To the Editor:
I was surprised and distressed to find the word “pharisaical” used as a synonym for hypocritical in the review of Cannibals All! by Stanley M. Elkins in the November issue. Obviously, Mr. Elkins is correct in using this word in its dictionary definition. But the American Jewish Committee has expended much energy and money in trying to refurbish the image of the Jew in the eyes of the non-Jew, and it appears to me to be singularly inappropriate for this term to be used in a publication of the Committee. . . . Generations of scholars, both Christian and Jewish, have labored—successfully, I believe—to demonstrate that this use of the term “pharisaical” is a deliberate distortion by the New Testament authors in their battle against the original Judeo-Christians; and it is not and was never an accurate description of the values, the ideals, or the realities of the Pharisaic party.
(Rabbi) Samuel Schafler
Assistant Educational Director
The United Synagogue Commission on Jewish Education
New York City