A Christian blogger commented:

Rabbinic Judaism also has some relatively unconvincing claims of oral transmission from the past.  It claims that its interpretations of the Torah (which are compiled in the Talmud, the first layer of which was written down c. 200 AD) are based on an unwritten "oral torah" given by God to Moses himself, more than fifteen centuries earlier.  Even though we have no records of anyone talking about the oral torah before about 150 BC, when the party of Pharisees began to exist!  This is staggeringly implausible, not just because of the lack of references in the written Torah to this supposed secret tradition, but also because of the tumultuous history of the Jews described in the Bible, during which the written Torah barely survived intact.

What would be an appropriate response to such claims?

  • 2
    The Torah does allude in many places to an oral tradition.
    – robev
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 0:18
  • 3
    As an example, "You shall slaughter as I have commanded you" and many other examples in the Torah that show that what is written cannot be understood without the Oral Law. Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 0:28
  • @sabbahillel judaism.stackexchange.com/a/96759/13438
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 1:11
  • 1
    @Alex I just gave one example, there are many others such as totafos. Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 1:22
  • 3
    see the Rambam's introduction to his commentary on the mishna, where he goes into great detail about the history of the oral law, including that it is self-evident that together with the written commandments and oral explanation was given as well. Without that oral explanation, the written is completely not understandable.
    – Menachem
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 4:37


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