This autumn I am studying the Talmud Bavli (Bavli =Babylonian), tractate Sanhedrin, from 49b to 113A. My objective is to bring accurate knowledge of Orthodox Judaism’s holiest book to the attention of the public and to do so in accordance with exegetical principles free of hatred and bias.
Answering two standard objections
1. To the claim that I am "quoting out of context” — I urge readers to access tractate Sanhedrin and study it in an uncensored edition, and judge for yourself. I am hiding nothing and I am taking nothing out of context. Today’s study is entirely consonant with the contents of the Talmud as a whole, and for that matter, with the rabbinic halacha (law) derived from it. 2. With regard to the risible allegation that the contents of the Talmud Bavli have little or no force of law, and are simply a record of debates, cf. "The Babylonian Talmud: Just a series of debates?” (Scroll down on this page http://talmudical.blogspot.com until you come to the headline above, highlighted in red-colored type).
Halacha, not opinion
The following is the law (halacha) of Orthodox Judaism
From Sanhedrin 54b (texts in the original Aramaic in which the Talmud was written):
“If a man sodomizes a minor under the age of nine, whether actively or passively, he is exempt.”
For a Judaic male’s sodomy upon a boy "to have the legal status of full-fledged intercourse the minimum age is nine years. The Torah does not deem a younger boy to be like an older boy.”
The preceding halacha is confirmed by the supreme legal authority in Ashkenazi Judaism, the “Rambam” — Rabbi Moses Maimonides, in Sefer Kedusha, Hilchot Issurei Bia 1:14.
The Talmudic exemption from punishment for sodomizing a boy under the age of nine cites the “Torah” as its source.
This is a libel against the Torah (the Hebrew “Old” Testament). Nowhere does the Word of God in the Holy Bible state, imply or in any way insinuate that homosexual intercourse with a boy under the age of nine renders the sodomite-perpetrator legally “exempt" from the punishment due for the transgression of child molestation. This Talmudic halacha, were it a law in Christianity, would be massively publicized repeatedly by the mainstream media. If this law was present in Islam it would be massively publicized repeatedly by right-wing Churchianity, which publishes and promotes numerous books, pamphlets and radio and television broadcasts purporting to “expose” and “tell the real truth” about Islam. Yet these Church-goers who are putative “followers of Christ” tend to flee in dread at any thought of issuing corresponding publications relating to the exposure of the contents of the Babylonian Talmud and the creed predicated upon it. America's child-molestation epidemic has a silent partner, in which the churches and the media are complicit.
We state these facts out of love for all people, and in particular Judaic persons, for surely the first victims of the halacha at issue are Judaic boys who are under the authority of the Torah she beal peh (תורהשבעלפה)— the oral law of the Pharisaic “sages” — which is the source of the sacred texts of the Mishnah and Gemara which comprise the Talmud Bavli.
By Michael Hoffman: Judaism Discovered: an encyclopedic reference text on Orthodox Judaism intended for specialists. Judaism’s Strange Gods: a condensation of the preceding book intended for the general reader.
By Alexander McCaul, Professor of Hebrew and Rabbinic Literature at King’s College, London: The Talmud Tested, with an introduction by Michael Hoffman.