By Jacob Neusner
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Additional resources for A Rabbi Talks with Jesus
And if I had been there, I would have wondered what he had to say to not me but to us: all Israel, assembled, that day, in the persons present, before him to hear his torah. But if the substance strikes me as both meritorious and flawed, the form is precisely what Matthew says: amazing. If I were there, would I have shared in the astonishment of the crowds? " The wording "You have heard it said" leaves open the question: "By whom? " A teacher of the Torah is judged by the Torah and responsible to it.
Judaism took for granted that Christianity never made a difference to the Torah. Christianity represented Judaism in so repulsive a form that, in all honesty, why should any honorable person have wanted to conduct a dialogue with that religion? So - why bother, just now, to take up an argument postponed for nearly two thousand years? Bother, partly because religious dialogue in twenty-firstcentury America is going to take place; our native American curiosity and basic goodwill make it possible.
Anyone who knew that verse will have identified with Jesus' expansion of it. Nor should we ignore, "If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you" (Prov 25:21-22). But that rather shrewd counsel hardly prepares us for, "Do not resist one who is evil," which demands something else altogether. The fifth statement cites a saying not to be found in the Torah, which contains no commandment to hate one's enemies.