Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy

Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind'

The seven Noahides

In Tuesday's reading I encountered a theological construct that was new to me by an orthodox Jewish writer from Australia. Mark Braham, author of Stronger than Fiction: Jews and Christians Are Natural Allies, presents a way to the world to come, his term for what I would call the Kingdom of God or heaven, for non-Jews that doesn't entail converting to Judaism. He says in a talk that was published in Australia's News Weekly:

Alexander the Great recognised that the Jews were not like other nations who readily accepted the Greek culture; their religion was not a culture but the essence of their lives. Even Ptolemy of Egypt recognised the greatness of Torah and had it translated into Greek (the Septuagint).

Judaism teaches that Gentile nations that observe the seven laws given by G-d to Noah, will be blessed as a nation, hence the dominance of European civilisation based on the Judeo-Christian values and the threats posed to their survival by the challenge to such values, hence AIDS and the breakdown of healthy family.

The Seven Noahide Laws prohibit: (1) idolatry, (2) blasphemy and cursing the name of G-d, (3) murder, (4) robbery and theft, (5) immorality and forbidden sexual relations, (6) removing and eating the limb of a live animal, and require: (7) the establishment of a justice system and courts of law to enforce the other six laws.

The Torah, to explain for those not familiar with these theological terms, is the Jewish name for the same collection of writings that Christians call the Old Testament. Septuagint (sep-tu-a-jint) is a translation of the Jewish Bible or Torah from Hebrew into Greek which was commonly used by the Jews in Israel - Judea at the time of Christ. So many copies of the Septaugint were created and copied again and again that the Greek text of the Old Testament is much more commonly found among ancient writings than the original Hebrew texts. "Gentile" refers to all non-Jewish people, a term commonly found in the Bible.

It's fascinating that Braham claims that "neocon" is a code word among leftists and anti-Semites (anti-Jewish speakers and writers) for Jews. We have known "neocons" as the writers for the Washington conservative magazine, The Standard (like Irving and WIlliam Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz), and that some of them are Jewish, but not all of them are, and certainly American Jewry is more commonly thought of as a liberal and Democratic bloc rather than a conservative and Republican one. But this is a side rabbit hole which, were you to start "Googling," could keep you chasing claims and counterclaims till next morning and beyond. But I mention it because, if you Google "noahide" you'll find an equally daunting barrage of off-center claims and counter-claims, bordering on conspiracy theories that use "noahide" to refer to people who advocate this particular Jewish teaching.

As I said in my March 30 Jonal entry, Jewish renaissance, I'm still fascinated and pleased by this rapprochement between a growing vocal and articulate segment of the Jewish community with Christians who take their churches, church doctrines, and the Bible seriously. Indeed, the introduction to his article echoes many of the themes I've proposed exploring in this forum, especially his claim that "religion [is] not a culture but the essence of [our] lives," a claim for his Judaism that mirrors my stringently argued claim that "life is religion" to those who truly live in, by, and for Jesus Christ. And his introductory paragraph is full of echoes to former Jonal entries:

Let me deal with multiculturalism: the English word "culture", with slight variations in French or German, is etymologically rooted in the Latin word cultus, which means worship, hence in later European languages a "cult' is the worship of a person or thing.

And from this launch he leads into new avenues of thought, from a quite different departure point from my own, that confirms many of the propositions I've been putting up and defending.

I want to take up the "Noahides" for more attention next time.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy


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