Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Was Jesus a Jew?

I think it makes more sense to say Jesus Christ was a Christian, not a Jew, and I posted before. Judaism did not become the religion it is today, until after Jesus. Jesus was not a Moslem either.

Here is a contrary view. Thomas Dalton writes:

First, I should note that there is a high likelihood that no such man ever existed. We can say this with confidence because there is no—literally, zero—contemporaneous evidence for his existence, either as a miracle-working Son of God, or even as a rather ordinary rabbi. ...

The likeliest conclusion to this mess is that the Jew Paul and the anonymous Jewish gospel writers made it all up: that there was no miracle-working Son of God, no virgin birth, and no resurrection. They did so, not for fame or money, but because they believed that promulgating a pro-Jewish, anti-Roman theology would aid the Jewish cause. ...

In fact, the evidence suggests that Jesus was a double-Jew: ethnically and religiously.[3] ...

Likewise, the Gospel writers clearly viewed their Savior as a Jew. Jesus is repeatedly called ‘rabbi’.[4] He was circumcised (Luke 2:21) and celebrated Passover (John 2:13). The Gospel of Matthew opens with these words: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham.” Even the non-gospel Hebrews remarks that “it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah” (7:14). Jesus regularly attended the local synagogue (Luke 4:16). He himself told the people that he came “to fulfill the [Jewish] law and the [Jewish] prophets” (Matt 5:17). And of course, everyone thought of him as “king of the Jews” (Matt 2:2; John 19:3).

It could hardly be clearer: both by genetic heritage and according to his evident beliefs and practices, Jesus was a Jew. He was a biological Jew—surely embodying all those wonderful Jewish phenotypical characteristics—and he was a religious Jew.

Dalton makes some good points, but he rejects the Gospels as a source of facts about Jesus, so I don't know why he would accept Gospel evidence that Jesus was a Jew.

At any rate, Christianity and Judaism have diverged so much that they have little in common. Ditto for Islam. They are called the Abrahamic religions, but they have almost nothing to do with Abraham.


CFT said...

Jesus was Jew, and he was seen as a Jew in all historical and biblical accounts, If YOU can find an exception of some veracity other than that you aren't comfortable with the fact, please enlighten me. Jesus did disagree with the power structures that monetized the Temple and acted as gate keepers... but that changes nothing.

You are devolving into the 'No true Scotsman' fallacy in your discussing Jesus. You might want to check that out and why it is not a logical argument.

It really doesn't matter how much the Jews have changed, because the Christians under Constantine and his edicts sure did that a lot more in spades. All religions change, as they must if they are to survive, just like organisms, doctrines, governments, philosophies, etc ad nausea.

Roger said...

No, I am not making a "no true Scotsman" argument. I have conceded that there are arguments that Jesus was seen as a Jew. The followers of Messianic Judaism especially think so.

I am just saying the evidence is thin, and it is not useful to say that Jesus was a Jew because of huge differences between Judaism and Christianity. The message of the Gospels is nothing like Judaism as it is understood today.

CFT said...

I think 'A History of God' by Karen Armstrong would be a good starting point to researching the origins of Christianity (and Islam for that matter). It isn't overly dry and technical, but if you want to do reeeealy crunchy reading, you could also try 'In Parables: The Challenge of the Historical Jesus' by Dominic Crossan, which is a wonderful examination into exactly what Jesus was actually up to, how he did it, and how he arrived at that point with his views on God and the proper relation with said God. Dominic's work really opened my eyes to what the Parables of the Bible were really about, No, they really didn't have anything to do with going to heaven...Just the Kingdom of Heaven which is an entirely different thing.