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Is the New Testament Anti-Semitic?

Logicman

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Various skeptics through the years have contended that the New Testament, and specifically the Gospel of John, are anti-Semitic. What is the truth about that?

First, from the Old Testament:

"In the most sacred work of Judaism, the Torah, we find numerous pronunciations by God and Moses referring to the Israelites as being “stiff-necked” and “rebellious.”

"The Lord and Moses were not alone. Isaiah Chapter 1 likens the Israelites to “Sodomites” and a “brood of evildoers,” whose “hands are full of blood.” Jeremiah Chapter 2 refers to them as “a wild donkey in heat.” Other prophets call them “adulteresses” and liken their behavior to prostitutes. So vivid were the descriptions of the abominations of the Israelites that the Bible records God himself bringing judgment upon judgment upon them, so that even their children were dashed against the rocks. But do you ever hear of anyone calling the Old Testament authors “anti-Semitic”? Never, and the reason why was because those issues were clearly understood to be intra-Jewish tensions written about by the Jews themselves."

Fast-forward to the New Testament:

"The New Testament should be viewed in the same light. Jesus was a Jew. His disciples were all Jews, and the majority of the New Testament authors were also Jewish. Did they really hate their own race of people, or can it reasonably be said that, like the Old Testament, the tensions in the New Testament are just simply more of the same intra-Jewish rivalries like we saw before? I think the evidence is clearly with the latter."

"Many cite the Gospel of John specifically as being anti-Semitic. Yet when the term “Jews” is used in a pejorative sense in John’s Gospel it is never directed toward the general populace, but towards the corrupt scribes, God-blasphemers, and ungodly Pharisees instead. In fact, contrary to being anti-Semitic, The Gospel of John presents the Israelites in a very positive light. From John Chapter 1 we read: “When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.
’”


Discussion...
 

Grand Mal

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Various skeptics through the years have contended that the New Testament, and specifically the Gospel of John, are anti-Semitic. What is the truth about that?

First, from the Old Testament:

"In the most sacred work of Judaism, the Torah, we find numerous pronunciations by God and Moses referring to the Israelites as being “stiff-necked” and “rebellious.”

"The Lord and Moses were not alone. Isaiah Chapter 1 likens the Israelites to “Sodomites” and a “brood of evildoers,” whose “hands are full of blood.” Jeremiah Chapter 2 refers to them as “a wild donkey in heat.” Other prophets call them “adulteresses” and liken their behavior to prostitutes. So vivid were the descriptions of the abominations of the Israelites that the Bible records God himself bringing judgment upon judgment upon them, so that even their children were dashed against the rocks. But do you ever hear of anyone calling the Old Testament authors “anti-Semitic”? Never, and the reason why was because those issues were clearly understood to be intra-Jewish tensions written about by the Jews themselves."

Fast-forward to the New Testament:

"The New Testament should be viewed in the same light. Jesus was a Jew. His disciples were all Jews, and the majority of the New Testament authors were also Jewish. Did they really hate their own race of people, or can it reasonably be said that, like the Old Testament, the tensions in the New Testament are just simply more of the same intra-Jewish rivalries like we saw before? I think the evidence is clearly with the latter."

"Many cite the Gospel of John specifically as being anti-Semitic. Yet when the term “Jews” is used in a pejorative sense in John’s Gospel it is never directed toward the general populace, but towards the corrupt scribes, God-blasphemers, and ungodly Pharisees instead. In fact, contrary to being anti-Semitic, The Gospel of John presents the Israelites in a very positive light. From John Chapter 1 we read: “When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.
’”


Discussion...
What was 'ungodly' about Pharisees? The Sadducees might call them ungodly, and the Essenes might call them both ungodly (and Jesus almost certainly spent time in an Essene monastery) but why would a Christian call them ungodly?
 

ttwtt78640

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Your premise seems to be flawed if you define anti-semitism as being hostile towards Jewish people because they are Jewish.


What is your definition of anti-semitism?
 

OrphanSlug

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As with just about everything when it comes to the Bible, the text can be inferred to be anti-Semitic but that does not mean that is the only interpretation. Matthew, John, Acts, even Revelation all have texts that can be looked at a certain way even if the prevailing interpretation suggests the intention was to mean otherwise.

The only caveat is the time period when most of this was written, then edited, some added in, some taken out, and an eventual agreement on Biblical canon occurred across a time period where the Roman Empire dominated the area. To say there was split between various interpretations of what we call Judaism today and what we call Christianity today would be an understatement. Despite the hype the timeframe was neither peaceful or ecumenical.

You could say there is specific text that allows some to become very anti-Semitic just as there is text that allows some to become very racist. I would argue that in the right hands the Bible itself can be used to hate just about anyone for just about any reason.
 

Logicman

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What was 'ungodly' about Pharisees?

In Jesus' day, many of them were corrupt and hypocrites.

From Matthew 23 - Jesus speaking

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.[d] 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
 
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Elora

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No...Jesus did not condemn anyone for who they were, but for what they did/didn't do...

"At this Peter began to speak, and he said: “Now I truly understand that God is not partial, but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him." Acts 10:34
 

MamboDervish

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Various skeptics through the years have contended that the New Testament, and specifically the Gospel of John, are anti-Semitic. What is the truth about that?


Discussion...
I think the truth is that people cherry pick the bible - BOTH testaments - according to their own preformed biases. And is it any wonder? For books that are thousands of years old, written in different languages, and translated and re-translated into every language on Earth, it should surprise nobody that it suffers from such a glut of different interpretations regarding its content.

What would be shocking would be if everyone agreed on what was written, and what was meant. As such, even the idea of biblical "scholarship" is a bottomless abyss. It cannot be otherwise.
 
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