathers are dumbfounded: How could such an impurity, so like the impurity of idol worship, come to be in Israel? They worship idols, deny God's teaching, and worship other gods beside Him." Flinging these accusations against Maimonides' opponents in Europe, Abraham holds that through their exegetical explanations they are guilty of pagan-like anthropomorphism (Milhamot ha-Shem, ed by R. Margalioth (1953), 52).
....When the controversy flared up again at the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th century, the immediate catalyst was the extreme allegorical exegesis of certain rationalists. However, it came to encompass the whole range of the content of Jewish education and the question of the possibility or impossibility of synthesis between "Greek wisdom" and the Torah of Moses.
....The tension between rationalists and antirationalists never abated throughout the Middle Ages. Among the beleaguered Jews of 15th-century Christian Spain, Maimonidean rationalism was seen by many as the root cause of the misfortunes and the reason for apostasy. On the other hand a man like Abraham Bibago, throughout his Derekh Emunah, defended rationalism, not only as being justified but as the very essence of Judaism.
....In Poland-Lithuania in the 16th-17th centuries the tension between Maimonideans and anti-Maimonideans likewise continued, as evidenced, for example, by the dispute between Moses Isserles and Solomon b. Jehiel Luria (see Moses Isserles, Resp., nos. 687; and see also his Torat ha-Olah).


I have just now made a new entry— Cult image— an unfamiliar expression, apparently, but it is the educated usage: "Idols!" Earlier today, someone made a bot that ran through Wikipedia redirecting all links of idol secretly to idolatry! How elegant. "Idols!" "Idols" are worshipped by "natives" aren't they? invariably dark-skinned natives, who grovel before "idols" in the Oriental dust. Europeans don't worship "idols": they put them in museums. Idols are non-Christian, and, quite tellingly, "idols" are non-European too. The Hermes of Praxiteles is never an "idol". Idols have jewels in their navels, to be filched by Indiana Jones... perhaps someone would like to edit "idols" out of this article. --Wetman 20:34, 15 January 2006 (UTC)


The current title of this article implies that the article is about the idolatrous aspects of the Jewish religion. This is not its content. Perhaps we should rename to something like "Jewish view of idolatry"?
Frikle 22:10, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

I was about to make essentially that change, for exactly that reason. (Jewish views of idolatry would be more accurate.) I was restrained by both respect for the opinions of the many better versed on the subject than i, and by the ambiguity between Jewish descent and/or ethnicity on one hand, and adherance (self- or group-perceived) to Judaism. A change is needed, and Views in Judaism on idolatry, tho slightly awkward, will be at least an improvement if no one offers a further improvement.
--Jerzyt 15:41, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Golden calf[edit]

Should the article mention the Golden Calf? -- 07:55, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Of course it should. Nahum (talk) 10:38, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Jesus and Christianity[edit]

It should also mention Jesus in the section titled "Worship of humans." However, I'll leave that for people with more reference books than me. -- Nahum (talk) 10:38, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Agreed, it should be made clear that the opposition to Christianity has never really been lifted in mainstream Judaism. ADM (talk) 09:29, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Torah worship=idolatry?[edit]

Anybody ever notice a Jewish service in which the Torah gets bowed to? Or Jerusalem? How does that square with the Jewish ban on idolatry? (talk) 04:36, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

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