Yohanan b. Zakkai and the Galilee Persecution

Yohanan b. Zakkai is almost certainly the law enforcement officer involved in the Galilee Episode.

The conclusive evidence are the four passages from Talmud. According to Jacob Neusner two of the three passages he collected are reliably attributed to YbZ himself. A fourth passage, attributed to R. Yohanan, defines the word “grind” as “sexual transgression”. “Grinding” is used of the women in Luke 17:34.

Six years ago I posted about Rabbi Yohanan. You can read that post by clicking https://wp.me/p1biq8-5z2.

Since then I have refined my thesis regarding Ribaz. I now refrain from talking much about a “Q Community” or about an anti-gay “campaign”. Allow me to explain why.

First, I don’t discuss evidence of a Q Community. There probably was something that could legitimately be called a “Q Community”, but that discussion is not my immediate concern.

I also don’t argue that Ribaz waged an anti-gay campaign. He may have waged such a purity campaign, but I only argue the evidence of one legal case, the case referred to in Luke 17:34-35.

The title of the 2014 post, “A famous rabbi destroys the lesbian and gay Q community”, is only completely inaccurate on one point.

The gays and lesbians among Jesus’ fans were not completely destroyed. The sexually nonconforming gentiles were not seized and executed. Only the Jewish transgressors were subject to Torah, and Philip the Tetrarch recognized the authority of YbZ to deal with them according to local law.

Frankly, I knew that I might be discussing antisemitism at some point. Whenever you discuss the sacred books about which a group has a proprietary sense, you run the risk of being seen as an outsider or intruder.

Fundamentalist Christians sometimes feel proprietary about the Bible. Hence the title, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism. Perhaps you’ve heard someone say, “You can’t understand this. Spiritual truth is spiritually discerned. When you’re born again, then you can understand.”

One more general observation. The first time we hear an idea that’s new to us, our spontaneous reaction is to say no to it. When you are presenting s new concept (or product) to someone, expect the first response to be “no” and don’t be upset.

About Ron Goetz

Husband, Father, Author
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