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Israeli Educational TV 23 Documentary

Narrated by Avirama Golan [A"G]. Broadcast 2011.08.09. English translation copyright © 2011 by Yirmeyahu Ben-David

Biblical Mâ•shiakh

Prof. Knohl [P"K]:

, , , . , "" . .

(, as a name, appears in the Bible, and it is related principally to two men. On the one hand, in Tor•âh the metonym "" is related to the Ko•hein Gâ•dol. The Ko•hein Gâ•dol is the Ko•hein as a result of the fact that he in the oil of in order that holiness would be irradiated upon him, which made it possible for him to enter to his work in the Mish•kân.)

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of the other parts of the Bible is ha-Mëlëkh, ha-Mëlëkh that currently officiates-as-Ko•hein in practice is called by the name "," as a result of the fact that he, too, like the Ko•hein Gâ•dol, , in the oil of .

Yәkhëz•qeil 44-45 describes only the latter—the Mëlëkh—in the eternal, spiritual, realm—where Dâ•wid ha-Mëlëkh still lives; implying satisfying the office of Ko•hein Gâ•dol as well. Sacrifices that offers are necessarily different–non-physical–in the eternal, non-physical, realm. No Ko•hein Gâ•dol is found there, and would have no function, in the eternal, non-physical, realm.

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The name "" doesn't appear—perhaps [there is] one out-of-the-box exception in Bible—in relation to a future figure. In other words, this [is] a metonym for someone who officiates-as-Ko•hein by function, whether Ko•hein Gâ•dol or Mëlëkh—currently. However, it is not a future figure. The metonym "" for a future figure of a future is after the Biblical period. It is not found in the Biblical period.

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A"G: What happened? When does become what we know today from the song, ", " of Bën-Dâ•wid?

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Prof. Knohl: When, it may be said, the present was so bad--a nadir and unstable--and, in fact, they despaired of realizing hope relative to contemporary leaders, then the despair and helplessness led to deferment of expectations to the future. The future would be wonderful, rosy and it would shine; and at its cent shall stand the extraordinary figure, the almost divine, of the future that is .

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A"G: How do you see the intersection with Christianity?

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Prof. Knohl: Ok, Christianity grew up from within Judaism, and the point of contact and its intersection with Judaism is the point of belief, as a result of the fact that, differentiating from Judaism, where theme in it is very important. However, we won't say that this was the central theme of Judaism. [By contrast,] Christianity is built around the idea of , around the figure of Yesh"u, who was a Jewish leader. And the fate of Yesh"u and the story of Yesh"u, this is the heart of Christianity; and this grew from Judaic , without a shadow of a doubt.

However, though his contrast is correct, the centrality or non-centrality of , is not even in the top 5 distinctions between Judaism and Christianity. Apparently unaware of these essential, more fundamental and pivotal distinctions, Prof. Knohl muddles several issues by failing to distinguish the 4th century Yesh"u of the Church from the 1st century Ribi Pәrush•i, Ribi Yәho•shua. What he says is true of Ribi Yәho•shua but false concerning Yesh"u. Christianity –a post-135 C.E. through 4th century C.E. phenomenon, grew up from within its native Roman Hellenism by syncretizing a few Judaic concepts into their Hellenism and redacting them into the stories they picked up from Greek-speaking Hellenist Jews—the only Jews that spoke their language.

For the identical failure, Prof. Knohl errs in falsely stating that "Christianity grew up from within Judaism" when, in fact, it was the Nәtzâr•im, not Christianity, that grew up from within Judaism. However, he is correct that "Christianity is built around the idea of , around the figure of Yesh"u, who was a [Christian-redacted Hellenized make-over] Jewish leader. And the fate of Yesh"u and the story of Yesh"u, this is the heart of Christianity."

Further, it was the Nәtzâr•im, not Christianity, that "grew from Judaic , without a shadow of a doubt."

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A"G: Is there more influence of Christian Messianism for us today?

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P"K: I think there is here a symbiosis. And when we look at all kinds of manifestations of contemporary Judaic , without going into details, it's possible to see it. Suddenly, I see some page in Beit ha-kәnësët, on ërëv Shab•ât, and I read about some figure, like this or another, in the camp of Israel. Then I say: Oh, this is exactly what is written by... what Paul said in the NT. Now, I don't know if the author really read Paul. Perhaps, he was influenced in other ways, but the resemblance is [sometimes] very, very big.

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A"G: I suppose that you're talking, among other things, about the returning tәshuv•âh, "N-Nakh-Nakhman," movement of the Breslovers? What is there in this movement? Whether there are [and, if so, which] foundations in it?

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P"K: I don't have any personal expertise about the Breslovers. However, at the time I read the book of Prof. Weiss about Rabbi Nakhman, and what very [much] impressed me [was] the walking to the extremes, the motif of standing on the border, on the extreme-edge. And there's something in that always leads to some kind of extremes, to some kind of anarchy. And the urge is also an urge of demolishing like the old world, and the question of demolishing of the old and the building of the new necessitates very many explosive substances.

It's neither intrinsic to original , nor even acceptable in most cases, to destroy and displace present structures with new structures. That would be displacement theology like Christianity and Islam. Rather, the spiritual principle (a non-physical concept that cannot be realized in physical structures) symbolized in the original tav•nit must be restored to its pristine intent. Demolishing, in most cases, is NOT necessary to precede, and in many cases would preclude, in Nәtzâr•im thinking.

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A"G: There is an inherent contradiction here. In fact, the that is created from within the religion, from within the ultimate religious order, entails the demolishing of that [religious] order itself.

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There is a big danger in this, and the movements that grew up amidst the Jewish kindred, like the Shabbatais and Frankists, truly led to demolishing of the framework to create a completely different leadership from the accepted Rabbinic leadership; and finally, in both cases, to converting-out of [the Judaic] religion.

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This shows the extent to which issue has a foundation of destruction and [it is] a foundation that is decidedly upsetting and scary. According to certain perceptions, you must demolish everything that exists. And perhaps according to other perceptions, more extreme, not only must you demolish what exists, moreover, if we use the analogy of Yaaqov Frank, "In order to conquer the city you must enter canals of the sewer." You cannot reach without wallowing in the filth of the sewer, and this Frank did in a very original way. And this [is] the perception that, in my opinion, I tried to show this in my book, "In the Footsteps of ." This is the formula in its first formulation, within the framework of the Qum•rân faction; which was also the faction that lived in very profound tension. And there, for the first time, is the perceived formula of the suffering .

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The suffering servant of Yәsha•yâhu, the "despised and of men." [According to Qum•rân scroll 4Q471b] he says about himself at the same time that he was a friend of ha-Mëlëkh, that he, in fact, was the friend of Eil; and he calls himself, no more and no less: "Who is like me among the Eil•im?" "Who is like me among the Eil•im?" [In contrast to "Who is like You among the Eil•im" in Shәm•ot 15.11] Thus [again according to Qum•rân scroll 4Q471b; see also " " Stone, he says about himself. Then there is here [in Qum•rân scroll 4Q471b], for the first time, in in the history of thought, the Judaic integration of the divine with the suffering servant of Yәsha•yâhu. In my opinion, this attachment, [i.e., suffering servant with ] that is found in the Qum•rân scrolls, is the opening to the whole idea of the suffering and of the catastrophe and the demolishing as a necessary condition for the coming of the .

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