A few months ago, Shai and I had the pleasure of hearing Prof. Daniel Boyarin give a talk at Hebrew University’s Havruta beit midrash entitled “Metatron in the Bavli and in Enoch 3″, based on work he has published in such articles as “The Parables of Enoch and the Foundation of the Rabbinic Sect: A Hypothesis“. Little did we know that while we were sitting in Jerusalem readings texts on Enoch computer programmers out in England were busy putting the final touches on the game El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, for PS3 and Xbox 360. Jim Davila of PaleoJudaica has been keeping the blogosphere up-to-date on the game’s much anticipated release. According to the game’s website, players of El Shaddai star as Enoch:
a young man chosen by God for his strong, pure heart. He is human, but has been called to the heavens by the will of God to serve as a scribe on the Council of Elder. He has descended to earth as an arbiter to pursue the Grigori, a group of fallen angels, and prevent the execution of God’s plan to flood the earth.
The game is openly based on the Deuterocanonical book of Enoch and has received praise for its “sophisticated and visually arresting aesthetics and remarkably deep and nuanced, yet easy to grasp, combat system”.
Over at the Jewish Press, Steven Plaut has an article which attempts to respond to Christian anti-Semiticism directed at the Talmud (Hat-tip to the Adderabbi). In order to prepare for the weekly “around the web” here at the Talmud Blog, we have a feed going for every time “Talmud” (and other related words) show up on the internet. I would guess that almost half are related to anti-Semitic websites. A frightening thought. There are great resources out there for people looking to counter these claims (especially “The Talmud in Anti-Semitic Polemics” at ADL). Many of the anti-Semitic statements made about the Talmud and Christianity are, needless to say, spurious. But there are some passages that do indeed say some pretty nasty things about you know who. Plaut is certainly correct that scholars in previous generation had many false positives, but this does not mean that Jesus is never mentioned in the Talmud. Plaut is unfortunately ignorant of Talmudic manuscripts – which is grievous regarding an issue with a long history of censorship. In the information age, any anti-Semite can easily find what he is looking for. For a great, recent work that avoids these kind of apologetics, we have of course Peter Schaefer’s Jesus in the Talmud. The work itself is quite controversial for a number of reasons, but at least it does not shy away from confronting the issues head-on – and with expertise.
Finally, Menachem Mendel announces that Joseph Cedar’s award-winning film Footnote will be screened (for all you poor unfortunate souls who have not seen it yet) at the NY Film festival in early October. Stay tuned for a review by Shai Secunda and Elli Fischer at the Jewish Review of Books.