Talk:Judaism/Archive 9

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Orthodoxy: Founded vs. Maintained

User:Sputnikcccp and I seem to have a disagreement; and I'll be more than happy to stand corrected if I am wrong. Please compare the following two wordings. Which is more correct? Was Orthodox Judausm "founded" during the Haskalah as a counter, or was it the maintaining of the traditions? I am of the opinion that the reactions of various Torah giants such as the Chasam Sofer, HaRav Shimshon Raphael Hirsh, and even HaRav Kook, each in their own way, were engaged in the mantenance of Torah-true Judaism (cf. Eighteen letters). They did not "found" Orthodoxy, albeit the term did not come into use until much later, they were attempting to withstand the encroachments of Reform and Haskalah into what they felt was Torah-true observance. Sputnikcccp, with what do you, or anyone, disagree? -- Avi 21:50, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Edit conflict - i'm just going to paste instead of rewriting: In the paragraph on the Haskalah, it originally read: "Haskalah supporters founded Reform Judaism and Liberal Judaism, while traditionalists founded what is called Orthodox Judaism, and Jews seeking a balance between the two sides founded Conservative Judaism. A number of smaller groups came into being as well.", which Avi changed to "Haskalah supporters founded Reform Judaism and Liberal Judaism, while those adhering to traditional levels of observance of halakha and hashkafa (Jewish philosophy) became known as Orthodox, and Jews seeking a balance between the two sides founded Conservative Judaism. A number of smaller groups came into being as well.", with an edit summary of Orthodox judaism was not 'founded' it is the maintenance of the millenial traditions of halakha and hashkafa. Now I reverted, as i was always taught that Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Judaism were all started in the past 200 years because of the changes in society. The differences in the groups resulted from the various degrees to which each movement decided to integrate modernity into their Judaism, but none of the modern groups in Judaism today are direct "continuations" of "ancient" Judaism. The relationship between the three main streams of Judaism and "ancient" Judaism was always described to me as one stream, that breanched off into three different directions, rather than one stream with two branches and one continuation. On those grounds, i opposed Avi's changes and reverted, but the original sentence wasn't much better, to be honest. Ideas and suggestions? СПУТНИКCCC P 21:57, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

(The following comments were inserted on June 15th,

Well, Orthodox Jews certainly believed that they were maintaining the tradition. And compared to those in nascent Reform Judaism and assimilating Jews, I would agree that there is no doubt that this is an objective fact. However, we must be precise in our terminology. When historians say that certain people "founded" Orthodox Judaism, they do not mean that it was a totally new direction in Judaism, like Reform was. Historians - and many Conservative Jews I know - use this phrase in a more specific way. Orthodox Judaism was founded in the sense that a set of like-minded people came together in a new historical era, in reponse to new circumstances, and developed a set of strategies to cope with this change. The result was what we call Orthodox Judaism. And the set of beliefs that Orthodox Judaism allowed its adherents became, over time, significantly narrower than the set of beliefs that traditional rabbinic Jews historically were allowed to have. The same is true for the rules within halakha. What sets some Orthodox Jews apart from historians is the Orthodox claim that nothing changed. That's incorrect; many things did change, although Orthodox Jews are certainly correct in saying that compared to what we saw in Reform the changes were intended to be minor, and developed organically, without deliberate intent. RK 22:35, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
You say: "Orthodox Judaism was founded in the sense that a set of like-minded people came together in a new historical era, in reponse to new circumstances, and developed a set of strategies to cope with this change." Interesting statement. Even if true, do you really believe that developing a "set of strategies" to cope with modernity justifies saying that Orthodoxy was founded as a new interpretation of Judaism that had not been extent?
You say: "the set of beliefs that Orthodox Judaism allowed its adherents became, over time, significantly narrower than the set of beliefs that traditional rabbinic Jews historically were allowed to have." Again, interesting POV. However this "over time" you refer to, obviously also includes the time before the 1800's, hence making the language "founded in the 1800's" incorrect. Shykee 20:07, 20 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

The previous comments were inserted on June 15th)

"Orthodox" was a label applied to those who maintained the traditional ways rather than joining the Reform movement. In some cases, this involved a self-conscious rejection of Reform, as in Rav Hirsch. But other groups, such as Sephardim, never even encountered Reform, and they would have thought it strange if you suggested they were "founding" a movement through their choice to continue practicing their traditions as they had always done. Thus, it definitely is more accurate to say that traditionally observant Jews "came to be known" as Orthodox rather than that they created or founded Orthodoxy. marbeh raglaim 22:37, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Different claims about this are made by different people. The participants themselves generally believed themselves to be merely maintaining and restoring rather than innovating. However, many people looking back in historical perspective, particularly a criticial historical perspective, have perceived otherwise, and have viewed both the Haredi and Modern variants, particularly in terms of philosophy and forms of social organization, as reflecting different kinds of responses to the external forces of the time. Doubtless WP should cite both sets of claims and their sources. --Shirahadasha 01:51, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree completely with Shirhadasha who has provided an elegant summary of the difference. Both views should be provided. Slrubenstein | Talk 01:53, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

My point is that it depends which Jews you're talking about. If you're talking about Hirsch et al, then you have a case for saying Orthodoxy was a self-conscious "movement." However, if you're talking about Sephardic Jews at the time, it is an objective fact that their maintenance of traditional ways was not a "response" to anything. marbeh raglaim 02:05, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

If I may add a point. While it is indeed true that some, particularly Conservative, say that Orthodoxy has departed from historical Judaism concerning it's response to external forces of the time, this does not at all justify a terminology which implies that the religious beliefs and practices of Orthodoxy are different than in Judaism of the past. All agree that they are the same, the whole criticism mentioned by Shirahadasha only says that really historic Judaism would have required them to stop practicing that which they had always practiced, in response to "external forces of the time". Hence the incorrectness of saying that Orthodoxy "began" or was "founded". At the most, the article should include the criticism of the conservative, i.e. that the Orthodox should have changed.Shykee 02:07, 13 June 2006 (UTC)shykee
Response to Marbehraglim - Ah. That is a valid point. One thing to do is to specify that the first self-identified Orthodox Jews were largely German (etc.). But, did Sepharid Jews in the early 1800s identify themselves as orthodox? I think there are three questions worth investigating: at what point did Sephardic Jews begin identifying themselves in terms originated by Ashkenazik Jews (e.g. Orthodox) (if they did). Second, how exactly did Sephardic Jews respond to the enlightenment? The case of Spinoza and the Amsterdam community is an informative case in point. Third, what was the actual state of Sephardic observance at the time? Rabbis no doubt said Sephardic Jews adhered rigorously to the Shulhan Aruch - or said, they should have been etc. But, what were Sephardic Jews actually doing? This is a matter of social history and I have no idea if there has been any research on this, does anyone? Slrubenstein | Talk 02:10, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

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Steve, this is a good point. Many Orthodox Jews simply assume that all non-Reform Jews of this era, Sephardic or not, rigorously followed Orthodox practice. There is little reason to assume that this is so. This is history by assertion, instead of by providing documentation. RK
You say: "there is little reason to assume this is so", tis is an absolutely incredible statement. Are you familiar with all the persecution and killings of Jews who refused to convert to Christianity? Do you imagine they were dying for something they didn't believe in? Are you familiar with the thousands of responsa dealing with questions from Jewish communities concerning Jewish law? My friend, Fiddler-on-the-Roof type thinking is exactly that- fiction not history. Shykee 20:07, 20 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

Shyke, I disagree with you on this point. You say that "this does not at all justify a terminology which implies that the religious beliefs and practices of Orthodoxy are different than in Judaism of the past." This is incorrect. As a result of reaction to Reform and assimilation, those who adhered to rabbinic Judaism did make changes in beliefs and practices. For instance, the set of beliefs that Orthodox Judaism allowed its adherents became, over time, significantly narrower than the set of beliefs that traditional rabbinic Jews historically were allowed to have. The same is true for the rules within halakha. All of this is extremely well documented. I would suggest starting with readings of the dozens of articles on halakha and theology in the reknowned Encyclopedia Judaica. Note that most of their articles on this subject were written by Orthodox rabbis, and they were open about these changes. RK 22:35, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

I would suggest actually reading the Halacha and theology Seforim as the main source of knowledge, and using an encyclopedia as a secondary source. Shykee 20:07, 20 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

The previous comments were inserted after June 13th.)

I am not sure I understand Shykee's point. Is "this does at all" a typo? Should it be "this does not at all?" If so, Shykee is wrong. Some say that the religious beliefs and practices of Orthodox Jews are the same as those of jews in the past. Some say they are not. Both views must be represented. That is our NPOV policy. Slrubenstein | Talk 02:15, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

I find it highly unlikely indeed there is a source saying that basic Orthodox Judaism in it's practices differs from the actual practices of rabbinic Jewry until the 1800s. Orthodox Judaism continues to dogmatically apply all the laws as written in the very same books and legal codes used by Jewry throughout the ages! Again, the criticism only says that they should have changed. Please provide a source. Shykee 02:30, 13 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

(The following comments were inserted after June 13th.

There most certainly are such sources, with detailed examples. The halakha of Orthodox Jews of the 1800s is not' the same as the halakha of traditional rabbinic Jews of the 1600s, 1200s, or 800s. In many cases it is very different, and I highly suggest reading the articles in the Encyclopedia Judaica on this topic. Also, you seem to be unaware of the responsa literature, a literature that all religious Jews should be familiar with. The amount of change among observant, rabbinic Jews, in fact, is staggering. In fact, most Orthodox Jews openly admit this. They just say - with good reason - that this change occured as part of the halakhic process, within a community of Jews committed to living by halakha. RK 22:35, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
You refer me to the responsa and source your claim to unspecified views in the "Encyclopedia Judaica". Indeed, all Jews should be familiar with the responsa. And the main source of that knowledge should not be the "Encyclopedia Judaica". Rather an actual reading of the responsa is more important than second-hand knowledge culled from an encyclopedia. While you may claim that Orthodox belief has narrowed over time, that still does not justify saying that a new method of judaism was founded in the 1800's. Shykee 20:07, 20 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

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Well, for starts, Elliott Dorff's Conservative Judaism: From our Ancestors to our Descendents but given some time I can find others. Many leaders of the Conservative movement - at least in the fifties and sixties, claimed that orthodoxy departed radically from rabbinic Judaism. Slrubenstein | Talk 02:34, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Please provide an actual quote saying that the physical observances and practices of the Orthodox have "radically" changed. Again I find it hard to believe that someone would be ignorant enough to say that in this regard the Orthodox have changed, since all the current Orthodox practices are exactly based on and as described in the rabbinic legal codes! If indeed there is such a quote, please actually quote it and I will agree to it's inclusion no matter how ignorant I believe it to be. Shykee 02:52, 13 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

Read what I just wrote, please, it responds to your comment. I do not have Dorff's book on me. I said I will find references given time. Accept that statement in good faith. You should understand that just because you do not know something does not mean that others do not know about something. indeed, Wikipedia is premised on just this. I am sure you know things I do not know. But so far, it seems that you are more interested in dismissing what other people know than actually adding anything you may actually know. I encourage you to be constructive.Slrubenstein | Talk 02:57, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Please refrain from any speculation concerning someone else's motives. That is an unfortunate degradation of what should be a civil discourse. Again, please provide an actual quote saying that the physical observances and practices of the Orthodox have "radically" changed. As I said, please actually quote it and I will agree to it's inclusion no matter how ignorant I believe it to be. By the way, do not think that anyone distrusts your good faith. Exactly because of my optimistic hope that you are acting in good faith, I refrain from editing the article until the issue is discussed on this page.Shykee 03:16, 13 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

(The following comments were inserted after June 13th

Shykee, Steve isn't making this up. Specific changes in actual beliefs and practices are very well documented! Did you read our article on the Shulkhan Arukh, and the very negative reaction to it by many Jewish authorities? RK

I have read your article. Please refer to the Talk page there, where a re-write is in progress due to all the unsourced POVs and inaccuracies. Shykee 20:07, 20 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

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Ugh. This discussion relies so heavily on rank speculation and historical revisionism, it's appalling. The Reform movement rejected traditional Judaism, and adopted the name "reform" for themselves, and applied the label "Orthodox" to their opponents. The idea that Orthodoxy was "founded" as a "movement" is ludicrous, and indicative of complete ignorance of what "orthodoxy" is and of Jewish history as well, by which I don't even mean going back millennia, but even just going back a couple hundred years. Without emancipation, the reform movement would never have existed--prior to emancipation, people who wanted to quit being discriminated against for being Jewish just converted to Christianity. The reform movement tried to make Judaism into "only a[n alternative to Christianity] religion", but since there was no model for such an idea in Judaism, they had to RE-FORM Judaism, and unsurprisingly used the Christians they emulated as their model. (Anyone who is familiar with traditional synagogue services and who attends a reform service and a catholic or lutheran (the models the Reform emulated) service, would have to be purposefully ignorant to not recognize this... Anyone who has read the writings of the founders of Reform philosophy who says otherwise is actively engaging in intellectual dishonesty...or, to stop hiding behind verbal niceties, "lying".) Now. All of that said, there was a strong reaction against the Reform movement within the Ashkenazi world, which led to the "Amishization", as I call it, of what are now called "blackhatter" communities, Chareidhim, Mithnagedhim, Chasidhim, whatever...but certainly this was not a "foundation", it was a reactionary development within certain segments of Ashkenazi Judaism. The idea being forwarded by Reform "scholars" who promote this notion that the Orthodox "movement" [sic] was "founded" to oppose Reform is a lie that should be stopped dead in its tracks. This might sound vitriolic, so just to clarify my position... the traditional=orthodox view within Judaism holds that Jews within the Jewish community live their lives along a spectrum of observance, from an asymptote at "complete observance" to a really sad state of "complete non-observance". What the reform "movement" did was to say "we don't want to follow what makes Judaism Judaism, we want to follow whatever we deem, on a personal level, to be relevant and important, and then we'll call ourselves 'observant', and anyone who disagrees with our view we'll disparage as 'orthodox', 'outmoded', 'provincial', and 'intolerant'". This is anathema to Judaism, the religious principles of which are based on a communal contract with God, not an individual decision, a concept the reform kyfed from Christianity. I should probably stop talking now, but this discussion is obscene, and SLR, you of all people should know this stuff. Tomertalk 07:25, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

I endorse Tomer's view. It is a complete distortion to say that Orthodoxy, as a movement, is innovative. Certain practices may be, as rabbinic leaders have always "made a fence around the Torah". Just out of interest, who founded Orthodoxy? And when?
Several Conservative scholars seem to hold the views that their Judaism is the authentic one and that the Orthodox are unnecessarily rigid. But Conservatism was founded, by Zacharias Frankel in Germany and his buddies. Orthodoxy did not need to be founded - it was already there. JFW | T@lk 08:44, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

(The following comment was inserted on June 15th

I agree with JFW...and with Steve. The question is thus. In this instance, what do we mean by the word "Orthodox"? People have been talking past each other because "Orthodox" is being used to mean different things within the same conversation! JFW, would it be fair to say that you are defining Orthodox Jews as (something like) Jews who adhere to Jewish principles of faith as their belief system, who accept the authority of the oral law as well as the Tanakh, and who lives by explication of laws in the Talmud, the Mishneh Torah, the responsa literature, and when that historical era arrived, the Shulkhan Arukh? In my experience this is what Orthodox Jews call "orthodox". It is an obvious definition. RK
It is the definition and it is not a question. Orthodox Judaism's axiomatic belief is the divine revelation of the written and oral Torah. This is the essential nature of Orthodoxy. Shuold Wikipedia accept the known common definition, or should it accept some unknown different definition ? Shykee 20:17, 20 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

The previous comment was inserted on June 15th)

The terminology problem is that Conservative Jews do not refer to all such people as "Orthodox Jews", no do Conservatives refer to such a system as "Orthodox Judaism"! Rather, Conservative historians and rabbis simply refer to this as "rabbinic Judaism", "halakhic Judiasm" or "traditional Judaism". They carefully and specifically restrict the term "Orthodox Jews" to the set of Jews who maintained a certain set of traditions and beliefs in response to the haskalah, assimilation and the rise of Reform Judaism. They do this because they see the Orthodox community as having accepted a significantly stricter subset of traditional Jewish theology and practice, and the differences are great to warrant a descriptive term. Since Orthodox Jews are generally not using this same terminology, we sometimes get into these arguments, when there is actually more common ground than meets the eye. RK 22:55, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
It does not matter if some conveniently don't refer to Jews who observe the Torah, both written and Oral, as "Orthodox". This is the defacto definition of Orthodox. Shykee 20:17, 20 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

The obvious solution is for the article to represent both points of view and properly identify them and source them. Slrubenstein | Talk 09:50, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Gentlemen, this is not about Tomer's view, nor is it about JFW and Shykee and even my view. I am really surprised at Tomer and JFW who have been around long enough to understand our NPOV policy. Editors views are irrelevant. Tomer, what is at issue here is not my personal view of Reform Judaism nor Orthodoxy. It is the adherence of this article to our policies, and that means including various views expressed in verifiable sources. Tomer writes extensively about Reform, even though neither Shykee nor I were discussing Reform Judaism. So, Shykee, please forgive me as I reply quickly to Tomer. "It is important to understand that the Reform Movement did not arise as a reaction to Orthodoxy: it was rather a response to the assimilation resulting from the Emancipation" (Elliott Dorff, 1977, Conservative Judaism: Our Ancestors to our Descendent United Synagogue of America p. 13). Tomer, your views of the Reform are irrelevant because of NPOV and NOR and you know it. Now, I am sure there are people who differ from Dorff in their views of the Reform movement. Whether they are historians,reform Jews, or Orthodox Jews, by all means include them in the article, properly sourced. But Dorff's view is certainly a valid and widely shared view. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:39, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Shykee, stop trying to control this discussion. RK has every right to comment, and his way of commenting - inserting his comments directly below the point he is commenting on - is allowed at Wikipedia and lots of people do it. RK has not done anything wrong. Slrubenstein | Talk 09:50, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

How very convenient for you to say when it is not your comments that have been made to retroactively appear ridiculous. Shykee 12:36, 16 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

Orthodoxy is a new movement: A Conservative Jewish POV

Now, Shykee, to respond to your requests, I will present a few sources. In light of Tomer and JFW's comments let me repeat that this is about NPOV (which I think Shykee understands) - the issue is not what "the truth" is, the question is whether this is a view held by a significant group of people i.e. not me or Shykee personally. This is what Dorff says about Conservative Judaism. The paragraph is primarily about Conservative Judaism. But, in order to make his point, he contrasts Conservative judaism to Orthodoxy. Thus, he necessarily says something about Orthodoxy. Given that this book was published by the major organization of Conservative Congragations in the US, I think it is fair to say it represents a major Conservative view (from (Elliott Dorff, 1977, Conservative Judaism: Our Ancestors to our Descendents United Synagogue of America p. 13):

The fundamental doctrine of the historical approach [note: Dorff has already identified this as the approach used by Conservative scholars] is the claim that if we want to understand Judaism correctly, we must study it historically. That is, when we examine Jewish texts, we must use the same intellectual techniques that we would use if we were analyzing the documents of any other group of people. So, for example, in any Jewish writing we must distinguish between the meaning the author intended (the peshat) and the meaning(s) given the text by later tradition (the derash). Orthodox schools recognize that distinction, but they claim that if you want to know the correct meaning of the biblical text, the divinely intended meaning, you should consyult the classical Jewish commentators (e.g. Rashi). the orthodox would use that method because they believe that God revealed both the written text of the Torah and the interpretations he intended at Sinai and that those interpretations were passed down from generation to generation until they were ultimately written down in the Midrash and medieval Jewish commentaries. Consequently, while the words of the text may seem to mean something different from the traditional interpretation of them, that is of no consequence .... In contrast, the Conservative movement and others who use the generally accepted moethods of literary analysis would claim that we must understand the text as it is. The derash may alert us to unusual features of the text which must be investigated, but it is a later, and therefore quite possibly different meaning from that contained in the original text. In fact, an important way of learning about Jewish history is to distinguish the laws and ideas that appear in the bible from those that devbeloped later - even if later authorities justifies their philosophies and legal decisions by reinterpreting earlier sources in the Bible and Talmud. To discover the original meaning of a selection from the Bible or Talmud, we must learn the languages, ideas, and practices of the surrounding nations, because we must assume that our ancestors, like all other people, were influenced in how they thought and spoke by all the people living around them.

Dorff goes on, but I hope you see the point: many Conservative Jews believe that (like what Tomer says about Reform Jews) the ideas and practices of Jews of the Bible and Talmud were influenced by those of people around them (and Dorff does not just mean in negative ways e.g. we do not tatoo ouurselves because goyim do). Moreover, many Conservative Jews do not believe that Orthodox understandings of the Bible and the Talmud are accurate understandings of the intended meanings. Indeed, many Conservative Jews believe Orthodox Jews are reinterpreting (this is the very word Dorff uses) the Bible and Talmud. Shykee, I am not saying that this is the truth, and I am certainly not saying this is what Orthodox jews believe. But Wikipedia is not about the truth, it is about different points of view, and this is one polint of view.

Dorff is not the only important Conservative Jewish leade who holds this view. The following is from Herbert Parzen, Architects of Conservative Judaism page 148:

The Orthodox are necessarily loyal to rabbinic tradition and obediently submit to the Law as it has found expression in the Shulhan Aruckh, the official legal codex .... Conservative Judaism likewise reveres the Tradition and acknowledges the authority of the Halakhah, without ascribing to it the divine sanction in the literal sense. Its teachers reserve the right to test the decisions of R. Joseph Caro, the codifier of the Shulhan Arukh, in order to determine whether his judgements conform with the opinions of earlier halakhic authorities, especially with those in Tahhaitic, Amoraic or Geonic sources. This rivght is asserted in order the search the whole rabbinic literature for legal precedents which may help to find additional sanctions for the application of the Law to present circumstances. The major elements in Conservatism agree on this point .... This point of view is the outgrowth of the historico-critical school of which Fr. Ginzberg was an effective explonent. According to him, the Gaon R. Elijah of Vilna was its founding father. Consequently, this viewpoint has irreproachable sponsorship and authoritative sanction. Since it is axiomatic that practical policy must be based on theoretical studies, it becomes entirely proper and purposeful to ground the pragmatic Halakhah upon the teachings and research of the historical school.

In other words, Conservative Jews believe that both Conservative and orthodox Jews believe themselves to be adhering to "traditional Judaism." According to Conservative Jews, Orthodox jews believe that they are adhering to traditional Judaism because they believe that God revealed both the Oral and Written law at Sinai; that there are no contradictions between the two, and that the Shulkhan Arukh itself is traditional and the ultimate expression of a continuous trtadition from Sinai through the Bible and Talmud up to the Shulhan Arukh and Orthodoxy today. But Conservative Jews reject this view as false. They do not believe that God revealed the Oral Law at Sinai (many - perhaps most, but definitely not all - do not believe God revealed the Written law and Sinai). They do not believe that the Shulhan Arukh is an authoritative statement of "traditional Judaism." indeed, they believe that to adhere to it is to reject the Judaism of the Tanaim - as Parzen writes, it is only through the Historical School, which Parzen like Dorff identifies with Conservative Judaism and which both see as not being shared by Orthodoxy, that one achieves an accurate understanding of the Tannaitic, Amoraitic, and Geonic sources which often differ from the Shulhan Aruch. The views of Dorff and Parzen were well-summarized by Robert Gordis, one of the leading Conservative ideologues, in Understanding Conservative Judaism:

Conservative Judaism does not claim to be the hair of Orthodox Judaism, but of traditional Judaism ... the two are not synonymous ... The difference between traditional Judaism and Orthodoxy is crucial and should be clearly understood. Traditional judaism is the product of the entire religious experience of the Jewish people from the days of Abraham and our own, including its mainstream, its secondary currents, and its cross-currents, all of which affected its progress and geowth. Orthodoxy has adopted one stage in the history of Judaism, that of Eastern Europe about the year 1700, stereotyped it, and adopted it as the permanent and "authentic" pattern for Judaism for all time. To be sure, the recall is neither complete nor accurate ...

There is a lot more, of course. Now, I got involved when Shykee wrote that it is not right to imply that "the religious beliefs and practices of Orthodoxy are different than in Judaism of the past" and that "I find it highly unlikely indeed there is a source saying that basic Orthodox Judaism in it's practices differs from the actual practices of rabbinic Jewry until the 1800s." As to the first quote - if Shykee will be much more specific and say that it is not right to imply that the religious beliefs and practices of Orthodoxy are not different from those of the Judaism of the Shulchan Aruch, I will accept that without any question. But if when Shykee says "Judaism of the past" he means to include the times of the Tannaim, Amoraim, and Geonim, then I say: that is your point of view, but it is not held by everyone. And in response to his second quote, that he finds it hard to believe that there is a source saying that basic Orthodox Judaism differens in its practices from Rabbinic Judaism, well, Dorff, Parzen and Gordis are saying just that. This may not be a view that you like, and I agree that it is not the only view. But it is an important view that must, to comply with our policies, be included in the article. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:39, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Orthodoxy: Founded vs. Maintained - Continued

While I applaud your bringing these sources, I should note that they are tangential to what we were originally talking about. Even if we accept everything those Conservative rabbis said, it still does not in any way imply that Orthodoxy was a "movement" that certain Jews "founded" in the nineteenth century. What those rabbis are claiming is that their movement is more in line with classical Judaism than Orthodoxy is. But it is beyond dispute that at the time of its formation Reform Judaism was an attempt to change Judaism in its current form, and those Jews who didn't join this movement (either because they actively resisted it or because they never were exposed to it in the first place) came to be known as "Orthodox Jews." marbeh raglaim 12:40, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

(inserted on June 15th

Yes, I think you have it. Conservative Jews do not deny the legitimacy of Orthodox beliefs and practices, nor do they deny that Orthodox Jews continue in a straight line from traditional, rabbinic Jews. Well, then, what is the dispute about? Conservatives believe that other religious communities (Masorti, Conservative) have also developed in a straight line from traditional, rabbinic Judaism. That's all. Its just an example of social evolution. Two groups with identical roots can slowly diverge over time to have differences in practices and theology, yet each has the exact same family tree. RK 22:55, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

the previous comment was inserted on June 15th)

Well, I was responding primarily to Shykee. If you look up above, I started by agreeing with something Shirhadassah made - that is my main point. I do not in any way dispute your claims about reform, I didn't think anyone else was. The conversation, it seemed to me, was about Orthodoxy not Reform Judaism. As to Orthodoxy as a movement that was founded, well, the question is, is Orthodoxy a movement? If so, it was indeed founded by people, all movements are. If you are saying that there was a large ppopulation of Jews during this time that did not belong to any "movement," well, sure, who could dispute that? I do not doubt that between 1600 and 1800 there were many Jews in Eastern Europe you lived according to the Shulchan Aruch, more or less. And I agree that such a group does not have a "founder." But what could it possibly mean to lable them as "Orthodox?" Did they identify themselves as Orthodox? Or, are you identifying these people with the Orthodox movement that emerged in the 1800s? Are you making the same claims Shykee seemed to be making (I may have misread him) about the Orthodox, then the same points the Conservatives make about the orthodox movement - that it reflects a particular moment in jewish history and does not reflect an unbroken continuity with the past, let alone rabbinic Judaism, well, then those points still apply. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:14, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Question: Does anyone dispute that if you would transport yourself in back time to before the split in Jewry and take a stroll down a ghetto street, that all Jews would be practicing what we call Orthodoxy? Would you not see all Jews keeping Kosher and Shabbos etc. etc.? Indeed along came conservative and said that according to historic Judaism, Jewry should change, and I never disputed that. However, no one questions whether all Jews until the 1800s observed "Orthodox" Judaism. Hence the incorrectness of saying that Orthodoxy was "founded", or "began". This is the point: Until Conservative and Reform, all Jews, your great grandparents and mine, were what we call Orthodox and there was no other "branch". They did not "identify" themselves as "Orthodox" exactly because of what we are saying- the label was applied to what had always been! Please show exactly where you see this disputed in any quote. Shykee 13:26, 15 June 2006 (UTC)shykee
I dispute this. And I do not have to provide any evidence. This is an encyclopedia. The burden of proof is on you. If you want to add this claim to the article, you must comply with our policies, especially NPOV and NOR. If there is a major source out there that makes this claim then by all means put it in and explain whose view it is, that is all. If you have no source, don't put it in. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:43, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
P.S. I do not know what my great, great, great grand-parents called themselves. I know I had ancestors in the 1600s, but I do not know what they called themselves. i have no evidence they called themselves orthodox. Do you? I would love it if you shared your evidence with me. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:45, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

(the following was inserted after June 15th Steve may dispute Shykee's claim because we are using the same word in different ways! Steve and I do not refer to all such people as "Orthodox Jews". The religious Jews that you speak about? We simply refer to them as "rabbinic Jews", "halakhic Jews" or "traditional Jews". And we also are aware that not all of them were as observant as you seem to think. RK

I don't believe that RK and SRubinstein are arguing the same thing. Srubinstein seems to acknowledge that only one Judaism existed before 1800 and that Judaism in it's fundamental beliefs, was the same as Orthodoxy. Srubinstein seems to be arguing that because they didn't use the word "Orthodox", they therefore were not. Obviously wrong. Shykee 01:07, 20 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

the previous comments were inserted after June 15th)

It seems that at the most you could say that the Conservative claim that Orthodoxy had been founded 1,000 years ago by the Rishonim and that all Jews had mistakenly followed them down the wrong path until men of true insight realized that true historic Judaism allowed a Jew to be extremely non-Jewish! Shykee 13:37, 15 June 2006 (UTC)shykee
No, Conservatives would say that Orthodoxy formed as a movement in the 1800s, and it drew on beliefs and practices that were normative for Eastern European Jews from the late 1500s-early 1600s. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:43, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

That is what you are saying. What about the 1700s? And the 1400s? And all other Jews? Please provide a source saying that all Jews did not keep Orthodox practices until the 1800s. Shykee 14:01, 15 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

It is what I am saying Conservative Jews say about Orthodoxy and i have provided sources. If you want to make any claims about the 1700s or 1400s, you have to (1) provide a source and (2) identify the point of view. Which of these words do you not understand? I have NEVER objected to the article saying "Orthodox Jews believe that all Jews kept Orthodox practices in the 1400s" ... just provide the source for this claim. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:10, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

On the one hand, Orthodox Judaism has no specific founders or founding time (unlike the Reform and Conservative movements), though the term "Orthodoxy" itself was first applied (as Tomer points out) in the 19th century. On the other hand, Wikipedia really works by citing reliable sources, and attributing statements to those sources, not by re-enacting a debate on a Talk: page. Jayjg (talk) 17:00, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

It seems that the Wikipedian above is truly sincere in saying that s/he does not know if his great grandparents practiced what we call Orthodox Judaism. Forgive me, I know this is not in the parameters of the discussion, but I really mean this with all my heart- I am deeply saddened and distressed that the Conservative system has so succeeded at obfuscating the truth. My friend, consider this, we find no record of any Conservative or Reform views or practices published until the 1800s. What were the Jews doing until then? There is a rich and beautiful legacy of writings stretching way back, all solely adhering to Torah Judaism (i.e. "Orthodoxy"). To quote R'Hirsch (source added June 16th- Col.Writings. Volume VI, page 114)
"It should be pointed out that it is not "Orthodox" Jews who first introduced the term "Orthodoxy" into Judaism. It was the modern "progressive" Jews who first applied the epithet "Orthodox" to their "old-style" backward brethren to distinguish them, in a derogatory sense."

I would like to point out that all the sources brought by you only argue that it is only in Conservative Judaism (and I quote you) "that one achieves an accurate understanding of the Tannaitic, Amoraitic, and Geonic sources (my italics) which often differ from the Shulhan Aruch." Indeed the founders of Conservative Judaism claimed the mantel of Historicism for themselves, they said they were resurrecting the true Judaism (coincidentally less demanding of course) of over 1,000 years ago. But what had the Jews been doing during that 1,000 years? Unequivocally, what has been labeled "Orthodox" Judaism. If we want to include in Wikipedia the view that "Orthodoxy" was "founded" or "began" in the 1800s, (and not 1,000 years earlier), a source must be found that unfortunately argues this. Shykee 19:18, 15 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

(the following was inserted after June 15th

Shykee, you are missing point. No one is denying that many Jews (most?), during the previous years, were following halakhic Judaism. No one is denying that they were following the Tanakh as udnerstood by Judaism's oral law, the Mishnah, Talmud, etc. No one is denying the existence of a Jewish community in which many (most?) Jews lived by halakha. We are only denying that the word "orthodox" is the best term for this community. Please remember that most modern day historians of religion, and all Conservative and Reform Jews, use the word "Orthodox Judaism" to refer to the set of Jews who maintained a certain set of traditions and beliefs in response to the haskalah, assimilation and the rise of Reform Judaism. They do this because in that historical this community accepted a significantly stricter subset of traditional Jewish theology and practice. The differences were great to warrant a descriptive term, "Orthodox". You seem unaware of this terminology, and see our disagreements as a claim that previous Jews were not rabbinic, or halakhic, etc. We are not making this claim. We have more in common than you think. However, Steve is right in pointing out that we can not claim that all, or nearly all, Jews rigourously observed halakha. That claim would need some substantial documentation. RK 23:02, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
I am not missing the point. If no one denies that the only Judaism extent believed in living according to Halacha as divine, then they were defacto Orthodox. After all, that is the dividing line between those Orthodox and those not- acceptance of the Written and Oral Torah as divine. Shykee 01:07, 20 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

the previous comments were inserted after June 15th)

I believe there are two separate questions here that need to be separated if there is to be any progress. The first is whether Orthodox rabbis "founded" a "movement" in the 19th century. I believe there is reason to believe they, or at least some of them, did, and perhaps more than one. Both the Hisrchian stream that became Modern Orthodoxy and the stream that became Agudat Israel and Haredi Judaism began as conscious efforts to combat the Reform and assimilation that followed the Haskala and kindle renewed interest with what they regarded as traditional Judaism. These events are perfectly consistent with the OED's definition of "movement" (a series of organized actions to advance a shared cause), and it doesn't seem to me that this is disputed among the editors.

A second claim is that traditionalist rabbis in the 19th century began interpreting Judaism in a way different from previous rabbis did. If they did -- and I'll leave the dispute unresolved here -- what I'd like to point out is that none of the quotes provided so far evidence that this was done in the sort of deliberate, intentional manner that could reasonably be called "a series of organized actions to advance a shared cause." And there is no evidence at all that this occurred, at least none presented thus far. For all the quotes we've seen tell us, a change in interpretation (if there was one) could very well have happened from historical happenstance, not as the result of an intentional movement. For a break from the past to be a movement, we'd need evidence that Orthodox Rabbis regarded their cause as being to do different from previous practice and that they organized their actions to this end. Orgaization and cause evidence intent. And Rabbi Dorff et al. have never made a claim about intent. If change was made, there's simply no evidence that it was done as a movement.

For this reason, I suggest that the two issues be dealt with in separate sections, with a movement to combat reform and assimilation being discussed in one section, and claims that the folks involved began interpreting or thinking about halakha in a different manner from the past discussed in another section. --Shirahadasha 22:57, 15 June 2006 (UTC)


RK says
"Conservative and Reform Jews, use the word "Orthodox Judaism" to refer to the set of Jews who maintained a certain set of traditions and beliefs in response to the haskalah, assimilation and the rise of Reform Judaism. They do this because in that historical this community accepted a significantly stricter subset of traditional Jewish theology and practice (my italics)."
This is really the crux of your argument- "Orthodoxy" was started in the 1800s because some Jews accepted stricter Judaism (in response to assimilation) than had been extent . I really really don't mean to be impolite, but it would take an abysmal knowledge of Halachic development to think that until then Jews had practiced a more lenient Judaism than the Orthodox do now. If indeed this is a published POV, I hope the quote could be provided before such an astounding assertion is presented in Wikipedia. Shykee 00:04, 16 June 2006 (UTC)shykee
P.S.(This also misunderstands Orthodoxy, as "Orthodox" in a nutshell means acceptance of the practice of written and oral Torah as direct divine revelation. Jews who believe this but accommodate modernity to a certain extent are known as Modern Orthodox. It's pretty simple- did anyone claim, until the 1800s, that Judaism did not demand acceptance of the practice of written and oral Torah as direct divine revelation? No. There is no "middle ground". If you claim that they were less strict than the Haredim of today, than all you are really saying is that they were the equivalent of Modern Orthodoxy) Shykee 00:14, 16 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

This discussion is getting way off track. Shykee is expressing the views of Orthodox Jews. No one - no one has ever said these views should be excluded from the article. The only question is whether other views should be included. The answer is obvious: according to our NPOV policy, we must include other views. I provided some other views, as did RK, and Shykee has started arguing against them. Shykee, this is not a chat room. If you want to argue over Jewish history, go to a chat room or start your own blog. Talk pages are for improving the article. The issue here is, what are the different points of view - not whether you like them or not. Slrubenstein | Talk 09:55, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

You did indeed express your views. However, I am asking for a source which is exactly in-line with the purpose of a Talk page. I quote my own request above:
This is really the crux of your argument- "Orthodoxy" was started in the 1800s because some Jews accepted stricter Judaism (in response to assimilation) than had been extent . I really really don't mean to be impolite, but it would take an abysmal knowledge of Halachic development to think that until then Jews had practiced a more lenient Judaism than the Orthodox do now. If indeed this is a published POV, I hope the quote could be provided before such an astounding assertion is presented in Wikipedia."
And, I asserted, that the source has to say that this "leniency" would cause them to be considered something else then "Orthodox". Again, please provide a source arguing this. Shykee 12:13, 16 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

And I have already provided sources. But let us play a little game called, give Shykee every benefit of the doubt. Let us say that I have no sources. Let us say that no one has ever claimed that The Orthodox movement was founded by a variety of people in the 1800s. Okay. One fact remains: you are making a claim, that Jews before the 1800s, indeed, you have said Jews in the 1400s, were orthodox. Fine. I am just asking you to comply with our NOR and NPOV policies. Explain to us whose point of view this is, and provide a source. That is all you have to do, nothing more than that. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:24, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

[Edit Conflict Paste]Slrubenstein, we still have the original question. Before the 1800's how were the Jews of that time practicing? As the Rav Hirsch quote above states (and I'm almost positive it is from the introduction to Horeb, I'll try and track it down over Shabbos and maybe add it on Sunday): "It should be pointed out that it is not "Orthodox" Jews who first introduced the term "Orthodoxy" into Judaism. It was the modern "progressive" Jews who first applied the epithet "Orthodox" to their "old-style" backward brethren to distinguish them, in a derogatory sense." It would be somewhat analagous to when Protestant Christians broke off from the Roman Catholic church, and the called themselves Protestants and the Church in Rome "Orthodox" (which if I am not mistaken it is) then that would mean that the Orthdox Roman Catholic church was founded at the time of Luther, or similar. If the label being applied to the group is created by a different group of later genesis, that does not ipso facto require the first group to have been created at the same time. Whether or not one agrees with Rabbi Dorff; using the chronology of the word "Orthodox" would not be an accurate method of timing the "foundation" of what is called Orthodoxy.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Avraham (talkcontribs) 07:25, June 16, 2006 (UTC)

Avi, thank you for your comment - I think you enable us to make real progress beyond the disagreement or misunderstanding between me and Shykee. First of all, I appreciate your providing the Hirsch reference. I think it would improve the article to include this view in the article, identify it as Hirsch's (though of course we can reasonable agree others share this view) and provide the citation when you have the complete one. This believe it or not is in my mind the most important issue I have been arguing and I appreciate your response. Second, I would say we actually have two questions remaining. I agree with you that we have the question of what were Jews practicing prior to 1800. I think this is an empirical question. I bet you and i agree - that most Jews were probably observing the rules of the Shulchan Aruch, or at least most jews probably admitted they should have been observing all of its rules. Nevertheless, this is an empirical claim and I do not know what evidence we have as to how most Jews actually lived. According to the Tanach Jews often broke the law and in great numbers. If they did back at the time of the judges or the kings, I would not be surprised if they did so in the middle ages. I am not saying they did, I am just saying maybe they did. or didn't. I don't know and wish we had evidence. If we have solid evidence, let us include that with the citation. If we do not have solid evidnce but we do evidence that people claimed to observe the Shulchan Aruch, let us put that in, with the citation. Then there is for me a second question you do not mention but which is just as important to me: how did they identify themselves? If they called themselves "Orthodox" then let us say so and provide the source that says that they called themselves Orthodox prior to 1800. But if they did not call themselves that, I would not identify them as that. Shykee, i admit there is need for more research. I hope you are as committed to our NPOV and NOR policies as i am. If so, you will understand my desire for verifiable sources we can cite. If you know of ones i do not know of, I welcome your adding them. But based on what I have read, I would say that most Jews prior to 1800 did not identify themselves as anything; that from the time of the Rishonim most Rabbinic sources suggest that most Jews observed laws such as those codified in the Mishnah Torah or the Shulchan Aruch, with variations in legal interpretation and custom that are well-documented; that at certain times groups of Jews - sometimes large but never a majority - formed movements, some heretical (karaites, followers of Frank), some esoteric (Lurianic Kabbalah), some popular (Hasidism) and some intellectual (Musar and the Mitnagdim). This is what I would say and I would try to find sources for all these claims, I bet you know plenty yourself. I still do not know of any solid evidence as to how many Jews were really shomrei mitzvot, but perhaps the evidence is out there. And i have no evidence that Jews prior to the 1800s called themselves Orthodox. If there is no evidence, I see no need to call them Orthodox. Do we at least agree on the sentence that begins, "But based on what I have read, I would say ... " Slrubenstein | Talk 12:49, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

I would like to make an important point. You are speaking about something completely unconnected to the discussion.It does not matter whether or not the Jews were lax in their observance. Indeed, the article should not refer to this at all without evidence.The point is that until the 1800s none disputed that the only interpretation of Judaism extent demanded acceptance of the written and oral Torah, regardless if people were lax. The first people to philosophically dispute this and found a new belief system saying that Judaism did not requiring this were the Reform and Conservative. The question remains: If there is plenty of evidence that before the 1800s only one Judaism existed, and that Judaism exactly reflects, in it's axiomatic core belief, the Judaism of the present-day "Orthodox" , than what reasoning would possibly vindicate a usage of the term "founded", as if it were analogous to the founding of Conservative and Reform Judaism? Shykee 13:12, 16 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

You are making a third point - I believe it was implicit in what I wrote and I am glad you are making it explicit, there is indeed a difference between the degree of observance, and what people believe they should be observing. I agree these are different things although I believe both are important. As to the rest of your remarks, I have already stated that there was not one authoritative interpretation but rather a set of aughoritative interpretations that worked within a common framework. Karo (in Beit Joseph) draws on over thirty different authorities and in the Shulchan Aruch relies on three; Isserless draws on others - but I think we agree that they were all working within a common framework. No argument there. Of course, whether we agree or not (even if 71 of us agree!) the claim, "until the 1800s none disputed that the only interpretation of Judaism extent demanded acceptance of the written and oral Torah" remains a view, and that view must be identified and correctly ascribed to a verifiable source. This is simply a matter of complying with our core policies, NPOV, NOR, and Verifiability. Similarly, the claim that "that Judaism exactly reflects, in it's axiomatic core belief, the Judaism of the present-day 'Orthodox'" remains a view, and that view must be identified and correctly ascribed to a verifiable source (just as alternate views must be represented). This is simply a matter of complying with our core policies, NPOV, NOR, and Verifiability. I think this is fairly straightforward. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:58, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

The point of my comment concerning whether the Jews actually kept the Torah, was that this doesn't affect what "Judaism" meant before the "enlightenment", if it demanded it's adherents to adhere to the written and oral Torah, then the only Judaism extent would be what we call "Orthodox". Questioning whether they actually adhered to it, while in my POV is agenda driven fiddler-on-the-roof-inspired revisionism, is not part of the question.
Now to the issue, it is indeed straightforward. You say "the claim, "until the 1800s none disputed that the only interpretation of Judaism extent demanded acceptance of the written and oral Torah" remains a view". Please provide any source at all that would allow you to characterize this as a "view" and not a fact.[we're obviously not discussing Karaism]. Shykee 15:56, 16 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

Please read our NPOV policy. Wikipedia is not about truth, it is about views. Also see our guidelines on citing sources. This is simple policy. Stop being defensive - this is not about you (or me) but about building a better encyclopedia, and we use our policies for guidance in how to do that. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:34, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

There is one point of yours in particular, Slrubenstein, that I would like to address:
According to the Tanach Jews often broke the law and in great numbers. If they did back at the time of the judges or the kings, I would not be surprised if they did so in the middle ages. I am not saying they did, I am just saying maybe they did. or didn't. I don't know and wish we had evidence.
I do not believe this is an argument for saying that Orthodxy is a recent innovation. As far back as Jewish history goes, we have evidence of people not listening to the commandments. Does that mean that they were the equivalent of Conservative or Reform? I very strongly do not believe so. They knew what they were supposed to do; there was only one accepted method of religiousity. Albeit there were arguments as to which hermanuetical principles to apply to ascertain the partculars (the original machlokos), everyone agreed on the framework and structure of the Law and how it was to be analyzed, but lo bashamayim hea and thus 90% of the corpus of Shas. As it says in Kohelles (7:20) Ki adam ayn tzadik ba'aretz asher ya'ase tov v'lo yecheta. Sinners <> fundemental breaks with traditional Judaism. So the fact that people did not listen to halakha 100% of the time does not mean that they instituted a new understanding of Jewish philosophy and law. Halevai we should never sin ourselves. However, what people kept and what people should have kept, in my mind, is somewhat irrelevant. The question is did anyone have a fundamentally different understanding as to how Jewish life was SUPPOSED to be. Now, there WERE historical examples of those that differed; Karaites, Saduccees, Essnes, perhaps even Shabteans and Frankists. But I do not believe anyone argues that they were offshoots of Pharisee/Rabbinic Judaism. My understanding of Jewish history is that the group we refer to as "Orthodox" today is NOT an offshoot of Pharisee/Rabbinic Judaism, they way the Reform and the Conservative movements seem to be, so saying "founded" in the 18th century is a misnomer. -- Avi 17:25, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

"I do not believe this is an argument for saying that Orthodxy is a recent innovation." I never said that it was. I said I was making an additional point. As for the rest of your paragraph, you are not responding to my comments of 14:58, 16 June 2006, which stand. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:13, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

I can't help but notice that all sources cited in favor of change come from prominent members of the Conservative establishment. Because of this, Wikipedia NPOV policy's discussion about conflicts between a religion's insiders and modern secular religous scholars simply doesn't apply here. I believe the policy that applies instead is the "partisan website" section of the reliable sources policy, which states "Partisan political and religious (or anti-religious) sources should be treated with caution". We have good reason for caution here. The sources Slrubenstein have cited represent triumphalist claims by Conservativism, exactly the sort of particularly partisan claims we should take care not to present as neutral fact about a rival denomination. Denominations often engage in triumphalism, claims that they are the only true descendent of the religion's founders and that other denominations have strayed from the fold, are illegitimate, etc. It would be very inappropriate for the WP article on Catholicism to state that "Since 1500, Catholicism has represented a break from historical Christianity" and cite (say) Martin Luther or John Calvin as a source. We have a similar situation here. The Conservative claim that Orthodoxy is not the "true" Judaism is not a neutral claim about history by a neutral historian. It is, rather, a partisan claim offered in an effort to justify a rival denomination in a religious (not historical) dispute. Views representing partisan claims by rival denominations who base their own claims to legitimacy on a claim of another denomination's illegitimacy have never been regarded as reliable sources about the rival denomination. We should apply this policy and the caution it recommends. In order to assert a neutral historical claim, it would be necessary to offer a source representing a neutral historical view. This has not been done. Until it is done, the statements involved belong in articles about the beliefs of Conservative Judaism, and nowhere else. --Shirahadasha 19:01, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

I want to stress that I'm not taking a position here only on the evidence that's been presented so far. SlRubenstein may well be able to find additional (and more clearly neutral) evidence. --Shirahadasha 20:57, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Avi writes "I do not believe this is an argument for saying that Orthodxy is a recent innovation. As far back as Jewish history goes, we have evidence of people not listening to the commandments. Does that mean that they were the equivalent of Conservative or Reform? I very strongly do not believe so."

But Avi, you expressing an Orthodox Jewish opinion. That is what Orthodox rabbis teach in their yeshivas and synagogues. There is nothing wrong with this POV ("point of view"), and I agree that it should be represented within the article. But many people who study Judaism from a critical-historical viewpoint disagree with this point of view, even some very religious and observant Jews. In fact, Jews who identify as Masorti, Traditional, or Conservative strongly disagree with you. Many Jewish scholars say that the process of halakhic development in the era of the Talmud, the era of the Savoraim, and the era of Geonim mostly closely resembles Conservative Judaism.
They hold that the halakhic process slowly ossified from era of the Rishonim up until the enlightenment (at which point a whole host of factors disrupted traditional Jewish communties, and Jews began to chose various strategies to cope: Neo-Orthodoxy, Haredi Orthodoxy, assimilation and humanist Judaism, radical Reform Judaism, and even the positive-historical school of thought (which exists today in Conservative / Masorti / Traditional Judaism.) This isn't just anti-Orthodox rhetoic. A very large body of scholarship exists, from Solomon Schechter and Louis Ginzberg, up to Joel roth, David Golinkin and Elliot N. Dorff, which supports this POV. All Steve is saying is that we must describe the facts as best we can, and offer both Orthodox and Conservative points of view.
Interestingly, as far as I can tell moderate Reform Judaism in the 1800s, and most of Reform Judaism today (classical radical German Reform is dying), agrees with Conservative Judaism's view on the topics. However, Reform obviously strongly disagrees with Conservatism as to whether or not halakha must be viewed as normative (i.e. to be accepted upon ourselves as binding.) Most of Reform has held all along that either (a) halakha was never meant to be binding tio begin with, or (b) halakha may have been binding in the past, but for a variety of reasons the halakhic system no longer is binding. Instead, each individual is bound to study the sources and use their own personal autonomy to decide how to follow the mitzvot, if at all. RK 23:49, 19 June 2006 (UTC)


You are saying here that Orthodox Judaism was not "founded" in the 1800s. You say this because you believe it was a continuation of a "slow ossif[ication]" that had existed "from the era of the Rishonim up until the enlightment." Thus, your argument supports the view that Orthodox Judaism wasn't founded in the 1800s, which is all that was being debated. (--Shirahadasha 00:10, 20 June 2006 (UTC)


All claims must be backed up with sources and an identification of the POV. This is at least the sixth time I have said this. Shykee questioned whether there were any sources supporting my claims, and I provided several. They are all Conservative? So what? We say, "According to Conservative Jews ..." and provide the view. This is how we handle any view. Shirhadasha seems to think this is a question of "neutral evidence." It is not a question of neutral evidence. It is a question of providing evidence from different points of view. I do not have to provide any more "evidence." I have provided evidence that Conservatives hold a [particular point of view. All I ask is for sources for the Orthodox point of view. And if anyone claims there is a third point of view that is not Orthodox, provide that, with sources. Slrubenstein | Talk 08:31, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Some people are making a claim that Orthodox Judaism existed before 1800. Our policies lead to some very straightforward questions: who makes these claims, and what is the source (reference/citation)? These are simple questions, we are just waiting for answers. Slrubenstein | Talk 10:33, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Based on readings of the founders of Conservative Judaism, it has always been my impression that the argument of Conservative Judaism is as RK says: :"They hold that the halakhic process slowly ossified from era of the Rishonim up until the enlightenment". i.e. that they were resurrecting the true Judaism of over 1,000 years ago. However, in all their writings, I don't believe that I have seen any with the Chutzpah to suggest that their own parents and grandparents (up till the Rishonim) really agreed with their interpretation of Judaism.
You ask for sources. Consider this- What is Orthodox Judaism? Anyone accepting practice of the written and Oral Torah as divine defacto falls under the definition "Orthodox". You ask for sources, every single Sefer or responsum written until the 1800's says that Judaism requires acceptance of the written and oral Torah as divine. Do you deny this? Shykee 19:32, 20 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

Consider Daniel Sperber's article "Paralysis in Contemporary Halakhah?" Tradition 36:3 (Fall 2002), 1-13, published in the Rabbinical Council of America's journal Tradition. This article, by an Orthodox rabbi in an Orthodox publication, makes a claim very similar to the one raised here -- that contemporary halakhic interpretation has ossified and undergone paralysis compared to the way things were done in the past. The Rabbinical Council of America clearly thought his views were in the pale of Orthodoxy. They published his article. Does the Conservative movement have a right to disagree? It seems odd for a denomination to claim a right to define what it means to be a member of another denomination when the other denomination's own leadership says otherwise. I agree with Rabbi Daniel Sperber on this issue myself. Like Rabbi Sperber, although I believe the tradition often (not always) supports a more "friendly" approach than presently common, (see Sperber, D. "'Friendly' Pesaq and the 'Friendly' Poseq" (pdf) Edah 5:2, 2006)I definitely would never think it proper to approach the Torah with "the same intellectual techniques that we would use if we were analyzing the documents of any other group of people." Reverence, faith, and a sincere effort to understand the revealed Divine will and the wisdom of ones forebears are not intellectual techniques commonly used with general literature, yet Rabbi Sperber, for all his liberal tendencies, fundamentally believes that these elements are indispensible to any system of halakhic interpretation that can possibly claim to be legitimate. Rabbi Sperber may be wrong -- most of Orthodoxy disagrees with him on certain issues -- but being wrong is different from not being Orthodox.

There are other options besides either "paralysis" on the one hand and desacralization -- failing to treat the Torah as genuinely sacred -- on the other hand. Conservatives have no right to say what is and is not Orthodox. It is entirely possible to reject a "paralysis" approach and at the same time reject the Conservative approach as described (and practiced) by Rabbi Dorff et al. I would thank Rabbi Dorff et al. not to interpret Orthodoxy more narrowly than the Orthodox do. Since when is it their business? --Shirahadasha 23:29, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Shirahadasha, thank you for finding this source. On my talk page, but, surprisingly, not here, Shykee provided some important quotes from Hirsch (i think, he did not provide full citations). This article should reflect a variety of properly sourced points of view, and we are collectively eliciting a few of them. As you say, there are more. Let's keep sorting out the different points of view that have verifiable sources, and figure out how to represent all of them in the article. This "talk" page is not the place to argue over which view is true (or, by extension, whether Judaism is or is not a religion, whether Orthodoxy was or was not founded), it is the place to discuss improvements to the article. Slrubenstein | Talk 10:40, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

(::They were quoted accurately. Please refer to your talk page. Shykee 02:02, 22 June 2006 (UTC)shykee)

I do want to correct Shirahadasha on one important point: it is a violation for any of us to reject a view just because we do not like it. If Conservative scholars have written about orthodoxy, then their views should be included in the article. In order to maintain compliance with NPOV, it is important to identify the POV presented (e.g., "According to Conservative rabbi ...."). And of course other points of view should be included (e.g. Hirsch). However, it is simply not the place of Wikipedia to dictate what anyone (Conservative, Orthodox, Reform, secular) has a "right" to say or not. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:21, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

While I agree this may be overly simplistic, a source for the requirement to hold to tradition begins here: Deuteronomy 17:11. This dates to the 14th century BCE, or actually 2000 before creation :) My point is like Shykee, in that there is no official "discussion" per se of this as it was the norm, and don't forget it is the Oral Law. However, I'll try to dig up some passages from the Rambam Hilchos Deos or Moreh Nevuchim. R' Yosef Albo's Sefer Ikarim may also be helpful, or Sefer HaMitzvos L'rav Sa'adya Gaon. Shykee, any ideas? -- Avi 14:14, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Avi, you are correct. Anyone with the remotest familiarity with Talmud, Rishonim, responsa, and Jewish philosophy seforim, knows that the axiomatic belief of Judaism, it's very identity, has been the belief that the Written and Oral Torah are divine. This is reflected in every sefer ever written and this is the core identity of Orthodoxy. It was not until the 1790's, when the Reform denied both written and oral Torah as divine, and 1853, when Graetz contented himself with denying the divinity of only the Oral Torah, that any view was published denying this. However here are some sources:

  • Famous "Toras Cohanim on Bahar: "Ma inyan shemittah eitzel Har Sinai?...to teach that all the commandments were explained at Sinai with the Oral law."
  • See Brachos 5. where the Talmud learns from the verse in Exodus 24,12 the inter-relationship of Oral and Written Torah as both given at Sinai.
  • See Sanhedrin 98a: "even if one accepts the entire Torah as being of divine origin...except for this "Kal Vechomer" or that "Gezairah Shava" (components of the oral Torah), he is included in the catagory of those who despise the word of G-d.
  • See Meggilah 24b the Mishna says that one who places Teffilin on their hand is a "Min", or heretic (because he is denying the Oral law's explanation).
  • Maimonides in his principles of faith: "The Oral explanation of the Torah originates directly from G-d."
  • Maimonides, introduction to Yad: "Every law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai along with their explanations for it is written in Exodus 24...Thus, the [verse] encompasses all the material described as Torah She'Baal Peh (Oral Torah)." There are many more places where Maimonides reiterates this.
  • The "Rosh", responsa 15: "The explanation and meaning for every law were revealed to Moses verbally, as Oral law".
  • Nachmanides commentary to Sefer mitzvos of Rambam: "if we say that the rules of interpretation were not also handed down from Sinai...then we would destroy the very roots of the tradition...and the major part of the Talmud."

And some later authorities:

  • Magid Mishna (Ishos, 1): "Kedushei Cesef is part of the oral law, which is what was told to Moses at Sinai without being written down."
  • Kesef Mishna ( ibid): "We only call "Kidushei Cesef" "Rabbinical" because if not for the explanation recieved at Siniai, we would not have thus explained it."

There is also a well-known Shelah, and Chovos halevovos, and actual Halachos in the Shulchan Aruch and Rambam and all their commentaries expounding and agreeing that acceptance of the Written and Oral Torah is axiomatic to Judaism. To my knowledge, the first ones to deny the Written Torah as divine in a religious sense, were the founders of Reform Judaism. The first one's to deny exclusively the Oral Torah as divine, were the Sadducees, followed by the founders of Conservative Judaism 1,000 years later in works such as Graetzs' History and in Zacharias Frankel's Darchei Hamishna.

Anyone accepting practice of the written and Oral Torah as divine defacto falls under the definition "Orthodox", Modern, Haredi, whatever. If we accept this common, recognized and normative explanation of Orthodoxy, then the usage of the word "founded" is totally unjustified. A compromise would be to frame the period of the split in Jewry as different Jewish reactions to modernity. Perhaps something like this:

In the early 1800s, Jewry was forced to confront and respond to The Age of Enlightenment and the emancipation etc. etc. The different responses to modernity, and the resultant different levels of compromise with modern-day thought, resulted in the three main branches of Judaism extent today etc. etc.. Some Jews felt that modernity demanded a complete reinterpretation of Judaism, they argued that Judaism had to "reform" itself in keeping with the social changes taking place around them. These Jews were the founders of Reform Judaism. Others felt that the divinity of Judaism's Oral Law was not requisite and could be re-interpreted to a degree in keeping with modern scholarship; they argued that the legal force of the Halacha is dependent on it's acceptance by the Jewish nation and can evolve according to the requirements of the age. The developers of this movement were called the "positive historical" school of Judaism, eventually to be known as Conservative Judaism. Traditionalists, however, maintained that Judaism had never compromised any of it's beliefs and tenets in response to external changes. They pointed out that Judaism had always considered the Halacha to be of divine origin and that any movement expressing the need to "modernize" Judaism and expressing dubiety of the verbal revelation of the Written and Oral Torah, had historically been considered outside the pale of authentic Judaism. This group became known as Orthodox Judaism.
A little rough. I don't like the word "traditionalists", sounds archaic and doesn't capture the thought. Comments? Shykee 19:32, 20 June 2006 (UTC)shykee
My history may be a little rough, but I was under the impression that the Conservative movement got its start as a result of a revulsion at the complete rejection of Halakha demonstrated by the Reform Mov'ts "first rabbinical ordination s`uda", aka the "treifah banquet". I'm sure there was a strong current of thought, described as "positive historical" that lent itself readily to adoption by the Conservative mov't, but I would have to put a {{fact}} on the assertion that that school of thought was, itself, the genesis of the C. Mov't. The reason I say this is because on the one hand, the Reconstructionist mov't, which broke away from the Conservatives in, I believe 1960s, is the embodiment of one of the logical extremes of that philosophy, as outlined above. On the other hand, other elements of that philosophy have existed w/in Judaism since time immemorial, including in Ashkenazi orthodoxy, the more "radical" exponents of which are seen in orthodoxy today w/in various modox circles, putting to rest, at least in some small part, the arrested development of Ashkenazi views, wrought in reaction to the anathematic rejection of Halakha by the Reform mov't. Incidentally, in response to something SLR said above, NPOV does not apply to comments on talk pages, which you know, and what I said was relevant to the subject at hand, regardless of whether it addressed any of the concerns you [SLR] had in mind. Not to bash you, but re-read my comments in their context, and hopefully your perspective on their relevance will improve. More later, as this scintillating discussion is doubtless only just begun... Tomertalk 02:40, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
your right. Frankel stormed out, and that idea, that conservative Judaism was in a way a reaction to the extremism of Reform Judaism, should be included.However the recognized founders of Conservative Judaism did call themselves the "positive-historical school" i.e. Graetz et al. However, this wasn't the main point of my proposal and does not have to be included. Any other objections? Shykee 02:52, 22 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

Uf. Shykee, right now there's so much going on that I'm not entirely sure just exactly what the scope of your "proposal" addresses. In fact, being Sfaradhi, I normally prefer to keep out of such discussions, because I regard them as pointless bickering among Ashkenazim. The foremost point I was trying to make, I think, had to do with the "arrested development" of Halakha w/in Ashkenazi ["orthodox"] philosophy and practice, a historical fact for which I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Reform mov't. That said, I would like to address two separate points of view raised above, which, at first blush, appear to be mutually exclusive, about Conservative views vis à vis the "continuity" of Orthodoxy. I don't actually think the two assertions are mutually exclusive... In one place, it is said that "the" C view is that "Orthodoxy was formed in the 1800s", etc. etc. etc. and in another place it says that the C view is that both C and O are equal descendants from the same tradition...and that, in that context, the C view is that O responsa and the like are equally applicable to C communities as they are to O communities, and equally applicable as C responsa. I have to say, in my experience, the former view, that says "Orthodoxy was formed..." goes back to what I said way back above above above, that "Orthodoxy as we know it today [to paraphrase myself] is a development w/in traditional Judaism that developed as a protectionist [and, unfortunately, "stagnationist"] reaction to the obscene excesses of the early Reform movt. (Despite its [IMHO] ongoing apiqorsuth, shockingly, the Reform movt as we know it today is actually much more "traditionalist" than it was in its early days,...a fact with which very few people deeply involved in this discussion seem to be familiar...) On to the other position tho...namely, that Conservative is essentially an "equal inheritor" of the legacy of halakhath chaza"l. This is where things get sticky, tricky, and, ultimately, icky. First off is the denigratory adage that "the Conservative mov't is made up of Orthodox rabbis and Reform congregants." This appears true at first blush, especially from an Ashkenazi perspective, which, within O circles, has come to regard observance as an "all or nothing" proposition. Within the C world, however, the "reform congregants" are very different from R-world "reform congregants", in that they do not regard halakha as "optional", but see themselves, instead, as "on the road [to more complete observance]"...not rejecting halakha out of hand, or regarding halakha as a mine from which they can pick and choose whatever they feel "applies in this day and age", or feel "will help them become better members of society", etc. I can empathize with these people, because for a long time I was one of them. I drove to services on shabath, etc. I cut out one thing at a time [no shaving on shabath this week, no shaving on shabath w/ my mach 3 next week, no shaving w/ my electric the week after, no shaving period the week after that...no dairy with beef this week, no dairy with mutton next week, no dairy with chicken the week after, no dairy w/ any kind of meat the week after that ... that kind of thing]. Within the jaded Ashkenazi "orthodox" world, Jews "on the road" are dismissed as insincere apiqorsim (I know, I've witnessed it first hand), and actively shunned if they dare pollute the qehila by entering the holy sepulchre of an orthodox congregation, whereas within the C mov't, if it takes you a year to quit smoking on shabath, you're still welcome in services (just please turn off your flippin cell phone!). Now, why do I drag all of this out? Because this "all or nothing" philosophy of Ashkenazi orthodoxy is a result of two things--(1) the rapid urbanization of Ashkenazim, in such a way that it became possible for likeminded individuals to shun people who weren't viewed as "as observant" as them, and (2) instead of simply building up fences around Torah, Ashkenazim started, in building up 30-foot-thick walls to ward off any "bad influence" on their families and communities, ended up enshrining tradition to the same level (if not even higher than that) of halakha. Tangential to this whole issue, however, is the politicization of the rabanuth as a result not only of the aforementioned newfound urbanization/consolidation-spawned ability to declare a de facto cherem against anyone who doesn't live up to your standards, but also the establishment and increasingly recognized authority of the [government-approved (horrible echoes of past problems in this regard from the Temple days come to mind)] Israeli chief rabbinate. [On that issue itself tho, we witness the obscenity of the "Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi" vs. the "Sfaradhi [sic] Chief Rabbi", whereby the Ashkenazi elevation of minhag over halakha is legally ingrained in Israeli law]...all of which has led to an increasing superiority complex by the orthodox rabbinical associations elsewhere [esp. the US, where the Jewish community is large enough for such machinations to make any real difference], and an increasing inferiority complex on the part of C rabanim, who have seen a constant [and appalling] erosion of their relationship w/ the established O community over the course of the past 30-40 years. Add to the mix a great deal of abhorently pitiful "scholarship", and the breakup of the C mov't into C, Rec. and UTradJ, and it's not surprising that many subsequent developments have occurred (e.g., the decision by JTS [based on a faculty vote] to ordain women as rabbis against the explicit statement of the RA that the idea should not go forward at this time, etc.) I personally know C rabbis who hate orthodoxy, but I also personally know C and O rabanim who believe that ultimately the C mov't will be reabsorbed into Orthodoxy. Personally, I think you should all just "become Sfaradhi", bcz it's a lot calmer on this side of the fence...plus, it'd be nice to not be constantly battered around by the storms you guys make. :-p As for what to do with the article, before I can say one way or another how I feel about any particular issue, I need to know what the issue is...can you list your proposals explicitly, separate from the long drawn-out discussion above? Tomertalk 04:06, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

The proposal (just a handy discussion split)

This was the proposal:
In the early 1800s, European Jewry was forced to confront and respond to The Age of Enlightenment and the emancipation. The different responses to modernity, and the resultant different levels of compromise with modern-day thought, resulted in the three main branches of Ashkanazic Judaism extant today. Some Jews felt that modernity demanded a complete reinterpretation of Judaism, they argued that Judaism had to "reform" itself in keeping with the social changes taking place around them. This movement held that both the Written and Oral Torah, though of important religious value, were not necessarily of Divine origin. These Jews were the founders of Reform Judaism. Others, while accepting the divinity of the Written Torah, felt that the divine origin of Judaism's Oral Torah was not requisite and could be re-interpreted to a degree in keeping with modern scholarship; they argued that the legal force of the Halacha is dependent on its acceptance by the Jewish nation and can evolve according to the requirements of the age. The developers of this movement were called the "positive historical" school of Judaism, considered the intellectual forerunner of Conservative Judaism. Traditionalists, however, maintained that Judaism had never compromised any of its beliefs and tenets in response to external changes. They pointed out that Judaism had always considered the Halacha to be of divine origin, and that denying divine revelation of the Written and Oral Torah, or interpreting Halacha based on considerations other than the implementation of the divine will, had historically been considered outside the pale of authentic Judaism. This group became known as Orthodox Judaism.
[Incorporated Tomar's criticisms (below) on June 22nd and took out "etc. etc. Except for "dubiety- the state or quality of being doubtful",and "divine- of, from, or like G-d (as in divine intervention), also "requisite-made necessary by particular regulations. from the dictionary.]Shykee 22:47, 22 June 2006 (UTC)shykee
Also incorporated Shirahadasha's point that "modernity" alone was not the problem.
Again, specific, concise comments or objections? Shykee 12:42, 22 June 2006 (UTC)shykee
  • Support - Your proposal is what I was trying express when User:Sputnikcccp and I broughtup this issue to begin with. I think that historically, based on the Jewish texts that predate Reform bt centuries, Torah- and Halakha-true Judaism was the norm and that the group referred to as Orthodox today is really the group that did NOT make changes during the emancipation or later. Which is why I changed the wording from founded. So I, for one, agree with your proposal as a substitute to the wording that is there now. -- Avi 14:21, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support for the most part...although I would want the part about how exactly the positive historical school came to be incorporated into the Conservative mov't, bcz the way it reads right now, it sounds like the "positive historical" school just bumped along merrily calling itself "positive historical" until one day they had this really cool idea to start calling themselves "Conservative" for no particular reason whatsoever. Other than that, there are just a few copyediting things I'd want changed ("it's" is a contraction, not a genitive...the word you want is "extant", not "extent", the three "extant branches of Judaism today" really only apply to Ashkenazim, and for the most part, only in the diaspora...Judaism doesn't have Oral Law, it has Oral Torah (the only context in which "Torah" means "Law" is in Christian mischaracterizations), and it isn't divine, it's divinely inspired...I have on idea what you mean by "requisite"...perhaps you're looking for "required" or "necessary", in which case I would have to question the assertion that it's the origin of Conservative philosophy..."dubiety" is not, afaiaw, a word in English...finally, "etc. etc.." is too imprecise for me to comment on, concisely, specifically, or otherwise...and I object to that :-p Tomertalk 21:00, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
Incorporated your criticisms. Shykee 22:47, 22 June 2006 (UTC)shykee
  • Support with modification For origins of Orthodox, how about this language: "Others maintained that Judaism had always considered the Halacha to be of Divine origin and its legal force based on Divine will. They held that denying divine revelation of both the Written and Oral Torah, or interpreting Halacha based on considerations other than implementing the divine will so revealed, had historically been considered inconsistent with authentic Judaism. They maintained that Judaism should not compromise divinely ordained beliefs and tenets in response to external changes. This group became known as Orthodox Judaism." --Shirahadasha 23:46, 22 June 2006 (UTC) (The difference is that not all of Orthodoxy agreed with the Hatam Sofer's view that Judaism and modernity are incompatible, and the definition should cover the branches who were not opposed to "modernization" per se, but modernization that seeks to supplant or uproot the revealed Divine will.) --Shirahadasha 23:47, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
[Point was incorporated. MO are also Orthodox].


I am reminded of my friend William's remark in another religious context: "New Agers are under the mistaken impression that they are doing something new. Neopagans are under the mistaken impression that they are doing something old."

Halfway back on topic, interspersing remarks like this is quite common, and in this case, where so many points were made on one thread, probably appropriate.

Entirely back on topic: we should discuss both the sense in which Orthodox Judaism can be seen, and often sees itself, as a simple continuation, and the degree to which, in certain times and places, it was a self-conscious movement. And yes, clearly, Modern Orthodox can hardly be said to be doing exactly what people did centuries ago. - Jmabel | Talk 05:00, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Opposed. The account of the origin of the Orthodox movement reflects an Aorthodox point of view, and thus violates NPOV. There are other views of Orthodoxy that must be represented in the article. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:41, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
The account of Conservatism also reflects its view of itself. I believed this to be a compromise- presenting each groups view of itself without singling out Orthodoxy for special conservative criticism. shykee 03:07, 30 July 2006 (UTC)shykee

Anti-collaborative reverts

A better version was reverted with no explanation of why the content was unacceptable. The reverter claimed "too many changes at once" but there is no policy or guideline in Wikipedia against any number of changes. In fact, articles are routinely rewritten at Wikipedia. Articles are tagged for cleanup, inviting massive rewrites. The exercise of reverting against the guideline of "Be Bold in Editing" discourages contributive editing. Beautiful Eyes 02:06, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

If you look above, you'll see there's a very lively discussion underway. I encourage you to participate. Calling a revert "anti-collaborative", btw, sounds anti-collaborative, esp. when you consider that you came here to tell us about it and in the process pointed out that you're not collaborating, but rather, are protesting against the ongoing collaboration. Tomertalk 02:37, 23 June 2006 (UTC)