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I have found out that some Christians before the 7th century knew and borrowed concepts that are not found in the Tanakh but are found in the midrash, e.g., the story of Abraham and Nimrod, the story of the angels' reaction to the creation of Adam etc...

Besides, the Quran of Muhammad contains many of the stories that are found in the Hebrew bible, oral Torah, midrash etc...,that predate the Quran.

The question is:

How could gentiles get informed about some of the oral Torah (including some midrash) stories in those early centuries?

1- If those gentiles listened to those stories orally, then was it one of the Jews habits to share such mishnah stories with the gentiles before the the 7th century?

2- If those gentiles got those Torah/midrash stories through a written text, was it easy for gentiles (e.g., Christians) to get hold of a written midrash or mishnah?

Which medium (orally vs textual) may have informed them was the most probable, in their case?

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    While your questions ("was it one of the Jews habits to share such mishnah'stories with the gentiles during the the 6th century and before?" and "was it easy for gentiles (eg,christians) to get hold of a written midrash or mishnah?") are on-topic, your premises ("he listened to those stories orally" and "he got those Torah,midrash stories through a written text") are questions about Muhammad and really not on-topic. So I recommend recasting the question for clarity, to emphasize the question and minimize the off-topic stuff, so you're more likely to get answers.
    – msh210
    May 25, 2021 at 6:58
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    Without having the sources for an actual answer, how did the Jews know the midrashim at that time? AFAIK, the Talmud, while finalized, had not yet been committed to writing, and probably most midrashim also were transmitted orally.
    – Mordechai
    May 25, 2021 at 12:06
  • @ msh210 ..thank you for the comment ..I edited the question ... all what I need to know ,is some clues ,if to be found ,to the gentiles'most probable way of access to the oral torah ,then.
    – capri reds
    May 25, 2021 at 17:13
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2 Answers 2

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You could answer this point a few ways.

  1. It's possible some Jews did share knowledge with non-Jews and this reached Christians. We have evidence that there were individuals who prayed with Jews as "God Fearers" in our synagogues. Sections for these individuals existed. We have a synagogue in Turkey from the 3rd century which has an engraving indicating it was a house of worship for Jews and for gentiles who weren't Jewish but acknowledged Hashem and Judaism as truth. If we shared spaces of worship with non-Jews, it's possible some of our knowledge trickled out through word of mouth. People talk.
  2. It's possible this information was stolen by Christians. Jewish persecutions have existed throughout history. When Christianity became the official religion of the Romans, we became a target and remained a target throughout much of history. Judah Ha-Nasi (the Rabbi who led the writing of the Oral Torah to preserve Judaism) lived from 135 to 217 CE. This was well before the 7th century which meant it's possible these written records of Jewish tradition had begun getting leaked into Christian society. Once you write an idea down, it ceases existing within the nation. That was partly why we resisted doing so for so long.
  3. The most logical explanation however is the first Christians were originally Jewish. Christianity was considered a renegade sect of Judaism in the very early part of their history. The Romans described them as such. If they were originally Jews then it's extremely likely they had an education in Jewish teachings and traditions which they then appropriated into the Christian religion. I mean, Jesus was himself a Jew. We know for a fact that for a very short period of time in Jewish history there were Jews who kept Jewish law but also endorsed idolatry of believing in Jesus. These people were eventually phased out and they formed their own church. The point still stands they likely were knowledgable in our traditions and took those with them.

Each of these is plausible and they could all be true and just one piece of a larger history.

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    What about Midrashim in the Quran?
    – robev
    May 26, 2021 at 7:57
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    @robev, in the days of Muhamad there were Christians in Arabia.
    – Mordechai
    May 26, 2021 at 12:08
  • @robev , my answer to that question: is that ,The way in which the narratives of midrash appear in the Quran, is in the form of ‘tales of the prophets’ ..if his informant, was a christian ,then that christian ,received tales of the prophets that have some midrash elements injected in them, and that is not impossible, because I already found out that some Christian pre-Quranic extra biblical material , include some elements from the midrash , for eg, the apocryphal christian work "Cave of Treasures" and its mention of some midrashic theme of Adam,angels,satan ..
    – capri reds
    May 26, 2021 at 17:23
  • @ Mordechai , in the days of Muhamad there were Christians ,even in Mecca ,including "Waraqah_ibn_Nawfal" the cousin of the first wife of Muhammad. who according to the Islamic traditions, during the Pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew(or Aramaic) as much as God wished him to write !. other Islamic traditions mention that the Arabs accused him of getting his information from Christians around him ,including those who own biblical books.
    – capri reds
    May 26, 2021 at 17:36
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I don't know. It could be any number of ways. What seems to be clear was that the rabbis didn't seem to mind sharing stories.

Some scholars think that the talmudic stories found in midrashim are actually copies of Greek stories. If this is true it might explain how the non-Jews were able to record the same stories. If this is not true then the rabbis probably wanted to impart wisdom to the nations. I lean towards the motion that the rabbis shared their stories, but even if we accept the scholarly view, that the stories are derived from the Greeks, it would not make any difference to me. For Rambam said to accept the truth from whoever speaks it.

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