Wednesday 16 April 2014

Behold Jesus: Response to Aryeh Kaplan

While engaging in a discussion on Facebook, I had points raised to me which I hope to answer by God's grace in this article.

The points raised came from an article I was directed to that was penned by Jews4Judaism counter missionary Aryeh Kaplan which can be found here:

"Many people are fascinated by the person of Jesus. Even when they find it impossible to accept Christian theology, they still feel that they can identify with Jesus the person. They see him as someone who preached love and peace, and whose life embodied the greatest ideals.
When we look at Jesus in such idealized terms, many of the things done in his name seem very strange. How could the Crusaders have pillaged and destroyed entire com­munities in his name? How could the Inquisition have tor­tured people to death in the name of a man who taught that the foremost commandment was “love your neighbor as yourself”? How are such contradictions possible?
It is much less surprising that his followers did not live by Jesus’ teachings when we realize that even Jesus himself did not abide by them. Christians like to present us with an idealized picture of Jesus the man, but a careful reading of the Gospels dispels this picture very quickly."

I'll tell you how the crusades and inquisitions happened and it can be somed up in two words: FALSE CHRISTIANS. One can claim to be a Christian and yet disobey Jesus himself, but that doesn't make them a Christian in sincerity and truth, but in name only. What Kaplan sets out to try and say is that Jesus was a hypocrite who violated his own teachings and thus true Christianity is a destructive, violent religion with no mercy on mankind. But does a careful reading actually demonstrate the point that Kaplan makes? We'll see.

"Let us look at a few examples.
One of the best known teachings of Jesus is (Luke 6:29), “If someone smites you on one cheek, turn the other cheek.” This might have been a beautiful ideal, but Jesus himself did not live up to it. When one of the High Priest’s officers struck him, Jesus did not turn the other cheek at all. Instead, the Gospel tells us that his response was (John 13:23), “If I spoke amiss, state it in evidence at my trial. If I spoke well, then why did you smite me?” He did not meekly and quietly submit, as he himself is alleged to have preached.
Throughout history, it seems that the only one who ever “turned the other cheek” was the Jew.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructed his fol­lowers (Matthew 5:43) “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, and do good to those who hate you.” This might have been a fine lesson if Jesus himself lived up to it. But when it came to his own enemies, Jesus declared (Luke 19:27), “Take my enemies, who would not have me rule over them, bring them here, and kill them before me.”"

Kaplan actually distorts what turning the other cheek actually means. Turning the other cheek is not referring to defending yourself from false charges or making an enquiry. Christians turning the other cheek doesn't mean that Christians are to have a sentimental airy fairy lovey dovey attitude to life, nor does it mean that you cannot stand up for yourself, that is a misuse and abuse of the statement. James M. Arlandson has made the following observation about Matthew 5:38-42:
"One interpretation says that the clause is rhetorical. It is a hyperbole or an obvious and intentional exaggeration, not to be taken literally. For example, Matt. 7:3-5 shows Jesus’ use of this time-honored and effective rhetorical device, in which he says to pull a "plank" out of our eye before we judge. Obviously, we cannot literally have a plank in our eye. So the rhetorical interpretation of "turn the other cheek" is plausible. It protects the clause from being distorted and misapplied beyond recognition when it is interpreted too literally and too far.

Thus, it is a little known and little appreciated fact that Jesus replied to his critics as they insulted him. He was not literally slapped until his arrest and trial, and at that time he was submitting to God’s plan to die for the sins of the world. However, before then, during his three-year ministry, he did not stand there meek and mild and silent, looking down at the ground wishing for the verbal assaults to finish. Rather, he confronted the insults and the insulters (see almost the entire chapters of Matt. 12, Luke 20, and John 8 for examples), or he walked away. So we should not drive "turn the other cheek" into absurd directions of absolute passivity.

However, let’s take the clause as if it should be put into practice, not only as a rhetorical device. Many scholars believe that taking it as written explains it more clearly, as it was originally intended. Thus, at least two other main interpretations of the verse are possible: the historical (legal) and the eschatological (the end times), which can overlap. Our focus is on them for the rest of the article." (James M. Arlandson, Should the State turn the other cheek:

Also, Let's actually read what Jesus said in context:
"11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.[a] ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’

14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’

15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.

16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’

17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’

18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’

19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’

20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’

22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’

24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’

25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’

26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”"

Luke 19:27 is speaking on the what will happen on judgement day and that Jesus will judge every man individually for what they have done and those who refuse to follow him will be executed accordingly by being thrown into the lake of fire. This is not a denial of loving your enemy and if Jesus is God and Messiah, he has the prerogative to judge mankind for their sins, including those who deny him.

"Jesus might have preached against vindictiveness, but he did not practice as he preached, when he said (John 11:39), “I come to the world for judgment. I may give sight to the sightless, but I will blind those who see.”
Some of us may have a picture of Jesus preaching love and peace, as when he said (Matthew 5:22), “Anyone who nurses anger against his brother must be brought to judgment . . . If he even sneers at him, he will have to answer for it in the fires of hell.” The picture, however, changes very rapidly when Jesus himself is put to the test. We then find him declaring (Matthew 10:34), “Think not that I have come to send peace to the world. I come not to send peace, but the sword.”"

Here is what Jesus actually said:
"34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36     a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[c]

37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it."

In the actual context of Matthew 10:34-39 and Luke 12:49-53, Jesus is speaking about a metaphorical sword of division within families that will occur if someone chooses to follow him. He is saying in essence if you don't love me more than your family, don't follow me because by doing so you will have opposition from your family and your friends.

Matthew 5 is a condemnation of unrighteous anger and Jesus is not violating his own principle when he is speaking about counting the cost of following him and being his disciples.

Lastly, How is John 9:39 vindictive in the slightest?
"35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

39 Jesus said,[a] “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."

Can someone enlighten me where the vindictiveness is? I don't see it.

"Jesus subjected anyone who dared oppose him to the most awful abuse, curses and threats of dire punishment. When the Jews tried to defend their ancient faith, Jesus answered them by saying, (Matthew 23:33), “You snakes, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damna­tion of hell?”
Jesus did not limit himself to his immediate opponents, such as the Rabbis and teachers. He spoke against all those who dared not believe in him, branding them as outcasts subject to divine punishment. We thus hear his pronounce­ment (John 3:36), “He who believes in the Son has everlast­ing life. But he who does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but shall suffer the everlasting wrath of G-d.” He may have preached love, but it was a very restricted love. He thus said (John 3:5), “I surely say to you: Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of G-d.”"

In contrast to this, the Rabbis, whom Jesus hated so much, did not place any such limitations on G-d’s love. It was the Rabbis of the Talmud who made the statement (Tosefta, Sanhedrin 13), “The righteous of all nations have a share in the World to Come.” They saw G-d’s love as available to all people, and not only to Jews."

This begs the question as to whether the Talmud actually goes back to the time of Moses which is another issue neither here nor there. Kaplan fails to inform his audience of whom Jesus is actually speaking to. Read the chapter:
"13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. [14] [b]

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’[c]”"

Jesus is actually anathematizing the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law in Matthew 23, NOT all Jews and I hardly think that Jesus calling the Pharisees a brood of vipers is remotely being nasty and the reason for his terminology being used of them was because they were leading the people astray into legalistic worship rather than genuine biblical worship. The Pharisees had an obligation as leaders to bring their people closer to God and lead them in worship, something they failed to do. In fact Isaiah even labels his own people as a brood of vipers, depraved children, offspring of treachery etc in his book.

Furthermore, if Jesus was the Messiah, he was just in condemning those who refused his offer of salvation.

An even stronger statement can be found in our Mid­rashic literature, where a rabbi declares (Tana DeBei Eliahu Rabbah 9), “I call heaven and earth as witnesses: Any indi­vidual, whether gentile or Jew, man or woman, servant or maid, can bring the Divine Presence upon himself in ac­cordance with his deeds.”
The Jewish attitude toward non-Jews is most clearly expressed in King Solomon’s prayer, where he says (I Kings 8:41-43), “When a stranger, who is not of Your people Israel, but comes from a distant land . . . turns in prayer toward this Temple, then listen to his prayers.”
Jesus, however, was not so broad minded. When he sent out his twelve disciples, he charged them (Matthew 10:5, 6), “Do not take the road to gentile lands, and do not enter any Samaritan city. Go only to the lost sheep of Is­rael.”

The Rabbis who lived in Jesus’ time taught (Avos 4:3), “Do not despise any man.” They likewise declared (Baba Kama 38a), “Even a gentile who studies Torah is equal to a High Priest.” These Rabbis saw G-d’s salvation freely available to all men. Contrast this with the terrible sentence proclaimed by Jesus (John 15:6), “He who does not abide in me is thrown away like a withered branch. Such withered branches are gathered together, cast into the fire and burned.” This terrible statement was later used by the Catholic Church to justify their practice of burning non-believers at the stake."

The reason Jesus told them not to go to the Gentiles was because it wasn't time for them to go them just yet, they had to go to their own people first. Furthermore the same book in Matthew 28, Jesus then says go out AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS. As for what Jesus says in John 15, let's read:

"15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other."

Jesus is calling his disciples for obedience and refuse to comply would result in their judgement. Men can say the creed every Sunday but if there is no faith and trust in Jesus which leads to an obedient life, saying the creed is merely rhetoric and no substance can be found. The Catholic Church and many other people have misused the statement which Kaplan refers to and didn't apply the statement correctly. The text doesn't call for the killing of anyone.

"In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus preached (Matthew 5:43:44), “You have been previously taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you: Love your enemies and bless those who curse you.” Jesus may have said this, but the Gospels are aflame with his own words of hatred toward those who did not accept him. Time after time, he displays the same appetite for revenge as any other mortal.
One of the basic teachings of Judaism is (Leviticus 18:19), “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This commandment is so important that Rabbi Akiva declared that it was the fundamental principle of the Torah. Even though this is openly stated in the Torah, written over a thousand years before Jesus’ birth, many people still think of it as one of Jesus’ teachings."

How in the word is condemnation of people refusing to accept him remotely even an appetite for revenge? That is absurd and ludicrous. There are those who do think "Love thy neighbor" comes from Jesus but it does come from the Torah and Jesus quotes it as a response to a man's question in Mark 12:28-34.

"But even in explaining this commandment of love, Jesus was not above displaying his vindictiveness. The Gos­pel (Luke 19:29), records that he was asked, “But who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied with one of the best known par­ables in the Gospels:
A man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho is attacked by robbers. They plunder and beat him, leaving him half dead by the roadside. A priest comes along and sees the injured man, but he promptly crosses the road to avoid him. A Levite then happens to pass by, and he also crosses the road to avoid him. Finally a Samaritan comes by and is touched by pity. He binds the stranger’s wounds, carries him to a secure spot, and tenderly cares for him. Thus, the Samaritan becomes the perfect example of the good neighbor.
At first glance, this looks like a most beautiful story. But when we look beneath the surface, we see Jesus’ vindic­tiveness only too clearly.

Let us carefully note the three persons who saw the unfortunate victim. They are a priest (Cohen), a Levite and a Samaritan. Anyone familiar with the three classes of Jews called to the Torah, knows that they are Cohen (priest), Levite and Israelite. We would therefore expect that after the Cohen and Levite passed up the victim, the story would tell us that the third person was an Israelite, an ordinary Jew.

Instead, however, Jesus substitutes a Samaritan, a member of a tribe who had been enemies with the Jews for almost five hundred years. This Samaritan then becomes the example of moral love. The Priests and Levites, who were the religious leaders of the Jews, were thus downgraded, while the hated Samaritan was praised. What Jesus is imply­ing is that every Jew, even a religious leader, is incapable of even a simple act of mercy."

"Even in his parable about love, Jesus was not above demonstrating his spite toward the Jewish leaders who re­jected him. “Good Samaritan” is a byword among Chris­tians to this very day. Many churches even bear the name, “Church of the Good Samaritan.” But Jesus’ vindictiveness assured that there would never be a church with the name, “Church of the Good Israelite.

Jesus was aware of the Jews hatred of the Samaritans and only uses the Samaritan to demonstrate a point of how loving one's neighbour should be applied and what the Torah says regarding it. He is encouraging those in his midst that despite coming from bad stock, the Samaritan was willing to put his life on the line for the sake of the man, unlike the Priest and Levite. The Jews had forgotten the principle of loving ones neighbour and Jesus sought to correct the error through this parable. He is saying "If a Samaritan was willing to do this much for the man, you should do likewise". Whining about whether a church is called good samaritan or good jew or good anything, is nothing more than a red herring that doesn't prove Jesus being vindictive.

Jesus was even able to be vindictive against a tree. When he found himself hungry, he was not able to restrain his too human emotions. The Gospel thus records (Matthew 21:18, 19), “In the morning, on his way to the city, Jesus felt hungry. Seeing a fig tree near the road, he went up to it, but found nothing on it but leaves. He said to the tree, ‘may you never bear fruit anymore.’ The tree then withered and died.” The Gospel of Mark (11:13) makes it plain that it was not even the season for figs.

Did this innocent tree deserve such cruel punishment? It was not even the season for figs, and the tree was merely fulfilling its nature. If Jesus merely wanted to show his miraculous powers, as the gospel seems to indicate, why did he not command the tree to bring forth fruit?

Indeed, the Talmud (Taanis 24a) brings a very similar incident, but with a very different ending. Rabbi Yosi’s son once wanted to provide his father’s field hands with food. All he could find was a fig tree, but it was not the season, and the tree was bare. He cried out, “Fig tree, fig tree, send forth your fruit so that my father’s workers may eat.” The Talmud tells us that the tree produced fruit before its time and the men were able to fill themselves.

If Jesus were truly capable of miracles, he could have done the same. Instead, he chose to display his vindic­tiveness."

There is a reason that Jesus was cursing the fig tree. He is using the tree as a parable for the nation of Israel refusing to bear fruit, specifically the wicked among Israel and not Israel as a whole, considering Jesus did find righteous individuals such as Nathan who was under the fig tree.

Sam Shamoun makes the following observation in his article on the fig tree:
"Christ came searching for what the OT says Yahweh searches after, namely, an indication that Israel was a fruitful tree and not barren and dry. Yet instead of finding the early fig (cf. Hosea 9:10; Micah 7:1), which would have demonstrated that Israel was spiritually alive and capable of bearing the fruit which satisfies God, Christ found the nation spiritually dead and barren. In light of Israel’s spiritual barrenness, God would cut down his fig tree, his very own vine, and burn it:

"Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, "For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?" "Sir," the man replied, "leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down."’" Luke 13:6-9

"He then began to speak to them in parables: 'A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, "They will respect my son." But the tenants said to one another, "This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours." So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.’" Mark 12:1-9

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’" Matthew 23:37-39

"As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace-but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you.’" Luke 19:41-44

This was the meaning behind Jesus’ cursing the fig tree, as a sign that God came looking for spiritual fruitfulness among his covenant people but saw none, and would therefore bring destruction upon them." (Sam Shamoun, Why did Jesus curse the fig tree for not bearing fruit, although it was not even fig season?:

Feel free to check his article out for more information.

As I have mentioned before, Jesus did find individuals among his people who did have a love for God and did have the fruits that he was looking for.

"A primary teaching of Judaism is expressed by the Psalmist many generations before Jesus. He declared (Psalm 145:9), “G-d is good to all, and his love extends over all His works.” No distinction is made between Jew and gentile.

Contrast this with the following event in Jesus’ career (Mark 2:25-27) : “A woman whose daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit heard of Jesus, and came in, falling at his feet. She was a Gentile, a Phoenician from Syria. She begged Jesus to drive out the spirit from her daughter. Jesus replied, `Let the children be satisfied first. It is not right to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs.”
From the context, it is obvious that the “children” mentioned by Jesus refer to the Jews, while the “dogs” were the gentiles. These “dogs” must be satisfied with scraps from the table.
Now compare this narrow view with a teaching of the much maligned Pharisees (i.e. rabbis). They declare in the Talmud (Gittin 61a), “We are obliged to feed the gentile poor in exactly the same manner as we feed the Jewish poor.”

We can bring many such contrasts between Jewish and Christian ethics. In every case, the margin seems to be on the side of Judaism. Jesus may have taught many beautiful ideals, but unfortunately, he never seemed to be able to live up to them himself.

Apparently, it was difficult even for “Christ” to be a Christian."

Jesus was actually contrasting the Pharisees attitude towards the Gentiles with his own. The Pharisees at that time did not look on Gentiles with the highest favour and regarded them as inferior. Jesus in fact in the context later blesses the woman for her great faith and grants her request for her daughter to be healed.

"Mark 7:24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.[g] He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone."

This is a far cry from Jesus being anti-Gentile, this actually demonstrates the opposite point that Kaplan is trying to make.

I hope this article has been helpful to you guys. Also I have written other articles that deal with other issues that haven't been covered by Kaplan:

Answering Judaism.

1st of June 2015 addendum: I was not aware that Aryeh Kaplan had passed away some time ago, namely 30+ years. My apologies if there was any offense, it was unintentional.

No comments:

Post a Comment