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Anti-Christian Polemics

Does Rashi's Torah Commentary Respond to Christianity?

Moses promises that if Israel forsakes the covenant, God will destroy them permanently (Deut 4:25-26). Drawing on a midrash, Rashi explains that God exiled Israel early to avoid having to wipe them out; thus, God never actualized this threat. Considering Rashi’s responses to Christian ideas in other biblical texts, Rashi's comment on Deut 4:25 may well be an apologetic effort to prove that God’s covenant with the Jews remains intact.

Dr.

Yedida Eisenstat

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Esau the Ancestor of Rome

In the Bible, Esau is the ancestor of the Edomites who live on Mount Seir, southwest of Judah. So how did the rabbis come to associate Esau and Edom with Rome? Two main factors are at work here: Christianity and Herod.

Dr.

Malka Zeiger Simkovich

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Ma'oz Tzur and the "End of Christianity"

Ma’oz Tzur is an intense anti-Christian text reflecting the mood and experience of Ashkenazi Jews during the Crusades, when dozens of Jewish communities were slaughtered in the name of the cross.[1] 

Prof.

Yitzhak Y. Melamed

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Can a False Prophet Perform Miracles?

Deuteronomy 13 discusses the case of a false prophet who does not have a message from God, but advocates worshiping other gods. Oddly enough, the false prophet can successfully perform miracles, or is able to predict the future.  How is this possible?

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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Does the Torah Differentiate Between Murder and Killing?

What does the root רצח actually mean: to kill or to murder? A look at Rashbam’s attempted (and failed?) solution highlights the ethical ramifications of Bible translation.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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Abraham as the Great (Un)Circumciser

A Surprising Midrashic Portrait of Abraham

Dr.

Malka Zeiger Simkovich

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When God Punishes Israel: What Will the Gentiles Say?

In Avinu Malkeinu, we say, “Our Father, our King, act for us for the sake of Your name.” Is God still worried about His reputation? 

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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Nittel Nacht: An Inverted Christmas with Toledot Yeshu

How Jews responded to the celebration of Jesus' birth by creating a cynical version of Christmas Eve lampooning him.

Shai Alleson-Gerberg

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The Torah Is Not an Allegory

In a polemical response to Christian and Jewish allegorical interpretation of the Torah’s laws, Bekhor Shor writes that just as God speaks to Moses “clearly and without riddles” (Num 12:8), so too the Torah is clear and means what it says, and should not be interpreted allegorically.[1]

Prof. Rabbi

Shaye J. D. Cohen

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