Notebook 2: Religion & Originality


(As an appendix to Humility is Endless, the seven-part Notebook is a collection of connected quotations from scripture, interpretation, and history, which further illustrates the destructive nature of fundamentalist belief and religious certainty of any kind. My own commentary is the thread running through them all.)

One of the ways in which all religions justify their claims to truth and originality is by placing themselves outside the narrative of historical development or the present moment. As other writers have put it:

There is a sense in which the very notion of tradition seems inconsistent with the idea of history as movement and change. For tradition is thought to be ancient, hallowed by age, unchanged since it was first established once upon a time. It does not have a history, since history implies the appearance, at a certain point in time, of that which had not been there before. According to the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius, orthodox Christian doctrine did not really have a history, having been true eternally and taught primitively…. Roman Catholic polemics has frequently contrasted the variations of Protestantism with the stable and unchanging doctrine of Roman Catholicism. It seems that theologians have been willing to trace the history of doctrines and doctrinal systems which they found to be in error, but that the normative traditions had to be protected from the relativity of having a history or of being, in any decisive sense, a product of a history.[1]

…the basic rule of scriptural invention [is this]: always ascribe as much as possible to early figures: older is better, creativity cannot be admitted.[2]

What has been said of the effectiveness of ancient Greek mystery religions—“There is no imperium without the arcana imperii,”[3] no authority except with great age—is echoed by an Hasidic Jew living in New York City in the 1980s: “If we seem so different from other Jews it’s more because of what has happened to them than anything that happened to us. We’ve stayed the same; it’s they who’ve changed.”[4]

Yet this is never actually true in the way in which literalists or fundamentalists suggest. Like all other cultural forces, religion is always responding to the historical moment:

A working religion develops out of men’s needs and ways of life, and the natural world in which they find themselves determines the images which they use for supernatural powers and their picture of the Other World.[5]

Any tradition must be regularly reinforced by current interests or it will perish by drying up—or be transformed into something irrelevant.[6]

Even searching for an “origin” to a religion as old as Hinduism is fruitless, because such a search can only occur within a theological or political (or academic) context:

there are seldom any pure categories in any human situation, certainly not by the moment when history first catches up with them. Long before 2000 BCE, the Indus Valley Civilization was already a mix of cultures, as was Vedic culture at that time, and eventually the two mixes mixed together, and mixed with other mixes. Hybridity defies binary oppositions and understand reality as a fluid rather than a series of solid, separate boxes.[7]

The refrain is this: there is simply no reliable or coherent way to claim one religion or denomination or form of practice is any more “ancient” or “original” than any other, since any living religion is necessarily a changing religion. And so there is no basis for condemning other religions on the grounds of not holding to an “original” or “ancient” revelation, since no religion ever does. The idea of searching for something “original” or “ancient” is itself a historical phenomenon, and has nothing to do with how a religion appears, develops, and reacts to life in the present moment in order to remain relevant and alive. Each of the following quotations suggests the folly, and attendant human suffering (whether of death or simply mental anguish) of assuming otherwise.


The veneration of what appears to be ancient, and its use in promulgating new ideas or agendas, is itself ancient. A text from Ptolemaic Egypt (305-30 BCE) purports to tell the story of one of the sons of Ramses II, who ruled a millennia earlier, from 1279-1213. In the story, spells are mentioned which “Thoth wrote with his own hand, when he came down following the other gods.”[8] A scholar of Egyptian religion writes of the Egyptians’

irrational belief in the omnipotence of old texts. For them, the quest for ancient writings entailed far more than a mere preoccupation with the quaint spirit of the past or even a traditional attachment to old ways of thought and deed. In fact, it reveals their conviction that priceless secrets were hidden, forgotten, or lost in dusty archives—secrets useful not only for the advice they could yield, but also truly omnipotent, capable of granting their discoverer a means of overpowering the forces of the universe.[9]

On the proliferation of mysteries in Greece and Rome, one writer remarks that, “All these initiatory cults boasted of an immemorial antiquity even if their establishment, in certain cases, did not date back even a century.”[10]  

Meanwhile, a twentieth century Jewish philosopher and Biblical scholar claimed that “Israelite religion was an original creation of the people of Israel. It was absolutely different from anything the pagan world ever knew,”[11] even though nowadays it is widely recognized that,

The more we learn about official religion and especially about popular or folk religion in the entire biblical period, the more we see that it is an outgrowth of Canaanite religion, no matter how much Yahwism eventually transformed it later in the Monarchy. The Israelite sacrificial system goes back to Canaanite culture. Even the liturgical calendar has a Canaanite and agricultural basis. The old Canaanite Fall harvest and New Year’s festivals celebrated the bounty of Nature and the onset of the annual life-giving rains. They became theologized in Israel as Succoth, when the harvesters lived temporarily in booths in the fields; Rosh ha-Shanah, the celebration of the New Year; and Yom Kippur, or the day of repentance.[12]

Thus, Solomon’s temple as described in the book of Kings seems to have a floor plan altogether typical of West Semitic temples such as the ones excavated at ‘Ein Dara’ or Tel Ta’yinat in Syria; the different classes of sacrifices offered in Israelite temples used some of the same names found in ancient Canaanite texts; the priests were designated by the same word; and so forth. Indeed, even Israel’s way of referring to its God parallels phrases and appellations used for Canaanite gods in texts discovered in northern Syria.
It is therefore not surprising that, like Solomon’s temple, which eventually replaced it, the desert tabernacle that God, commanded by the Israelites to build (Exodus 25-27) should—in its dimensions, appurtenances, and the sacrifices that were to be offered within its precincts—resemble the sanctuaries found at neighboring sites in the ancient Near East and the worship conducted within them.[13]

Judaism, of course, can give a genealogy of their holy book quite easily, but none of them are the same. One of them runs like this:

And who recorded [the biblical books]? Moses recorded his book, including the portion of Balaam, and Job. Joshua recorded his book and eight verses of the Pentateuch. Samuel recorded his book and Judges and Ruth. David recorded the Book of Psalms with the help of ten elders: Adam, Melchizedek, Abraham, Moses, Heman, Yeduthan, Asaph, and the three sons of Korah. Jeremiah recorded his book and the Book of Kings and Lamentations. Hezekiah and his assistants recorded Isaiah, Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes. The Men of the Great Assembly recorded Ezekiel and the Twelve Major Prophets, Daniel, and the Scroll of Esther. Ezra recorded his book and the genealogies of Chronicles up to his own time.[14]

This while the Temple Scroll of the last centuries BCE, purported “to contain the actual words of Yahweh, unmediated by a human being” [15] (just as the Quran would claim eight centuries later), and the Hindu Tantras “are not ascribed to human authors; they are discourses by deities…”[16]

It is fine for the faithful to hold to such beliefs instinctually, or in the context of personal devotion, but as we know, these notions become destructive when taken as proof against other faiths.

Sometimes, when one religion or denomination has no way of claiming to be chronologically earlier than another, they will nevertheless claim prominence by saying they have come into possession of the genuine and earliest teachings of their particular tradition. During the Reformation and after, various Protestant denominations claimed to be reviving the “real” and “original” Christianity that Catholicism had abandoned; similarly, Mahayana Buddhism took the same strategy when confronting the clearly-older form of Theravada Buddhism:

[The scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism were presented] as teachings delivered by the Buddha … [and] were said to have been kept secret until the Sangha [Buddhist community] had matured to the point where it was capable of understanding their deeper message. In any case, the new sutras were written anonymously mainly in Sanskrit from around the first century CE up until the eighth century…. [and] as time passed … some of the sutras became more polemical as they stressed the “superiority” of the Mahayana over the older tradition…[17]

There the Mahayana bodhisattva Manjusri tells the forgetful (Hinayana) Maitreya that this new True Law is no devilish innovation, but the most ancient of Dharmas taught by an ancient Buddha…. Thus the T’ien-t’ain school claimed unchallengeable authority based on direct transmission from the Buddha.[18]

Very frequently, one religious tradition will try to prove themselves and denounce others by claiming their founders predated the figures of other faiths:

Taoists claimed that Lao-tzu must have lived before the Buddha, that he had gone to India to instruct the Buddha, and that Buddhism was only a corrupt version of Taoism. In the debate of 520 at Loyang the Buddhists insisted on the temporal priority of the Buddha and countered the Taoist theory with the claim that Lao-tzu (and even Confucius) was only a manifestation of the Buddha (or certain Bodhisattvas).[19]

Similarly, various Jewish authors in antiquity claimed the wisdom of Greece came from Greek contact with the Old Testament:

A Jewish writer of the mid-second century BCE named Eupolemus picked up the tradition, well known to the Greeks, that Greeks learned their alphabet from the Phoenicians, but added the novel twist that the Phoenicians in turn got their alphabet from the Jews. Artapanus, probably a contemporary of Eupolemus, attributed to Moses—“he was called Mousaios by the Greeks; this Moses became teacher of Orpheus”—the invention of “ships, and machines for lifting stones … and philosophy.”… [This while the Jewish historian Josephus] portrays Plato as having followed to some degree the example of Moses.[20]

Such ideas continued with the early Christian church fathers: “Following Origen, Ambrose claims that Plato’s myth of love’s birth in the garden of Zeus was taken from the Song of Songs,”[21] and further:

Probably the most widespread theory proposed by the fathers to account for the truth in paganism was the suggestion that it had come from the Old Testament. Here they were following a precedent set by Jewish apologists. Aritobulus claimed that both Plato and Pythagoras had read Moses; Philo traced various Greek doctrines to a biblical origin; and Josephus maintained that the Jewish Bible was the source of many of the most profound insights in pagan thought. In the same spirit, Justin saw Moses as the source for the doctrine of creation in Plato’s Timaeus…. Augustine, too, considered the possibility, which he had learned from Ambrose, that Plato had become acquainted with the Bible while both he and Jeremiah were in Egypt; later on, Augustine withdrew his explanation on historical and chronological grounds, but continued to feel that at least some acquaintance with the Bible was the only possible explanation for Plato’s cosmology and ontology.[22]

On the other hand, when such tactics didn’t work, Christian apologists could claim that the story of the Greek god Dionysus—who predates and shares some characteristics with Jesus—“was invented by ‘demons’ to correspond with a certain prophecy in Genesis (49:10), in order to bring the true Christ into doubt.”[23] The same explanation was brought forward by the Spanish Conquistadors a thousand years later, when they encountered the religions of Central and South America, some of which showed striking parallels to Christianity.

The Jewish concept of a written Torah as well as an oral one—that is, of an oral tradition of interpretation given by God to Moses on Sinai and passed down by word of mouth—is one of the most magnificent examples of this tendency of adapting and changing religious attitudes to the specific historical moment, and claiming such newness as actually very old.

It was only in the period after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, and the centuries that followed with the rise of what we consider to be normative Judaism today, that the idea of an Oral Torah truly took root. The new class of religious specialists, the Rabbis,

in order to guarantee the authority of their teachings, occasionally appealed to the divine origin and nature of the oral law. It was only in amoraic times, however [c. 200-500 CE], that the full midrashic basis for these ideas was worked out, with the rabbis asserting that the oral Torah and its authority were mentioned in the written law.[24]

And the medieval Jewish mystics of Kabbalah could say the same of their teachings and insights, whether in attributing one of the earliest Kabbalistic texts to the famed first century Rabbi Akiva,[25] or to much earlier sources:

Many kabbalists denied the existence of any kind of historical development in the Kabbalah. They saw it as a kind of primordial revelation that was accorded to Adam or the early generations and that endured, although new revelations were made from time to time, particularly when the tradition had been either forgotten or interrupted…. It became widely accepted that the Kabbalah was the esoteric part of the Oral Law given to Moses at Sinai.[26]

It was with Kabbalah that a Jewish belief in reincarnation first appeared, so that where previous teachers and scholars merely claimed to be descended from historical figures, now they also claimed to be reincarnations of them:

The power and authority of the rebbes have always been strengthened by the belief that many of them have lived in earlier reincarnations as sainted Jewish leaders. Reb Asher, a Stoliner rebbe, was believed by his followers to have inherited King David’s soul. A leader of the Apter Hasidim announced one Yom Kippur that he had been a high priest in Jerusalem; and Moshe Teitelbaum, a Satmarer leader, once revealed to his amazed follows that in earlier lives he had been a sheep in Jacob’s flock, and had participated in the Exodus and witnessed the destruction of the tablets. He also said that in his third reincarnation he had witnessed the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C., but he declined to say who he was. When it was suggested that he had been the prophet Jeremiah, he did not deny it.[27]

When Christianity appeared, the apparent novelty and “newness” of the tradition was hard to avoid. And so:

When Christianity was finally in a position to present itself on favorable terms to the pagan world, it was important to be able to do so not as an upstart religion but as the fulfillment of an ancient tradition, one that predated pagan heroes like Cicero, Socrates, Homer. Christians had no choice but to invoke their Jewish provenance, but that raised another problem. What were pagans to make of the clear rejection of those same Christian claims by Jews? How could the Gospel base its validity on its being the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy, yet be repudiated by the holders of title to that prophecy?[28]

The answer was to deny the Jews any authority concerning their own scripture. Writing to Jews, Justin Martyr could say that passages in the Old Testament about Jesus “are contained in your Scriptures, or rather not yours, but ours.”[29]

“In these and other ways, the church took possession of the Old Testament—or, at least, of those portions of the Old Testament that were susceptible of Christian interpretation.”[30] Christianity had replaced Judaism, and to make this point even more clear, until very recently even the Jewishness of Jesus has been downplayed, or completely denied, by those who wish their Messiah to also be the bearer of entirely original ideas:

In the nineteenth century, Jesus was commonly believed to be free of the taint of Jewish blood first because the Virgin Birth protected him from Joseph’s Jewishness. Then the doctrine of Immaculate Conception (1854), which declared that Mary was conceived without sin, inoculated him against the Jewish blood of his maternal grandparents.[31]

As important a figure as the philosopher Johann Fichte (1762-1814), for example, had posited a Jesus who was not Jewish at all, and throughout the century theologians followed suit.[32]

The term for such verbal maneuvers—verbal maneuvers that unsurprisingly resulted in centuries of bloodshed—is supersessionism, which is defined as:

…the traditional Christian belief that since Christ’s coming the Church has taken the place of the Jewish people as God’s chosen community, and that God’s covenant with the Jews is now over and cone. By extension, the term can be used to refer to any interpretation of Christian faith generally or the status of the church in particular that claims or implies the abrogation or obsolescence of God’s covenant with the Jewish people…. Although never formally defined as doctrine by the early Church, supersessionism has stood at the center of Christianity’s understanding of its relationship to the Jewish people from antiquity until recent times.[33]

Since the Holocaust, such ideas have been formally repudiated by the Catholic (and other) churches. Nevertheless, we must wonder why it took a Holocaust for such formulations to be questioned, and to wonder why the demonization of an entire people was appealing for so long.

It is especially important to consider because any marginal culture can be so characterized by the ruling elite. Had Christianity been a minority at the advent of Islam, it isn’t hard to imagine a Muslim Europe where Christians were treated as Jews have been. After all, the Quran and Muslim theologians have always held that Islam superseded Judaism and Christianity both—and who is to say whose supersession is right?

To return to Christianity replacing Judaism:

…the more Jewish Jesus was shown to be, the less original and unique he was. If Jesus had simply preached the ordinary Judaism of his day, the foundation of Christianity as a distinctive and unparalleled religion was shattered…[34]

It is difficult, then, to live amid nineteen hundred years of such theology and not at some point end up with the Catechism published by a pro-Nazi Protestant group, in 1941, which said:

Jesus of Nazareth in Galilee demonstrates in his message and behavior a spirit which is opposed in every way to that of Judaism. The fight between him and the Jews became so bitter that it led to his crucifixion. So Jesus cannot have been a Jew. Until today, the Jews persecute Jesus and all who follow him with unreconcilable hatred. By contrast, Aryans in particular can find answers in him to their ultimate questions. So he became the savior of the Germans.[35]

It is irrelevant whether the headline that “Pius XII was Hitler’s Pope” is true; rather, it is simply that the church, with no more basis than any other religion, promulgated theologies which may stand in the abstract, and be convenient and even fulfilling ways for believers to privately conceive of their faith, but applied to the wider world they unsurprisingly lead to great violence:

Pius XII, in the encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi, issued in June 1943 as the roundup of Jews was peaking, declared, “…but on the gibbet of his death Jesus made void the Law with its decrees, [and] fastened the handwriting on the Old Testament to the Cross, establishing the New Testament in His blood… On the cross then the Old Law died, soon to be buried and to be a bearer of death.”[36]

No, the Catholic Church was not responsible for the Holocaust. But when I say that I am only concerned with how religious certainties which cannot be proven nevertheless cause immense amounts of human suffering, this is the best example.

The idea that God suspended or got rid of his covenant with Israel and replaced it with a Christian covenant, is merely a Monday morning explanation, simply the last clause in series of therefores: “Jesus was a Jew we believe to be the messiah, but most Jews disagree; therefore we are no longer Jews; therefore both of us cannot be right; therefore only our interpretation of scripture can be right; therefore the entirety of Jewish interpretation of scripture, including the Covenant, must have been replaced—otherwise, how could the Jews be so wrong?; therefore, Jewish attitudes towards Jesus, and their refusal to see how wrong they are, must be purposeful; therefore, they must have meant to kill Jesus,” and on and on and on.

And how many Jews have suffered as a result of these “therefores”? How many Christians have died because of another religion’s set of “therefores”? How much suffering has been the result of such “therefores,” and the inability to conceive of a God who just might actually be presenting us with a real mystery that has no answer?

The justification of practice and belief by long tradition and lineage is also found in the history of Christian monasticism, which is filled with erroneous claims such as, “If you will consult the evidences of the Scriptures, you will find that they all seem to say plainly that the Church had its beginning in the monastic life,”[37] and “the first Christians in Jerusalem were actually a cenobitic monastic community and that it was the laxity of later ages which allowed for the split between the true monastic Christians and their second-rate lay-counterparts.”[38]

The historical truth, however, is much more fascinating: Christian monasticism didn’t appear until late in the fourth century, but was immediately of great influence; and the great history of monasticism in the Middle Ages is not one of unity according to a supposed ancient tradition, but rather is a cauldron of competing Rules and different kinds of monks all hoping to restore “the only authentic fulfilment of the Christian vocation.”[39] They could only pretend to do so, however, by condemning all other monastic practice as incorrect, which seems, for people outside of worldly activities, a pretty worldly and predictable thing to be doing.

In the twelfth century, Pope Gregory VII advocated a monastic return

to the teaching of the holy fathers, declaring no novelties nor any inventions of our own, but holding that the primary and only rule of discipline and the well-trodden way of the saints should again be sought and followed.[40]

      Yet, as one writer has put it:

there is always an element of historical fiction in revivals of primitive usage. The remote past is a dark pool in which reformers see their own image. Those of the twelfth century knew even less than we do about the material circumstances of Italian monasteries of the sixth century….[41] To the modern observer of the medieval centuries, the most astonishing thing is the rich variety of religious institutions that sprang from meditation upon an identical premise.[42] … Such adaptations were made inescapable by changes in the outside world: a Rule designed for monks in late antiquity or in the twelfth century could not be applicable in every detail to recruits of a later age, whose intellectual and psychological formation was very different.[43]

All this while Islam had appeared, and immediately begun to use the same tactics and make the same claims. It took an ancient site of pagan worship, the Ka’ba, and claimed that it had originally been a site of pure worship of a single God, which had become degenerated:

Of course, the pre-Islamic pilgrimage rites at the Ka’ba, which were pagan rituals, had to be reinterpreted in light of the Believers’ monotheistic views. Muslim tradition claims that the Ka’ba rites were originally established by Abraham, the first monotheist, but subsequently became corrupted by pagan practices.[44]

In the view of Muslim tradition, the Ka’ba had originally been built by Abraham as a shrine to the one God, so Muhammad was by these actions merely rededicating it to its original monotheistic purpose.[45]

If you can “merely rededicate” a building, you can just as easily rededicate all other religions, and interpret them out of the way as wrong. As a commentator to the Quran writes, “Muhammad was born to sweep away the corruptions of the Church of Christ”[46]—corruptions such as the unnecessary veneration of Mary, and the mistaken notion of Jesus’s divinity. While Christianity hoped to prove its veracity by claiming Jews had become corrupted, Islam claimed both religions and their scriptures to be riddled with errors, and that the major figures of both testaments, in their actual original states, were Muslims:

Or do you claim that Abraham and Ishmael
and Isaac and Jacob and their offspring
were Jews or Christians?
Say: “Have you more knowledge than God?”[47]

According to Muslim interpretation, Muhammad is mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:18—where Moses quotes God as saying, “I will raise up a prophet for them from among their own people, like yourself: I will put My words in his mouth and he will speak to them all that I command them”—as well as John 15:26, where Jesus promises an Advocate—which Christians interpret as the Holy Spirit—“whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.”

Rather than stopping to consider that perhaps all three religions were doing the same basic thing with scripture, the world hasn’t much changed since.

Indeed, what is the difference between the claim of Muhammad, “I am no innovator among the apostles … I merely follow what is revealed to me; I am only a clear warner,”[48] and that of the thirteenth century Japanese Buddhist, Shinran who, “did not believe that he was inventing this tradition. He saw himself as sharing the correct understanding of it, on the basis of his own experience and study.”[49] What can anyone at all say to someone’s personal experience and study?

The refrain is this: there is simply no reliable or coherent way to claim one religion or denomination or form of practice is any more “ancient” or “original” than any other, since any living religion is necessarily a changing religion. Any religion that is still relevant today is more modern than it can ever be ancient, and its ability to remain relevant is a testament less to its age than its ability to stay completely and boringly current, and ever-changing; and claims to the contrary have only yielded violence and intolerance one way or another. In the face of such a situation, what is there for the faithful but a posture of humility, and empathy?



[1] Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600), 7-8.

[2] Donald Harman Akenson, Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds, 65.

[3] Walter Burkert, Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth, 253.

[4] Lis Harris, Holy Days: The World of a Hasidic Family, 73.

[5] H. R. Ellis Davidson, Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions, 3.

[6] Marshall G. S. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam, Volume 1: The Classical Age of Islam, 37.

[7] Wendy Doniger, The Hindus: An Alternative History, 47.

[8] Serge Sauneron, The Priests of Ancient Egypt, 121.

[9] Serge Sauneron, The Priests of Ancient Egypt, 123.

[10] Mircea Eliade, A History of Religious Ideas, Volume 2: From Gautama Buddha to the Triumph of Christianity, 279.

[11] Yehezkel Kaufmann, William G. Dever, Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?, 129.

[12] William G. Dever, Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?, 200.

[13] James L. Kugel, How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now, 288.

[14] Babylonian Talmud Bava Batra 14b-15a, in Lawrence H. Schiffman ed., Texts and Traditions: A Source Reader for the Study of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism, 119.

[15] Donald Harman Akenson, Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds, 152.

[16] Alex Wayman, “The Diamond Vehicle,” in Takeuchi Yoshinori ed., Buddhist Spirituality 1: Indian, Southeast Asian, Tibetan, Early Chinese, 221.

[17] Donald W. Mitchell, Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience, 2nd Ed., 104, 106.

[18] Whalen Lai, “The Three Jewels in China,” in Takeuchi Yoshinori ed., Buddhist Spirituality 1: Indian, Southeast Asian, Tibetan, Early Chinese, 329-30.

[19] Whalen Lai, “The Three Jewels in China,” in Takeuchi Yoshinori ed., Buddhist Spirituality 1: Indian, Southeast Asian, Tibetan, Early Chinese, 324.

[20] Martin Goodman, Rome & Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations, 104.

[21] Bernard McGinn, The Foundations of Mysticism: Origins to the Fifth Century, 208.

[22] Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600), 33.

[23] W. K. C. Guthrie, Orpheus and Greek Religion: A Study of the Orphic Movement, 266.

[24] Lawrence H. Schiffman, From Text to Tradition: A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism, 181.

[25] Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah, 28.

[26] Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah, 4-5.

[27] Lis Harris, Holy Days: The World of a Hasidic Family, 89.

[28] James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews, 177.

[29] Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600), 19.

[30] Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600), 60.

[31] James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews, 632.

[32] James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews, 72.

[33] R. Kendall Soulen, “Supersessionism,” in A Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations, ed. Edward Kessler and Neil Wenborn, 413-14.

[34] Susannah Heschel: James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews, 71.

[35] James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews, 635.

[36] James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews, 603.

[37] C. H. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism: Forms of Religious Life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages, 149.

[38] Bernard McGinn, The Foundations of Mysticism: Origins to the Fifth Century, 218.

[39] C. H. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism: Forms of Religious Life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages, 88.

[40] Bernard McGinn, The Growth of Mysticism: Gregory the Great Through the 12th Century, 149.

[41] C. H. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism: Forms of Religious Life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages, 176.

[42] C. H. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism: Forms of Religious Life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages, 286.

[43] C. H. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism: Forms of Religious Life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages, 288.

[44] Fred Donner, Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam, 66.

[45] Fred Donner, Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam, 49.

[46] Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s commentary on Quran 3:42; in The Meaning of the Holy Quran, 138, note 382.

[47] Quran 2:140.

[48] Fred Donner, Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam, 69.

[49] Alfred Bloom, “Pure Land: Shinran’s Way,” in Takeuchi Yoshinori ed., Buddhist Spirituality 2: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern World, 226.