Monday, January 26, 2009
In the previous post I mentioned that there is perhaps little reason to pay attention to attacks on the Talmud such as these, and that propaganda of this sort probably originated with the Nazis. Today though, partly as a result of my reading ספר העיקרים (written in fifteenth century Spain by רבי יוסף אלבו) with an English translation from the twenties, I started looking through ספר מגן אבות, which is a book that undoubtedly had an effect on Albo, written by רבי שמעון בן צמח (enigmatically otherwise known as "the תשב"ץ", which, strangely enough, also means "crossword puzzle" in modern usages of Hebrew). Philosophically the book is very similar to the עיקרים, and is obviously a basis for it. One thing that caught my eye immediately in the book though, is an appendix in the end entitled "מלחמת מצוה", in which the author defends many Talmudic passages from Christian clerical criticisms. We see therefore, that such attacks, and defences from them are much older than twentieth century Germany.