The Gaza War appears for now to have moved from active combat to diplomacy. Returning to Antisemitism and Jewish Survival, to pick up the discussion left off abruptly as Hamas initiated war on Israel in early-July, requires a bridge from earlier postings until today. The excerpts below will at least provide the setting for the blog going forward. Thank you for your patience.
From, Prologue, Christendom's Jewish Problem, 02/28/2014
The Jewish Problem, as numerous Christian theologians and historians have previously concluded, is too deeply a part of Christianity to, in the words of Catholic theologian Rosemary Reuther, be excised without destroying Christianity itself. The “problem” describes the 2000 years-long Christian-Jewish dialogue deeply embedded in the very social sinews of both communities. For Jews, by choice or ignorance, to ignore the Jewish Problem is to ensure its obvious conclusion.
Christianity’s Jewish Problem appeared with what would two centuries later be collected by the Church as official Christian scripture. Whatever reasons early adherents of the new sect might have had for demonizing the parent religion the emergent caricature of “the Jews” became part of Christian folklore, would be absorbed into Christian culture as sinister stereotype providing a ready target for attack during periods of extreme social duress.
From, Introduction, American "exceptionality" and the Jewish Problem, 03/05/2014
“American “exceptionality” is assumed the result of several factors including diversity of peoples (the “melting pot”), the “separation” of church and state and, most importantly, the protections guaranteed in the American Constitution and Bill of Rights. All provide safeguards, a firewall against the excesses of anti-Semitism, excesses seemingly reported daily in Europe today. American “exceptionality” will be scrutinized and evaluated during the chapters devoted to the Roosevelt Administration’s response to the unfolding Final Solution. As regards the “melting pot,” most populations that are “absorbed” are Christian, a fact immediately describing Jews as Other. Of course Jews can and do convert or disappear through assimilation, become “invisible” in Christian America. But conversion failed to protect the “converted” from burning at the stake during the Inquisition; and assimilation provided no defense once Germany changed the law to define as “Jew” even a third generation Christian with a single Jewish grandparent.”
From, Chapter One, A Christian Introduction to Christendom’s Jewish Problem, 04/04/2014
“The anti-Judaic tradition in Christianity grew as a negative and alienated expression of a need to legitimate its revelation in Jewish terms… it continues on… even up to this day... As long as “the Jews, that is, Jewish religious tradition itself, continues to reject [Christian understanding of Jewish scripture as correct] the validity of the Christian view is in question. The “wrath upon “the Jews,”” poured out by Christianity, represents this ever unsatisfied need for the Church to [assert] that it has the true content of the Jewish Scriptures... The wheat and the tares have grown together from the beginning, and so it may seem impossible to pull up the weed without uprooting the seed of Christian faith as well. Yet as long as Christology and anti-Judaism intertwine, one cannot be safe from a repetition of this history in new form [the Holocaust]… Anti-Judaism… was an expression of Christian self-affirmation… it may be too deeply embedded in the foundations of Christianity to be rooted out entirely without destroying the whole structure” (Catholic theologian, Rosemary Radford Ruether)
“We are now in a position to see clearly that the Nazi onslaught on the Jews was the ultimate expression of a much older hate, transmitted from generation to generation, and by this time altogether unrestrained by Christian limits. But this hatred of, or at least indifference to, Jews was not confined to the Nazis, though it reached its extremity in them. It was endemic in the Western world. It influenced not only the perpetrators but the spectators as well, and it continues to influence the reaction of the Christianized world to events decades later.” (Episcopalian bishop, William Nicholls)
“Are the New Testament writings, twisted by a hatred of Jews that a Church council would later renounce a betrayal of the message of Jesus? If so, where does that leave us?… Either the Jews are guilty or the Gospels falsify history - which is it?” (James Carroll)
From, The Jewish Problem, Sources: the Gospels, Part 1
“The earliest gospel included in Christian scripture was “Mark” appearing around 70 C.E. after the fall of Jerusalem. The last of the four canonicals, “John,” appeared about fifty years after “Mark”. The four gospels familiar today “Mark,” Matthew,” “Luke” and “John” (the gospels real authors are unknown so I refer to them in “quotation marks”) only became “official” in the fourth century and were selected from among more than fifty believed in existence at the time describing Jesus life and ministry. The rejected gospels were declared “heretical” and destroyed when found, their adherents similarly eliminated.
“More than twenty years elapsed between Jesus’ assumed death and Paul’s first epistle. Another twenty years separate Paul’s first epistle, First Thessalonians, 52 CE and the earliest of the four canonicals, “Mark”. Which raises the question whether the gospels represent, were even intended as a “historical” record of Jesus’ life and mission assumed by most Christians today.”
“The first gospel provides a model, a roadmap for those that follow for the overall narrative including a description of the trial and death of Jesus exculpatory of Rome. And this alone clearly describes “Mark” as anti-Jewish. However the later gospels each put their own stamp on the trial, including the pro-Roman, anti-Jewish formula they closely follow.”
From, The Jewish Problem, Sources, the Gospels, Part 2: History or Llterature?
A 2002 a Gallup poll concluded that "the Christ-killer charge remains pervasive"… that 37 percent of American young adults still hold Jews responsible for Jesus'' death. A 2014 Anti Defamation League (ADL) poll found that percentage virtually unchanged. (from, The Jewish Problem, Sources, the Gospels, Part 2: History or Llterature?)