Middle East atemporal

Februarie 15, 2013

Is the New Testament Anti-Semitic?

Filed under: Uncategorized — mihaibeltechi @ 8:05 am

 

“Even in times of social stress and upheaval the Constitution and Bill of Rights have served as a legal firewall to institutional anti-Semitism.”

David Turner, The Jerusalem Post

 

In the previous article, we have implicitly pointed out that anti-Semitism is foreign to the New Testament, for it exegetically and contextually deals with theology and the implications of that theology upon the lives of people, nations, and even the world. The New Testament does not and cannot espouse hatred of people of any creed or background, and the Apostle Paul himself declares in the midst of Mars’ hill that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth…”

New Testament Greek

We have also pointed out that Christ was not being anti-Semitic for saying to one of His disciples at one time, “Get thee behind me, Satan…” (Matthew 16:23). These are serious languages, but the Savior of all mankind cannot hate the creatures He came to save! He even went out of His way to teach His followers to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven…” (Matthew 5:44-45).

Even to the last minute on the cross, Christ forgave those who had been accomplices in putting Him there: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Yes, Christ told them the truth and used “harsh” words, but He never espoused hatred toward them.

In general, Christ, His disciples, and Christianity in generalcannot promote anti-Semitism or any form of hatred precisely because it is evil. But what about the harsh languages in the New Testament? Don’t they promote hatred?

We also did point out in the last section that when the woman of Canaan came to Jesus and asked Him to cast out an evil spirit out of her daughter, Jesus declared, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs” (Matthew 15:26). Dogs? How could Christ use such a harsh language to convey a message? Couldn’t He substitute something else?

But again don’t get caught up by the word. We have to assume that Christ, who taught that one must love his/her neighbor, was not promoting hatred here, and the end of the story indicated what He was trying to teach His disciples. At the end, Jesus told the same woman, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matthew 15:28).

What about other passages which seem to indicate on the surface that the writers of the New Testament promoted hatred? The Apostle Peter, speaking to a Jewish crowd, declares, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

What had happened over the centuries is that most Jewish scholars never got to read the entire context of story—sometimes they had chosen to do so deliberately. Once they saw the word “whom ye have crucified,” that was enough for them to say that the New Testament is anti-Semitic. They never finished the rest of the story where Peter declares that Christ came to bless them if they repented of their sins and accept Him as the Messiah (Acts 2:38-29).

Did God actually bless the Jews who accepted Christ? You tell me. Twelve disciples from a very dangerous place in the world at the time actually gave us Christianity, which has been a blessing for all mankind. I am in no way denying here that there have been abuses in the name of Christ throughout the centuries. That is another topic for another time.

Later on, the Apostle Paul, speaking to Christians, makes it clear that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:28-29). In other words, ethnicity ceases to have a major theological meaning. The “chosen people” now are those who have been accepted Christ, as Peter makes it clear once again to Christians: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

To say that Jews are still God’s chosen people while at the same time denying Christ is a theological contradiction that Christ Himself addressed head-on. When the Pharisees kept telling Jesus that “We be Abraham’s seed,” Jesus responded by saying that “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham,” which is another way of saying that they would have accepted Him as the Messiah. After a long dialogue, Jesus finally told them bluntly that “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” (John 8).

Right here is perhaps where the whole theological discussion begins and ends. Jesus was making a theological point, and once again He was not promoting hatred. Nor was He saying that all ethnic Jews are the children of the devil, for Christ was an ethnic Jew and so were His disciples. As we argued in the last article, the word “Jew” has a theological meaning and it is this theological meaning that scholars throughout the centuries have failed to grasp.

Once Christ has been denied, something else has to be substituted. In other subsequent articles, whenever I refer to the term “Jew,” I am speaking primarily of the theological meaning and its historical, economic, political, and spiritual implications. I must reiterate that I have no quarrel with my fellow Jewish human beings, who have problems just like everyone else does. Christianity has a place for everyone: Jew, Muslim, atheist, Buddhist, you name it.

Moreover, one does not have to be a Christian in order to alienate himself from a wicked ideology which has wicked consequences. One does not have to be a Christian in order to say no to the Zionist and neoconservative dream, which has caused massive death in the Middle East and massive debt in the West, most particularly in America. Leaving the theological discussion aside, decent men of all the shades and variations must stand in opposition to wickedness, uphold that which is good, and deny that which is evil.

Sadly, the Zionist dream and the neoconservative ideology are part of that wickedness, and that decent people of all backgrounds, including our fellow Jewish men, must stand in opposition to them. Even now some Jewish rabbis are opposed to the Zionist madness, and we praise them for doing so. Christ taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). As we shall see in a later article, the neoconservatives were not promoting peace in the Middle East when they went to war against Iraq with bold lies and deliberate fabrications.

The New Testament in particular is against wickedness and evil things wherever they are found, and this is why harsh languages are found throughout. Paul Himself has used harsh languages in order to correct and indoctrinate the church. But Paul was not an anti-Christian for doing so.

 

A Brief Historical Attack on the New Testament

Unfortunately, the New Testament has taken an unfortunate hit by Jewish writers, scholars, and Jewish organizations over the centuries because they see it as the seed of anti-Semitism. Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) declared in his book Never Again?: The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism:

“The anti-Jewish rhetoric that mars several books of the Christian New Testament has been shown to reflect not historical fact but the rivalry at the time the books were written between Jews who followed Jesus and those who did not.”[1]

Foxman moves on to assert unequivocally,

“For almost two thousand years Christian teachings drove the spread of anti-Semitism throughout Europe and beyond.”[2]

This is historically embarrassing. As I shall demonstrate in a later article, when Jews were physically being persecuted in some sections in Europe, it was the popes who stood out for them and declared that any physical persecution against Jews was anti-Catholic and therefore anti-Christian and must be stopped. Despite the mystification of history, Pope Pius XII never supported Hitler or even mobilized a number of people to save hundreds of Jews from being persecuted.

Foxman propounded one historical error after another and went on to declare that St. John Chrysostom in particular “ordered Christians to launch violent attacks against the Jews, which many soon did.”[3] The source? Foxman gave us none. And Foxman never gave us the historical context in which Chrysostom discussed his theological disputations.

In contrast, I would highly recommend Robert L. Wilken, Chrysostom and the Jews: Rhetoric and Reality in the 4th Century (Berkley: University of California Press, 1983), and Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).[4]

Throughout history, of course, Chrysostom has been portrayed as an anti-Semite and has been viewed as one of the many early church fathers to implant the seed of anti-Semitism in Western culture. Yet Chrysostom was also known for denouncing the abuse of wealth among the clergy and the secular world and advocated caring for the poor and needy.

No one has ever come out and said that Chrysostom was an anti-clergy or anti-secular and blamed him for believing so. Yet all of a sudden he is to be labeled an anti-Semite because he preached against the synagogue! Moreover, why doesn’t Foxman tell us that Chrysostom was also against the abuse of wealth among the clergy? Because Foxman is writing under the unconvincing premise that Christianity, at its eventual root, is anti-Semitic.

Then Foxman cites James Carroll’s Constantine Sword as a reliable source in a different section of Never Again?Nothing could be further from the truth, and we will address Carroll’s book sometimes this summer. (Carroll himself even asserts that the New Testament is anti-Semitic.)

David Turner of the Jerusalem Post claims that anti-Semitism had its foundation in “the canon of universal Christianity,” most particularly in the epistles of Paul, which Turner declares “provide the inspiration for anti-Judaism.”[5]

David Turner

Turner declares in another article, “Hitler’s intention was to achieve a final solution to a Jewish Problem born two millennia before, with the first century Pauline and gospel texts.”[6]

Turner ended up proving indirectly that the church has been right all along, that the cosmic struggle between the two systems (Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism) is theological, not ethnic. Turner tells us that “the historical foundations for the West’s Jewish Problem” have their source in the “religious anti-Judaism in Christian scripture,” which gave grounds to the Holocaust. For Turner, there is a deep “Jew hatred” in those religious texts that gave rise to “secular anti-Semitism.”

Turner argues that there is a “historical tradition in Christianity” that always ends up “in serial persecutions” and expulsions of Jews throughout the Western world. He continues to claim that one of every two Jews born in the past thousand years has suffered intense persecution under Christianity.[7] Moreover, he states that the anti-Jewish attitude in the gospels of Matthew and John culminated in the “Final Solution.”[8]

Then Turner moves to the historically indefensible position that there is an ontological hatred of Jews throughout history which has absolutely nothing to do with Jewish participation in subversive activity.

First, Turner turns to America. He declares that the Leo Frank affair “illustrates the depth of antisemitism present in the United States for decades preceding the First World War, a level that only intensified after that war, and continued to do so through the Second World War and beyond.”[9]

What a pity for his case then that many of the judges involved in the trial were Jews—yet even they did not find Frank’s case convincing. For Turner, the spirit of anti-Semitism has been widespread over the last century throughout America, Austria, and other places.[10]

Turner also argues that

David Turner: The Bill of Rights and the Constitution are Anti-Semitic

“the Constitution and Bill of Rights have served as a legal firewall to institutional antisemitism.”[11]

This historically ridiculous statement would shock probably all Christian Zionists in America. Turner says that the 1920s showed that America had a deep anti-Semitic spirit which led to institutionalized anti-Semitism.[12] He accuses the Roosevelt Administration of anti-Semitism because it refused to allow immigrant Jews from Europe entrance.[13]

Not once did Turner mention the complex social issues of the 1920s, such as the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, which was largely viewed as a Jewish revolutionary activity.[14] During the Bolshevik Revolution, millions upon millions of people were killed, including innocent peasants.[15]And almost all serious people in Europe—including Winston Churchill—were scared to death of the consequences of that movement.

In addition, the Bolshevik ideology, with its Marxist leanings, began to spread like wildfire in Asian countries like China,[16] and wherever it went countries began killing their own people by the millions. Mao alone liquidated more than 40 million people.[17]

Not once did Turner mention that the U.S. State Department published a three-volume report in 1931 stating that Jewish-owned German banks conspired to send large sums of money to Lenin, Trotsky, and other Bolshevik luminaries to overthrow the Tsar.[18]

Jewish financiers such as Jacob Schiff in the United States and Max and Paul Warburg in Germany poured millions of dollars into the Bolshevik movement. Schiff is said to have given $20 million dollars to the regime—a sum equivalent to perhaps billions of dollars today.[19]  Even The Jewish Encyclopedia calls communism and socialism Jewish phenomena.[20]

Jacob Schiff

Not once did Turner mention that the biggest gambler in America during the 1920s was none other than Arnold Rothstein, a man who esthetically terrorized politicians. Jewish Professor of History and Judaic Studies at the University of Oklahoma Michael Alexander declares that Rothstein “corrupted politicians. He ran four illegal casinos. He trained Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky in the ways of illicit finance and the organization of crime. And he was never convicted of a single crime, except in the newspapers…For the remainder of his career Rothstein’s name was synonymous with the victimless crime that battered the nation.”[21]

Alexander then goes on to write, “Any history of gambling and financial crime in the 1910s and 1920s must pay some attention to the history of the Jews in America. Jews pioneered the modern business of gambling and heavily participated in the closely related business of stock market bucketeering. Those are facts.”[22] Jewish writer Rich Cohen called Rothstein’s business “a blueprint for smuggling drugs in America.”[23]

Arnold rothstein

I contacted Turner and asked him to be more careful about sweeping assertions with little or no evidence. We had an interesting dialogue, and I will post the entire dialogue in the next article.

Turner is not the only person to view the New Testament as the bedrock upon which anti-Semitism is built. New Testament professor and orthodox Jew Amy-Jill Levine declares that her job is to eliminate what she perceives to be “anti-Jewish, sexist, and homophobic theologies”[24] in the New Testament. Levine is the author of The Misunderstood Jew.

In Levine’s view, as she declared in a talk given some years ago, the New Testament interpretation of anti-Semitism “continues to infect congregations and classrooms around the world.” She goes on to declare, “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.”[25]

The late Hyam Maccoby, perhaps one of the most celebrated Jewish and Talmudic scholars of the last century, wrote in his work Antisemitism and Modernity that “It was in [the] Pauline Church, from which later Christianity derives, that anti-Semitism arose.”[26]

In other words, anything that Jewish organizations do not like can be called anti-Semitic. After Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ was released, Charles Patterson blames all the horrors of Jewish suffering on the gospels’ accounts. “The trouble with Mel Gibson’s film ‘The Passion’ is not the film itself,” he writes, “but the gospel story on which it’s based. The gospel story, which has generated more anti-Semitism than the sum of all the other anti-Semitic writings ever written, created the climate in Christian Europe that led to the Holocaust. Long before the rise of Adolf Hitler, the gospel story about the life and death of Jesus had poisoned the bloodstream of European civilization.”[27]

Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ

Heinrich Graetz, arguably the first Jewish historiographer in the nineteenth century whose five-volume work has been essential in shaping my own thinking, drew the same conclusion, charging that Christians’ “hatred against Jews” is certainly “derived from the gospels and their theological literature.”[28]For Jami Bernard of the New York Daily News,Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ was “the most virulently antisemitic movie made since the German propaganda films of World War II.”[29]

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, whose fraudulent bookHitler’s Willing Executioners we shall examine this spring, wrote that

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

Gibson’s film takes the fetishizing of horror and death that exists within Christianity to some sort of sickly logical conclusion. Visually, iconographically and symbolically, Gibson’s ‘Passion’ is a sadomasochistic, orgiastic display that demonizes Jews as it degrades those who revel in viewing the horror… Its orgy of unsurpassed and virtually unremitting sadism restores this part of the Jesus story — deemphasized by the Catholic Church since the Vatican II reforms — to center stage, to haunt all those who would follow Jesus with indelible, iconic images of cruelty. Gibson has thus unwittingly exposed the misguidedness of this cult of death.[30]

This is the prevailing way of looking at the gospels or anything that portrays Jews as being an accomplice in the crucifixion, and Graetz in particular did not like Christianity at all, and he “was accused of a savage or even deathly hatred of Christianity.”[31]When Moses Hess sent him a letter describing how Hess hated Christianity and even called it “a religion of death” that would soon whither through the advent of Judaism,[32]Graetz responded by saying that Jewish intellectuals like himself and Hess must be delighted “in ‘scourging’ the Germans.”[33] Keep in mind that Graetz was writing before the rise of Nazi Germany.

As it turned out, it was largely this form of Jewish racism that Hitler and other secular nationalists in Nazi Germany began to disavow. And Germany never ran out of intellectual racialists and nationalists who would challenge that form of racial superiority. One of the most vigorous German intellectuals who stood up against that form of ideology was Heinrich von Treitschke. (We will meet him again in another article.)

Graetz added, “we must above all work to shatter Christianity.”[34] When Moses Mendelssohn’s daughter converted to Christianity, Graetz wrote that “It was a lamentable sight,” and when other women became weary with Judaism and ended up becoming Christian, Graetz wrote that those “women did Judaism a service by becoming Christians.”[35] When Andreas Eisenmenger made the mistake of becoming a Christian and wrote his influential work The Tradition of the Jews in 1700, Graetz said that “Eisenmenger belonged to the class of insects which sucks poison even out of flowers.”[36] Graetz continued to say that The Traditions of the Jews is “a venomous book” which has the potential to create the spirit of anti-Semitism.[37] Again, Joseph Pfefferkorn became a Christian in the sixteenth century, and Graetz called him “the scum of the Jewish people,” and a “noisome insect…”[38]

Heinrich Graetz

Graetz is not alone in this type of caricature. In the first century, Jewish historian Josephus became a fully assimilated Jew, yet Jewish historian Solomon Grayzel says that Josephus, among others things, “betrayed the cause of Jewish independence at the start.”[39] When Josephus later wrote that Titus did not want to destroy the Temple in A.D. 70, Grayzel declared that “Joseph always defented Titus before the Jews, and he was not above telling a falsehood when it suited his purpose.”[40]

In other words, the issue keeps coming back to theology and ideology and has little to do with ethnicity. If ethnicity were the issue, then Jews who become Christians would not be “insects” or “scums” of the earth. And isn’t it another form of racism to call people “noisome insect” simply because they move from Judaism to Christianity to a different religion?

Going back to Mel Gibson’s movie, Jewish professor Paul Fredriksen declares when the movie came out,

“When violence breaks out, Mel Gibson will have a much higher authority than professors and bishops to answer to.[41]

The Los Angeles Times added that the movie is

“a gasoline-soaked rag tossed on the already roaring flames of anti-Semitism.”[42]

Rabbi Tovia Singer was more pessimistic. “By the time the first nail is hammered into the cross,” he said, “viewers in Germany will be passing around knife sharpeners in the theater. Israel may have to absorb a massive flight of European Jewry.”[43]

I honestly have no interest in Mel Gibson, but to frankly portray the movie as anti-Semitic is a contradiction which is inherent in the anti-Semitic tactic. For example, Fredricksen implies that the movie is anti-Semitc, but Fredriksen writes that it was the Jews who inspired Pilate to kill Jesus! After reading Fredricksen’s work, Jewish writer David Klinghoffer himself writes, “Pilate Killed Jesus. But even Fredriksen allows that it was the priests who tipped him off to the threat posed by the Christian savior—or rather, by those who followed him.”

The late Jewish novelist and television writer Howard Fast wrote in The Jews: Story of a People that “unless Christians finally come to understand the bitter and almost inadmissible truth, that the murder of six million Jews by the Germans was the final, hideous outcome of a Christian ideology that had spent two thousand years teaching mankind to hate the Jews—then the crucifixion of the Jews and the connected inhumanity of the Christian will continue, on and on, until finally mankind, in the name of that gentle Jew Jesus, who died without ever hearing the word Christian or knowing what agony his own people would suffer in his name, destroys itself.[44]

Even dispensationalists like David K Lowery view the New Testament as anti-Semitic. Lowery goes so far as to say that there is “the strong denunciation of Israel that pervades the gospel” and there is again a “strong polemic against Israel.”[45] It is this type of thinking that pervades dispensational premillenialism as well.  For example, futurist Dave Hunt has a whole chapter on anti-Semitism in his book Judgement Day!: Israel, Islam, and the Nations, and he even cites Abraham Foxman, of all people, to prove that anti-Semitism is on the rise.[46] Yet according to Hunt’s dispensational scheme, two-thirds of the Jews are going to be killed during the dispensational tribulation period![47] If Foxman reads this, he too would be accusing Hunt of being an anti-Semite.

Gibson even deleted scenes drawn from Matthew 27 before the movie came out. Sharon Waxman of the New York Times wrote that Gibson, “responding to focus groups as much as to protests by Jewish critics, has decided to delete a controversial scene about Jews from his film…A scene in the film, in which the Jewish high priest Caiaphas calls down a kind of curse on the Jewish people by declaring of the Crucifixion, ‘His blood be on us and on our children,’ will not be in the movie’s final version…”[48]  Feldman and others of course do not lack the historical sophistication to see the converging evidence for the New Testament, but since they are the product of Rabbinic Judaism, they have to interpret the New Testament that way, even though the Talmud itself admits that Jesus was properly accused by rabbinical court.[49]

 

Anti-Semitism: The Challenge of the Old Testament

Let us take the issue even further. Judaism superficially claims the Old Testament as their motto. That provides a challenge for those who keep propounding that the New Testament is anti-Semitic. As Jewish convert to Christianity Micael L. Brown points out, if the New Testament and the gospels are anti-Semitic, then the Old Testament is anti-Semitic as well, for it has equally strong languages about Israel forsaking God and embracing paganism instead.[50] Consider for example what the prophet Isaiah said, “ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore…are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood, enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, under the clifts of the rocks?” (Isiah 57:3-4; emphasis added).

Even at the beginning of the book of Isaiah, it was quite clear that the LORD wanted to go straight to the point: “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward” (Isaiah 1:4).

Hosea also declares that not only does Israel “commit falsehood,” but “They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies. They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened” (Hosea 7:1, 2-4).

Moving on to the next chapters, we learn that “Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples” (Hosea 8:14ab); “Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor” (Hosea 9:1); “Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies…” (Hosea 10:13); “O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity” (Hosea 14:1).

Similar languages with much vigor can be found throughout the Old Testament. The book of Micah declares that “the house of Jacob, and the princes of the house of Israel” not only “abhor judgment, and pervert all equity,” but “They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity” (Micah 3:9-10).

Moreover, “The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money…” (Micha 3:11).  Here again is what the Old Testament says,

And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all [these] he brought to Babylon. And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia (2 Chronicles 36:15-20).

Did God hate the people of Israel for saying these things? Was He an anti-Semite? The answer is no. And not a single rabbi or Jewish writer, as far as I know, has written a book saying that the God of the Old Testament was anti-Semitic for taking such actions upon the people of Israel. Yet all of a sudden the New Testament is anti-Semitic for borrowing almost the language of the Old Testament! Something does not add up here.

Even during the time of Moses, the LORD declared then, “Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee” (Exodus 33:5). Similar utterances are recorded Deuteronomy 31:27-29, Isaiah 30:8-9, Ezekiel 2:3-4, etc.[51]

Brown argues quite rightly, “Why then are verses such as these are not considered to be primary theological sources of anti-Semitism? Why is it only the New Testament verses—none of which make such wide-ranging charges—that are supposedly anti-Semitic? Why not argue that God himself, along with the prophets he inspired, was anti-Semitic?”[52]

Rabbis and Jewish writers who label the New Testament anti-Semitic cannot have it both ways: they cannot accuse the New Testament of anti-Semitism when in fact the New Testament is not as harsh as the Old Testament in language.

Throughout his work Antisemitism and Modernity and many others, Maccoby is very hostile to the gospels, and Paul’s writings in particular, and on many occasions calling them a “myth.”[53] Maccoby goes so far as to say that “Paul transformed Gnostic anti-Semitism by introducing the idea of the divine death—an idea which, it seems probable, he absorbed from Hellenistic mystery-cults such as that of Attis…Paul’s claim of Jewish birth and Pharisee upbringing is dubious. He was probably of Gentile birth, became converted to Judaism, and then developed an amalgam of Gnosticism and mystery-religion, using Jewish materials in the Gnostic style of radical re-interpretation. In the gospels and Acts…Paul’s vague outline of an anti-Semitic myth was given narrative elaboration. The Jews were portrayed as hostile to the higher truths brought to them by Jesus, as seeking his death, handing him over to the Romans on a false charge of sedition, and persuading and blackmailing a reluctant Roman governor into executing him.”[54]

To re-emphasize, the gospels, by definition, cannot be anti-Semitic, for the gospels cannot hate people.  Moreover, Paul continually makes references to the Jews as people whom God had used to transmit His message to the world. In the first chapter of the book of Romans, he clearly says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

In addition, how can Paul be anti-Semitic when he was willing to be accursed from Christ for the Jews? Paul declares, “That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh; Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever” (Romans 9:2-5).

Here and elsewhere Paul praised the Jews as God’s instruments. Previously he writes, “What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Romans 3:12).

Far be it from the New Testament to even remotely make anti-Semitic remarks. Paul again declares, “What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” (Romans 3:9). But many Jews did not understand that Christ is the fulfillment of all the laws. Christ’s dying on the cross is the end of sacrificial ritual as practiced in the Old Testament, for they “are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ” (Colossians 2:17).

If Jewish scholars want to address the issue in ethnic term, let me drop a particular note here that will clear some confusion here:  Both the Old and the New Testamentare ethnically Jewish, “for salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).

In order to clear up confusion, it is pertinent to reiterate that when Christ was categorically and metaphysically denied at the foot of the cross, the “synagogue of Satan” took over, and over the years the wicked ideology of the synagogue was codified in a particular theological text: the Talmud. Ever since, Jewish life has never been the same, since theology shapes the foundation of those who hold it.

From now on, when I used the word “Jewish,” I am not necessarily talking about ethnicity. As a general rule, I am referring to the historical, political, and economic and spiritual implications of the “synagogue.” This “synagogue” has been the theological backdrop of all significant revolutions in the West, from the fifteenth century and all the way to the twenty-first century. This includes the French Revolution, the Turkish Revolution, rapacious usury in our modern age, etc. We will discuss these issues in much detail this summer.


[1] Abraham Foxman, Never Again?: The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), 47.

[2] Ibid., 48.

[3] Ibid.

[4] I have addressed this issue more fully in Christianity & Rabbinic Judaism (Volume II).

[5] David Turner, “From Anti-Judaism to Anti-Semitism: The Age of Reason,” Jerusalem Post, October 6, 2011.

[6] David Turner, “The Final Solution: Extermination as First and Last Resort, Part 2,” Jerusalem Post, February 24, 2012.

[7] David Turner, “Sources of Christian Doubt: The Quest for the Historical Jesus,” Jerusalem Post, September 8, 2011.

[8] David Turner, “Holocaust Remembrance as Holocaust Denial,” Jerusalem Post, January 30, 2012.

[9] David Turner, “An American Lynching: The Leo Max Frank Affair,” Jerusalem Post, December 28, 2011.

[10] David Turner, “Political AntiSemitism in the United States: 1873-1932,” Jerusalem Post, December 15, 2011.

[11] David Turner, “The United States and the Holocaust, 1: Background to Passivity,”  Jerusalem Post, March 7, 2012

[12] David Turner, “Anti-Semitism as National Policy: The U.S. Congress Shuts the Borders, 1923-4,” Jerusalem Post, January 25, 2012.

[13] David Turner, “The Acquiescence of the United States in the Murder of the Jews,” Jerusalem Post, April 12, 2012.)

[14] See Slezkine, The Jewish Century; Carr Hallett Edward, The Bolshevik Revolution (New York; Macmillan, 1950); Stephen F. Cohen, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980); Adam B Ulam, Bolsheviks (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980); Jerry Z. Muller, Capitalism and the Jews (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010). Many scholars do not declare that Jews were at the forefront of the revolution because this would imply that anti-Jewish reactions would have to be reassessed.

[15] See Robert Conquest, Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivism and the Terror-Famine (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008) and The Great Terror (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990); Miron Dolot, Execution by Hunger: The Hidden Holocaust (New York: W. W. Norton, 1987).

[16] See Steven Rosefielde, Red Holocaust (New York: Routledge, 2010).

[17] See Frank Dikotter, Mao’s Great Famine (New York: Walker, 2010).

[18] http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/forrel.asp.

[19] See Gary Allen, None Dare Call It Conspiracy (Cutchogue, NY: Buccaneer Books, 1976).

[20] Cyrus Adler and Isidore Singer, ed., The Jewish Encyclopedia (New York: Funk-Wagnalls, 1901-1906), 583-585.

[21] Michael Alexander, Jazz Age Jews (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), 15.

[22] Ibid., 16; emphasis added.

[23] Rich Cohen, Tough Jews: Fathers, Sons, and Gangster Dreams (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999), 132.

[25] “Preaching and Teaching the New Testament: Promoting Anti-Judaism?” www.adl.org, November 1, 2007.

[26] Hyam Maccoby, Antisemitism and Modernity: Innovation and Continuity (New York: Routledge, 2006), 13.

[27] Quoted in Gentry, Navigating the Bookf of Revelation, 183.

[28] Graetz, History of the Jews, Vol. V (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society,1895), 44.

[29] Quoted in Ben Child, “Jim Caviezel Claims the Passion of the Christ Made Him a Hollywood Outcast,”Guardian, May 3, 2011.

[30] Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, “Mel Gibson’s Cross of Vengeance,” The Jewish Daily Forward, March 5, 2004; emphasis added.

[31] Cited in Elliott Horowitz, Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), 262.

[32] Albert S. Lindemann, Esau’s Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of  the Jews (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 91.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid., 141; emphasis added.

[35] Graetz, History of the Jews, Vol. V, 424, 425.

[36] Heinrich Graetz, History of the Jews, volume V (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1895), 187.

[37] Ibid., 187-188.

[38] Graetz, History of the Jews, volume IV, 423.

[39] Solomon Grayzel, A History of the Jews: From the Babylonian Exile to the Establishment of Israel(Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1947), 165.

[40] Ibid., 171.

[41] Quoted in David Klinghoffer, Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western History (New York: Doubleday, 2005), 2.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Howard Fast, The Jews: Story of a People (New York: The Dial Press, Inc., 1968), 325.

[45] Gentry, Navigating the Book of Revelation, 183.

[46] Hunt, Judgment Day!, chapter 2.

[47] Ibid., 361-362.

[48] Quoted in Gentry, Navitaging the Book of Revelatioin, 184.

[49] For a historical survey, see Christianity & Rabbinic Judaism (volume I).

[50] See Michael Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, volume I, 145-175.

[51] Brown discusses those passages in much detail.

[52] Ibid., 148.

[53] Mccoby, Antisemitism and Modernity, 14.

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