An Open Letter to the Jewish People regarding the New
By Andrew Gabriel Roth
Shalom! I feel very blessed to address these matters with those who
share my ancestry and lineage. However you classify your Jewish faith,
Reconstructionist to Chabad or all points in between, or whether you carry
little or no faith in the Master, I’m confident you will have not heard what
I’m about to say.
With virtually all the criticism we have
heard over the last 2,000 years from all branches of Judaism over the
controversies of the “New Testament” and Christianity itself, we are in
The “New Testament” is unavoidable, even
by total rejection of it.
This fact may seem overly obvious or rather
unpleasant, but either way it’s true. The “New Testament” is one of
the most powerful forces driving global spiritual trends that have a direct
bearing on the existence and quality of life of the Jewish people. The
very reason why so many evangelical Christians support the state of Israel
is bound within its prophecies regarding the advent of the Acharit
haYamim (Latter Days). The “New Testament” is also responsible
for ripping a vision of the Tanakh—albeit an imperfect vision—from our
ethnic group and into the broader world. Yes, translations
(Septuagint) also did this before the Common Era, but history also shows
that what began there was magnified many times over and solidified by both
sides of a debate that began 2,000 years ago.
And so, whatever the ultimate truth may be,
Jewish history remains incomplete without including the full breadth of
interpretive discussion and discord that arose out of First Century Israel.
Even if we were to deny every word, indeed every possible interpretation of
those words in its pages, we cannot ignore it. If we cannot ignore it
then we need to understand these perspectives apart from any faith-based
decisions regarding its message. The fact of the matter is, in order
to do this effectively we must restore its original message.
We need to re-frame even the contours of
Through two millennia of nearly constant
pain, pogroms and holocausts, the easy road has been to employ shortcuts and
quick classifications. The “New Testament” to many is simply a piece
of heretical trash that our enemies used against us to try to destroy us.
We know very well of the Crusaders slaughtering Jews in Jerusalem quoting
from its pages. We know Hitler used polemical phrases like “synagogue
of Satan” to his advantage. These uses have been hateful and worthy of
reproach at every level, but ultimately they are misapplications.
History is bigger than us all, and we must strip away the prisms of
prejudice and make a right judgment that may not be neat or convenient.
So, then, let’s strip the layers of deception
away, and get to the root of this controversy whose real bottom line is how
we should actually re-cast the discussion:
There is no doubt whatsoever that, regardless
as to the endless speculations on the matter, ultimately our only “Moshiach,”
our only “Savior” is Almighty Elohim. He is One and He is exclusive.
The debate should never have degenerated away from this fact. We need
to affirm that the real debate is not THAT Elohim saves but HOW He saves.
What is the mechanism or agency? What is the timing? Most
importantly, what does “salvation” itself really mean?
I do not pretend to answer these questions
for someone else, or plant thoughts in the minds of others; rather, I am
encouraging the asking of significant additional questions. But this matter
of our ultimate Author of life both in this world and the world to come is,
indeed, the first area where we agree: The Rabbis were right.
Passionate disputation among Jews is
Disagreement of many core principles within
various Jewish schools may have solidified the opinions of the individual
school, but such has never invalidated the right of the persons in argument
to be Jewish. The schools of Hillel and Shammai were legendary in
the scope of their debates, as is the entire flow and purpose of the
Talmud with rabbis and sages deciding the scope and application of the
fidelities of Torah.
On the other hand, there is general consensus
that certain beliefs can never be thought of as Jewish; one of the most
important being that we cannot bow down to false deities or tolerate
paganism or idolatry in any form. To do so in either ancient or modern
formulations is to cast oneself out of the community of the covenant, and
therefore, the Rabbis were right.
What I would like to ask, however, is that
you set aside – for the sake of argument – the Messianic aspect as currently
understood via the Western Christian hijacking of Torah original concepts.
Instead, please stay with the definition, if you can: the debate on how
The Greek New Testament, in traditional form,
has inaccurate information
and often contradicts to both Torah and the sages.
While we Jews may well enjoy and promote
cultural diversity we also retain our own special distinctiveness as a
people, and there are places where we draw clear lines when debating with
Christians. One of these lines (speaking from personal experience),
has to do with going out of our way not to offend Christians due to an
obvious advantage: The Greek New Testament has very evident errors and mis-statements
that simply cannot be reconciled with our Hebrew Bible.
Here are but a few examples of errors
contained in the Greek New Testament:
• Lepers can own houses two miles from
Jerusalem and throw dinner parties for other Jews to attend? Or,
that a Leper if cured, would continue to allow himself to be called a
Leper without launching a lawsuit for slander (on prevention from
• The leading Torah experts of the time
didn’t realize that at least half a dozen prophets from Tanakh were
residents of the Galilee?
• These same Torah experts
claimed “we were never slaves” and denied the Exodus?
• A eunuch from Ethiopia can
legally worship in the Temple?
Notwithstanding matters of idolatry via
Trinity, changing the Shabbat to the first day of the week, we could go on
and on and on ad nauseum. So, in respect to these writings that have
been unquestioningly accepted by 95 percent of Christendom, the Rabbis were
The Word of Elohim has always been
revealed in a Semitic framework.
But just because one version of the “New
Testament” has very significant problems, it doesn’t mean all of them do.
Each one of the issues highlighted above, and hundreds of others are 100
percent resolved in the original Aramaic versions. That is likely why
you are visiting this website after all, to look at the Semitic text and see
for yourself what it is all about. As for the matter of which text
came first, the case for Aramaic Primacy is self-evident within this
This issue has long brought tension within
Jewish communities. On the one hand, most of us recognize the
advantages of learning Torah in the original Hebrew autograph. However,
ancient attempts from the Septuagint and the Aramaic Targums were always
critical to advancing our faith as the latest Stone Edition of Tanakh or
interlinear Siddur. Our sermons may be in English, Polish or French, but our
Torah scrolls are identical letter-for-letter in the Hebrew. We also
remember well that in Israel – owing to the idea that the Torah could never
adequately be translated – leading rabbis instituted a day of mourning to
weep on the day the Septuagint was completed.
Even our mystical traditions are permeated
with gematriya and all manner of linguistic veneration for the 22 letter
Hebrew alap-beyt. We rejoice according to Tehillim and our liturgy and
the unbroken chain of fidelity that causes us to continue writing scrolls on
animal skins in the precise way they have been for 4,000 years. We
know that translations are necessary, but that original Semitic learning is
vital to our long term survival and will never be taken from us.
In this too, the Rabbis were right: however,
Aramaic plays a very significant role in that Semitic continuum. It is
far deeper than having a line from Genesis and portions of Esther and Daniel
in the Aramaic language. Aramaic is so deeply entrenched that most
Jews don’t even know it is there, but it hides under our familiar Hebrew
square script. If you ask the rabbis what the technical name for our
“Hebrew” script is, they will tell you ktav ashurri, “Assyrian
Writing” – and the Assyrians wrote and spoke in Aramaic. That is why
the sages have told us:
My son, do not lightly esteem the Aramaic
language, for the Holy One, blessed be He, has seen fit to give it voice in
the Torah and the Prophets and the Writings.
Palestinian Talmud, Sotah, 7.2
How many Jews have attended their son’s ben
mitzvah, no we use the Aramaic for “son” – bar –instead. And when we
ran a fever as children, our mothers didn’t feel our resheh but our keppie,
the latter being Aramaic for “head”. We have toggled between these
languages unconsciously for thousands of years, and our liturgy from Talmud
to Zohar, from Kaddish to Amidah, reflects this beautiful co-mingling of two
And so, for at least 22 of the 27 “New
Testament” books an ancient Jewish-Aramaic version has survived intact;
would this not bear some looking into? At a minimum, the Jewish world
must at least investigate the original language of Y’shua of Nazareth and if
he really said what others claim. To let that opportunity go
unexplored would be like studying Shakespeare only in Swahili; at best you
will only get the basics but lose nuances and great depth in the process.
The bottom line is: If we reject the
“New Testament” let us at least know what it is we are rejecting! The
rest, as the sages say, is just commentary.
You are about to read a version of the “New
Testament” unlike anything you have ever seen or heard of before. If,
in the end, you still disagree, we will remain content in the knowledge that
at least the real story, after 2000 years of manifold distortions, has
finally been told.
If not us, who? If not now, when?