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From: "Thomas Stedham" 
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Could someone explain this?
Date: 27 Dec 1996 02:48:51 GMT
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I found this on a site, and I don't understand. Is this _really_ in the
Torah? And if so, is it still valid today?

< Sanhedrin 55b . A Jew may marry a three year old girl (specifically,
three years "and a day" old).

< Sanhedrin 54b . A Jew may have sex with a child as long as the child is
less than nine years old.

< Kethuboth 11b . "When a grown-up man has intercourse with a little girl
it is nothing."

-- 
"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right
to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect
themselves against Tyranny in government."
                    ---Thomas Jefferson---

Thomas Stedham is tstedham@dbtech.net






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From: mstein@access5.digex.net (Michael P. Stein)
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Re: Could someone explain this?
Date: 27 Dec 1996 02:41:32 -0500
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In article <01bbf3a0$10651ec0$3dd0d6cc@tstedham.dbtech.net>,
Thomas Stedham  wrote:
>I found this on a site, and I don't understand. Is this _really_ in the
>Torah? And if so, is it still valid today?

    The three citations are not from the Torah.  They are references to
the Talmud.  I will have to check the first reference to see what it
really says, but I know from prior research how the other two references
are distorted.  The first one probably is as well, since Sanhedrin is
largely concerned with death penalty law, not marital law.


>< Sanhedrin 55b . A Jew may marry a three year old girl (specifically,
>three years "and a day" old).
>
>< Sanhedrin 54b . A Jew may have sex with a child as long as the child is
>less than nine years old.

    Due to a legal technicality, homosexual sex between an adult male and
a male child does not incur the death penalty as would homosexual sex
between two adult males.  Instead the crime is punished by whipping. 
There was a strong resistance to the death penalty - it was said that a
Sanhedrin (think of it as a Supreme Court) which executed someone once
every seven years was a bloodthirsty court, to which another rabbi replied
that even once in seventy years was excessive.  The least technicality in
the wording would be used to justify changing the penalty from death to
whipping.  This was in part for their own protection - carrying out an
unjust death penalty was thought to be a worse sin on the part of the
rabbis than failure to carry out an execution.

    The discussion does not mean that the act is permissible - in tractate
Makkoth, which discusses the laws relevant to the punihment of whipping,
there is no age-based exception to the penalty.  (The Talmud is organized
rather strangely - rather than grouping similar crimes together and
talking about how the punishments change depending on the circumstances,
it groups crimes together by the type of punishment.  Death penalty law is
generally collected in Sanhedrin; whipping in Makkoth; a kind of spiritual
excommunication known as _kareth_ is discussed in tractate Kerithoth.)


>< Kethuboth 11b . "When a grown-up man has intercourse with a little girl
>it is nothing."

    The subject of discussion is the marital property rights of virgins
vs. nonvirgins.  Virgins have greater entitlements.  The rabbis discussed
the hypothetical case of a girl raped at an age less than three years old
- for the purposes of her rights at marriage, is she considered a virgin
or a nonvirgin?  The answer is that she is considered a virgin.  The
quotation is out of context - _for the purposes of determining her
rights,_ if a girl less than three has sex with a man, it is nothing.  The
phrase "it is nothing" is a common Talmudic idiom meaning "it has no
bearing on the matter under discussion" (in this case, her property rights
at marriage).  It does NOT mean "it is perfectly acceptable."

    Hope this helps.

    Posted/emailed.
-- 
Mike Stein                      The above represents the Absolute Truth.
POB 10420                       Therefore it cannot possibly be the official
Arlington, VA  22210            position of my employer.

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