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Welcome, RK - great entries on Judaism! The format is a little idiosyncratic (external links inserted in the body of the article). I understan why they fit there given the way the articles run right now, but external links are usually clearly (and physically) separated from wikipedia content. I linked up some things in Zohar, for instance. I don't know it there's an entry for Kabbala yet, but there ought to be, and Zohar should be linked to it. Again, welcome! --MichaelTinkler

RK, could I make a format suggestion? when you're responding to a single Talk segment (e.g., Palestine, your responses to SKissane), it's easier to follow if you go to the end of what you're responding to and do it in one segment (indented is best! that's really obvious - just start your first line with a colon and it'll indent) or indent a response after each of the other person's paragraphs. I personally practice the former, since it doesn't do as much violence to the flow of that person's written statement. I agree with you about the points of millenial-old variants of Judaism; we can CALL them Judaism, but the one that lasted is it. I have similar problems with people equating Gnostic sects and the Catholic church, myself. --MichaelTinkler

RK, may I request an article on Sunni and Shiite, or whatever the appropriate terms might be? There is already an article on Sunni, but I think it is pretty bad.

Might I also suggest using a longer user name, in case someone goes looking for articles about radial keratotomy? --Lee Daniel Crocker

Why do you frequently write "Yasir Arafat"? Doing a search on Google, the spelling "Yasser Arafat" gives 186,000 hits, but "Yasir Arafat" only 18,000. I suggest we use the more common spelling. -- SJK

RK, was it you who wrote on Polygamy/Talk?, "Ashkenazi Jews kept polygamy as an option until around the year 1000 CE, even though it wasn't widely practiced before then. After that time, it was outlawed."

Some of us are interested in this. Can you give more info? And any idea what the Sephardim thought on this issue? Thanks.

RK: I agree with you that the Messiah in Judaism and in Christianity are quite different characters. But is the Jewish Messiah purely a national liberator? Of course Jews never interpreted the Messiah in such a strongly universalist way and as such a cosmic figure as Christians do, but I have trouble believing that they only ever thought of him as a purely national saviour, without any relevance to the world at large. And although he wasn't thought of as God or anything like that, I doubt he was thought of either as a purely natural figure -- a human being, yes, but one which had been granted divine authority (meaning the authority was divine, not that he was divine.) -- SJK

Jews believed that the messiah would only be a national leader and liberator. In biblical times, he was seen as a strictly national figure. However, Jews of that era certainly saw their entire people as having religious relevance to the world at large, but this was a national/collective relevance. The role of any one man - even the King - was limited. And the Tanach's (Old Testament) biblical concept of a messiah was that of a king, and probably warriot and scholar. This king would be granted divine authority, but not in the way that Christians see Jesus as having authority. The messiah, quite literally, would be a descendent of King David, and would have precisely the same status as David. Later, post-biblical views of the messiah differed from this. In the Mishnah and Talmud the messiah is said to have more of a humanistic role for the world, and would be able to peform miracles, just as Moses and the early prophets did.-- RK.

RK: In which case I'd say that the Christian and Jewish views of the Messiah are not totally different. Elements of the Christian view of the Messiah can be seen in the Mishnaic/Talmudic view. I'd think it would be more accurate to say that Christians took certain aspects of the Jewish view of the Messiah, emphasised these aspects over other aspects, and then took these aspects to their conclusion (i.e. as one's view of the Messiah becomes more and more global and other-worldly, the belief that the Messiah is God becomes easier.) -- SJK