Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Karaites


The Jewish Daily Forward has an article on Karaite Jews, which includes an interview with Joe Pessah, an "acting rav" (rabbi/techer, but with no official training).

For those who do not know much about the Karaites (which is likely as they only number 30,000 and most of them live in Israel) I have described them in the past as "Old Testament-only Jehovah's Witnesses" as they differ from other Jews in that they do not accept the divine origin of the Mishnah, Oral Law and Talmud and base their teachings solely on a plain reading of the Old Testament scriptures, in the same way Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept any Church creeds or extra-biblical theology and base their teachings solely on a plain reading of the Bible.

3 comments:

Memra said...

Some Karaites also pronounce the Divine Name as Yehovah in Hebrew, very close to Jehovah in English.

Jay said...

Shalom,

Firstly, there's much dispute as to the grand total of Qaraite Jews worldwide. Those in the know are aware that at an absolute minimum Qaraites total 25,000 in Israel, yet the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs published a year ago an estimate of 40,000 on its website.
Outside of Israel there are at least 2,500 authentic Qaraite Jews.
However, the vast majority of Qaraites in Eastern Europe have long ago separated themselves from both the Jewish people AND religion. They consider their deity to be Turkic, they've substituted Turkic names for the holidays and never use Hebrew; they even incorporate a belief in Muhammad and Jesus.

Those Qaraite Jews who pronounce the Divine Name differ about its proper pronunciation. Some have embraced the form "Yehowah" (or Yehovah or Yohowah) while other claim it to be "Yihweh" whereas still others assert it is I--a--ou--eh (similar but different from "Yahweh").

Expositor said...

Jay,

Thank you so much for your informative post.