Early Jewish Omniscience

An early reference to Jewish ideas of future omniscience.

The following extract from the Midrash Rabbah I am writing in order that you may know how to refute the arguments of certain heretics: A gentile once asked Rabbi Joshua, the son of Korcha, saying to him, “Do you not admit that the Holy One, blessed be He, knows what is to happen in the future?” He replied, “Yes.” The gentile retorted, “But is it not written ‘and He was grieved in His heart’?” He answered: “Have you ever had a son born to you?” The reply was “Yes.” He asked (the gentile): “And what did you do?” He replied: “I rejoiced and I made others rejoice also.” The Rabbi asked him: “But did you not know that he must die?” The heathen replied: “At the time of joy, let there be joy, at the time of mourning let there be mourning”. The Rabbi then said: “Such, too, is the way of the Holy One, blessed be He: although it was clear to Him that in the end men would sin and would be destroyed, He did not refrain from creating them for the sake of the righteous men who were to issue from them” (Genesis Rabbah 27:4).

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