Ani Judaism's Source of Authority?


by Rabbi Eved Banah

We are part of Ani Judaism International. Our community's ultimate foundational authority is the inerrant Word of G-d. Nothing is above it and nothing trumps it. Anything written in the Bible is true and isn't questioned.

This does not necessarily mean we do not engage in textural criticism in terms of authenticity of the various codexes and the dates in which they were created. We find great value in both the Hebrew, Aramaic as well as Greek and Latin Codexes. Though for religious purposes we rely on the Hebrew texts (Masoretic, Leningrad, Aleppo and Dead Sea Scrolls) as well as the Aramaic texts (the Targumim, Khabouris, Yonan, Mingana 148) in terms of recitation and religious study.

In terms of historical study we find the Greek (textus receptus and others) as well as the Latin (Vaticanus and others) to be very helpful in terms of study of historical theology and their changes through time by Christian sects over time, so we can be well educated in terms any criticism that may arise from other religions that may have slight association with Ani Judaism such as the Hebrew Roots Movement, the Messianic Jewish faith and Christianity.

By allowing 2 languages to be used for religious worship and 2 being allowed for academic study we uphold the words of our sages. "cursed is any man who raises swine and cursed is any man who requires his son to adopt Greek wisdom" (Sotah 49b). We do not require that everyone adopt Aramaic primacy of the New Testament, we even love Greek translations of the Bible and take no issue with whatever translation you are comfortable with into our synagogues.

We also get our halakha from the Mishna section of Talmud which is explained to us by the Gemara and the Tanya as well as writings from the sages and Shulchan Arush. We find that if we are to keep the written Torah then we must keep it all, including the Torah Portions Mishpatim and Shoftim which tell us the sages, judges and rabbis have authority, which was also reiterated by our Messiah in Matthew 23:1-3. We believe that cohesive unity in terms of halakha and practice is essential to the Ani Jewish faith.

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