Anti-Judaism in Early Christianity
Volume 1: Paul and the Gospels
Publication Year: 1986
The period since the close of World War II has been agonizingly introspective—not least because of the pain of reassessing Christianity’s attitude to Judaism. The early Christian materials have often been examined to assess their role in the long-standing negative attitude of Christians to Jews. The motivation for the early church’s sometimes harsh attitude was partly theological—it needed to define itself over against its parent—and partly sociological—it needed to make clear the line that divided the fledgling group of Christian believers fromt he group with which it was most likely to be confused. This collection of studies emphasizes the context and history of early Christianity in reconsidering many of the classic passages that have contributed to the development of anti-Judaism in Christianity. The volume opens with an essay that clearly delineates the state of the question of anti-Judaism in early Christianity. Then follow discussions of specific passages in the writings of Paul as well as the Gospels.
Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Notes on Contributors
Since the Holocaust the question of Christianity's contribution to anti-Semitism has given rise to a vast amount of literature, and since the middle 1960s, with Vatican II's declaration, the issue has become one of the central questions of ecumenical debate. No doubt the inwardness of the 1960s and 1970s has given its own special stamp to the contours...
1. Anti-Judaism in Early Christianity: The State of the Question
Few topics in the area of New Testament studies have received the amount of attention that the topic of anti-Semitism or anti-Judaism has received in recent times. The importance of the theme, however, is not universally recognized. When we look at standard encyclopaedias we find that an entry under the topic of "anti-Semitism" is missing both in...
2. Paul Ahead of His Time: 1 Thess. 2:13-16
And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus which are in Judea; for you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did...
3. Paul and the Law in Galatians 2-3
What is at issue in this volume on anti-Judaism is not the positive gospel of the apostle to the Gentiles but the negative shadow side of a Pauline "theology of Judaism." Samuel Sandmel described Paul's situation as follows: "The practical issue was Should new converts be compelled to observe the Jewish practices? The theoretical, theological issue was...
4. On the Absence of "Anti-Judaism" in 1 Corinthians
There is little in 1 Corinthians that sounds anti-Judaic. Most other letters of Paul have sections that have been given that label, the more important of which are discussed in other essays in the present volume. But the absence of "anti-Judaism" in 1 Corinthians also deserves some attention. It cannot be argued that there is a chronological reason for...
5. Paul on the Law, His Opponents, and the Jewish People in Philippians 3 and 2 Corinthians 11
The question of "anti-Judaism" in Paul must take into account at least three topics: his direct comments on his own people, his attitude towards Judaism (considered as a religion or a way of life), and his attacks on his opponents. The principal passages in which these issues arise are well known: Romans 1 to 4 (righteousness by...
6. The Rhetorical Function of the Jews in Romans
Anti-Judaism is a negative disposition towards the Jews and the expression of that attitude in action. It is more than ignorance or error; it implies a value judgment. People reject what they dislike or hate, what they perceive as opposed to the values they cherish. This perception is achieved and consolidated, among other things, by teaching...
7. The Trial of Jesus as Jewish-Christian Polarization: Blasphemy and Polemic in Mark's Gospel
The exchange of the historicizing approach to the gospels for the redactional and the literary not only calls attention to the literary and theological dynamics of individual narratives and the gospels as wholes; it also raises new questions about the evangelists' perceptions of and responses to events contemporary with them. It is now widely...
8. Anti-Judaism and the Passion Narrative in Luke and Acts
"Who killed Jesus Christ?" is the question raised by the controversial film produced by TVOntario called The Jesus Trial. "The Jews did," answers a Good Friday liturgy with a dramatic reading of the passion according to St. John. It is in the light of experiencing both of these that the following is being written. We can speak of anti-Judaism in the...
9. The Jews and the Death of Jesus in Acts
The evidence which relates directly to this theme falls almost exclusively in the missionary speeches and in the prayer of the Jerusalem community recorded in Acts 4:24-30. To begin with it is instructive simply to list the relevant material in order to gain a sense of the uniformity and the degree of repetition involved...
10. Anti-Judaic Sentiments in the Passion Narrative According to Matthew
This essay will investigate the passion narrative of Matthew's gospel with the aim of elucidating the attitude toward Judaism which comes to expression in it. In order to establish the specifically Matthean sentiments toward Judaism we will pay special attention to the ways in which Matthew differs from Mark, his primary source. We will attempt...
11. The Setting of Matthean Anti-Judaism
A polemic directed against at least some aspects of Jewish life and thought pervades the Gospel of Matthew. This polemic surfaces in Matt. 2:16, 22 where it is stated that various rulers of the Jewish people were intent on Jesus' destruction right from his birth and youth, and it does not come to an end until the final chapter of this gospel, where...
12. Anti-Judaism in the Passion Accounts of the Fourth Gospel
The anti-Judaism of the Fourth Gospel has long been a subject of discussion. The term "Jew" is used seventy-one times in John as compared with five times in Matthew and Luke, and six times in Mark. This use of "Jew," often in a pejorative sense, together with John's high Christology have singled this gospel out. So in one sense the problem...