Author:Kanter, Rabbi Shamai
Position:Correspondence - Brief Article - Letter to the Editor

As a grateful inheritor of the tradition of rabbinic Judaism, rooted in the teachings of the Pharisees, I must take exception to the offhand reference to my ancient teachers in R. V. Young's discussion of The Merchant of Venice in "The Bard, the Black, the Jew" (March).

A century of scholarship has dispelled the hoary caricature of the Pharisees as legalistic, self-righteous hypocrites; yet the caricature continues to circulate. Some film reviewers have even identified the persecutors of Jesus in Mel Gibson's current film as Pharisees, even though Pharisees do not appear in the Gospels' passion narratives (the first-century High Priest and his entourage would have been known as "Sadducees.")

It would have been helpful for the editor to place Professor Young's reference to Pharisees...

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