THE TREATMENT OF JEWS
The relationship between Jews and God is an exclusive relationship. They were chosen from among all the world’s population as God’s chosen people, as recorded in Deuteronomy 2:14. As such, God set out clear and concise rules for living. These rules set them apart from all other people. As the chosen people, there was no need for mission work or conversion of others to the Hebrew religion. By virtue of their being Jewish, they were chosen by God and given these commandments for living and worshiping him. This covenant was exclusive. Nowhere in Exodus or Deuteronomy does God make provisions for conversion to their religion for outsiders. God also promises his chosen people that he will bless them when they adhere to his laws and precepts.
Justinian decreed that the sacred religious texts be translated into all languages for all people to understand. He believed that this would keep the interpreters, especially those in the synagogues, from presenting incorrect or heretical teachings to a population that did not speak or understand Hebrew. He also declared that the Jews who did not believe in Christianity be purged, or put to death for their adherence to Old Testament law. Justinian did not prohibit the reading of the text in Hebrew, he only decreed that approved translations into other languages were permitted.
Timbuktu’s opinion of the Jews was as intolerant as that of Justinian. No Jews were allowed inside the city. Anyone in the kings jurisdiction who had commercial dealings with Jews ran the risk of having their belongings confiscated. While trade with Jews was prohibited, there must have been a fairly profitable black market. Simple economics tells us that if there wasn’t any commerce with the Jews by the people of Timbuktu, their population in the area around the city would have dwindled to nothing.
The Koran warns Muslims that they are not to befriend either the Jew or the Christian. It states that becoming...