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"A Message of Ancient Days"

Page 7 (go to Page 1)

Houghton Mifflin's biased version of  Judaism
for the 6th grade

The textbook states:

“The ancestors of the Israelites
worshipped many gods, including Baal…
however the Israelites came to believe
 that there was only one true god.”

Jews did not just "come to believe," God called them out from His people.  Evidence proves that before Ba'al as well as other polytheistic religions, people believed in monotheism (one God).  Which is exactly what God tells us in the Bible, as He called Abraham out from his people, why?  Because the people had gotten corrupt with idol worship.  This is supposed to be a unit about what Judaism believes, not an opportunity to tear it apart unanswered.  The Israelites didn’t just “come to believe” in God. God specifically blessed the nation of Abraham.        


In this unit, surgical clips of Moses, Abraham, David and Solomon are given, but only to the exact extent that Islam agrees with the story. In fact, all that is given concerning Abraham are two quotes from the Bible around his name, which are also cited in the Quran. (see Addendum B for specifics) 

This is interesting because when Muhammad tried to convince Christians and Jews that he was a Prophet, he said his ministry should be judged by the Bible as true.  Muhammad was here 600 years after Jesus and the Bible was already established.  The Quran claims it is an extension of the Bible and it cannot contradict it.  (2:136)  When it is found to be so completely different from the Bible, the claim is made that the Bible is corrupt, which is supported by the textbook in both the Islam and Judaism section. (see Ezra below) The only backup of what Muhammad claims is the angels told him. It is the Bible that is complete with dates, events, and historical backup. 

Biblical Stories contradicted by the Quran/omitted by the  Textbook
Creation                                     (41:9-10,12)
Adam and Eve                         
Tower of Babel                         (27:4-6, 28:38, 29:39)
Noah and the ark.                     (11:32-48; 11:44)
Isaac offered on the altar.       (37:100-112)
Abraham                                    (6:47, 14:37, 21:68-69, 9:69)
Joseph                                       (12:21)
Golden Calf                               (20:87-95)
Miriam, Moses sister              (19:28)
Many details of Moses:         (28:8-9, 7:136, 7:59)
Gideon                                       (2:249-250)

                      There are too many to list

(see Addendum B for DETAILED contradictions)


 Rather than cover the above Bible greats, the textbook focuses on the lesser-known EZRA (Uzair). The textbook states:

 “The laws of the Jews were contained in the writings that made up what are now the first five books of the Bible.  However, at that time there were many different versions of these holy writings.  No one version was accepted as law by Jews in all parts of the ancient world. Then in the 400 BC, a priest and scribe named Ezra returned from exile in Babylon.  He brought with him a collection of the many versions of holy writings that had been put together by Jewish scribes in Babylon.”  (Pg 312) (excerpt of topic)

 Possible reasons for the emphasis on Ezra:

 1.   Muhammad mistakenly thought the Jews revered Ezra (Uzair) as Christians revere Jesus.  The Quran says,  “The Jews call Ůzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Jesus the son of Allah…Allah's curse be on them! (9:30)

 2.   Another possible reason to note Ezra is because the textbook account supports the claim of Islam that the Bible is corrupt.  Ezra came with “many different versions” implying contradictions, and “no one version was accepted as law by Jews” worldwide.  The textbook states, “The Torah brought back by Ezra became the accepted version of Judaism’s holiest writings.  With the backing of the Persian authorities, Ezra demanded that the Jews obey the Torah and separate themselves from people who did not.”  This paints a picture of a forced acceptance.

 I am not a Jew, but I studied Ezra in the Old Testament.  It looks to me like Ezra simply verified the authenticity of different copies and organized them with the help of 120 men.  Persia did send Ezra back to Jerusalem to administer the affairs, as he was so impressed with Ezra’s religious knowledge.  When Ezra got there and found the wicked practices of people, he threw himself down in front of the temple, wept and prayed to God for forgiveness.  One by one people started to join in weeping and a national revival began. That’s a far more beautiful and true picture than a dictator back from Babylon.

 Why didn’t the textbook find it worthy to mention all the amazing facts showing the Bible as accurate?  Dead sea scrolls, the incredible care the Jews took to copy it over and over precisely?  When the Islam section discussed the Quran, it talks of how the Hadith was “passed down in oral form through several generations, and compiled into authoritative collections.  Together, the Quran and collections of Hadith, make up the authentic sources of Islamic beliefs and practices.”  (pg 61) 

 Recap:  the Jews copied the scriptures painstakingly for centuries, gathered them back together, compared, verified and organized the Torah.  Yet their version is “corrupt.”  Islam on the other hand, memorized it for generations, got all the dates and people differently, pulled it all together and our textbook gives it the phrase “authentic source of Islamic beliefs and practices.” 


           Why is Esther, then, in the Judaism section?  I can think of two reasons, First, because Esther is the only story in the whole Bible that is completely devoid of God’s name. 

            Second, because Esther is the perfect example of how a Jewish wife should behave in Islam.  A Persian king fell instantly in love with Esther, a beautiful virgin no doubt, who kept her faith and nationality in total secrecy.  Islam approves of mixed faith marriages, as long as the husband is Muslim, the wife is not.  The Muslim husband has total authority over his wife, and has the Quran’s instruction to beat and slap her if she misbehaves.  Esther found herself in a precarious situation of little choice.  Her nation conquered, she was in a foreign land, she had to completely submit or die.  She won her husband’s favors (saving the Jews) by pampering him in total submission at the risk of her own life.  I wonder how many Muslim’s with Jewish or Christian wives direct them to Esther of our own Bible.

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