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I remember hearing that rashi does not consider christianity idolatry.

In researching it on google

I have read here

Isaac On Jewish and Christian Altars:Polemic and Exegesis in Rashi and the ... By Devorah Schoenfeld

that book says "Rashi is clear that he considers Christians to be idolators"

However, the sources it quotes don't seem to me to show that.

It quotes him in his commentary on Talmud Sotah 49b saying, "Jesus and his followers who are called sectarians[minim]"

But Minim AFAIK just means heretics, which is not necessarily idolators, and not even forbidden in the noahide laws.

And the book quotes him as saying "Gentiles in our time are not experts in idolatry". So the book is suggesting that since it says they're not experts in it, it suggests or implies that they are into it, just not into it big time.

So what was Rashi's view on whether Christianity is idolatry, and to what extent do we even know what his view was?

  • I took a look at Sotah 49b and can't find what you are quoting. I can't even find it on 47a. – rosends Feb 12 '16 at 11:29
  • The Rashbam in Rashi's name says that in those days Christians shouldn't be considered idolators. – Cauthon Feb 12 '16 at 12:52
  • @Cauthon if you can quote that RASHBAM With the relevant part in English, then i'll accept that as an answer. Also, any idea why he says "in those days" and what he means by that? Thanks – barlop Feb 12 '16 at 17:58
  • @Cauthon also, do you think that RASHBAM in rashi's name, contradicts Rashi on AZ 6a, as quoted by DoubleAA? – barlop Feb 16 '16 at 8:27
  • Rashi in Avoda Zara doesn't state his opinion as I understand, only explains the gemara. The Rashbam tells us explicitly that Rashi thought that they were not considered idolators (in Rashi's time), and the Beit Yosef explains that this is because they didn't really know what they were doing, but simply following in their fathers' footsteps. A short article about this here. – Cauthon Feb 16 '16 at 9:52
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Rashi on AZ 6a says that the prohibition of doing business with idolaters close to their holidays (lest they offer thanks to their god(s)) applies to Christians. (The Talmud says the cited prohibition applies to נוצרי which Rashi defines as 'those who follow the mistake of Jesus who commanded them to make a holiday on Sunday.)

Note the word "Minim" has historically sometimes had particularly Christian implications (see here).

  • So, can you interpret Rashi opposing Jewish merchants selling toys to Christians for Christmas? – Bruce James Feb 12 '16 at 18:47
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    @BruceJames Potentially. The applicability of that prohibition nowadays is a different question than the OP's. – Double AA Feb 12 '16 at 18:53
  • What's your view on what Couthan says i.e. that RASHBAM in Rashi's name says that christians in those days should not be considered idolators? hebrewbooks.org/pagefeed/hebrewbooks_org_25134_26.pdf – barlop Feb 16 '16 at 0:05
  • This may be about Christianity in general, but not about Christians in Rashi's days, as discussed here. – Cauthon Feb 16 '16 at 9:56
  • @DoubleAA Could you translate the relevant part of rashi? – barlop Feb 16 '16 at 16:53

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