Aggadah and Christianity
Aggadah and Christianity
Aggadah and Christianity
Roy Blizzard III © 2013
Aggadah, an Aramaic word, אַגָּדָה, commonly means folk tales or folklore, but realistically, it has the dual implication of “expanding” or “drawing out,” and “binding” or “drawing in”. Its Hebrew cognate is הַגָּדָה, HaAggadah, usually meaning "the telling". However, the Hebrew root also has the meaning of "to flow," and means the transmission of ideas.
Aggadah, refers to the homiletic - derashah (the application of the general principles of rhetoric to public preaching) and non-legalistic exegetical texts (texts of the Bible other than the first five) in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism that, after hundreds of years after Jesus’ day, found itself in the Talmud and Midrash. As a general rule, Aggadah is a compilation of rabbinic homilies that incorporates folklore, historical anecdotes, moral exhortations, and practical advice in various spheres, from business to medicine.
An example, from English, is from Ben Franklin; "A penny saved is a penny earned". An example from Jesus is: “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” (Mark 6:4 KJV).
The first derashot (plural) were preached by Ezra in the 5th century B.C. Ezra followed the reading of the Torah texts with an explanation for the common people in their vernacular. By doing so, Ezra’s Aggadic teachings communicated the forefather’s traditions to the listeners and simultaneously expanded their understanding of the Biblical text. This process served to strengthen their religious experience and grow their feelings of spiritual connection with God.
The Aggadah is connected to Judaism's Oral law -פה שבעלתורה. These traditions helped to provide an authoritative interpretation of the Written Law or Torah. For the Rabbis and Jesus, much of the Aggadah was understood to contain both a hidden, allegorical dimension, as well as its overt, literal sense.
For the Rabbis, when a literal interpretation contradicted rationality, the Rabbis sought an allegorical explanation based upon common sense.
While Jesus evidently believed and taught much in Judaism that was folklore, such as the rubbing of spittle on the blind eyes, so as to prove that the first born son of a father had healing qualities in his spit, the following question arises; can we trust the Aggadah of the Church?
Now you may ask yourself what exactly would classify as folkloric or Aggadic teachings in the church? Well, things that are taught as doctrine in the church that are not necessarily true which are based upon scripture, or maybe they are based upon an errant understanding of scripture. Such illustrations have been passed down for generations within the church.
If there are Aggadic teachings within Christianity can they hold up to scrutiny? In other words, just because we want to believe some things, does this make them true and are they beneficial for us to continue to hold dear to our heart? Could they in fact be detrimental to us both spiritually and physically?
The answer may shock many readers, but most of what Christians believe is simply false theories based upon erroneous readings of the Biblical text and total misunderstandings of Judaism. An example of this is how the world got its present understanding of the races and languages. The theory that gave rise to the beliefs that the races and languages started at the Tower of Babel is based on a total misunderstanding and misreading of the Hebrew text of the Bible. (For a complete understanding of this story see: A Rethinking of the Tower of Babel on hubpages.com) Another example is the concept of who is an enemy based upon the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:43 in the Sermon on the Mount. This word, enemy, has been mistranslated and has helped give rise to a pacifist mentality when in fact it doesn’t mean enemy. (For a complete understanding of this story see: Love Your Enemy? A Short Commentary on the Greek and Hebrew of Matthew 5:43 on hubpages.com)
Even some beliefs such as the “Oneness of God”, held by Jews and Christians alike are based upon someone’s misunderstanding or mistranslations and then passed down to us for centuries without us ever questioning why? This one erroneous belief has held most of the believing world hostage for millennia. (For a complete understanding of this story see: Are Jesus and God One? and see: What Does the Shema Mean to Me on hubpages.com)
As a group, we must come to a realization that almost every word in Christianity has been mistranslated and, therefore, most of what believers think is true, consequently, is not. If this concept is true, then what does this mean for the average ‘Joe Pew’ sitter? Does it mean we will all go to hell because we are not following God properly? No, but it means you are in danger of being abused and enslaved by teachers, pastors, government officials, even family members, etc, etc, because one can’t rightly interpret what they are teaching. If one is being taught lies, then who is the Father of them? The Bible says that the father of lies is HaSatan. He would love to keep people ignorant of the truth of God so they can’t achieve what God has created them for.