Sunday, May 15, 2011

Koreans and the Talmud

The Marmot's Hole's Robert Koehler posts The Jewish Chronicle's Tim Alper's story reporting that "the Talmud [is] mandatory reading for Korean schoolchildren" and that "average Koreans can boast that their bookshelves hold at least one or two copies of the Talmud" — Why South Koreans are in love with Judaism. An excerpt:
    South Korea is a country with a deep Buddhist history, but one which has embraced with vigour the Christianity brought to its shores by missionaries in the late 1800s. Official statistics say some 30 per cent of South Koreans are church-going. In such a country, Jews are few and far between.

    Yet, pop down to the local corner shop and along with a pot of instant rice or dried noodles, you can buy a copy of Stories from the Talmud. It is not rare, either, to come across book-vending machines stocked with classic works of Babylonian Judaism.
One of the surprising moments in my marital life was when my wife, from a non-religious family, quoted the Talmud out-of-the-blue and showed me the book among hers on our shelves. After that, I began seeing the book everywhere.

Of course, this is not news that should be welcomed by Catholics. While Hesham A. Hassaballa in his reflection on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception — Love for the Virgin Mary runs deep in Islam — said, "No devout Muslim would ever fathom attacking the character of the Virgin Mary," the Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin, says (forgive me for posting these revolting words), "She who was the descendant of princes and governors, played the harlot with carpenters." More on the hateful text — A Closer Look at the Talmud.

That said, the translations popular in Korea are rather selective, and, as the article notes, "The motivation is less to do with religion and more to do with aspiration," as "Korean parents value schooling above all else."

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Blogger scotju said...

WC, I am a descendant of Marrano Crypto-Jews. I suspect the distribution of Talmudic literatre in S Korea is probably the work of Jews passing as Protestants, Buddhists, or Catholics. I can not see how else any demand for this stuff could have gotten started. Crypto-Jews are notorious for distributing literature that subverts the culture of a country. If they are trying to subvert a Catholic country, they'll promote Protestant stuff. Cecil Roth's "The Marranos" and Rabbi Newman's "Jewish Influence On Christian Reform Movements" has a lot of information on how Jews deo this. JIOCRM and The Marranos are both out of print, bt I would make an effort to get both if you are concerned with what's happening in S Korea.

11:08 PM  

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