The Talmud Impaled,
Israel Shamir’s review of
Judaism Discovered by Michael Hoffman*
Published in the Culture Wars, March 2009
A Rabbi was brought a fish to determine whether it is kosher;
he checked it out and ruled: “It’s kosher, but it stinks”. This piece of Jewish
humour came to my mind while reading this heavy volume by Michael Hoffman.
Hoffman is worried that his critical view will be considered “bigoted racist
anti-Semitic hate”. I am ready to issue him a clean bill of health in this
respect: he is not a bigot, nor a racist, neither is he an anti-Semite; his
doctrinal view is quite orthodox and should not cause a Christian much worry. He
correctly rejects racist anti-Jewish prejudice as unacceptable for Christians.
He professes much love for Jews whom he would like to save. He is solidly
anti-Zionist, and this is certainly a good quality. However, this is not
sufficient to make a book a good, reliable and readable study.
This is a polemical work, almost a pamphlet; a critical book,
dealing with beliefs of Jews (Hoffman prefers to turn an adjective “Judaic” into
a noun, and writes of “hapless Judaics”, in order to avoid the loaded J-word).
That's fine -- political correctness has made much of theology irrelevant by
expressly forbidding negative statements about competitors. There is certainly a
place for a critical study of Judaism -- for a book that will take into account
previous voluminous studies and will move us forward to better understanding of
this faith and its adherents. However, Hoffman’s book appears dated, despite
being fresh off the press. Books such as this were written by proud Anglo-Saxon
Protestants in the 19th century on, say, the faith of the Hindus or
even of Catholics (“papists”, to Hoffman). This book is rather a torrent of
vituperation: “heathen, heathenish, diabolic, satan-worshipping, counterfeit,
delusion, obscenity, racism, superstition, deceit”. Or “the pagan Talmud
consisting of abominable wickedness, prodigious filthiness and superlative
In the time of WASP supremacy, such a style was considered
de rigueur, and indeed British and American missionaries in India or
Polynesia employed such language. But nowadays we are supposed to know better.
Some of the best literature and art was created by “pagan heathens”, from Homer
to Mahabharata. “Filthiness, vileness, obscenity” – all these complaints were
brought against Boccaccio and Joyce, and they make precious little impact on us
today. I am altogether for a spade being called a spade, but Hoffman turns it
into a bloody shovel every time.
For this reason, Peter Myers, our Australian Catholic friend,
refused to do a review of the book, writing: “The reason I do not deal with
Judaism Discovered, is that Hoffman encases his argument in Protestant spin.
He condemns Judaism as an anti-Biblical reversion to Babylonian paganism. That
sort of language leaves me cold: Babylon, Egypt and the Indus civilization were
the three centres from which our own civilization comes - by borrowing. I am
constantly amazed at the Protestant efflorescence in the US. The US is in a
time-warp; even some genuine scholars pitch their view of the ancient
civilizations in the Bible’s hateful terms.”
Indeed, time-warp is the right word to describe this book by
Hoffman: It is as if he had never read Mircea Eliade or Guenon or even The
Golden Bough of Frazer; he is not aware of comparative-religion studies. If
the language of faith refers to phallus, Hoffman is as shocked as a schoolgirl.
“Vagina” knocks him off completely. Sexual union should not be mentioned at all,
in his view. The word “heathen” is used throughout his book as a label of moral
deprivation and degradation. A comparison with Buddhism and Hinduism (in the
case of esoteric belief in reincarnation) should seal the doom of Judaism, in
Hoffman’s eyes. I doubt that this book can be read outside of the Bible Belt,
where such language and attitudes are still considered valid.
This time-warp is an American, or Anglo-American phenomenon.
Hoffman refers (with a touch of envy) to a multitude of anti-Muslim books with
lurid titles like “Dark Side of Islam” or “Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam”
or “Islam’s War against the World”. Indeed every criticism of Hoffman’s book is
equally (or even more) valid with regard to these anti-Muslim diatribes. I feel
much sympathy for Michael Hoffman when he exclaims: Do with Judaism what they
did with Islam and your name will be blotted out. This is true: Muslim-baiting
is permitted, but Jews may be referred to only in hushed voices of adoration.
For this reason I do think that Hoffman’s book has some positive value as a
counterbalance to Jewish attacks on Islam and Christianity. It may teach some
Jews modesty, and that is also a worthy goal. Ideologically, I may approve of
some of this book’s pugnacious attitude, or of Hoffman’s wish to bring the light
of Christ to Jews. However, that does not make it a good, or even readable book.
The book is poorly edited: the spelling is not uniform; on
the same line, one finds chacham and khokhem (sage); Ashkenazi and Sephardi
pronunciations are alternated confusingly. Both are valid, but one has to
choose. There are many inserts with different type-faces whose provenance is not
made clear to the reader. It is full of various cuttings and quotes from
newspapers and internet-sites, not harmonised or organised properly. Some pages
are left blank – the printers did a poor job. A professional editor, publisher
and book-designer could improve this amateur product to a great extent -- maybe
even make it readable.
The prude Hoffman is horrified by many rules of the Talmud
which prescribe certain behavior in the bathroom and bedroom. He takes it too
personally, Hoffman does. It could be an entertaining tidbit – whether the
rabbis thought one should strain oneself in a toilet, or compared the colour of
menstrual blood in to that of squashed lice, or whether one may fornicate in the
presence of mice and cats (alas, he missed this one). One may be fascinated by
or disregard such sixth century trivia, written fourteen hundred years ago in
Iraq, but Hoffman is as upset as though it had been written by his employees
during working hours instead of their preparing the annual report.
He reports at length the Jewish customs of niddah,
menstruation impurity, and appears to be shocked. I am sure that any modern book
of advices to menstruating women could be made shocking, but these are
instructions for internal use.
Hoffman is so devoid of a sense of humour that it pains the
reader. He quotes entertaining items of Jewish folklore – that Nebuchadnezzar’s
prick extended one hundred fifty yards long at seeing the last Judean king,
while that of Ahasuerus extended six yards when he saw Esther. For me, it
recalls Mae West with her immortal “Is that a pistol in your pocket or are you
just glad to see me?” But Hoffman goes into hysterics and condemns “the Talmud’s
insanely filthy prurience”.
Jewish fairy tales about Metatron, the mega-size cobbler
angel who joins the worlds together, do not fascinate him, but are described as
“unconscionable hyperbole and incessant lying”. I wonder whether he ever read
Jack and the Beanstalk as a child -- or did he reject the nursery tales as
“incessant lying”? For if he had read it, he’d have found a lot of similarities:
the beanstalk extends even longer than Nebuchadnezzar’s cock, and the ogre
senses the human smell of Jack as far away as Metatron smells Enoch.
More annoying are his provincial-lawyer diatribes; he is a
Little Rock attorney of sorts, who hurls accusations while not bothering about
their consistency. He jumps to baseless conclusions, too fast and too often. For
instance, he quotes the Talmud’s R. Johanan: “a gentile who studies the Law
deserves the death penalty” and he jumps to a strange conclusion: “Jesus Christ
… had no right to study the Law and He paid for His study with His life” But
Jesus was not a gentile; he was a rightful descendent of King David and of other
great kings. He was certainly entitled to study the Law, even if we believe that
this ban was in existence in the days of Christ.
Hoffman notices the Talmudic passion for casuist tricks and
dissembling with its “escape clauses”. He brings a few entertaining examples of
how rabbis manage to go against a direct commandment by subterfuge. Thus, in
order to justify bribing of a judge it is enough to claim that there is reason
to believe that a judge is looking to deal harshly with a Jewish defendant; so
the purpose of the bribe is to level the playing field; or in order to achieve
leniency rather than a corrupt verdict.
This is an interesting subject, and one could add a lot to
Hoffman’s narrative here. For instance, the Bible postulates that debts should
be voided every seventh year. The Talmud turned it into a right of the debtor,
who is entitled to refuse to pay the debt, but may still pay it. In other words,
after the seventh year, any debt becomes like a debt of honour, i.e.
non-enforceable. At that stage, the Talmud allowed creditor to tie up the debtor
and keep him tied up until he “voluntarily” paid the voided debt.
This device is also used by rabbinic courts in order to force
a man to grant divorce to his wife, as a woman may not divorce her man according
to Jewish law: only a man may divorce his wife by an act of free will. So the
court orders the arrest and imprisonment of the man until he says “I wish to
Perversion of God’s word? Sure, but such casuistry is hardly
the monopoly of Jews. In Homer’s Odyssey we learn that Hermes
taught Autolykos, Ulysses’ maternal grandfather, to “cajole any man alive on his
bodily oath”. “Autolykos was the noble father of Odysseus’ own mother, and
excelled all mankind in thieving and subtlety of oaths, having won this mastery
from the god Hermes himself (Homer, Odyssey 19.396) Jews are Mercurial,
as Slezkine has said, and so naturally they are able to perform this trickery.
In the Palestinian village of Taybe, I heard a story about a
subtle oath which would bring delight to the heart of any Mercurian: There were
a few Bedouin from the South who came to live next to Taybe and they claimed
that they had a rightful title to the land. They were asked to swear in the name
of Allah and the Prophet that it was so, and they swore that they were standing
on their own land. It was said by their adversaries that they had brought a
sackful of their own land from the South, poured it into their boots and so
“stood” on it while swearing.
Far away from the Semitic Mediterranean, another famous
example of an ambiguous oath can be found in
Tristan and Isolde. Isolde took a ride on Tristan’s shoulders so she’d be
able to swear that no other man ever was between her thighs. It is pity that
Hoffman could not offer some comparable features from other cultures: this would
undermine his list of charges, but it would enhance the reader’s pleasure.
Hoffman’s understanding of Jewish laws pertaining to sexual
intercourse is obscured by his desire to convict. He claims that Judaism
“institutionalizes child molestation” and quotes profusely to make his point.
However, the quotations he adduces fail to do the job he wants. They actually
refer to definitions. In general, Hebrew law considers sexual relations as
relations between two mature persons. A boy is considered mature at age of nine;
so if an eight-year old boy “has sex” with a woman; it is not considered “sexual
relations”. Subsequently, the woman is not forced to marry the eight-year-old,
she is not jailed, he is not killed, and her marriage prospects are not
diminished – though probably she would be greatly disapproved of in a
This seems strange to a modern American reader, but so are
other foreign customs. For instance, I find it strange that the American law
would consider Romeo and Juliette’s union an act of [statutory] rape. One could
get into explaining the reasons for this or the other attitude, but that would
be beyond scope of this review.
Sodomy in Jewish law is an act of two consenting males who
understand what they are doing. Judaism is quite strict regarding sodomy and the
preferred cure for it is death penalty. However, this Jewish-law-sodomy rap does
not cover other behavior which may be considered sodomy or child molestation or
statutory rape in American law. Child molestation which is not sodomy is
considered in some cases “seed waste” akin to masturbation and may bear the
Moreover, Hoffman quotes a text stressing the extreme prudery
of Judaism: it is better to cut off one’s hand than let it touch penis. So he is
aware of a Judaist anti-erotic tendency, though he does not understand that this
causes sublimation, or eroticization of religious feelings, which shocks him so
much. And still, Hoffman claims that this difference in definitions amounts to
“institutionalization of child molestation”! This is too unfair even for a Wild
Hoffman tries to pervert the meaning of R. Ilai’s dictum. “R.
Ilai said, If one is sorely tempted, let him go away where he is not known; let
him put on sordid clothes, don a sordid wrap and do the sordid deed that his
heart desires rather than profane the name of Heaven openly.” The text is quite
clear: an anti-erotic, Puritan but worldly rabbi understands that an unmarried
man may be tempted to have sex with a prostitute; so he sends him to do it
elsewhere and in sordid clothes, rather than proudly parade his tendency. This
attitude is very foreign to the culture of “gay pride” parades; a modern man
would demand the legalization of brothels and issue every whore with an official
receipt book. De Maupassant characters would not understand the problem. But in
a traditional society, some things were felt best left in the obscuring
Hoffman mistranslates the temptation of the flesh as the
“desire to do evil”, so the worldly advice “go get laid somewhere else, lad”
gets a sinister connotation. R. Ilai does not send the student to kill, rob,
commit adultery, or whatever, just to have some illicit sex without attracting
attention and bringing disrepute to his position. His advice still holds good
today – for a Louisiana
senator Vitter or a
New York Governor Spitzer.
Hoffman does not understand the idea of seclusion, either.
The Jewish law forbids a man and woman to be secluded, even to use an elevator
together. It is, however, permitted for a man to be secluded with a little girl
(below age of three), for obvious reasons – she may need attention, the man may
be her father or brother, and she can’t be considered a sex object. A woman
indeed may be secluded with a boy below nine years old – she may be his wet
nurse, or au pair, or kitchen help, or a female relative. In the dirty mind of
Hoffman this reasonable rule means “permission to have sexual intercourse with
babies”. Nothing of the sort is intended. Without this exception, rearing of
children would be just too difficult.
Likewise, Hoffman quotes with great élan these words: “When a
grown-up man has intercourse with a little girl it is nothing, for when the girl
is less than this, it is as if one puts the finger into the eye”. This quote is
out of context: If one takes time and reads the full text of Kethuboth 11, one
understands that this text deals with a specific question: what is the status of
a woman who was molested while she was less than three years old. Is she
considered a virgin? Is she entitled to full payment in case of subsequent
divorce? May she marry a priest? The Jewish law correctly rules that a girl
molested at such a young age is considered a virgin, is entitled to full
compensation, and may marry a priest. This molestation is of no importance
regarding her status, “as if one puts the finger into the eye”. This text does
not deal with the question of what should be done to the molester, only what
should be done with the victim in a society which puts a high value on
His dedicated drive to convict Judaism of all possible
depravities drives him overboard as he claims that circumcision is the
“homosexual molestation of infants”, while sucking off blood during the
operation is “fellatio”. One may disapprove of this custom (which is actually
widely spread and is practiced by Muslims and by Christian Ethiopians as well),
but no fair and sane man would agree with Hoffman’s molestation charge.
A comparison of Judaic practices towards children with other
systems would also put things into context: for instance, in Roman law, father
has right to kill his children for any reason whatsoever. Nothing would stop a
Roman gentleman from taking his pleasure with a male or female of any age. And
Roman law (in Justinian’s codification) is contemporaneous with the Talmud. In
the Greece of Socrates, there were no taboos on homosexual relations. And the
West is the spiritual progeny of Greece and Rome.
Hoffman is on a safer ground when he speaks of the Judaic
attitude towards gentiles. This subject is well-researched, and on the Web one
can find a few monographs in English, French and Hebrew dealing with it. Indeed,
Jewish law is quite awful to a goy and hardly considers him/her a human being.
Hoffman is also right when he connects this law with today’s Gaza siege, surely
a crime against humanity. However, here a comparison would also be suitable: The
ancestors of Hoffman killed off millions of Native Americans without Jewish
advice, while the British eliminated Tasmanians and killed millions of Indians,
Africans and whoever else came their way. Is it better to be a Palestinian
native under Jewish rule, or a Tasmanian native under British Protestant rule,
or even a Patagonian native under Spanish Catholic rule? Alas, there are no
Tasmanians or Patagonians left to ask.
This is not said in order to encourage the Jews to emulate
the Tasmanian example, or to make them feel complacent. God knows, Jews are
complacent enough. But the reader is entitled to understand and learn things;
not only to be fed propaganda.
Hoffman’s intentions are good, but his knowledge is limited.
He attempts to refute R. Shmuley Boteach’s apologetic article in Jerusalem
Post (he quotes it in full -- all three pages of the newspaper text) about
whether a Jew should rescue a gentile on the Sabbath. Israel Shahak wrote in his
book that there is a rabbinic prohibition of such rescue if Sabbath observance
will be broken in the process. Shahak wrote of an observant Jew who would not
allow him to use his phone to call for an ambulance for a sick non-Jew. Boteach,
a slick and tricky media-rabbi, denied it on many occasions and called Shahak a
liar. Hoffman says that Christians (and not only “a pagan defiler of faith”, not
only “Romans with their vicious persecutions”, as argued by the Talmidic
apologist) are not considered equal to Jews. This is true; but it does not
answer the question.
This is not to say that Hoffman’s research is completely
valueless. He neatly unravels the question of the death penalty for a gentile
who studies the Law according to R. Johanan, contradicted with praise of the
gentile who studies the Law according to R. Meir and correctly quotes the
harmonizing rule: a gentile is praiseworthy if he studies the Noahide laws and
he is liable if he crosses the line. But this small and entertaining observation
is diluted by so many abusive epithets: “intellectually dishonest nonsense”,
Hoffman correctly argues against “hate laws”, against
submission of the Church to Jewish wishes. He is right when he preaches against
the anti-gentile propaganda of eternal gentile hatred towards Jews. Indeed, I
agree with Hoffman that this notorious hatred, so-called “antisemitism” is but
an invention created by Jewish leaders in order to keep their subjects obedient.
“The Rabbis repeat to generations of Judaic children that the world hates them
and that true Christians seek to silence and murder them. This brilliant
rabbinic ploy” should be countered, Hoffman says. He objects to persecution of
Jews, as such violent persecution like that by Hitler reinforces this ploy.
His treatment of mention of Christ in the Talmud is quite
reasonable, though not new. Indeed, Talmud – and other Judaic books – contain
anti-Christian passages, and this is universally known. Hoffman’s polemics with
certain Catholic and Anglican churchmen who apologize for the Talmud is
expectedly robust and justified.
Hoffman’s book is not a pleasant or easy read, but it is not
without its rewards. Today, in the aftermath of financial collapse, it is
interesting to learn that the architect of the collapse Alan Greenspan swore his
oath of Federal office on a Talmud in front of Ayn Rand, the Satanist. There is
the interesting story of the late William F. Buckley, his creation of a “kosher
conservative movement” and his rejection of Zionist-critic Joe Sobran, taken
from the Wanderer newspaper of St Paul, Minnesota. Hoffman tells of book-burning
by the Jewish authorities, including the Mendelssohn translation of the Bible
into German, and the satiric books by Jewish heretic writers as late as 19th
century, and of other Jewish ‘disrespectful’ books in 2002.
It's a pity Hoffman can’t write politely. Mark Twain in his "
Tennessee Journalism" provided an example of the style of writing Hoffman seems
to have chosen to follow: "While he was writing the first word, the middle,
dotting his i's, crossing his t's, and punching his period, he knew he was
concocting a sentence that was saturated with infamy and reeking with
For instance, it is well known that Renaissance scholars
believed in the wisdom of Hermes Trismegistus with its alleged Old Egyptian
sources. Giordano Bruno belonged to this category. Hoffman writes that “Bruno
parrots the tale… while this lie was twisted” etc. Mark Twain’s characters
admittedly were even ruder, but they rarely were rude to a man who was burned at
stake 500 years ago.
P.S. After this review was published, Hoffman published a
hysterical and voluminous response (available on his website), and Shamir wrote
the following rejoinder:
There are a few ways to deal with new books. One of them is
to ask a knowledgeable person to review it. Such a review is not supposed to be
the last judgment, but a part of the discourse. I offered the Culture Wars’
readers my view of Mr Hoffman's book. I am not a judge, not even a publisher.
Everyone may write his own review of the book, favourable or not. I do object to
what appears to me an attempt of intimidation, transparent in Hoffman's, and
Hoffman’s fans’ letters.
I was in a difficult position while writing the review. I
have had much sympathy to Hoffman's endeavour, vis. to delve into the Talmud and
show it to the reader. I liked the idea of the job being done by a non-Jew.
Hoffman is a staunch supporter of Palestinians, so I was biased in his favour.
But I also felt responsible towards the Culture Wars’ readers. One is warned
against misleading, and that is why I told readers what I actually think about
Hoffman's book, warts and all.
Moreover, the commandment "Rebuke your neighbour frankly so
you will not share in his guilt" (Lev 19:17), stands next to "Love your
neighbour". Sages love criticism for as long as there is criticism in the world,
pleasantness comes to the world, good and blessing come to the world, and evil
is removed from the world (Tamid 28A).
I was as soft and as polite as I could. I hoped he would be
able to learn from my critique. But Hoffman is not a wise man for it is said:
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. (Proverbs 9:8) Mr Hoffman is an
ignoramus. He does not know what he writes about. I'll provide you with one
example. Hoffman writes, in his polite way (p.8):
"But Mr. Shamir is lying. This account of Nebuchadnezzar is
not found in Judaic folklore…This account of Nebuchadnezzar is not from the
Aggadah, the book of rabbinic folklore, but rather from the Talmud itself, the
source of rabbinic law."
This sentence implies that there is "the Aggadah, the book of
rabbinic folklore", on one hand, and "the Talmud itself, the source of rabbinic
law", on the other hand. Now, it is rubbish. The Aggadah is not a separate book
but a layer of Talmud, a part and parcel of Talmudic text. The man who does not
know that should not write books about the Talmud. He should go and study first.
He does not know what "the Hebrew Law" is - he thinks it
means the law written in Hebrew. Actually it is a standard subject name,
Mishpat Ivri, see any encyclopaedia.
He has no Hebrew or Aramaic. He can "photographically
reproduce", but he can't read, otherwise he would know there is no "unwittingly"
in Sanhedrin 54b. (In the text he reproduces it is a translator’s gloss).
He claims he provided "original information on the rabbinic
root of anti-Black racism, the bigotry, dissimulation, homicide and
anti-Christian and anti-Islamic hatred of Judaism’s intellectual giant Rabbi
Moses Maimonides", but it was well provided by Dr Shahak years ago in his slim
Moreover, an Israeli site
www.daatemet.co.il contains practically everything Hoffman gathered minus
One can continue this list ad infinitum, but I hope it will
However, we live in relatively free countries, and one may
have different views even about Hoffman.
SHAMIR’S RESPONSE TO SUTER AND HOFFMAN
I was in a quandary while reviewing Hoffman’s book.
Hoffman is a staunch supporter of Palestinians, so I was biased in his
favour. But my first duty was towards the Truth - and towards the Culture
Wars’ readers. One is warned against misleading, and that is why I told
readers what I actually think about Hoffman’s book, namely - it is not an
antisemitic book, but this is its main virtue. Indeed his book did not
deserve a review at all, and had none until I injudiciously stepped on this
It is said (Proverbs 9:8): Rebuke a wise man, and he will
love thee. Rebuke not a fool, lest he will hate thee. Hoffman’s hateful
response confirmed the proverb. He stressed many times that I am a Jew by
birth, probably a trump argument in his circles. In addition, a fiery SSPX
Catholic, an Edgar Suter, MD stepped forth as Hoffman’s champion.
Edgar Suter says that Hoffman’s book «reveals to English readers much that
has been previously unknown to us». Suter should rather say that it was
previously unknown to HIM, for Hoffman’s book consists of
(a) things well known and published by many writers
before him, or of
(b) things which are unknown because false.
(A) THINGS WELL KNOWN AND PUBLISHED BY MANY WRITERS BEFORE HOFFMAN
Among revelations Suter found in Hoffman’s book, is «that Judaism is not an
extension of the religion of Moses». Bravo! Probably his medicine studies do
not cover it but this discovery has been made one thousand years before
Hoffman, as one could read in Michael Jones’s recent book Revolutionary
Jewish Spirit, or indeed in Hyam Maccoby’s Judaism on Trial:
Jewish-Christian Disputations in the Middle Ages.
This discovery had led to the disputations, and in the course of the
disputations, all Talmudic references to Jesus Christ were made open and
known. Hoffman claims he made it known: what rot! It is not that Hoffman
discovered what the Talmud says about Christ, but it was done centuries ago,
and repeated hundreds of times.
Hoffman claimed he provided «original information on the rabbinic root of
anti-Black racism, the bigotry, dissimulation, homicide and anti-Christian
and anti-Islamic hatred of Judaism’s intellectual giant Rabbi Moses
Maimonides», but it was well provided by Dr Shahak years ago in his slim
Moreover, an Israeli site
www.daatemet.co.il  contains practically everything Hoffman gathered
minus his vituperation.
(B) AND MUCH OF «WHAT WAS UNKNOWN» TURNS OUT TO BE FALSE AND MISLEADING.
Is it true that Judaism embraces the doctrine of reincarnation? If it were
so, why would the Jews spend so much effort on keeping dead bodies intact
and separated from gentiles’ dead? Why would they pay heaps of money for a
burial place on the Mount of Olives? Jews believe in bodily resurrection;
this is a part of Jewish credo as outlined by Maimonides. The concept of
resurrection is totally opposed to that of reincarnation.
*Is it true that Judaism embraces the cult of Goddess? Not more than it can
be said about the Christians. Indeed this claim was often utilised by
Protestants against the Catholic Church.
One can go on and on, but it would be useless. Arguments can be useful if
the other side is an honest man of knowledge and understanding. This is not
the case. Hoffman is unsuited to argue about religion, any religion.
Religion is the highest form of human spiritual activity, while Hoffman’s
arguments are sordid.
If Hoffman were to produce Christianity Discovered Dr Suter would
learn that Catholics devour flesh and blood, and are proud of it (they call
it Communion), and worship a Goddess (they call her Mary).
It is possible to call high figures of Jewish folklore (given in the Talmud)
a «lie» as Hoffman and Suter do, but then, why they do not describe as a
‘lie’ the long age of Methuselah or Jonah swallowed by a big fish or
partition of the Red Sea (given in the Bible)?
Let us fathom together the depth of Hoffman’s ignorance.
(a) SHAMIR WROTE: Hoffman is so devoid of a sense of humour that it pains
the reader. He quotes entertaining items of Jewish folklore - that
Nebuchadnezzar’s prick extended one hundred fifty yards long at seeing the
last Judean king. For me, it recalls Mae West with her immortal «Is that a
pistol in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?» But Hoffman goes into
hysterics and condemns «the Talmud’s insanely filthy prurience».
(b) HOFFMAN REPLIED: «But Mr. Shamir is lying. This account of
Nebuchadnezzar is not found in Judaic folklore…This account of
Nebuchadnezzar is not from the Aggadah, the book of rabbinic folklore, but
rather from the Talmud itself, the source of rabbinic law.»
(c) SHAMIR WROTE: Hoffman implies that there is «the Aggadah, the book of
rabbinic folklore», on one hand, and «the Talmud itself, the source of
rabbinic law», on the other hand. Now, it is rubbish. The Aggadah is not a
separate book but a layer of Talmud, a part and parcel of Talmudic text. The
man who does not know that should not write books about the Talmud. He
should go and study first.
(d) HOFFMAN REPLIED: This is simply not true. It’s a lie and an obtuse one
at that. The Mishnah and Gemara (Talmud) are never published together with
the Aggadah. _They are separate books_. The Aggadah may contain portions of
the non-legal writings of the Gemara, together with all sorts of legends
from other sources such as the Midrash, but to claim that the Aggadah_ is_
the Talmud is beneath contempt.
(e) Shamir said: Hoffman’s problem is not only with the Talmud, but with
Aristotle as well. I say: Aggadah IS A PART OF the Talmud; he thinks it
means Aggadah IS THE Talmud.
Now, anyone can check who is right: Hoffman or Shamir. Hoffman says that
«The Mishnah and Gemara (Talmud) are never published together with the
Aggadah.» Shamir says absolutely opposite: Aggadah is a part and parcel of
Gemara, and thus is published. Talmud is not identical with Gemara; but
consists of Gemara and Mishna.
Dr Med Suter will probably understand the following comparison: Shamir says
that muscles are part and parcel of human body. His opponent says that
muscles are never found in a human body but exist separately. Now would he
be interested to read a book on medicine written by this man? We do not
speak about slight misunderstanding. This is not a passing mistake. Hoffman
thrice insisted on his foolishness.
To conclude, I consider Hoffman a humbug, and heartily regret on wasting so
much time and effort on his nonsense while providing free publicity to his
Independent History and Research, 2008
1102 pages, ISBN 978-0-9703784-5-3, no price stated
Review by Israel Shamir