August 17, 2019

Tracing Judaism Back Through Time

“Is Judaism a tradition linked directly to the Bible, taking us back to Mount Sinai, i.e., the original word of God? Or is it a general code of law that slowly evolved over the years into what it is today?

If we delve into the Talmud, we will probably get lost quickly because of its great richness of teachings and explanations, and most importantly, arguments about almost everything under the Sun. How can we distinguish between what is divine and what was generated by the sages; what is original and what evolved later?

Many historians have attempted to answer these questions. For every historian we have an equal number of theories – maybe more – which leaves us where we began.

A group of people known as the Bnei Menashe might help us shed light on this mystery.

Let’s go back to 1891, when the British Empire colonized Manipur in northeast India. Missionaries began to spread Christianity throughout the region, as they had done all over the empire. A small group of people who called themselves the Tribe of Manasseh resided in Manipur, waiting for the prophesied return to Zion. Though much of the Christian teachings were familiar to them, some of the tribe resisted the push to convert, as they felt connected to the Hebrew Bible’s teachings but were not comfortable with those of the New Testament.”

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