Friday 27 December 2013

Anti-Semitism in the NT? Examining the claims of Uri Yosef 2

This is a second article takes a look at the Gospel of Mark and Luke with respect to the claims made by Uri Yosef on Anti-Semitism. These two shall be done together and placed in this one article.

Let's begin shall we? Like before, Quotations of scripture shall be in Bold and Mr Yosef shall be provided in Italic and Bold.

3:6 The Pharisees are said to have begun to plan to destroy Jesus MR 

"3 Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”

4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.

5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus."

There is a no question about the Pharisees wanting to kill Jesus, but how this is Anti-Semitic? I don't see anything like that in the text.

7:6-13 Condemnation of the Pharisees for rejecting the commandments MLR

"6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’[b]
8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe[c] your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’[d] and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[e] 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”"

Like the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus was actually in the right for condemning the Pharisees, they were taking ordinary traditions and placing them above that of the Word of God given to them through Moses. If anything, This is meet and right so to do. What is wrong with Jesus condemning the Pharisees for substituting the Word of God for the traditions of men? Isaiah chides the Israelites for doing the same thing as the Pharisees, Putting human rules above God's commands, hence why Jesus has a go at the Pharisees.

8:15 Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees

"Matthew 14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”

16 They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”

17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

“Twelve,” they replied.

20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

They answered, “Seven.”

21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

Jesus is telling the disciples not to be lead astray by the Pharisees, Just like in the gospel of Matthew. The disciples misunderstand his point and Jesus asks them about what he and they had done. No anti-Semitism here.

10:2-5 The Pharisees are said to be hard-hearted MLR

"10 Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.

2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

3 “What did Moses command you?” he replied.

4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

5 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’[a] 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,[b] 8 and the two will become one flesh.’[c] So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”"

14:55-65 The chief priests and council condemn Jesus as deserving death

"55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.

57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.

60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”

They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him."

Like Matthew, Mark is simply recording what transpired with the death of Jesus, The Pharisees see Jesus as worthy of death not only because of his Messianic claims, but also his claims of deity, which is another topic neither here nor there. I would encourage the Jews to do an honest reading of the text in Mark 14 and tell me, where there is any Anti-Semitism in this text.

15:1-15 The crowd demands that Jesus, not Barabbas, be crucified 

"Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.

2 “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

3 The chief priests accused him of many things. 4 So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”

5 But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.

6 Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.

12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.

13 “Crucify him!” they shouted.

14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified."

This is addressed in the previous article since Matthew speaks of the same event:

Now we move on to Luke.

3:7c The multitudes are called poisonous snakes LR 

"7 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”"

John the Baptist is taking note of the wickedness of the crowd's hypocrisy and wickedness and is exhorting them to repent of their evil ways, much like the Pharisees were exhorted in the context of Matthew.

4:28-30 The members of the synagogue in Nazareth try to kill Jesus MLR

"Luke 4:20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy[g] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way."

Yes, the people in the synagogue tried to kill Jesus, they didn't like what he had to say. Jesus was certainly NOT a crowd pleaser I can tell you that for sure. Luke is simply recording the people's reaction to what Jesus said. Even though he is a Gentile, Luke is not promoting an anti-Semitic agenda to his audience who are themselves Gentiles. 

7:30 The Pharisees are said to have rejected the purposes of God 

Luke 7:24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way before you.’[b]
28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:

“‘We played the pipe for you,
    and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
    and you did not cry.’
33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”

The context tells you WHY the Pharisees were rejected, because of their refusal to acknowledge the one who prepared the way for HaShem i.e Jesus. but the subject of his deity is not the topic here, anti-Semitism is. I am still trying to find where anti-Semitism is here? Notice what verse 29 says before verse 30.

"29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)"

Notice a PARTY OF JEWS acknowledged John and Yeshua, also another party composed of the Pharisees rejected him. I don't see any Jew-Hatred in the condemnation of the Pharisees, is there something I am missing here?

11:39-54 The Pharisees and Torah scholars are repeatedly condemned

Luke 11:39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.

44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”

45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”

46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.

52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”

53 When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54 waiting to catch him in something he might say.

Much like in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is condemning the Pharisees to hell for the spiritual deadness of Israel they have caused, their hypocrisy, their self rightousness and other things detestable to God. But even beyond that, teachers have a responsibility to handle God's word accurately and to not misrepresent it. They are also held to account for what they say the scriptures teach, which is why James in his epistle exhorts his readers to "let FEW of you be teachers".

People like me who are doing this apologetic work are also held more accountable to God much like teachers are, because of the exposition of the scriptures that takes place and those who manhandle the word of God should expect the judgement of God upon them. 

The Pharisees and the Torah Scholars were not handling the bible correctly and thus they were in very serious trouble and standing with God, hence why Jesus spoke out against them in Luke 11.

12:1b Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy

"Luke 12:1 Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be[a] on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs."

Jesus is warning the disciples to not be like that Pharisees. Not much to say here except it certainly doesn't say what Yosef wants it to say. I'll leave you guys to judge our words.

13:14-17 The ruler of the synagogue is condemned as a hypocrite

"10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing."

The synagogue leader was rightly called a hypocrite considering what Jesus had said to him. Jesus is saying "If you guys have no problem giving your animals something to drink to make them live, Why do you you have a problem with me freeing this woman from her ailment?" The leader was being hypocritical and Jesus was exposing him. Nothing anti-Semitic here, point refuted.

13:35a The house of Jerusalem is to be forsaken LR

"34 “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. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’"

22:63-71 The chief priests and council condemn Jesus as deserving death LR 

Luke 22:63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. 64 They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” 65 And they said many other insulting things to him.

Jesus Before Pilate and Herod

66 At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. 67 “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.”

Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, 68 and if I asked you, you would not answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”

70 They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”

He replied, “You say that I am.”

71 Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”

This is addressed in the previous article: Again, point refuted.

23:1-25 The people demand that Jesus, not Barabbas, be crucified 

Read that section for yourself

This is addressed in the previous article since Matthew speaks of the same event:

I shall look at the Gospel of John in the next article.

Answering Judaism.


  1. There is a copious amount of scholarship, mostly by Christians who would dispute what you are advocating. Wrt this topic, my perspective as a Jew and history itself, should inform you how erroneous your thesis is. Just one example among hundreds:

    The Gospel of John collectively describes the enemies of Jesus as "the Jews". In none of the other gospels do "the Jews" demand, en masse, the death of Jesus; . John's gospel is thus the primary source of the image of "the Jews" acting collectively as the enemy of Jesus, which later became fixed in the Christian mind and established the stereotype of "the Jews" being associated with darkness and the devil. Over time with the schism between the Jewish and Christian communities, the gospels were fashioned in such a way as to paint the Romans and Pilate in a more favourable light while caricaturing "the Jews" as being associates of Satan. Such disparagement and stereotyping of Jews and Judaism is the very definition of anti-semitism or anti-Judaism. It was the major impetus which led to political isolation of the Jewish communities and then outright murder and genocide of Jewish communities for more than 1800 years. Simply stating that these passages only applied to some Jews is no excuse. The consequences speak for themselves. Hundreds of statements in your new testament are nothing more than hate literature borne with a specific agenda in mind. It amazes me how this escapes you.

    1. The problems is, assuming John wrote this, which I am convinced he did, WHY as a Jew would he encourage such hatred towards his people. Even in the Gospels and Acts, The Apostles do hold Pilate responsible for their actions.

      Furthermore, there is a talk by David Pawson where he speaks briefly on what the term "Jew" is actually referring to. He is convinced that it is referring only to the Southerners, not all of Israel.

    2. Furthermore, I am not excusing the fact that atrocities were done in the name of Jesus, I am simply pointing out that those who go around saying that the NT is hate literature is wrong.

  2. The problem is you accept what is recorded in the NT as an accurate portrayal of history. Don't you think if it was true that a bunch of zombies started walking around Jerusalem ca 30 CE that some historian would have recorded it. Extra-biblical records indicate that the sanhendrin had lost the power to impose capital punishment by that time anyway. Furthermore, trials for capital offenses took place before multiple judges and never during a festival like pesach. The way the trial is recorded in the NT, what Jesus is claiming is not a capital crime. If the NT is not hate literature why did one of your saintly church fathers say this:

    St. Gregory: “ Jews are slayers of the Lord, murderers of the prophets, enemies of God, haters of God, adversaries of grace, enemies of their fathers’ faith, advocates of the devil, brood of vipers, slanderers, scoffers, men of darkened minds, leaven of the Pharisees, congregation of demons, sinners, wicked men, stoners and haters of goodness.”

    or this:

    St. Augustine: “Judaism is a corruption. Indeed Judas is the image of the Jewish people. Their understanding of the Scriptures is carnal. They bear the guilt for the death of the saviour, for through their fathers they have killed the Christ.”

    1. It's inaccurate to say that they were zombies walking about Jerusalem. Also, Does any historian take the Sinai revelation seriously?

      You are correct the Sanhedrin could not impose capital punishment. Furthermore, how do you know there were not others with Pilate? the NT doesn't need to say if there were others or not.

      The Church Father quotes I need to look into.

  3. There is no comparison between Matthew's statement about the dead coming out of their graves and the national revelation at Sinai. There were contemporary Roman and Jewish historians ca 1st century Judea. There was nothing equivalent at the time of the exodus.

    1. Sorry for late reply, If there wasn't anything equivalent at the time of the exodus, how are you certain that the Exodus ACTUALLY HAPPENED?