Judaism is the religion associated with Jews. The word is at times also used to designate the cultural and ethnic collective of Jews worldwide.
Infos and Beliefs
Jews are questionably considered an "ethnoreligious group" and include those born Jewish and converts to Judaism. In 2010, the world Jewish population was estimated at 13.4 million, or roughly 0.2% of the total world population. About 42% of all Jews reside under the Zionist regime and about 42% reside in the United States and Canada, with most of the remainder living in Europe.
Mainstream ("Rabbinic") Judaism is a monotheistic religion with the Torah as its foundational text (part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or the Hebrew/Jewish Bible) and with a supplemental tradition represented by later texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud.
There are also various forms of Jewish mysticism/esotericism such as Kabbalah.
Criticisms of the religion Judaism
There are various criticisms of the religion Judaism. Criticisms of religious texts also found in the Christian Old Testament may or may not also apply to Christianity depending on factors such as the exact criticism and on how the relationship between the Old Testament/Old Covenant and Christianity is perceived after the New Covenant.
One kind of criticism is against the historical narrative as described in the religious texts and which is sometimes argued to be contradicted by other kinds of evidence such as archeology.
Another is due to historical criticism and related methods which see the religious texts as created by humans rather than being divinely inspired. The religious texts are argued to have undergone a series of dramatic developments (often in order to serve the interests of particular groups such priesthood groups).
The possibly most often mentioned criticism of Judaism may be the claim that Judaism was to some degree to blame for the crucifixion of Jesus and as being involved in various related religious controversies. Such criticisms may be replied to by blaming a small group of Jews in Jerusalem rather than all Jews everywhere, blaming the Romans in Jerusalem, denying any divine origins of Jesus, and/or arguing that the Christian narrative is to some degree invented, biased, and/or misinterpreted. It is not unusual to frame these Christian criticisms as being the fundamental cause of antisemitism in general which the implication that all criticisms are therefore irrational and to be summarily dismissed.
Today seldom mentioned criticisms are against statements in Jewish religious texts about Christianity. For example, David Duke has stated that the Talmud makes "hateful and pornographic attacks against Jesus Christ... This undermines a widespread assumption that, of Judaism’s and Christianity’s respective sacred texts, only the Christian Gospels go out of their way to assail the rival faith, whereas Judaism’s classical texts refrain from similar attacks. It seems fair to say now, however, that the Talmud is every bit as offensive to Christians as the Gospels are to Jews."
Another criticism is that some aspects of Judaism are argued to promote Jewish supremacism and argued negative views on and actions against non-Jews. Such criticisms have included the Jews as "the chosen people", various criticisms of the Talmud, criticisms of Noahidism, and various criticism of religious customs and celebrations such as Purim.
A common counter-criticism is that the Jewish religious writings are very extensive and that it is possible to find statements that may not be representative of the text as a whole and may be contradicted by other statements. In some cases quotations are argued to have been mistranslated or invented. David Duke who has criticized the Talmud has argued that "It astonished me to read such unmitigated hatred from the chief writings of the Jewish religion. It was obvious that these quotations were all authentic, because the copies I read were published by Jewish organizations... The Talmudic quotations I reproduce here are by no means taken out of context. It is true that the Talmud is comprised of many writings and has many “commentaries” throughout. It also sometimes actually has disputes on certain issues. However, there is no mistaking the decidedly anti-Gentile tone that dominates it throughout... The rabbi confirmed that the quotations were genuine but claimed that those views were not currently held by most Jews of today. I willingly believed this, and I still believe it is true of the average Jew. At the same time, however, knowing that such passages existed helped me to understand why there has been so much anti-Jewish sentiment over the centuries."
One debated passage in the Talmud states "A heathen who studies the Torah deserves death". The Anti-Defamation League has criticized David Duke for allegedly using this quote out of context by omitting important surrounding parts. However, this has in turn been criticized with the full surrounding context stated to be supporting David Duke. The Anti-Defamation League has been criticized for using very selective citations and selectively omitting important parts in order to create a misleading impression.
Some Jewish translations of the Talmud to English that are claimed to be "complete" have been stated to actually selectively censor and omit controversial statements.
Argued double standard
David Duke has argued for a double standard regarding criticisms of Judaism. "Why is it that radical Christians or Muslims are freely exposed in the mass media, but Jewish extremism is a forbidden subject? Why is it that when a political figure exposes racial or religious hatred among Christians or Muslims, he wins media praise and “humanitarian awards,” but if a political figure dares to expose Jewish hatred and extremism, he himself is called a hater and anti-Semite? "
Wikipedia's deleted criticisms
- See, for example, Deborah Dash Moore, American Jewish Identity Politics, University of Michigan Press, 2008, p. 303; Ewa Morawska, Insecure Prosperity: Small-Town Jews in Industrial America, 1890-1940, Princeton University Press, 1999. p. 217; Peter Y. Medding, Values, interests and identity: Jews and politics in a changing world, Volume 11 of Studies in contemporary Jewry, Oxford University Press, 1995, p. 64; Ezra Mendelsohn, People of the city: Jews and the urban challenge, Volume 15 of Studies in contemporary Jewry, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 55; Louis Sandy Maisel, Ira N. Forman, Donald Altschiller, Charles Walker Bassett, Jews in American politics: essays, Rowman & Littlefield, 2004, p. 158; Seymour Martin Lipset, American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword, W. W. Norton & Company, 1997, p. 169.
- World Jewish Population, 2010. Sergio Della Pergola, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Society for Humanistic Judaism http://www.shj.org/
- What the Talmud Really Says About Jesus http://davidduke.com/what-the-talmud-really-says-about-jesus/
- The Talmudic Roots of Jewish Supremacism by Dr. David Duke http://davidduke.com/the-roots-of-jewish-supremacism/
- Come and Hear: Censoring the Talmud: 1. Do Not Censor the Talmud, Please: Appendix A: ADL Takes Talmud Quotes Out of Context http://www.come-and-hear.com/editor/censorship_1.html#appendix_a