When looking into the real Paul, we will need some backround information first, and that is the ground work we are laying right now. During the Byzantine era, Jewish believers have basically disappeared. They were hunted down by Byzantine Christians and so all you had left was a “Gentile church” that is non-Jewish and anti-Torah. Eventually, Rome falls and then we enter into what is called the Medieval Period, or “The Dark Ages.” There are only two places of scholarship in Europe. Within the church clergy, there were those who worked on church documents and the New Testament. The Hebrew Scriptures were not translated by the clergy. Those translations of the Tanak were taken from the Masoretic Text written by the Jews prior to this. Taking the Hebrew to Greek to Latin “old testament” with the Greek to Latin “new testament” we come up with the Latin Vulgate. Part of all this was church policy. Power was held by knowledge, and by keeping the knowledge away from the people, the Clergy could retain their power. The Vulgate was used during the Dark Ages.
The other area of scholarship was among the Jews. They instructed their young to read, and public education along with private education, was utilized. They stressed education and studied the Tanak and the Talmud. The Moslem world, starting in 600 A.D. flourished in mathematics, the sciences and medicine during this period. Jews who had been trained in education also flourished. One of the greatest Jewish scholars was a man named Moses Maimonides, who is called Rambam (an acronym for Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon). He was from Spain during the “Golden age of Spanish Jewry” and relocates to Egypt. He lived from 1135 to 1204 A.D. and he was a rabbi, a physician and philosopher. The Moslems elevated the Jews during this period because of their education, knowledge and understanding. Then Islam began to decay and everything changed. What we see in Islam today is nothing compared to what they had at one time.
Now, we come all the way to the end of the Middle Ages, or Medieval Period, and we come to the Renaissance Period with the invention of the printing press (1440 A.D.). The printing press was invented for the purpose of printing the Scriptures (The Gutenburg Bible). There was tremendous opposition to this. The Vulgate was being translated into other languages. The Vulgate was translating the “old Testament” adequately, but there were problems in the “new testament.” When we come to the time of Martin Luther, we know he revolts against the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church and certain aspects of the Church.
Luther was in Germany, so Germany quickly becomes the center for scholarship for those who “protested” with Luther against the Catholic Church, even to this day. Many students going into deeper theological studies today must be proficient in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Aramaic and German. What is the number one language they require? German, because Germany became the center for Christian scholarship and it remains that way today. In fact, you will see when you look into the Jewish Encyclopedia, every article that refers to what Paul believed will almost always (but not all) take you to an article or a source in German.
Now, let’s look into this deeper. The Jewish Encyclopedia was done from about 1902 to 1917. It was also during a time called the “Great Critical Era” where they followed what was called “The Wellhausen Theory.” This “theory” said that the Torah was derived from originally independent, parallel and complete narratives, which were subsequently combined into the current form by a series of redactors (editing where multiple sources are combined and altered slightly to make a single document). The number of these narratives is usually set at four, but the precise number is not an essential part of the theory. The four sources are the Yawehist (Y); Elohist (E); the Deuteronomists (D) and the Priestly (P). We disagree with this theory, but the Wellhausen theorists did not stop with the Torah, but went through the entire Tanak. The process for all of this is called “Critical Analysis.” You have to take this into account when you read anything from this period. Since the 1950’s, we have come out of this “critical era.” When we get to the Encyclopedia Judaica, first published in 1971-1972, it is a different story. It was published after Israel became a state, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, two world wars, the Holocaust and other events. When the Jewish Encyclopedia was published, none of this had happened yet.
In 1611, the King James Version was published, then it was upgraded in 1783. Most KJV’s are from 1783, but you can still obtain a 1611 version (we have one). About 1900, the Revised Standard Version came out and this was heavily influenced by German scholarship. Then, after World War II, a whole series of new translations came out. The major source for the Greek New Testament was the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament by Gerhard Kittel, translated from German to English. This is the major book used for definitions of words used in all the new translations. But, here is the “shocker.”
Gerhard Kittel is the name of the man who put this out, and he was a member of the Nazi Party. He was part of the propaganda team of Josef Goebbels. In a quote from the book, “Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust” edited by Robert Erickson and Susannah Heschel, starting on p. 36, it says “Kittel also wrote for an anti-Semitic journal published by Josef Goebbels in which he stated that in the Talmud a deep seated hatred against the non-Jews comes to expression, out of which all consequences are drawn, right up to the full freedom to murder, for example, when it can read: You may kill even the best among the gentiles, just as you would smash the brains of even the best snake. He tried to prove his claim by citing passages that suggest a different moral culpability for actions, depending on whether Jews or non-Jews were affected. He admitted that animosity towards foreigners can be found in many cultural traditions, and he acknowledged other Talmudic passages that endorse love and justice. However, Kittel believed that modern Jews have “seized upon” these milder traditions while they are weak and vulnerable, only to have their real intention to take over the world, with murder as their secret weapon. This eccentric interpretation of the Talmudic tradition appeared in 1943, long after the Jews “disappeared” from German streets and the murder of Jews became Nazi policy. Furthermore, Kittel admitted after the war that in early 1943 he had learned of the annihilation of Jews from his son who served on the Russian front. It seems hard to avoid the conclusion that Kittel offered Goebbels and his readers a justification for preemptive violence against the Jews. Kittel’s last public statement on Hitler, National Socialism and the Jewish question came in 1944 in a guest lecture at the University of Vienna. Unabashed by his knowledge of the horrors committed against the Jews, he continued to justify Nazi policies against the Jewish threat. He blamed the fall of Rome on careless racial practices that led to the racial decomposition of its citizenry. In fact, he said as the power of Rome faded, Jews had threatened to take over the world and were halted by the strength and determination of Christianity. Kittel noted that the Enlightenment and liberal democratic ideas opened the floodgates of Jewish emancipation in the 18th and 19th centuries, but Hitler had now risen up to save the day. National Socialism (Nazi) and Christianity stood together as twin bulwarks protecting western civilization against the Jewish menace.”
Kittel went on trial for war crimes and went to prison and died in 1948 (the same year Israel became a nation). Now, you are seeing something that is “disconcerting.” Kittel’s works were used in modern translations of the Bible by theologians and Christian seminaries. His dictionary is still being sold and distributed by Christian Book Distributors (CBD) and calls it “the standard New Testament theological dictionary” and a “necessity for the serious Greek student.” It is published by Eerdmann’s, a major Christian publisher in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Logos Bible software website calls it “one of the most widely used and well respected theological dictionaries ever created, TDNT is indispensable for studies in the Greek New Testament.”
Is it any wonder that Christians cannot free themselves and ever hope to break away from anti-Semitism and anti-nomianism (no Torah for today)? If a believer relies only on a modern translation of the New Testament, then their understanding is being influenced to some degree by the Nazi Kittel and his anti-Semitic attitudes. All of this is how we got to where we are today. In Part 3, we will pick here and talk about the Latin Vulgate and how it reflected the “evolution” way from anything Jewish and a Jewish mindset. By controlling the information, the Church could control other ideas. Once the translators perceived the Scriptures as non-Jewish, it will affect how they translate passages. If they perceive a verse is anti-Torah, it will affect how they translate it. As a result, they aren’t translating it according to reality, but according to their perception of reality. We will also begin to look at Paul from the Encyclopedia Judaica and do a basic list of all the false accusations against him found there. This will be very eye opening to say the least. You will see that their claims will be very similar to how Replacement Theology Christianity see’s him.