How Jewish was Jesus?


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A Goal of Converting Jews

Some Western Christians object to evangelizing Jews because they see Jewish religious practice as valid in and of itself.

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Clark Lobenstine has condemned the "proselytizing efforts" of "Jews for Jesus and other messianic Jewish groups". America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices contains "[a] note about Jews for Jesus, Messianic Jews , Hebrew Christians , and similar groups: Jews in these groups who have converted to Christianity but continue to observe various Jewish practices are no longer considered part of the Jewish community in the usual sense".

There are several other organizations that oppose identification of Jews for Jesus as a Jewish group. Jews for Jesus has been involved in litigation regarding Internet use of its name. In they successfully sued Steven Brodsky for cybersquatting — registering the domain name jewsforjesus. In Jews for Jesus sued [39] Google for allowing a Blogspot user to put up a site at the third-level subdomain jewsforjesus. In September Christianity Today reported that "Jews for Jesus settled out of court with a critical blogger identified as 'Whistle Blower' on jewsforjesus.

The evangelistic ministry assumed control of the site. In comedian and actor Jackie Mason filed a lawsuit against Jews for Jesus, alleging that they unlawfully distributed a pamphlet which used his name and likeness in a way that suggested he was a member of the group. In fact, Mason is Jewish and not associated with Jews for Jesus. A judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a preliminary injunction against Jews for Jesus over the pamphlet, finding the distribution of the pamphlet to be protected by the First Amendment , and also stated that the pamphlet did not suggest that Mason was a Christian.

In December , Mason dropped the lawsuit against Jews for Jesus after they issued a letter of apology to him. The group's executive director, David Brickner, stated in the letter to Mason that he wanted "to convey my sincere apologies for any distress that you felt over our tract. Mason replied in front of the federal court in Manhattan where he accepted the apology, "There's no such thing as a Jew for Jesus.

It's like saying a black man is for the KKK. You can't be a table and a chair. You're either a Jew or a Gentile. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Yad L'Achim. Retrieved Messianic Judaism: A rabbi's journey through religious change in America. Beacon Press. Jews for Jesus. Archived from the original on 17 June New Jewish immigrants and college freshman as well as senior citizens and interfaith couples are easy targets for the organization.

Jewish Virtual Library "Since people are most vulnerable at times of personal change and transition, the missionaries center their efforts on a number of vulnerable Jewish populations, including high school and college students, senior citizens, and recent immigrants. College students, recent immigrants most notably Russian Jews , and the elderly are targets for conversion. Jewish Scribes were well versed in the laws of Moses, making them the spiritual and temporal legal counselors of the period. Most Scribes were Pharisees, so Jesus frequently referred to them in connection with the Pharisees.

Some others were affiliated with the Sadducees and other religious groups. The total Palestinian population was probably about , Josephus records that 6, were Pharisees, 4, were Essenes, and the Sadducees were not very numerous. Thus, although most Jews were influenced by the sects, they lived outside their ranks. The Sadducees were an aristocratic, priestly class of Jews, influential in the temple and the Sanhedrin. Their name is derived from the high priest Zadok, since the sons of Zadok were the most worthy to minister to the Lord in the temple.

See Ezek. Sadducees originated when the wealthier elements of the population united during the Hellenistic period, a period of Greek cultural revival around B.


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A conservative priestly group, they held to older doctrines and always opposed the Pharisees, both politically and religiously. Although both groups believed in the Pentateuch Torah , the Pharisees accepted the oral law while the Sadducees refused to accept anything not written in the Torah.

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The strict Sadducees questioned the existence of the spirit and the concept of punishments and rewards in a life after death, denying the doctrine of the physical resurrection. See Mark —27 ; Acts 4. The Sadducees have been historically represented as worldly minded aristocrats, primarily interested in maintaining their own privileged position. Both John the Baptist and Jesus strongly denounced the Sadducees, who were also unpopular with the common people, from whom they kept aloof. Their strength was in their control of the temple, and when it was destroyed in 70 A.

The Pharisees were the largest of the Jewish sects.

What Do Jews Believe About Jesus?

Six thousand strong, they observed Jewish ritual and studied the Torah and the oral law. They tried to adapt old codes to the new urban conditions, fulfilling religious interests of many of the common people.

The Pharisees conceived of God as an all-wise, all-knowing, all-just, and all-merciful spiritual being. They believed man had his free agency, and would receive retribution for his actions. This retribution would come either in this life or in the one to come, as the Pharisees believed in life after death and in the resurrection of the dead.

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The Torah was the center of their teachings, and its inspired laws and commandments were to be interpreted by the rabbis in each generation to harmonize with more advanced ideas. The Pharisees became scholars of the law, fostering the synagogue as a place of study, worship, and prayer. See Mark —9, Some Pharisees also sought ways to bend the laws to their own philosophies and ways of life. While Jesus publicly criticized the Pharisees, he did not condemn their beliefs, but condemned their hypocritical manner of living that violated the ideals they taught.

Although many Pharisaic doctrines were similar to Christian ones, the two groups separated when Paul and the Christian missionaries used Jewish communities and synagogues to teach the gospel. See Acts —9. After the temple was destroyed and other sects ceased to exist, the Pharisees continued to function. They promoted Judaism and the preservation of its teachings and scriptures until Pharisaism and Judaism became coextensive.

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The Dead Sea scrolls portray the communal life of a Jewish religious sect in Qumran similar to the Essenes, a religious communalistic brotherhood. Doctrinally, the Essenes with their own beliefs probably stood somewhere between the Sadducees and the Pharisees. See Col. Christians, therefore, only knew what they were told by Church officials -- and what they were told was stripped of Jesus' Jewish identity. And, of course, the coup de grace: The teaching that the Jews killed Jesus. Then when I stumbled on several Medieval and Renaissance paintings of Jesus, his family and disciples, I was struck by their misrepresentations , distortions and anachronisms.

This prompted me to examine hundreds of other classic paintings. To my astonishment, Jesus, his followers and his Jewish community were consistently pictured as blond, fair-skinned, northern European latter-day Christians, often surrounded by latter-day saints, Christian clergy and Christian artifacts -- images totally at odds with biblical facts and without a trace of any Jewish connections. I concluded that these distortions of "omission" established a powerful platform for anti-Semitism that continues to reverberate today.

The artworks set the "Christian" Jesus apart from "the Jews," when, in fact they were all part on the same Semitic tribe of dedicated Jews. I then turned my attention to the crucial question, "Did the Jews kill Jesus? Taking a fresh look at the Gospels' account of Jesus' arrest, trial and the events leading up to them, I concluded that the narratives make no sense whatsoever, scripts that wouldn't pass muster for an episode of "Law and Order.

It's puzzling that the true perpetrator has been overlooked or underplayed. Have you ever wondered what Jesus might say about virulent and enduring anti-Semitism? Indeed, what would the thoroughly Jewish Jesus have said to church leaders, monarchs and others who launched murderous acts such as the Crusades, the Inquisition and genocides in his name? I tackle this question in a mock trial, in which Jesus asks these perpetrators, "How do you justify your violent acts based on my teachings and mission? But memories of unspeakable persecution over many centuries are a barrier for Jews to participate fully in the healing process.

Given this new environment, I appeal to my fellow Jews to drop the "Jesus Phobia" and accept Jesus as a faithful Jew -- without having to embrace the claim that he was the Messiah. To encourage this I point to the pantheon of false Jewish Messiahs throughout history, many of whom were destructive to Judaism, but are still revered for their teachings, while Jesus is rejected. Finally, I could not resist commenting on Dan Brown's popular novel "The Da Vinci Code," which, like classical artworks, begins with a Jewish story but promptly converts it into a Christian one.

In exploring these issues and the realities of Jesus' life, I strive to shed new light on the history of anti-Semitism and on the destructive forces that have alienated Christians and Jews. My aim is to help heal the rift between the religions and galvanize the reconciliation process.


  • Knowing and preaching the Jewish Jesus;
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How Jewish was Jesus? How Jewish was Jesus?
How Jewish was Jesus? How Jewish was Jesus?
How Jewish was Jesus? How Jewish was Jesus?
How Jewish was Jesus? How Jewish was Jesus?
How Jewish was Jesus? How Jewish was Jesus?
How Jewish was Jesus? How Jewish was Jesus?
How Jewish was Jesus? How Jewish was Jesus?
How Jewish was Jesus? How Jewish was Jesus?
How Jewish was Jesus? How Jewish was Jesus?

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