Still Unanswered, Questions that Dr. Brown Continues to Avoid

Still Unanswered, Questions that Dr. Brown Continues to Avoid

A few weeks ago, I made a presentation entitled “Unanswered, Questions that Dr. Brown Has Failed to Address.” Dr. Brown responded with a video of his own entitled “Dr. Brown Answers Rabbi Blumenthal’s Questions.” As disappointed as I am with Dr. Brown’s video, I will thank him for engaging. By putting his thoughts on the table, the conversation which has stalled for 10 years can now proceed.

As I stated in my previous video, if you have read Dr. Brown’s 5 volumes of Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus and you have read my written critique of his work, then you don’t need these video presentations. Each of the questions that I raise on the video deserves so much more than a few minutes. And in my writings I attempt to do justice to these questions by illuminating them from different angles. So if you have read Dr. Brown’s books and my written work then you have all the information you need to make an informed and educated decision. The purpose of my talk is to encourage you to study the matter more deeply and to learn. I encourage you to overcome your reluctance and read the relevant material, study and analyze.

In my previous video I shared a brief segment of my comprehensive critique of Dr. Brown’s 5 volume series, “Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus.” I wanted to put these questions on the table and my primary goal was to demonstrate you that my critique of Dr. Brown presents a serious challenge to his writings.

So I only asked three questions, three basic questions. Dr. Brown took 28 minutes of your time. Did he give you the answers to these questions? I will repeat my questions and I want you to go back to his video and ask yourself, what are the answers? This is supposed to be about education, were you educated?

He filled his video with diversions and distractions and I have responded to those diversions and distractions in the format that we agreed upon 15 years ago. We agreed to answer the challenges that we present to each other in writing. For 15 years now, I have been keeping my end of the deal and I hope to be able to continue to do so. If you want responses to all of his distractions, go to my blog, you will find my responses. https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2016/09/15/responding-to-dr-browns-distractions/

On this video I will repeat my questions. In case you haven’t understood them, and perhaps Dr. Brown did not understand them, I will try to articulate and clarify. Maybe this is my fault? Perhaps I was not clear.

So, to remind you, my three questions were about Dr. Brown’s reader’s guide to the Bible, the Jewish devotion to God and the contradictions that are inherent in Dr. Brown’s presentation of the Messianic prophecies.

Reader’s Guide to the Bible, Dr. Brown vs. God

Jews and Christians read the same Bible. And each of them comes out of this book with a completely different theology, world-views that are polar opposites. Only one of us can be reading this book right. The other one is misusing the text or should I say, abusing the text. One of us allows the text to speak for itself while the other tries to get the text to say something that it does not.

Both Jews and Christians acknowledge that Scripture has a structure to it. Some passages, some concepts are like the central pillars of a building or like the trunk of a tree, while other passages are like the bricks and paint of the building or like the branches and leaves of the tree. But the set of passages that Jews see as central to the narrative of Scripture is not the same set of passages that the Christian is pointing to. One of these two belief systems is looking to the Author of Scripture, to the literary context of the passage in order to make the determination as to whether a verse is indeed foundational and the other belief system is not. This belief system looks to its own theology in order to make that decision. If the verse says something that could be manipulated to be read as supportive of the theology that is being promoted then it becomes “foundational.”

So which is it? Which of these belief systems is looking to the context of Scripture and to the cues of the Author to determine the centrality of a given verse and which belief system is violating the intent of the Author to make this determination? Is it Judaism or is it Christianity?

Dr. Brown makes this very easy for us. Let us read his words. In The Case for Jesus, page 199, when Dr. Brown wants to highlight the priestly role of the Messiah he tells us that Zechariah 6 is “the most overt passage in the Bible where a human being is explicitly identified with a Messianic figure.”

Dr. Brown is telling us that the Divine Author is drawing our attention to this passage. According to Dr. Brown, identifying a human figure with the Messiah is the Author’s way of telling us, “I am about to present an important teaching about the Messiah.” It’s as if an arrow is pointing at this passage with the words “an important teaching about the Messiah” inscribed on its shaft. Fine and well.

But in volume 3 of Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, page 172, Dr. Brown notices that this same passage in Zechariah tells us that this Messianic figure will build the Temple and that doesn’t fit his theology. So Dr. Brown tells us that this passage is found in only one book of the Hebrew Scriptures. The fact that this concept appears in one book is the Author’s way of telling you that this is not important. To use Dr. Brown’s own words “fringe at best” (Line of Fire February 7 2013, 33 minutes in).

But didn’t we have an arrow pointing to this verse telling us that this passage is going to be teaching us something important about the Messiah?

It is obvious that Dr. Brown is not looking to the context of the passage to tell him if the text is central or not. It is his theology that is telling him which texts to highlight and which texts to put into the background. And his non-Scriptural theology could get him to highlight and to minimize the very same text.

But Dr. Brown’s hypocrisy is only symptomatic of the 2000 year approach of the Church to the Jewish Scriptures. In order to get the Scriptures to point in the direction of Jesus the Church is forced to violate the Authorial intent and recreate the literary landscape of Scripture.

When it comes to the question of directing our worship the Church highlights texts such as Genesis 18, Exodus 24 and Numbers 12. But the Author of Scripture never associated these passages with the question of directing our worship. The Author had a lot to say about the question of directing worship and He knows how to tell you when He is going to present a teaching on the subject and he does NOT point to those passages. Instead he points to Deuteronomy 4, Exodus 20, Isaiah 44, Jeremiah 10 and to many similar passages as teachings on this question.

And guess what, these passages, presented by the Author of Scripture as teachings on directing worship is exactly where Judaism draws its theology from as it relates to this question. So which one of us is following the lead of the text and which one is attempting to get the text to follow our lead?

The same applies to the question of sin, guilt and repairing your relationship with God. From the Jewish standpoint, the central texts are Deuteronomy 30 and Ezekiel 33. Both of these are introduced by the Author of Scripture as answers to the question of sin, the former on a national level and the latter on an individual level. But from the Christian standpoint these texts are peripheral to the question of repairing our relationship with God. According to Christianity the central principle of atonement is that there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood, a concept which appears nowhere in all of Scripture.

It is on this subject that Dr. Brown actually attempts to provide a partial answer to my question. He argues that since the word atonement appears in Scripture so many times in conjunction with the blood sacrifices, this then tells us how central and important these sacrifices are to the Author of Scripture.

You see, this is a valid point, this argument shows me that Dr. Brown agrees to the premise of my question. He is acknowledging that if the Author of Scripture wants to emphasize something, He repeats it dozens and dozens of times. What Dr. Brown is NOT sharing with his audience is the fact that I have addressed this argument at length in “You are My Witnesses” and in “Contra Brown.”

At this time I will share part of my answer with you.

So Dr. Brown is arguing for the importance and the centrality of the blood offerings described at length in the book of Leviticus. Does Dr. Brown hear what he is saying? Is he encouraging you to obey the Torah and bring the offerings that Moses commanded us to bring? When was the last time that Dr. Brown brought a goat to the Temple in Jerusalem to atone for his sins? Does he yearn to fulfill God’s commandments concerning the sacrifices as do the Jewish people? Of course not! He doesn’t care about the animal sacrifices that are described in the Torah.

But it gets even worse. Does he really believe God when He says that the animal sacrifices brought in the Temple have the power to atone? Or does he believe that Book of Hebrews which declares that the animal sacrifices never atoned to begin with (Hebrews 10:4)? Dr. Brown believes that the sacrifices described at length in Leviticus never really atoned for sin at all and that once Jesus came on the scene, they were discarded and done away with. Is this “acknowledging the centrality of the offerings”? I am sorry, this is just a mockery of God’s word.

Let’s put this whole question into perspective. How important is the Sabbath from the standpoint of a Christian? How does it compare to the “principle” that posits that there is no remission for sin without the shedding of blood? Now search the Jewish Bible, how many times do the prophets exhort our people to guard the Sabbath? Dozens of times. How many times does the Jewish Bible say that there is no remission for sin without the shedding of blood? Zero. Does God not know how to emphasize a point? Did he forget how to write?

Is the Christian looking to the Bible to tell what is important and what is peripheral? It is clear and obvious that Dr. Brown’s read on the Bible is produced by the theology he is trying to promote and that his theology is NOT produced by his read on the Bible.

So that was my first question. How could we ignore God’s reader’s guide to the Bible?

Idolatry, the Violation of a Relationship

Dr. Brown and the 2000 year old missionary campaign of the Church are not only trying to get us to believe a set of beliefs. The Church wants us to commit our hearts. The Church wants us to look at the life and death of Jesus and to get excited about what we see. The Church encourages our hearts to be overwhelmed by what we see and bend our hearts in devotion. It’s not just a matter of believing something with your head, the Church wants us to do something with our heart.

Judaism is also about our heart. Judaism is not just something that we believe with our heads, it is about something that we do with our hearts. Judaism is also about excitement, passion, joy and a deep satisfying relationship. We see God as the source of all goodness and righteousness and our hearts are drawn into complete devotion.

These are two different excitements and devotions. It is entirely possible to be excited about God, the Creator of heaven and earth and not commit oneself to Jesus. And it is completely possible to get excited and worship Jesus and not get excited about the Creator of heaven and earth.

The Church sees the heart of the Jew completely devoted to the One Creator of heaven and earth and the Church is not satisfied. It would have that heart also give devotion to Jesus. The Church would introduce to the Jew a new excitement, a new passion and a new relationship that the heart of the Jew never knew.

So I ask; what are we missing when we sense God’s endless love in every breath we take? What excitement, passion and satisfaction does devotion to Jesus have to offer to us?

Dr. Brown claims that he answered my question in objection 6.8.

I don’t know how you could answer a question without acknowledging the existence of the question. Throughout Dr. Brown’s 5 volumes he never once acknowledges that it is love for God that prevents a Jew from committing to Jesus, but let us see what he says in objection 6.8.

In that section of his book, Dr. Brown tells us about the benefits that we stand to gain if we follow Jesus. But my question has nothing to do with benefits and kickbacks, not even spiritual benefits. Love is not about benefits. Love doesn’t calculate, asking; what do I stand to gain? Love finds joy and satisfaction in the relationship itself.

So here is my question. What joy, what excitement, what passion and what satisfaction are we missing in our relationship with the One Creator of heaven and earth?

Messianic Prophecies, Dr. Brown vs. Dr. Brown

On page 182 of volume 2 (in his series, “Answering Jewish Objections”) Dr. Brown speaks about the prophecies that would indicate a restoration of the sacrificial system in the Messianic era. He tells us that “out of all the prophets whose words were recorded in Scripture, four others (aside from Ezekiel) make mention of future sacrifices.” He goes on to say that the references to future sacrifices in the books of Isaiah, Zechariah and Malachi take up a total of three verses. He concludes with the words, and I quote; “These are hardly major subjects in these prophetic books.”

Dr. Brown goes on to offer the possibility of a non-literal interpretation of these passages.

Yet in volume 3, when he notes that Maimonides states that the Messiah does not necessarily have to perform miracles he passes judgment on Maimonides and he tells us that Maimonides’ interpretation of Scripture was “no doubt” motivated by the need to “rule out” Jesus as the Messiah. Why? Because Maimonides puts forth the possibility that the Messiah does not necessarily need to perform miracles.

Why are the alleged miracles of the Messiah so important to Dr. Brown? You see, Jesus tells the Jews that if they would have believed Moses they would believe him (John 5:46). This was before the crucifixion, before the alleged resurrection and before he even rode on a donkey. So which prophecies did he fulfill up until that time? None! Unless you believe that the prophets said that the Messiah must perform miracles and you also believe that Jesus did perform those miracles. So these miracles are critical for Dr. Brown. Dr. Brown absolutely needs Maimonides to be wrong.

But there are a grand total of three verses that could be misconstrued to read as if the Messiah must perform miracles. They appear in only one book of the prophets.

So according to Dr. Brown’s own standard, Maimonides is completely justified to offer a non-literal interpretation of Messiah’s miracles. And the fact of the matter is that the context of those 3 verses in Isaiah makes it clear that they are not talking of literal miracles.

Furthermore, in order to minimize the restoration of the sacrifices in the Messianic era Dr. Brown makes a point of counting how many times in Scripture this concept appears. But he missed 4 prophecies (Isaiah 56:7, 60:7, Ezekiel 20:40,41, Malachi 3:3,4). His count is completely off!

How does Dr. Brown explain this? The prophecies that speak of the restoration of the sacrifices take up more than double the space than do the prophecies that speak of Messiah’s miracles even according to Dr. Brown’s interpretation and even according to Dr. Brown’s sloppy count. So why is it OK for him to reinterpret the restoration of the sacrifices and allow for a non-literal interpretation but for the miracles of the Messiah, he makes no such allowance? Why the double standard?

And my question is quite simple. If Jesus is the Messiah of the Jewish Scriptures than why does Dr. Brown have to tie his argument in the knot of self-contradiction when he tries to make a case for Jesus?

Conclusion

All I asked was three questions. Dr. Brown responded with a 28 minute video entitled “Dr. Brown Answers Rabbi Blumenthal.” But he does not answer my questions.

Please, try to understand my questions and ask yourself if they deserve answers. If you agree that these questions are indeed valid and that they deserve to be answered I encourage you to go back to Dr. Brown’s video and see if he answered them. This is not about me, this is not about Dr. Brown, this is about you. Did his video give you answers or did they not?

And to Dr. Brown my message is simple. If you have any clarity or insight to add to this discussion, please share it with us. Answers that you carry around in your head or that are found on papers that the public may not see benefit no one. You owe it, not to me, but to the public to share your answers.

I sincerely believe that such a discussion can lead to greater clarity and will benefit the public. I have put all the clarity that I am able to muster up until this point on the table for everyone to read and see. Questions from people like you have forced me to study more deeply. These challenges have allowed me to achieve greater clarity and have forced me to articulate the position of Judaism more clearly for myself and for others. So again, if you have something to add to this discussion, please take the time and share it with us.

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Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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33 Responses to Still Unanswered, Questions that Dr. Brown Continues to Avoid

  1. Yehuda says:

    Hello Rabbi B.

    G’mar Chasima Tovah.

    Just wanted to let you know, in case you hadn’t noticed that Dr. B. posted another youtube entry in this exchange. You are obviously free to do with it as you please. I for one don’t think it adds much substance. It’s more of the same. A mix of

    – reiterating his challenge to debate you live.
    – Triumphantly claiming that your arguments are futile
    – calling you a nitpicker in the face of his – how many pages was it again? Oh yes FIFTEEN HUNDRED – how could I forget, he keeps repeating it over and over again.
    – continuing to reiterate that he HAS in fact addressed portions of scripture you raise but unable (or unwilling) to acknowledge that you are not just claiming he hasn’t responded, you HAVE acknowledged his prior responses and are now articulating specific challenges to the merit of those responses.
    – his continued insistence on the pointlessness of these video clips and how ineffective you are being and not worthy of response…before he proceeds film his latest response.

    One I really liked is when you asked about the relative emphasis scripture places on Sabbath observance vs, the doctrine of “no atonement without blood”. I believe when you verbalized that one you said something like “If you’re a christian let me ask you this. On a scale of 1 to 10…” Dr. Brown then proceeds to respond to that by starting off with “When did the Torah ever command gentiles to keep the Sabbath?”. Good Grief. First of all you never said “Gentiles” Furthermore, anyone following this – especially someone like Dr. Brown and the rest of the viewers who have the opportunity to pause and rewind – realizes that your mention of “christians” in introducing that question was not directed at gentile Christians per se. You were simply posing the question to the christian perspective in general – and to the christian jewish missionary perspective in particular – whether gentile, Jewish, or other. That much was self evident to any honest follower of this exchange. But that would have deprived Dr. Brown of his irrelevant smokescreen opportunity to mention the inapplicability of the sabbath to gentiles. Seriously?

    Anyway a gut gebenscht yahr.

    Y.

    • Dina says:

      Hi Yehuda,

      Can you post the link to the youtube video? Sometimes I have to give in to my masochistic tendencies…

      Thank you, and gmar chasima tova.

    • Yehuda A Gut gebentchte yohr to you – gmar chasima tova. I know about his “response” – I hope that my response to him will be posting in the near future. I was wondering where the Scriptures say that gentiles need blood sacrifice? Also did you get why he said that the Scriptures that he forgot were not relevant to the issue of restoration of sacrifices? I didn’t – Isaiah 56:7, 60:7, Ezekiel 20:40,41; Malachi 3:3,4 – are pretty clear.

      1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

      • Yehuda says:

        Nope not really. He seemed to be saying something about 3 out of 4 not necessarily referring to the messianic era proper. I didn’t get it. Also when he then at the end goes on to list all the stuff he didn’t bother to mention a) he begs the question as to why he didn’t, if he thought them relevant to his point, and b) based on my admittedly quick perusal he includes anything speaking of the greatness of the messianic era – miraculous or otherwise – as somehow relevant to the question of miracles unequivocally attributed to personal performance by messiah himself, which they are clearly not.

        Note to CP, (by the way, Hi,, nice to meet you.) this is one of the reasons not to debate Dr. Brown live. Despite his repeated assurances that his motivation is his conviction in the “Truth” to guide him rather than debating style, like it or not, he is a debating tactical expert. That’s his specialty and he knows it It’s a craft he has honed over decades. Unfortunately too many people who have agreed to debate him do not appreciate this are ill equipped to debate him or both. He fully recognizes that Rabbi B. is a formidable foe, but he would still like to stand there with his nice suits, well groomed mustache, perfect teeth, his impeccable delivery, his generally unflappable demeanor, his well practiced condescending/borderline sympathetic chuckle coupled with the feigned politeness in response to arguments he thinks are false. Then you layer all those things on top of his habit of blurting out a litany of irrelevant scriptural references which he knows most of his audience will never bother to look up and claim victory.

        Take a moment to look at the comments that get posted by his devotees on his youtube videos in this exchange. See how many of them comment on loving Dr. Brown and calling those who avoid debating him chicken as opposed to how many (if any) point admiringly to any specific argument he made in the video. That’s why you don’t debate him live.

        Let me ask you this CP, Dr. brown devotes some time in each video response to condescendingly criticize Rabbi B. for refusing to debate him and continuing with these video posts. He of course talks about how nothing has been refuted and that these posts hardly advance the truth and only make Rabbi B’s arguments only look more feeble and that on the whole they really don’t earn a response….And then he responds…Why do think that is?

        • CP says:

          Yehuda,

          Thanks for the note.
          Nice to meet you also.

          Yes, you bring up some valid points. Debates of this kind should expose the spectator to both sides of the issues being discussed rather than who is the better debator. Perhaps this finely honed talent of Dr Brown is beginning to be a liability as more refuse to debate with him. Unfortunately we are the real losers, unable to listen to the best in their fields discuss the issues we ourselves are passionate about but perhaps lacking the knowledge of both sides.

          Here’s a suggestion; Pick one topic, separately both Dr Brown and R’ Blumenthal could make a 15 – 30 minute YouTube video on that subject or Scripture passage. Then both could respond to the others video in another 15 minute video then no more on that topic. If it works do it again on a new topic; one video and one response each.
          That should level the playing field some so we can all see both sides clearly.

          • Yehuda says:

            Well CP, that’s more or less what we’re watching in this video exchange. I for one think it’s going rather poorly for Dr, Brown. Even when he claims responsiveness he just isn’t. he disguises his non-responsiveness in partial references to the verses in question and subtly bending the discussion in a direction that was never really the point.

            Let me provide a clear example. Rabbi B has challenged Dr Brown – citing chapter and verse from his books – to address the issue of his double standard on whether the number of books or verses supporting a doctrine is a valid standard of support for the doctrine. Listen to the exchanges again and tell me if Dr. brown has been truly responsive. His last attempt at deflection was to try to bury the listener in an avalanche of utterly irrelevant quotes to show that he could have cited much more than he originally did but for some reason just didn’t – until now.

  2. CP says:

    Honestly curious; what is preventing a debate?

  3. Yehuda says:

    DIna,

    Nothing personal but I’d prefer to leave it to Rabbi B. to post if he sees fit. It’s his blog. But it’s easy enough to find on youtube. It’s about 20 minutes long and was posted within the last week.

    Kol Tuv.

  4. Dina says:

    I watched Dr. Brown’s response this morning and I have not found that he answered the arguments, mostly just asserting that he did and pointing to his books or citing some Scripture. I found especially strange his obsession with the animal sacrifices ending with the idea that the Sabbath was not given to the gentiles to observe. I have news for you, Dr. Brown. Neither were the sacrifices.

    He especially did not respond to Rabbi B.’s point that he believes the sacrifices are worthless and has never personally sacrificed a goat at the Temple, himself.

  5. Dr. Brown cannot answer these questions, because Christianity fundamentally contradicts many fundamentals of Judaism.

    • CP says:

      @DDD,
      While I agree Christianity fundamentally contradicts Judaism, it must be admitted Judaism contradicts Torah. While I agree even Yeshua was in agreement with the Oral Torah to some extent, an extra 250 thousand words can hardly be ignored as not adding to Torah.

    • bible819 says:

      Yes, for Christians, the Law is written on our hearts. Yes, Faith in Yeshua is the fulfillment of what was written on a rock while Israel was making a golden calf.

      Like Abraham, not 1 law was written, but his heart was Circumcised to illustrate true righteousness.

      Faith to believe God to go to the Promise land = Abraham

      Faith to believe God to go to Yeshua= Christianity

  6. Concerned Reader says:

    Debates between these guys simply cant work because Rabbi B and Dr. Brown are both working from 2 distinct intellectual traditions. Dr. Brown is operating as an orator, and a person with a background in near eastern studies, he is a talented speaker.

    Rabbi B wants to argue Talmud’s way. Let all the arguments in their detail be written, and let the responses be given in writing, until the issue is settled.

    Unfortunately, both Rabbi B and Dr. Brown are also working from a different set of assumptions and starting positions which will make them talk over and past each other.

    For example, Dr. Brown might find certain appocrypha, theological trends, or certain theologians in Judaism’s past that have some semblance of support for his positions. (Dr. Brown finds this information contextually illuminating,) but Rabbi B (nor Judaism generally) would find those sources to be acceptable or authoritative in any way to determine context.

    So, the question as to which hermeneutic approach to take seriously often clouds the issue. Dr. Brown and Rabbi B both say to let scripture interpret scripture, but both are wearing and using different lenses.

    -Dr, Brown employs a more historical critical approach (because of his background in near eastern languages and studies,) while rabbi B takes the halachic approach.

    Rabbi B assumes the oral Torah as being the authentic explanation of the Torah’s meaning, Dr. Brown does not assume that, because his sacred text shows division on that question.

    Dr. Brown does believe that certain aspects of rabbinic literature may be insightful however, but all the same he sees it as anachronistic to interpret the New Testament through the lens of later Jewish literature.

    When either side says “lets argue Moshiach from scripture only,” both sides in fact recognize this as a futile exercise, because again, starting points and assumptions guide a person’s hermeneutic at all times.

    Both sides understand that most of what is mentioned in scripture involves the era of the messiah, with disagreements as to which specific verses allude to his person.

    Take for example Daniel 9’s weeks. Both groups recognize a period that ends with the destruction of the second temple in 70 CE in Daniel’s weeks.

    For Dr. Brown the text is a prophetic text and is messianic. For Rabbi B, its in the writings, and its not messianic, and this can change the reading.

    For Dr. Brown the actual presence of the word Moshiach (though it doesn’t specify David,) and Daniel 9:24’s seemingly clear parallels to the spirit of Isaiah chapter 11 make Daniel 9 a good candidate for a messianic passage.

    For some in Judaism, those passages were fulfilled in king Cyrus of Persia (who was called a messiah,) and Herod Agrippa as the one who was “cut off.” Also, according to the rabbis, the book says prophecy was sealed, so it cant be a messianic prophetic text.

    I honestly think its not going to be a fair dialogue to either side, because you both have different approaches and assumptions, and you both have support to martial to your positions that you both regard as legitimate or illegitimate to differing degrees.

    • CP says:

      @Concerned Reader

      Personally believing both the Talmud and the NT are NOT inerrant

      Here is a debate I’d like to see:

      Dr Brown and Rabbi Blumenthal need to debate as if they lived before Yeshua, using only the Tanakh to speculate what the Messiah might be.

        • Concerned Reader says:

          If rabbi B and Dr. Brown had that discussion, I think Rabbi B would win (based on a plain contextual reading,) and not Dr. Brown. If we look at just the Tanakh alone we find a few things.

          1. The Torah (the 1st five books) sets down the standard that says “obey these commandments I am giving you today to be blessed.” or “disobey them and you will be cursed and exiled.” Also, “return to observance and I will accept you,” “leave observance and you will be punished.”

          2. There was no king for Israel until king Saul, and when the people of Israel 1st asked for a king the prophet chastised them for even asking for a king like the nations have. IE in Torah by itself, kings are not actually a priority, but commandments are .

          3. The Torah speaks about people (who are not even covenant members of Israel as a nation,) as being godly people IE Naamaan the Syrian, Cyrus of persia, or Rahab the harlot who helped hide the spies.

          If we look at Isaiah 11 we are told to expect an era of peace and universal knowledge of G-d under a descendant of David.

          The Torah text (speaking of descendants) says that tribes are reckoned according to their fathers, and the kings will come from David’s own insides. 2 Samuel 7:12 “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.”

          So, we see the text by itself teaches

          1. Follow Torah and mitvot = good do not follow Torah and mitzvot =Bad
          2. following Kings are not a necessity to follow hashem.
          3. Non covenant members can be blessed by hashem even if they are not perfect.

          So, to me it doesn’t seem like Torah itself talks about a vicariously suffering redeemer as a product of just the Torah alone.

          In fact, I watched a debate between Dr. Brown and some rabbis where the agreed upon source was supposed to be just the Tanakh. Dr, Brown couldn’t stick just to the written text and brought Talmud and midrash into the discussion.

          That’s another reason that I think the argument itself is absurd. jesus’ movement never relied on “just the Bible,” they accepted at least some of the traditions. As I said, there would be no Nazarene Messiah if Jesus was born a Sadducee.

      • CP I laid out all these arguments in writing – Dr. Brown only asks for a debate because he has no answers – he had 1500 pages to fill with his answers and he didn’t

        1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

    • Concerned Reader Excuse me! I am working from any honest context in Jewish Scripture – Dr. Brown is working from the “Jesus is th only valid hermeneutical principle for interpreting Scripture” angle. I have laid out my arguments in writing – I hope to do so in video format – there is nothing to Dr. Brown’s arguments

      1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

      • KAVI says:

        Rabbi,
        Concerned Reader fairly assessed the issue regarding this Brown/Blumenthal debate.
        __________________________

        I think there was once a story about about a student who approached their professor in a quandary regarding a particular perceived discrepancy in the Tanakh/B’rit Chadashah [take your pick– they both have plenty– along with plenty of extremely well-educated scholars to help explain them].

        **Student– “Professor, I’m in terrible straights and can’t sleep at nights! I have been reading and listening to debates and studying for weeks and weeks trying to figure out this problem with Scripture. All I found out is that one group of scholars say one thing while another group says the complete opposite, and yet there’s others in between. Who’s right?”

        **Professor– “Yes, you have correctly identified what the scholars say. But, now it’s time for you to carefully choose YOUR scholars.”

        For myself, I think the point is that each individual should at least try to understand another person’s Faith whether they agree or not [hence I am also presently reading about Islam]– but in the end, each person must make a vitally important, eternal choice.
        _____________________

        I decided to buy Dr. Brown’s entire series of “Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus” and first read through Volume 1 and then switched over to read parts of Volume 5 [much of which covers problems with the Oral Law].

        Although I believe L-rd Yeshua to be the Mashiach of Promise found in Genesis and throughout the Tanakh, I also thought it would be fair to begin reading your “Contra Brown” discourse.

        As to one of your comments, I can agree that, “. . . the true message of scripture emerges from an understanding of the totality of scripture.” But what happens when someone reads the totality of Scripture and comes to a reasoned conclusion that Mashiach is L-rd Yeshua?

        As to Dr. Brown, what I read so far, at a minimum, is well-researched and logical– so isn’t it just a tiny, wee bit of a stretch to say, “. . .there is ‘nothing’ to Dr. Brown’s arguments.”?

        • KAVI I don’t expect you to take me on my word – I laid out all of my arguments in writing – Contra Brown, Supplement to Contra Brown and The Elephant and the Suit. Dr. Brown’s work is a work of deception – it is actually worse than nothing. The fact that he hasn’t reacted for 10 years until I started putting my arguments in video format – should also tell you something

          1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • KAVI says:

            Rabbi,
            Dr. Brown calls you a friend in his first video dated 09/09/16.

            I also listened to your video and continue to read through your documents– but I haven’t yet seen where you reckon Dr. Brown as a friend?

            In Rabbinic Judaism, is there any place for you to maintain a friendship with someone like Dr. Brown– a fellow Jew?

    • Dina says:

      Con, no, you’re wrong. Dr. Brown is reading Tanach with his Jesus glasses on. This makes it impossible for him to read the Torah honestly.

      Rabbi B. is reading the Torah with his Mount-Sinai-Revelation glasses on. That is the only way to read the Torah honestly.

      There is no moral equivalence here.

      They cannot both be right. One of them is wrong, and it sure ain’t Rabbi B.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Dina, I said in my comment that rabbi B wants to argue Talmud’s way, IE yes, he has his Sinai glasses on, i’m not in disagreement. As you know, As rabbi B noted once, the Torah does not make arguments to convince those who are outside the fold. The Torah’s argument for its legitimacy rests on the historical experience of the people Israel.

        There are a great many people however who have faith in Hashem, but do not have the benefit of your historical experience. IE they don’t just take your word for it that your interpretation is the correct one.

        I’m not trying to make a moral equivalence here, you are. I am noting that we have two men with different sets of glasses on who can both martial support for their position. I am not making a judgement against rabbi B. That isn’t my intention. My intention was to say what I said. In a debate, they would be talking over and past each other.

  7. Yehuda says:

    Con and CP,

    I think you are both overcomplicating the issue in this dialogue. Here’s another example – Have you actually listened to this exchange and the relative treatments of Deuteronomy 30? Rabbi B. has made clear that Dr. Browns very brief touching on the passage provides answers that are inadequate because they are at odds with the simple meaning of the very words of the passage in question. Dr. brown by contrast keeps responding as if Rabbi B’s complaint is that he hasn’t addressed the passage at all. Rabbi B. acknowledges that Dr. brown has addressed it, but he has explained why Dr. brown’s response is entirely unacceptable. Dr. Brown just keeps responding that he has addressed it without acknowledging the nature of Rabbi B’s counter-objection – or that he has even registered one.

    This isn’t about differing worldviews, or about competing hermeneutics, or about emphasis on historical vs. rabbinic approaches. It’s just about dodging an issue while triumphantly claiming you have refuted it. It’s what Dr. Brown does best and it is the reason you do not debate him live. In fact go back and listen again to Dr. Brown’s explanation of Deut 30 where he reiterates his “two” possible interpretations. Tell me if you can actually distinguish two different explanations or whether he actually just repeats only one using two different sets of words. They both just amount to a declaration that the return to God described in Deut 30 means a return via acceptance of Jesus – an utterly untenable interpretation if you actually read the whole passage – but the only acceptable one if you are a christian.

  8. Yehuda says:

    If you want specific directions (Dina provided the link in an earlier comment) listen specifically to Dr. brown hold forth from 9:05 to 9:45 and tell me if he has responded to Rabbi B.s question on his treatment of Deuteronomy 30. Listen especially from 9:30 – 9:40 for a particularly funny demonstration of double-talk.

    That’s right folks Deuteronomy 30:2 which reads

    “And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and hearken to His voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul”

    and Deuteronomy 30:8

    “And thou shalt return and hearken to the voice of the LORD, and do all His commandments which I command thee this day. ”

    in particular, are both NOT describing a return to G-d that consists of obedience to the Laws of the Torah as taught by Moses. Rather, they are describing accepting the new-covenant of jesus.

    You gotta love it.

    Tell me folks, is that a man reading the scripture and finding the Jesus, or having found Jesus, playing where’s Waldo to find him in scripture.

  9. Yehuda says:

    I apologize for the backwards presentation , but just to be absolutely clear, Rabbi B posted (both in his video and in the accompanying written post) the following reaction to Dr. browns two (one?) interpretation(s) of Deut: 30 in his post of September 15 “Responding to Dr. Michael Brown’s Distractions” (Actually Rabbi B acknowledged these Brownian interpretations and lodged his counter-argument several years ago with his publication of “The Elephant and the Suit” from which these quotes are taken.)

    “Both of these positions are openly refuted by the text. Moses told the people that they will return to obey God, “according to all that I (Moses) command you (Eternal Israel) today”. These words were spoken by Moses more than 1000 years before Jesus was born. Moses made it clear that he expected the last generation of Jews to look back to him (Moses) as their ultimate teacher, and that he expected them to follow his commandments as they were understood on the day he presented them to Israel. These words of Moses clearly preclude the Christian belief that Jesus is the ultimate teacher, and that the teachings of Jesus are somehow superior to the teachings of Moses.

    The second position that Dr. Brown attributes to followers of Jesus is also invalidated by the Biblical text. The passage opens with words: “And it shall be that all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse…” The curse that Moses is referring to is the curse that God warned would befall Israel should they fail to obey His voice. How then can one make the claim that on account of Israel’s failure to obey God, this Scriptural prophecy will never be fulfilled? This same prophecy clearly predicts Israel’s failure to obey and tells us how, after our failure, we will ultimately return to God. It is clear that God took our failures into consideration when He encouraged us with these words, and God’s promises are irrevocable. ”

    Dr. Brown then responded with his video of September 28th in which he includes my above referenced segment 9:05 – 9:45.

    So this is what I ask. Did Dr. brown acknowledge that Rabbi B. knows about his two (one) interpretation(s), and has questions about them (it), and then set out to address those questions, or did he simply pretend that Rabbi B is still accusing him only of not addressing the passage at all and merely repeat his two (one) interpretation(s) and claim to be done with it…Which did he do? You decide.

    • Dina says:

      Excellent point, that is exactly right, Yehuda. Dr. Brown is one of the slickest, slipperiest missionaries I’ve ever encountered.

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