Friday, 3 January 2014

Anti-Semitism in the NT? Examining the claims of Uri Yosef 9

This article will be briefly looking at the introduction of the article on Anti-Semitism penned by Uri Yosef. Let's take another quick look:

"Jewish people, who have read the New Testament throughout the history of 
Christianity, became well aware of the numerous passages of vicious and 
defamatory anti-Jewish polemic within it. On the other hand, Christians, in general, 
have been insensitive to the offensive nature of these texts and to the damage that 
their usage has done to the Jewish people throughout the Common Era. When the 
Emperor Constantine became a Christian in the fourth century C.E. and installed 
Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire, Jewish people became a 
primary target of persecution by "The Church". 

Although the Holocaust, which caused the murderous annihilation of two-thirds of 
Europe's Jewish population, was in some ways different from previous historical acts 
of mass persecution and genocide of the Jewish people, it shared the motive of its 
precursors, the Crusades and Inquisitions, and the many pogroms and expulsions. 
Each of these events was fueled by anti-Semitism, the hatred of Jewish people, and 
was aimed at their murder and plunder. The Holocaust distinguished itself from the 
other events in the scope of its genocidal goals and the fact that it did not offer its 
victims the "option" of conversion to Christianity – there was no escape from death."

Firstly, The question is did the Christians who killed the Jews act in accordance with the NT or did they completely disregard it? It's the latter. One thing is certain that those who have persecuted Jews in the past were certainly not followers of Christ and merely gave lip service to him, not to mention I went through the texts raised by Yosef one by one to show that the NT is not responsible for anti-semitism. Though I have been called ignorant in the past by some Jews, that's fine, I am not denying anti-semitism happened, I am simply saying that in context, the NT doesn't teach anti-semitism.

The Crusades, Inquisitions and programmes like them to which the Jews have been subject to certainly are an abhorrence to Jesus considering the fact he himself was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and even said in the "Anti Semitic" Gospel of John in John chapter 4 that salvation was of the Jews.

One of the corrections I'll make is Constantine did not make Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire, he merely commanded a tolerance of it. This can be found in the edict of Milan:

"When I, Constantine Augustus, as well as I, Licinius Augustus, fortunately met near Mediolanurn (Milan), and were considering everything that pertained to the public welfare and security, we thought, among other things which we saw would be for the good of many, those regulations pertaining to the reverence of the Divinity ought certainly to be made first, so that we might grant to the Christians and others full authority to observe that religion which each preferred; whence any Divinity whatsoever in the seat of the heavens may be propitious and kindly disposed to us and all who are placed under our rule. And thus by this wholesome counsel and most upright provision we thought to arrange that no one whatsoever should be denied the opportunity to give his heart to the observance of the Christian religion, of that religion which he should think best for himself, so that the Supreme Deity, to whose worship we freely yield our hearts) may show in all things His usual favor and benevolence. Therefore, your Worship should know that it has pleased us to remove all conditions whatsoever, which were in the rescripts formerly given to you officially, concerning the Christians and now any one of these who wishes to observe Christian religion may do so freely and openly, without molestation. We thought it fit to commend these things most fully to your care that you may know that we have given to those Christians free and unrestricted opportunity of religious worship. When you see that this has been granted to them by us, your Worship will know that we have also conceded to other religions the right of open and free observance of their worship for the sake of the peace of our times, that each one may have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases; this regulation is made we that we may not seem to detract from any dignity or any religion.

Moreover, in the case of the Christians especially we esteemed it best to order that if it happens anyone heretofore has bought from our treasury from anyone whatsoever, those places where they were previously accustomed to assemble, concerning which a certain decree had been made and a letter sent to you officially, the same shall be restored to the Christians without payment or any claim of recompense and without any kind of fraud or deception, Those, moreover, who have obtained the same by gift, are likewise to return them at once to the Christians. Besides, both those who have purchased and those who have secured them by gift, are to appeal to the vicar if they seek any recompense from our bounty, that they may be cared for through our clemency. All this property ought to be delivered at once to the community of the Christians through your intercession, and without delay. And since these Christians are known to have possessed not only those places in which they were accustomed to assemble, but also other property, namely the churches, belonging to them as a corporation and not as individuals, all these things which we have included under the above law, you will order to be restored, without any hesitation or controversy at all, to these Christians, that is to say to the corporations and their conventicles: providing, of course, that the above arrangements be followed so that those who return the same without payment, as we have said, may hope for an indemnity from our bounty. In all these circumstances you ought to tender your most efficacious intervention to the community of the Christians, that our command may be carried into effect as quickly as possible, whereby, moreover, through our clemency, public order may be secured. Let this be done so that, as we have said above, Divine favor towards us, which, under the most important circumstances we have already experienced, may, for all time, preserve and prosper our successes together with the good of the state. Moreover, in order that the statement of this decree of our good will may come to the notice of all, this rescript, published by your decree, shall be announced everywhere and brought to the knowledge of all, so that the decree of this, our benevolence, cannot be concealed."

There is one video I recommend on this subject by InspiringPhilosophy which can be found here:

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Answering Judaism.

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