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the anti-semitism in the New Testament thread

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Lloyd, May 10, 2005.

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  1. Mr Spinkles

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    Assuming this is true, how is it relevant?

    Good point, NetDoc. However, "the Jews" in this work are not portrayed nearly as negatively as they are in the NT. Fighting the Romans is one thing, but (supposedly) trying to kill someone for healing on the Sabbath is another. It's also important that Josephus identifies himself as a Jew, unlike the authors of John. I think that in this case, the author's use of "the Jews" indicates more his audience (which includes gentiles) than his prejudices.

    "This is largely from inference on my part..." I'm not sure what you mean by 'modern data' but it looks like we're both making inferences.

    Nothing, as far as I understand it. However, we have to keep in mind that this gospel was written over a number of years by a number of different people (if we accept wikipedia). Different verses may reflect the attitudes/beliefs of different authors from different decades. Some of the verses may reflect anti-semitism, while others do not, just as some of the things in the NT may be historical while others are not. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

    I would like to know what you think of John 5: 7-18 and my comments regarding those verses. Also, I would be interested in seeing some writings by Saducees that talk about "the Jews" so that we can analyze whether or not those writings are anti-semitic.
     
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  2. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    I made an inference on first century synagogue structure based on first century church structure, because the latter was taken directly from the former, with a few variations.

    On use of the word "the Jews" you have made an inference on first century Greek from a 21st century American English perspective.

    I took a baby step, you took a quantum leap of blind faith. I compared two varieties of apples, you compared an apple with an orange.

    So, you don't think John could have written to the Jews? These were Jewish men trying to convince other Jewish men that the Christ has come, but you don't think "the Jews" could have been the intended audience.

    But here is the REAL problem... you wanted evidence that the phrase "the Jews" was used elsewhere. We have NO text from a Sadducee to compare. All that we know about Sadduucees are from other sources. So, instead of a Sadducee, I have given you the work of a Pharisee that uses the phrase in question far more often than any Gospel. So you reject the evidence you asked for, because it shows the Jews in a "good light". Using your reasoning then, it is obvious that Josephus was bigoted against the Romans. Unless of course we can conclude that Josephus was NOT lying, but in fact giving the facts as he saw them.

    It has been ASSUMED that the authors of all four gospels were lying bigots intent on bringing the Jews to ruin.

    I could almost see your point if there weren't GOOD things written about "the Jews" in the NT as well as about the Pharisees. That there is BOTH positive and negative, leads me to believe that this is more about "reporting of the facts" as they saw it rather than the "left wing liberal Christian Media" just trying to discredit the "Religious Right" of their day.

    The whole agenda here is not driven by a scholarly pursuit of truth, but more as a means to discredit the "left wing liberal Christian Media" that wrote the Bible. There has been no evidence profferred that the negativism wasn't warranted. Just the presence alone is enough for you to discount it and draw all sorts of wild conclusions about the use of "the Jew" which has since been shown to be used by non-Christian Jews as well.

    Do you know that to this day, people still sweep the grassy knoll with metal detectors looking for a shell casing? They do the same along the street where Kennedy was shot, hoping to find the "missing bullet". Some conspiracy theories will never die, no matter how far fetched or contrived they may be.
     
  3. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    The first three Gospels... where "the Jew" was used...

    Matthew 2:2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?

    27:11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.

    27:29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said.

    27:37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

    28:15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

    Mark 7:3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.

    15:2 "Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate. "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.

    15:9 "Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate,

    15:12 "What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?" Pilate asked them.

    15:18 And they began to call out to him, "Hail, king of the Jews!"

    15:26 The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.

    Luke 7:3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.

    23:3 So Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.

    23:37 and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself."

    23:38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
     
  4. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Here is the first half of John...

    John 1:19 Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.

    2:6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

    2:18 Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"

    2:20 The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?"

    4:22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

    5:1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews.

    5:10 and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat."

    5:15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

    5:16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him.

    5:18 For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

    5:41 At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven."


    5:52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

    7:1 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life.

    7:11 Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for him and asking, "Where is that man?"

    7:13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews.

    7:15 The Jews were amazed and asked, "How did this man get such learning without having studied?"

    7:35 The Jews said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks?

    8:22 This made the Jews ask, "Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, `Where I go, you cannot come'?"

    8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

    8:48 The Jews answered him, "Aren't we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?"

    8:52 At this the Jews exclaimed, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death.

    8:57 "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"
     
  5. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    And the second half...

    9:18 The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man's parents.

    9:22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue.

    10:19 At these words the Jews were again divided.

    10:24 The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

    10:31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him,

    10:33 "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

    11:33 "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

    11:31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

    11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

    11:36 Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"

    11:45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.

    11:54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the Jews. Instead he withdrew to a region near the desert, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.

    12:11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him.

    13:33 "My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

    18:14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people.

    18:20 "I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.

    18:28 Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.

    18:31 Pilate said, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law." "But we have no right to execute anyone," the Jews objected.

    18:33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"

    18:36 Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

    18:38 "What is truth?" Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him.

    18:39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release `the king of the Jews'?"

    19:3 and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face.

    19:4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him."

    19:7 The Jews insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God."

    19:12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar."

    19:14 It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews.

    19:19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write `The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews."

    19:31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.

    19:38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away.

    20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"
     
  6. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    My own belief is that you have to consider that some of the Gospels were written for different audiences... The Gospels of John and Luke were probably composed for more philosophically (especiallly the Gospel of John) oriented Hellenized Jews and Greeks and the Greeks were already probably anti-semitic to a degree. They figured their culture was superior and looked down on the Jewish-Christians or the Nazoreans...

    You also have attempts by Paul to mediate the crisis between the Jewish Christians who were in Jerusalem and the Hellenized Jews and Greeks in Ephesus.

    If you look at he Synangogue at Copernaum it is definitiely Hellinized with a Zodiac etc.

    The Gospels of Mark and Matthew were more from earlier Aramaic sources and to me more Judaic...

    As Christianity developed it became increasingly Hellenized and the Jewish Christian element was either suppressed or forgotten especially after the Fall of Jerusalem...

    Recall that after Jerusalem was destroyed the Romans had an edict that Jews could no longer enter the premises of Jerusalem and a new city was build called Aelia Capitolena which was dedicated to Jupiter... Hellene Christians could enter but not the Jewish Christians...

    Later Christianity became the State Religion of the Roman Empire and assumed totally a Hellene or Greek appearance to appeal to the Greek speakers of the Empire, this meant adopting the anti-semitism of the Romans and Greeks.

    And that's how that went down in my opinion..

    -Art
     
  7. Mr Spinkles

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    Okay. Could you please back up this inference? And once again, if it is true, how is it relevant?

    I did not say that I don't think John could have written to the Jews (nor did I say that I thought John ever wrote anything, for that matter). If you can provide some scholarly material that argues that the gospel was written by "Jewish men trying to convince other Jewish men that the Christ has come" please do so. That may well be the case (it's been a while since I studied the NT) but if wikipedia is to be believed then it seems that the authors were Pauline Christians who oppposed the Jewish Christians.

    No, I wanted writings by Saducees so we could analyze whether or not their issues with the Pharisees could be called anti-semitism. I don't recall doubting that the phrase "the Jews" was ever "used elsewhere".

    1) Josephus was a Pharisee? I didn't know that.
    2) I haven't rejected anything that I'm aware of. I just don't think Josephus was anti-semitic.
    3) I don't think Josephus shows the Jews in a good or bad light...from the little I read, he seemed fairly unbiased (though I think he might have been biased against Christianity). For those who are more familiar with Josephus, if I'm wrong please correct me.
    Could you please explain how my reasoning makes it "obvious that Josephus was bigoted against the Romans"? I honestly have no idea what you're talking about. :eek: If I understand you correctly, this means that if "my reasoning" is wrong then Josephus was "giving the facts as he saw them"; this in turn means that, since according to you Josephus cast the Jews in a 'good light', the Jews were actually better people than the corrupt brood of vipers portrayed in the NT. Using your reasoning, even if I'm wrong, I'm right. :D

    1) Good point, there are some good things written about "the Jews" in the NT. I'm having a hard time finding any other than John 4:22 though--could you provide some other verses that cast "the Jews" in a positive light?

    Also, please keep this in mind:
    2) Is there a reason you compare the Pharisees, by analogy, to America's religious right? Was the comparison unintentional, or do you think the Pharisees were conservative bigots? The article from wikipedia I posted a few posts ago characterized the Pharisees as democratic Rabbis who were on the side of the poor and who were for liberal interpretations of scripture. That doesn't sound like our religious right to me.

    3) Reporting of the facts? The gospels can't even agree who Joseph's father was. Anyway, I thought you accepted a more liberal interpretation of scripture in which the text isn't inerrant (because it doesn't claim to be! :p ) and not everything is to be taken literally?

    This article from wikipedia, which I have already posted and which I highly recommend, describes the Pharisees as an enlightened group of liberal Jews. It stands in contrast to the corrupt brood of vipers described in the NT. I think wikipedia is a reliable source for evidence, and I think this counts as evidence that the negativism wasn't warranted.

    I don't think anyone is saying that anti-semitism is a conspiracy. It's simply a matter of looking critically at the text in its historical context. The wonderful thing about reading something critically is that you don't even need a metal detector to do it (we critically analyze lots of writing in my English classes....it's fun!) :)
     
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  8. Mr Spinkles

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    Oh yes and I almost forgot,
     
  9. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    I am up to late and will try to sort this out tomorrow...

    BUT...

    You are doing your "critical analysis" of what is written through 21st Century eyes, a different culture and a completely different language.

    Try to put yourself in their situation. Impossible for sure, but still worth the effort.

    Now, it amazes me that you have an issues with Jesus calling the Pharisees hypocrites and yet don't give a second thought to calling the "Religious Right" conservative bigots. If you can do it in context now, how will others perceive it looking through their filters of time and culture??? What nefarious attitudes will they assign to you?

    Oh yeah... there are no surviving writings of the Sadducees. I thought I made that clear. You are asking for evidence that is simply not there.
     
  10. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Tu quoque
     
  11. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    That the history of Christianity is peppered with "lying bigots" is beyond doubt. At the same time time, I have never characterized either Paul or the authors of the Synoptics in such a manner, nor do I believe that such a characterization would be at all accurate. Furthrmore, I believe that I have consistently spoken of anti-Judaic polemic rather than antisemitism, and I've done so because I believe the distinction to be important in understanding the evolution of Christian antisemitism. Finally, as for addressing Jewish culpability, I noted the malediction as far back as November of last year.
     
  12. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    The REAL definition of "Tu quoque" is "Ooops, they caught me doing exactly what I was complaining about".

    You have no tangible evidence that the authors were doing anything more than reporting the facts. The ONLY distortions have come from you Deut.

    Well it's good to see that you are making some progress. Keep it up. Maybe you'll even prove your own Christian conspiracies wrong one day! :D
     
  13. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    I seem to recall quoting more than a few references to support my position. I also seem to recall at least one other member doing likewise. Labelling my arguments distortions is simply dishonest. Failing to address the referrences while while implicitly denigrating the potential value of Jewish writings is worthy of even less respect.
     
  14. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    Gentlemen,

    Tone it down. The brickbats fail to enhance the argument
     
  15. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    To add to the previous list of references, an interesting discussion can be found in Some Critical Comments ... in the Light of Historical Criticism, by the agnostic secular humanist Dr. Gerd Lüdemann. He starts by stating:
    Anti-Judaism permeates the Gospel of Mark and also its passion narrative. This cannot be understood without previously considering Jesus’ three prophecies about his suffering (and his resurrection) that punctuate Mark’s story. They appear in 8:31; 9:31; and 10:32-34. Either the author received the first from tradition and he himself formulated the last two, or he created all three. Their content is this: Jesus is going to Jerusalem to be put to death by the Jewish authorities.
    He then notes how, in his opinion, this theme is augmented as the narrative is enhanced by the authors of Matthew, Luke, and John. He ends stating ...
    Any discussion of Gibson’s movie should pay attention to three important facts: 1. The key statements and representations about Jewish responsibility for Jesus’ death that we find in the New Testament passion narratives have no historical foundation, but are rooted in Christian propaganda. 2. Most of the details of the passion narratives derive from later “theological” interpretations and bear no relation to historical truth. 3. Jesus had no idea of dying for the sins of the world. He looked for the kingdom of God, but the church arrived instead.
     
  16. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    To continue, we have the comments of The Reverend Dr. Reinhard Boettcher. As a minister writting for the The Lutheran World Federation Department for Theology and Studies, he surely must fulfill NetDoc's request for "literature (other than Jewish)":
    Earlier, in a response to Mr_Spinkles, NetDoc wrote:
    You are doing your "critical analysis" of what is written through 21st Century eyes, a different culture and a completely different language. Try to put yourself in their situation. Impossible for sure, but still worth the effort.
    The good Reverand clearly understands the consequences of uncritical apologetics "written through 21st Century eyes", and it's a lesson that others would do well to learn.
     
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  17. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Also, we read ...
    The title of this piece suggests, of course, that this, too, fulfills NetDoc's request for "literature (other than Jewish)".
     
  18. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    So please show me how railing against the Pharisees is any more bigoted than railing against the Religious Right. It's an issue of power and control and NOT of race.
     
  19. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    The thread has been reopened and I will expect a civil level of debate
     
  20. Mr Spinkles

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    As strange as this may sound, I think "21st century eyes" may only keep one from seeing the anti-semitism in the NT (or rather, as Deut has corrected, anti-Judaic polemic). As Deut's excellent references note, rejecting this polemic as part of the theology of the NT is a relatively recent convention. I don't think many Christians today regard the stories in the NT as a reason to disdain the Jews....though it does still seem to have an impact on many Christians' views of the ancient Pharisees. (I have to confess that I once had an unfairly negative opinion of the Pharisees as well.)

    To be fair, I did not call the religious right conservative bigots. I simply asked if you intended, in your comparison of the Pharisees to the religious right, to imply that the Pharisees were conservative bigots. I assumed that that is how you generally regard the religious right and I made that connection....all I was wondering was if it was intentional or if I was reading too deeply into it.

    Here's what I'm really trying to get at:
    1) Do you think that wikipedia's description of the Pharisees is accurate/relatively unbiased?
    2) Are the Pharisees portrayed more or less negatively in the NT than in wikipedia?

    Then I cannot address your question as to whether or not the Saducees were anti-semitic.

    I don't mean to hound you or anything NetDoc, but I hope that my comments in posts #49 and 50 do not get lost in the discussion. I would like your feedback on a number of questions. I'm particularly interested in reading a response to:




    1. "I'm having a hard time finding any other than John 4:22 though--could you provide some other verses that cast "the Jews" in a positive light?"
    2. "I would like to know what you think of John 5: 7-18 and my comments regarding those verses."
    Of course, if you could respond to all the issues I raised in posts 49 and 50, that would be nice. :)

    Deut-- Thanks for posting those sources. I found all of it very fascinating.






     
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