From the Persepolis Fortification Arc Handlist of Greek Manuscripts in the British Libra Open Access Image Database: Archive ouverte de photog Rocznik Orientalistyczny Architecture and Asceticism: Open Access Digital Library: Open Patrologia Graeca 1.
Amalthea oder Museum der Kuns In the Bible the newly-formed Israelite nation, after the exodus from Egypt, was solemnly admonished again and again that the alternative before it consisted of the worship of God, which would prolong life, or idolatry which would spell death. A corporate existence was only assured so long as the choice was given to the former, the adoption of heathenish cults involving certain destruction. Hence from the earliest period of Jewish history, the mode of worship followed by the people was a matter of life and death in the strictest sense of the phrase.
Experience soon proved how great was the temptation to imitate the religious practices of surrounding nations, even at a time when the Israelites inhabited a land of their own. The difficulty of resisting alien influences grew much more severe in periods of dispersion when Jews were living in a heathen environment; and the Rabbis had to give serious attention to the problem of how to counteract the forces of assimilation which threatened to submerge the Jewish communities settled in countries where idol-worship was the State religion.
Their method of solving this problem forms, in the main, the subject-matter of this Tractate, and the measures they devised must in fairness be judged in the light of the conditions which prevailed in that era. If some of their regulations appear drastic to the modern mind, displaying an apparent narrowness of view, it should be remembered that they were grappling with a grievous danger which imperilled the very existence of not only their people, but also of the spiritual heritage of their forefathers.
We have to visualise small minorities of monotheists heroically withstanding the law of gravitation which tended to cause their absorption in [page xii] the mass of the people around them who were polytheists and idolaters. To make their resistance at all possible of success extreme measures were essential.
There could not be the slightest compromise, nor must the smallest loophole be left open. To make their resistance at all possible of success extreme measures were essential.
There could not be the slightest compromise, nor must the smallest loophole be left open. In this matter, if anywhere, a fence — and a very high one — had to be made round the Torah.
An unscalable barrier must be erected behind which the Jew would be protected against the allurement of his neighbour's rites and beliefs, with their strong appeal to the baser side of human nature. To achieve this end the Rabbis denounced idol-worship as a cardinal sin.
Whereas a Jew was permitted to violate the ordinances of the Torah under threat of death, an exception was made of idolatry, immorality and bloodshed [ Sanh. In addition to teaching this abstract doctrine, the Rabbis had to formulate practical rules which would have the effect of diminishing the likelihood of a Jew becoming contaminated by heathenism.
When engaged upon this task, they kept before them the principle that prevention was better than cure, which they expressed in the aphorism, 'Keep off, we say to a Nazirite; go round the vineyard and come not near to it' [ fol.
Talmud Abodah Zarah (Soncino Babylonian Talmud Book 35) - Kindle edition by A. Cohen, A. Mishcon, Isidore Epstein. Download it once and read it on your. Talmud Nazir (Soncino Babylonian Talmud Book 27) - Kindle edition by B. D. Klien, Isidore Talmud Abodah Zarah (Soncino Babylonian Talmud Book 35).
The chief deterrents they elaborated are: He could not dispose of it in any way which would in the slightest degree cause profit to accrue to him.