[b-hebrew] anti-Jewish decrees, Constantine, Hadrian, Justinian and others

Schmuel schmuel at nyc.rr.com
Mon Oct 16 15:41:24 EDT 2006

Hi Folks,

  While these are important historical references one needs to mention that Constantine (Council of Nicea) is not the same person as Constantius.  There are a lot of  conspiracies about Constantine and Nicea (they started Christianity, they gave us the Bible, etc) and if a descendent or relative did something 20 or 70 years later it should not be considered as by Constantine especially if he was deceased at the time.

  And the actions of Hadrian would be an entirely different question, as that was centuries before Rome became in any way ostensibly 'Christian' ie. - a catholic state religion. Actions by Roman imperial power before 130 AD tells us nothing about the original assertions below.   Zilch.

  And notice that the actual substantive reference about the Talmud is -
"In 553 A.D. Emperor Justinian forbade the spread of the Talmudic books"
   More than 200 years after Constantine.  
   Since there likely was no Talmud per se in circulation at the time of Constantine.

  The word (Talmud) is added to one quote, which itself is in the midst of a pro-Talmud fluff piece by Rodkinson being presented by anti-Talmudists (whew). 
Here is the unembellished version.
"One of the causes of the great revolt against the Romans at this time was the prohibition by the Roman government of the study of the Torah, wherein alone the Jews found comfort"
Dilling simply adds (Talmud) to the Rodkinson text.
Making primary source documentation that much more important. 

  The only directly relevant quote to Constantine is the 'anti-missionary' Laws of Constantine the Great  which was partly a protection against Jewish converts to state 'Christendom' from Jewish reprisals.  What the reference to "deserved penalties" for Jewish conversion (apparently) is, we have incomplete information.  It would be nice to have the primary source material. 

  Overall too much mixing of apples and oranges, too much mixing of very different time periods to be of much help.  Mixing pre-130 AD, Constantine, post-Constantine, and hundreds of years later.  Helpful, but not without culling and labeling and placing properly.

  An interesting summary of the Constantine and later period (without primary references though) ..
Anti-Semitism in Church History 
In the three centuries from 300 to 600 CE, a host of rules were passed containing discriminatory provisions against the Jews in the Christian Roman Empire. These were summed up in four major rules contained in the Laws of Constantine the Great (315 CE); the Laws of Constaninus (399 CE); the Laws of Theodosius II (439 CE) and the Laws of Justinian (531 CE). ... (continues)

   See also my earlier reference.
Now this is a legitimate quote to use against Nicea/Constantine
From Sabbath To Sunday: How Did It Come About? Endtime Issues No. 64 1 March 2001
Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.
The anti-Judaic motivation for the repudiation of the biblical dating of Passover is clearly expressed by Constantine in his letter to the Christian bishops at the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325). In this conciliar letter the Emperor urges all Christians to follow the example of the Church of Rome in adopting Easter Sunday, because, he wrote: "We ought not therefore to have anything in common with the Jews, for the Savior has shown us another way . . . In unanimously adopting this mode [i.e. Easter Sunday] we desire, dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews." This letter of the Council of Nicaea represents the culmination of a controversy initiated two centuries earlier which centered in Rome.

Steven Avery

Harold Holmyard - 
>Dear Ethel,
>You wrote:
>>Constantine decreed legal reasons for capital punishment (IOW death/murder):
>>1.  No one can convert to Judaism.
>>2.  No Christian can marry a Jew.
>>3.  No Chrisitian can be circumcized.
>>4.  No Christian can read the Talmud.
>The historical site you have provided from Fordham University shows the general truth of the first 
>two of these four points, and other sources suggest the validity of the other two points:
>1. On the first point above, see the third paragraph below:
>I. Laws of Constantine the Great, October 18, 315: 
>Concerning Jews,  Heaven-Worshippers,* And Samaritans
>We wish to make it known to the Jews and their elders and their patriarchs that if,  after the 
>enactment of this law, any one of them dares to attack with stones or some other  manifestation of 
>anger another who has fled their dangerous sect and attached himself to  the worship of God 
>[Christianity], he must speedily be given to the flames and burn~  together with all his accomplices.
>Moreover, if any one of the population should join their abominable sect and attend  their meetings, 
>he will bear with them the deserved penalties.
>HH: On the second point, again the death penalty was enacted (see last paragraph):
>2. The laws of Constantius (337-361), the second selection, forbid intermarriage between  Jewish 
>men and Christian women. A generation later, in 388, all marriages between Jews and  Christians 
>were forbidden.
>II. Laws of Constantius, August 13, 339:Concerning Jews,  Heaven-Worshippers, And Samaritans
>This pertains to women, who live in our weaving factories and whom Jews, in their  foulness, take 
>in marriage. It is decreed that these women are to be restored to the  weaving factories. [Marriages 
>between Jews and Christian women of the imperial weaving  factory are to be dissolved.]
>This prohibition [of intermarriage] is to be preserved for the future lest the Jews  induce 
>Christian women to share their shameful lives. If they do this they will subject  themselves to a sentence of death. [The Jewish husbands are to be punished with death.]
>3. On the third point about circumcision, see another source:
>Roman rule, nevertheless, continued. Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-38) endeavored to establish 
>cultural uniformity and issued several repressive edicts, including one against circumcision.
>Wikipedia throws some question on this:
>According to the Historia Augusta, the Roman emperor Hadrian issued a decree banning circumcision in the empire,[2] triggering the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt of 132 AD. The Roman 
>historian Cassius Dio, however, made no mention of such a law, and blamed the Jewish uprising instead on Hadrian's decision to rebuild Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina, a city dedicated to Jupiter.
>Hadrian's successor, Antoninus Pius, permitted Jews to circumcise their own sons, but forbade 
>them (upon penalty of death or banishment) from circumcising non-Jews. Genesis 17:12 commands that Jews must circumcise their slaves; this law prohibited that practice, as well as making it 
>illegal for a man to convert to Judaism.
>The Jewish Encyclopedia is similar:
>Thus, Spartianus ("Hadrianus," § 14) reports that the Jews rebelled because circumcision was 
>interdicted; while the more reliable Dion Cassius says (lxix. 12) that Hadrian attempted to turn 
>Jerusalem into a pagan city, which the Jews regarded as an abomination, and they therefore 
>rebelled. It is possible that both of these measures were responsible for the rebellion; on 
>the other hand, it is also possible that they were merely the consequences of it. Hadrian, who had a 
>gentle disposition, was lauded throughout the great empire as a benefactor; he indeed so proved 
>himself on his many journeys. Palestinian cities like Cæsarea, Tiberias, Gaza, and Petra owed much 
>to him; and his presence in Judea in 130 is commemorated on coins with the inscription 
>"Adventui Aug[usti] Judææ." He therefore could have had no intention of offending the Jews; but 
>as a true Roman he believed only in the Roman "sacra" (Spartianus, l.c. § 22). It may have 
>happened that in his zeal to rebuild destroyed cities he had disregarded the peculiarities of the 
>Jews. The law against circumcision was founded on earlier Roman laws, and did not affect the Jews only.
>4. On the fourth point, one Jewish source attributes this same Jewish revolt in A.D. 132 to 
>laws against the Talmud:
>Emperor Hadrian and the Talmud
>Hadrian was Emperor of the Roman World empire from 117 A.D. to his death, 138 A.D. In 132 A.D. the Jews began a revolt, and for four years carried on a bloody war. Otherwise Hadrian's reign was peaceful. The reason for this Pharisee revolt is told by Rodkinson in his History of the Talmud:
>One of the causes of the great revolt against the Romans at this time was the prohibition by the 
>Roman government of the study of the Torah [Talmud] 
 they rebelled, led by Bar Kochba. Rabbi 
>Aqiba (Akiba) was the first to become his adherent, who journeyed from town to town, inciting the Israelites to rebel 
 It is not surprising, therefore, that Hadrian was not contented barely with the massacre of the sages of the Talmud, but was intent also on the destruction of the Talmud itself 
 he decreed that if any of the old rabbis should qualify a young rabbi 
 both should be put to death 
 believing that with the death of the elder generation the Talmud would be forgotten and Israel would blend with the nations and its memory be obliterated; because he very well knew that as long as the Talmud existed there was little hope for the assimilation of the Jews with other nations. This decree however, was not executed 
 the efforts of Hadrian met with no success 
 He saw the Talmud still existing 
uniting Israel into one people, and establishing it still more firmly as a national and religious whole 
 the Talmud regained its former power and influence.
>And the pupil of one of the contemporary rabbis "Rabbi Jehudah the Nasi" (the "prince") became 
>"the compiler of the Mishnah" (or laws of the Talmud). (See Exhibit 14 and Exhibit 15) In 553 
>A.D. Emperor Justinian forbade the spread of the Talmudic books throughout the Roman Empire. (Corp. Juris. can. VII Decretal, lib V, Tit. IV, cap. 1)a
>Another Jewish site has this:
>In Christian countries, the Talmud and other Jewish law books were censored by Christian 
>authorities, who believed that certain passages of those books contained insults to Christianity or 
>A third source says:
>The couple of negative references to “Jesus” in the Talmud, in fact, may not even be referring to 
>Jesus of Nazareth at all but more likely to another “Jesus” who lived centuries later. This 
>question is difficult to determine since the Talmud was subject to Christian censorship 
>concerning these same passages. We naturally think of the written Talmud when we hear the word, but the oral law pre-existed its written form.

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