Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Is the New Testament Anti-Semitic?

Short answer: no.

The Episcopal Church recently said so.

But you really can only make that comment if you ignore the fact that the New Testament is a collection of books written by Jews who had a Jewish worldview.

But an anti-semite does not need to misuse the words of the New Testament. The Tanakh, the traditional Jewish Scriptures, can be and has been used by snti-semites as well.

Jacob as deceiver? Moses calling the people of Israel a "stiff-necked and rebellious people"?

Should anyone conclude that Moses and the Torah were anti-semitic? Of course not.

The Bible records the behavior of Israel and of the early church, warts and all. Why? Because it is the Word of God and it is truthful.

The common mistake, from my perspective, is that when anti-semites read about Jewish people behaving badly, they fail to recognize that all of humanity is liable to sin. Jewish people are no worse than Gentiles. And there are plenty of examples of Gentiles behaving very, very badly (Pharoah, Haman, Babylon, etc., etc.) which get overlooked.

The apostle Paul wrote concerning Jews and Gentiles: "For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."

That's the bad news. But Paul isn't finished: "and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in [Messiah] Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith."

Paul is saying we are declared righteous by faith in the Messiah, and that applies to both Jew and Gentile.

That is truly good news.

5 Comments:

Blogger Sultan Knish said...

the New Testament was the work of a bunch of Roman editors of a Roman church, the jewish origin of them is dubious at best

that too is however irrelevant since Jews can be equally anti-semitic, as plenty of movements throughout history have demonstrated

torquemada who was behind the spanish inqusition like many members of jews for jesus, after all was of jewish descent

7/20/2006 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

Sultan,

Where did you get this information about how New Testament transmission?

Those who knew the apostles extensively quote the New Testament.

Here is an article that tackles the very topic of Rome distorting the New Testament: http://www.christian-thinktank.com/rome.html

Also, the Roman papacy wasn't around early on and developed historically. The papacy 500 CE didn't have the same form in 1500 CE.

So you have to make the case that those not directly under the sway of Rome would have followed their distortions in their own copies of the texts.

7/21/2006 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Sultan Knish said...

to begin defending the authenticity of the new testament would require also looking not only at what was included but what was discarded including supposed writings from jesus

one has to wonder why the writings of a man who would have been a child when he saw Jesus was included but not that of Jesus himself

certainly a Church that saw fit to edit out the words of their own prophet and diety would not seem to be a Church dedicated to the truth of their own faith

7/21/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

Ok, here's the short version of how the New Testament canon was decided. The early church was looking for books that had a connection to apostolic authority or were apostolic writings themselves.

I would fully encourage you to compare the books which were rejected and the books in the New Testament.

If you are actually interested in the process of canonization, you should probably start by reading FF Bruce's work: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product/301640903?item_no=1258&event=71810SBF|683693|72235

You should also look at how those who knew the apostles extensively quote the New Testament (Clement for example).

7/22/2006 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

Knish,
How do you know the Tanach wasn't the work of a bunch of late-Maccabean, anti-Torah, pro-prophetic, fringe Jews?

You are pretty ignorant about the New Testament. The Jewish origin of the New Testament is an established fact. Did you know that the Nazis tried to remove Jewishness from the New Testament? Check out Susannah Heschel's writing and some others.

You are also ignorant about our Jewish life in the first century. Teachers taught orally.

I don't think you will be appointed to the Jewish-Christian dialogue circles any time soon until you can show some respect for the beliefs of others.

7/22/2006 12:43:00 PM  

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