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, 2016 at 11:29
  • The Rashbam in Rashi's name says that in those days Christians shouldn't be considered idolators.
    – Cauthon
    Feb 12, 2016 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, 2016 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, 2016 at 8:27
  • 1
    @barlop many times you can see contradictions in Rashi (e.g. his commentary on the Bible vs his commentary on the Talmud, on the same word/subject), for several reasons (e.g. in one place he explains something in a halachic context, and in another he explains it in a midrashic context, etc.). Also, the gemara might have a rule about something, and later sages will say the rule doesn't apply in their specific case/time/etc. which is different than the gemara's. So it's not always about accepting the gemara per se, which most do, of course.
    – Cauthon
    Jul 3, 2016 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


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? Feb 12, 2016 at 18:47
  • 1
    @BruceJames Potentially. The applicability of that prohibition nowadays is a different question than the OP's.
    – Double AA
    Feb 12, 2016 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, 2016 at 0:05
  • This may be about Christianity in general, but not about Christians in Rashi's days, as discussed here.
    – Cauthon
    Feb 16, 2016 at 9:56

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