Jewish History

Jesus the Jew – A Short Diatribe

Over the many years I have been reading and writing about the Christian Faith, I have become just a little irritated by those well meaning people who try to tell me that in order to really know about Jesus, or ‘Yeshua’ as they like to call Him, it is necessary to get a Jewish perspective on the Gospels. (Actually, “Yeshua” is Hebrew, and Hebrew was rarely spoken in Israel in His day. According to the esteemed Jewish historian David Flusser, “Yeshu” would have in all probability been His name in Galilee (The Sage From Galilee, 6)).

Now no one is going to say that the Jesus of Scripture was not thoroughly Jewish, and no one is going to say that the Bible is not a Jewish Book. Still, there are several reasons for my irritation; one of them being the fact that Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, plus the other writers of the New Testament, did not deem it necessary to include within their narratives a great deal of information about the Jewish culture and tradition of their times. Luke wrote a Gospel to Gentiles (as most every scholar claims), and yet he did not appear to be as concerned to relate to us the exclusively Jewish flavor of the events of Jesus’ Life; not like, for example, one sees in the writings of Josephus a generation or so later.

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CNN Survey Puts Spotlight on Attitudes Toward Jews in Europe

"More than one-fifth of the participants believe Jews have immense amounts of influence in global politics and finance. On the other hand, more than one-third of the individuals stated they didn’t have much information regarding the death of six million Jews during the 1930s to the 1940s under the Nazi regime." - WR News

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Book Review - Day of Atonement

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Most Christians do not realize there is a large gap between Malachi and Matthew. We’ve noticed a blank page or two, but eagerly turn from the Old Testament to the New without much thought. Those blank pages hide four hundred years of turbulent history in the life of the people of Israel. Some Bibles even include additional books to fill in the missing details. I’m not advocating a return to the Apocrypha, but every Christian can benefit from an appreciation of the harrowing tale that stands behind the Maccabean revolt. That history stands behind Jesus’ celebration (and endorsement?) of the Feast of Dedication.

The Maccabean history is helpful in today’s world where increasingly Christianity is marginalized and a pressure is building for us to synthesize our faith with the lifestyle of those around us. Just water down our faith, bend a little here and a little there, and we’re sure to increase our cultural status. A similar challenge faced the Jews who would be true to God in the face of the siren call of Hellenization and Greek influence.

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“[A] new, groundbreaking documentary about the Holocaust can barely say the word ‘ Jew.’”

"HBO's documentary 'Night Will Fall' spoke of 'prisoners,' “inmates,' 'victims.' But who were they?

It takes an hour for 'Night Will Fall' to get around to uttering the word 'Jew' — and when it comes, it is from the lips of a Jewish survivor." Auschwitz was about the Jews

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The Preservation of the Jewish People: Diaspora

(Read Part 1)

Although many Bible students are familiar with the general developments of Jewish history until the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, few have any familiarity with their history between that fateful date and the twenty-first century. It is not a pretty story. Although a small remnant of Jews always continued to live in the land of their forefathers, the vast majority sojourned in the diaspora (literally the “scattering”), a technical term for those lands outside of the land of Israel. They were guests in foreign countries—“aliens” and “exiles” would be a more appropriate term for their plight. Their hosts, moreover, were far from anything deemed “hospitable.”

No matter where they wandered in the medieval world, the Jewish people never had citizenship open to them in any country. Not only were they often hated as a group, they were also often caught between warring factions and suffered the consequences. When the European Crusaders launched their expeditions in the eleventh through the thirteenth centuries to free the Holy Land from the Muslims, they slaughtered dozens of Jewish communities along the way. When the Black Death spread through Europe in 1348-1350, many blamed the Jews for poisoning wells and burned thousands, especially in Germany. Even the Pope, not always a friend to the Jews, opposed such baseless accusations, but the mob could not be dissuaded from their blind hatred.

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