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October 06, 2009



It really seems noachide laws *only theoretically* allow for the *possibility* of a comprehensive religious life of ethical, ritual and conceptual engagement; there are 6 root negative laws and 1 root positive one, and no ritual behavior except something that people do not have as their mesorah; they're ALLOWED to do certain of what's tolerated from Torah, and even then there's debate - where judaism offers specifics and xtian denominations offer their many doctrines. Since abstentions are emphasized over positive acts (maintaining just courts, etc), it seemed pretty clear that historical Noachides of the Ancient Era were involved in their "birth cultures", norms, behaviours, life rituals (IOW, 'religion' in the premodern connotation), to the degree that they did not contradict Noachide laws. I don't know how else it would make sense, considering how many important people were "God Fearers" etc, in the ancient world - people who were obligated in the very "religious" social and civic obligations and comportments of their social standing. IOW, it looks more like they were intended to "kasher" preexisting gentile lifeways and not act as new ones - new ones that invariably die out after one generation. And that looks to be exactly the case with modern Noachides, despite Net activity, rabbinic support and salesmanship, are tiny and have high longterm attrition. Ever since I'd heard about them some 15 years ago, after mailing lists, listservs, then websites and conferences, they've only grown in connectivity - not numbers.

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