2009-04-11

New Testament and Christian Anti-Judaism

A Christian Point of View

Is the New Testament Anti-Semitic?
by Clifford Goldstein, Liberty, March/April 1992

What book depicts Jews as hypocrites, apostates, liars, and sinners? What book denounces Jewish leaders and the Jewish nation? What book scolds its priests, claims its Temple services are corrupt, and spews forth warnings that God's judgments will fall upon the Jews? What book - accusing the Jews of murder, corruption, greed, and robbery - declares that they have forsaken God?

Sounds like the New Testament, long indicted as the Perian Spring of Western anti-Semitism. Some believe the hands that signed the "final solution" simply finished the script begun by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Hitler, others claim, was the logical, inevitable result of Paul. Christian historian James Parkes writes that "more than 6 million deliberate murders are the consequences of the teaching about the Jews for which the Christian church is ultimately responsible, and our attitude to Judaism which is not only maintained by all Christian churches but has its ultimate resting place in the teaching of the New Testament itself."

"The New Testament," writes Harry Kimball, "is the primary source of anti-Semitism. "The authors of the Gospels," wrote Jewish historian Heinrich Graetz, "by putting these words of violent hatred against the preservers of Judaism into the mouth of Jesus Himself, stamped Him thereby as a relentless foe of the members of His own race who did not believe in Him by clung to their original faith."

Yet the book described in the opening paragraph is not the New Testament - it is the Old! Indeed, if the criteria for determining anti-Judaism in the New Testament were applied to the Old, it would be declared the more anti-Jewish of the two.

Go on Reading here: http://christianactionforisrael.org/antiholo/newtest.html

 

A Jewish Point of View

THE ANTI-JEWISH NEW TESTAMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

Jewish people, who have read the New Testament throughout the history of Christianity, became well aware of the numerous passages of vicious and defamatory anti-Jewish polemic within it. On the other hand, Christians, in general, have been insensitive to the offensive nature of these texts and to the damage that their usage has done to the Jewish people throughout the Common Era. When the Emperor Constantine became a Christian in the fourth century C.E. and installed Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire, Jewish people became a primary target of persecution by "The Church"

Although the Holocaust, which caused the murderous annihilation of two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population, was in some ways different from previous historical acts of mass persecution and genocide of the Jewish people, it shared the motive of its precursors, the Crusades and Inquisition, and the many pogroms and expulsions. Each of these events was fueled by anti-Semitism, the hatred of Jewish people, and was aimed at their murder and plunder. The Holocaust distinguished itself from the other events in the scope of its genocidal goals and the fact that it did not offer its victims the "option" of conversion to Christianity – there was no escape from death.

An increasing number of Christian scholars have concluded that the root of anti-Semitism in the Christian world community is ultimately found within the New Testament. In his book, Elder and Younger Brothers, the late Prof. A. Roy Eckardt [former Professor of Religion at both Lehigh University (PA) and Oxford University (UK), and an ordained minister], asserted that the foundation of anti-Semitism, and the responsibility for the Holocaust lie ultimately in the New Testament. In another book, Your People, My People, Eckardt insisted that Christian repentance must include a reexamination of basic theological attitudes toward Jewry and the New Testament in order to deal effectively with the problem of anti-Semitism and its prevention. The general message scholars such as Eckardt are trying to convey is that, using the New Testament as its authoritative source, "The Church" has stereotyped the Jewish people as an icon of unredeemed humanity; they became an image of a blind, stubborn, carnal, and perverse people. This dehumanization is the vehicle that formed the psychological prerequisite to the atrocities that followed.

Rather than speculate about and explore the reasons why the New Testament contains the racist defamatory anti-Jewish rhetoric, this essay will consider some examples of such New Testament passages that appear in Christian lectionaries. Lectionaries are collections of Scriptural passages from Christian Bibles that are read during regular weekly Catholic and Protestant church services, and which are repeated on some cyclical schedule. As such, these lectionaries are widely used by many millions of Church-going Christians, and they are somewhat similar to Jewish prayer books, such as a Siddur. 

The material found in the lectionaries is, of course, only the "tip of the iceberg", but it suffices to demonstrate the plausibility of the assertion that anti-Semitism among Christians is rooted in the New Testament.

Go on Reading here: http://www.messiahtruth.com/anti.html

 

Christian Antisemitism and the Middle East Conflict

Preaching and Teaching the New Testament: Promoting Anti-Judaism?
Posted: November 1, 2007

Professor Amy-Jill Levine, author of The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus," spoke on the topic "Preaching and Teaching the New Testament: Promoting Anti-Judaism?" during the annual meeting of the ADL's National Commission on November 1 in New York City. The following is a synopsis of her remarks.

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Amy-Jill Levine is the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, College of Arts and Science, and Graduate Department of Religion in Nashville, Tenn. 

She demonstrated how anti-Jewish New Testament interpretation continues to infect congregations and classrooms around the world.

"The problem is less the Christian right, who consider Jews the 'chosen people' and who have respect for what they call the 'Old Testament.' Rather, the problem is the Christian left: mainline churches; the World Council of Churches; liberation theologians; and usually well intended but naïve academics."

She said that much like Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ" claimed to be presenting historically accurate information, New Testament sermons and lectures promote ahistorical stereotypes of Judaism as xenophobic, elitist, materialist, warlike, misogynistic and otherwise so ossified that it makes the Taliban looks progressive. "Such negative presentations neatly complement anti-Jewish stereotypes worshipers and students either picked up in Sunday school or developed from biased media coverage of the Middle East," she said.

Go on Reading here: http://www.adl.org/main_Interfaith/newtestament.htm