During the Tisza-Eszlar blood libel trial in 1883, when August Rohling undertook to attest on oath that Jews practiced ritual murder, Bloch attacked him in the press. He challenged Rohling's competence as a scholar, accused him of lying, and offered him 3, 000 florins for translating a random page of the Talmud. Rohling was forced to sue Bloch for libel, but after two years' investigations withdrew his action 13 days before the trial was due to open...
Israel and the Nations, 1927 (tr. from German Israel und die Voelker, 1922) is a compendium of apologetics based on the evidence of the experts in connection with the Rohling trial. The author’s primary goal was to put together all the arguments of Jew-baiting based upon religion and religious writings, all the slanders circulated against the Talmud, the Shulchan Aruch, and other literary monuments of Judaism, all the innumerable textual falsifications, perpetrated against them, and to explain their nature and origin.
When prepared as a book, this work was not planned as a controversial weapon, but as a source of information and reference for all those who are in quest of enlightenment. The provisions of Canonical Law, the enunciations of the Church Fathers, and the maxims of Moral Theology are often quoted for comparative purposes.
The German work Israel und die Voelker of Rabbi Bloch was translated into English by Dr. Leon Kellner and revised by Mr. Harry Schneidermann.
the Author -- Israel and the Nations
Laws of Mine and Thine
Excerpt from the Book -- Israel and the Nations I. Fear and Love. Wellhausen, in the chapter Jewish Piety of his History
of the Israelites and Jews, says: The motive of morals by which they become religious is the
fear of God. God is a severe master. He rules vassals whom he calls from the
dust, and again changes into dust. The desire for an impressive formula for the new idea of God
appearing in the world together with Christianity, and for a new cognition of
God led Wellhausen to the proposition that “the lesson of Christ set the motive
of love against the fear which guided the Jewish conceptions of God” by
comparing the relation of God and man to that of father and child. Wellhausen bears the Old Testament an irreconcilable grudge
because at every step he feels the dependence of Christianity on Judaism; the
futile struggle against this dependence misleads him. The poetical and the
Prophetic books of the Bible are full of the love of God.
I. Fear and Love.
Wellhausen, in the chapter Jewish Piety of his History of the Israelites and Jews, says:
The motive of morals by which they become religious is the fear of God. God is a severe master. He rules vassals whom he calls from the dust, and again changes into dust.
The desire for an impressive formula for the new idea of God appearing in the world together with Christianity, and for a new cognition of God led Wellhausen to the proposition that “the lesson of Christ set the motive of love against the fear which guided the Jewish conceptions of God” by comparing the relation of God and man to that of father and child.
Wellhausen bears the Old Testament an irreconcilable grudge because at every step he feels the dependence of Christianity on Judaism; the futile struggle against this dependence misleads him. The poetical and the Prophetic books of the Bible are full of the love of God.
Henry Ward Beecher wrote on this saying:
The Bible characterizes the relation of God to Israel at one time as that of a bride to her bridegroom, at another of a wife to her husband, at another as that of a child to father or mother.
The ingenious linguist Karl Abel once wrote a very interesting essay (1888) Onthe conception of love in some old and modern languages. The material for his most interesting investigation are the words of the different peoples. He sets out with the idea “that the words of a language express the most usual and most deeply felt thoughts of a people”, “that in them the most essential traits of spiritual life are rendered in a genuine and undubitable expression, that its natural disposition, its experiences, its history are reflected in these authentic records”. He chose the notion of love for his investigations because the varying forms of it in the different languages are fit to characterize most accurately and deeply the spirit of the various peoples. “Describing so powerful and yet so tender a feeling they permit a deep insight into the heart of those who created and use them.” Finally the author comes to the conclusion that the ripest, the deepest understanding of the notion of love has been disclosed to the mind of Jewish people; that the Hebrew word for “love”, reveals the highest conception of love in its three aspects: the love of God to man, the love of man to God, the love of man to man.
As evidence of the widest expansion of the commandment of love in Judaism the author quotes Deut. 10:18, 19 where a stirring picture of the love of the Jew to God is to be found. . . .
II. The Personal Relation to God.
Nothing is more significant than the fact that while, for instance, the Christian, whenever he prays, folds his hands and kneels before God, the orthodox Jew prays without folding his hands, and without kneeling. He stands before his God from whom he never feels estranged, of whose fatherly love he is always sure. Once only in the whole year, on the occasion of the great confession of sins, he kneels down before God.
The student of comparative psychology who desires to know what conception of God prevailed among the Jewish masses had best turn to the countries of the East where Jewish settlements are least affected by European customs. The orthodox Jew will bear the most intense agony rather than transgress a religious precept; he observes the religious duties with a zeal, a self-denial, and a devotion of which there is no parallel outside this sphere.He is quite untouched by skepticism. Let us watch him in the synagogue, in the “House of God”. Europeans, high or low, rich or poor, scholars as well as illiterate people—when they enter a church they are overcome by awe, hey tread softly, are careful in their measured steps, dare not utter a loud word, or make a noisy movement, stay rigidly in their places—their behaviour is appropriate to the sacredness of the place. All this is not observed by the devout Jew in the “House of God”. He has no gloves, during a pause in the service he chats with his neighbour, at one time he is here, at another there, he moves about noisily so that the hubbub in a
“Jewish school” has become proverbial. For centuries attempts have been made, through various threats of punishment, to introduce more decorum into the Jewish service. Vain endeavour! The orthodox Jew who, when calling on a friend, is well-mannered and sober, and observes the proprieties, is not to be prevailed upon to be equally demure in the synagogue. Here he is in the “House of God”—in the fatherly home. The holiness of the place does not intimidate him; he loves his God; his God loves him. He need not put any restraint on himself. If I am not mistaken Ernest Renan is the author of the saying, “To the Christian the religion is his sweetheart, to the Jew it is his wedded wife”. This remark reveals more knowledge of history, folklore, and Judaism than is piled up in the bulky books of the German critics of the Bible.
"The most elaborate book of this nature... a careful and minute dissection of all the important slanders against the Jews and a solid proof of their utter absurdity."
--The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia
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