Was Jesus a Jew?

Discovering the Jewish Jesus

Was Jesus a Jew? Some people claim that Jesus was a Christian. Some have claimed that he was an Aryan Christian. But in recent decades scholars have been returning to ancient historical settings and discovering the Jewish Jesus. Anthony J. Saldarini’s article “What Price the Uniqueness of Jesus” cautions against wrenching Jesus out of his Jewish world (READ THE FULL ARTICLE BELOW).

Was Jesus a Jew?

Was Jesus a Jew? This late-15th-century painting by the Spanish artist known as the Master of Perea depicts a Last Supper of lamb, unleavened bread and wine—all elements of the Seder feast celebrated on the first night of the Jewish Passover festival. Whether the Last Supper was a Passover Seder is one issue scholars have raised as they have been discovering the Jewish Jesus. Photo: Christie’s Images/Superstock.

Jesus himself didn’t write the Gospels. They are late-first-century accounts that we are continually interpreting. In seeking to emphasize the uniqueness of Jesus, traditions have distanced Jesus from the cultural setting of his day, whether that be his Jewish roots or the larger Greco-Roman world.

In the 19th century, German theologians emphasized this distance as Saldarini explains below. Was Jesus a Jew? Was Christianity a Jewish sect? The conflicts in the early church between Peter, claiming his Jewishness, and Paul, the missionary to Gentiles, were more complex than some 19th-century theologians have allowed.

Albrecht Ritschl saw a Jesus who attacked Scribes and Pharisees and, he claimed, Judaism itself. Jesus taught something so new that it overthrew and superseded his Jewishness. Christianity itself was to be purified of its Jewish elements. Ritschl turned this theology to attacks on Jews, giving ammunition to the 20th-century Holocaust.

Ritschl’s Jesus focused on his personal relationship with God—a relationship that transcended historical contexts. But Jesus was born in a Jewish home and lived in the Jewish culture and in the land of Israel. Was Jesus a Jew? Yes, Theological study is further discovering the Jewish Jesus and what his Jewishness means to Christian theology and Jewish-Christian relations.

For Christians Jesus’ Jewishness is critically connected to his familiar role as Christ—more than an ethereal spiritual role but a role rooted in the history of the people of Israel. Disassociating Jesus from his ethnic roots can lead to violence toward Jesus’ own people. As Anthony J. Saldarini elaborates below in “What Price the Uniqueness of Jesus,” discovering the Jewish Jesus is a task that can give Christians a better understanding of Jesus.

 


 

What Price the Uniqueness of Jesus?

To wrench Jesus out of his Jewish world destroys Jesus and destroys Christianity.

by Anthony J. Saldarini

When I was growing up in St. Kevin’s Parish in the Dorchester section of Boston in the 1940s and ’50s, Jesus was unquestionably a Christian. Even more strangely, in Germany during the Nazi era Jesus was an Aryan Christian. How did a first-century Galilean Jew become a Christian and, for some, an Aryan Christian at that?

Before we laugh at this foolishness from the supposed superior viewpoint of the late 20th century, we should remember that we have not one word written by Jesus and not one contemporary account of his activities. Instead, we have four late-first-century interpretations of Jesus: the Gospels. Each demands and has received constant reinterpretation. Though the risk of misinterpreting Jesus is great, every generation has no choice but to try to make sense of the Gospels.

We necessarily interpret as we read, but not all interpretations are created equal, despite the claims of some postmodern thinkers. A Christian Jesus is a parochial, self-serving myth and an Aryan Jesus a perverse one. But why then have Christians so persistently thought of Jesus as a Christian and resisted admitting the obvious, that Jesus was a Jew? Answer: the pervasive problem of uniqueness.

All religious traditions seek to present themselves as somehow special, better or primary, as irreplaceable or unique. For Christians this means that either Jesus as a person or his teachings and actions must stand out from his historical setting. For centuries the theological claim that Jesus is divine sufficed. In our empirical world of science and history, many Christian scholars take another tack; they seek to make Jesus dissimilar from the Judaism of his day and from the Greco-Roman world in which it was set.
 


 
How were Jesus’ parables received during his lifetime? Read the Bible History Daily feature The Parables of Jesus, including “Recovering the Original Meaning of Matthew’s Parables” by Helmut Koester as it was originally published in Bible Review.

Read Was Jesus’ Last Supper a Seder? by Jonathan Klawans online for free as it appeared in Bible Review.
 


 
As is often the case, contemporary historical and theological conflicts have their roots in the fertile scholarship of 19th-century Germany. The names Ferdinand Baur (1792–1860) and Albrecht Ritschl (1822–1889) may not immediately leap to mind, but a brief sketch of their activities will help illuminate Christian biases then and today.

Baur argued successfully that early Christianity had originated historically within Judaism and, less convincingly, that all of early Christian history reflected a struggle between a Jewish wing (led by Peter) and a gentile wing (led by Paul) until a synthesis was achieved. Subsequent scholarship has established that Paul was much more Jewish, and the conflicts among the early followers of Jesus much more complex, than Baur thought. But his fundamental point, the Jewish matrix of Christianity, endures.

A Jesus who taught like a Jew and an early Christian community that looked like a Jewish sect troubled many 19th-century German Lutheran scholars, who preferred to envision a Jesus who taught a new and unique doctrine that overthrew the established tradition. In reaction to Baur, Albrecht Ritschl “solved” the problem by attacking the Jews. For him, Jesus did not reform or transform Judaism, he condemned it. Jesus the Jew, in Ritschl’s view, transcended Judaism by purifying Christianity of its Jewish elements. From the middle of the 19th century until World War II, numerous German scholars, including Adolf Harnack and Rudolf Bultmann, followed Ritschl’s lead in one way or another. None were Nazis, but reading them after the Holocaust leaves us with an eerie sensation.
 


 
Learn how Jewish Galilee was in Jesus’ time, on the ports and the fishing industry that were so central to the region, and on several sites where Jesus likely stayed and preached, in the free eBook The Galilee Jesus Knew.
 


 
Ritschl protected the uniqueness of Jesus and extricated him from his Jewish setting by replacing the Jewish Jesus with a Romantic Jesus who had a supernatural, ineffable relationship with God, a relationship that superseded all historical influences. Deep personal relationships are the stuff of modern theology and spirituality, but separated from the weave and grit of historical reality, the personal Jesus quickly devolves into a personal projection disconnected from community and culture.

So we must face the crucial question: Does Jesus the Jew—as a Jew—have any impact on Christian theology and on Jewish-Christian relations? Or is Jesus’ life as a Jew just accidental? After all, he had to be born something: Incan or Ethiopian, Mongolian or whatever. Is Jesus’ Jewishness superseded by his role as Christ, the Messiah (the “Anointed One”), sent by God to save all nations?

To wrench Jesus out of his Jewish world destroys Jesus and destroys Christianity, the religion that grew out of his teachings. Even Jesus’ most familiar role as Christ is a Jewish role. If Christians leave the concrete realities of Jesus’ life and of the history of Israel in favor of a mythic, universal, spiritual Jesus and an otherworldly kingdom of God, they deny their origins in Israel, their history, and the God who has loved and protected Israel and the church. They cease to interpret the actual Jesus sent by God and remake him in their own image and likeness. The dangers are obvious. If Christians violently wrench Jesus out of his natural, ethnic and historical place within the people of Israel, they open the way to doing equal violence to Israel, the place and people of Jesus. This is a lesson of history that haunts us all at the end of the 20th century.

What Price the Uniqueness of Jesus” by Anthony J. Saldarini originally appeared in Bible Review, June 1999.
 


 
How did Christianity become a religion distinct from its Jewish origins? Read The Origin of Christianity in Bible History Daily.
 


 

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38 Responses

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  1. Susan says

    Was Christianity a Jewish sect?
    They were first called Christians in Antioch, this was after Christ died and rose from the dead and was seated at the right hand of God. They were called Christians then because they kept proclaiming “Christ in you” “Christ in you” which was being born again and having God and Christ in you.
    Is that a Jewish sect? No! After you have Christ in you there is no more Jew or Gentile but one body through Christ Jesus.

  2. Gerald says

    Without a Christian background, reading the gospels gives a clear answer that Jesus was a Jew. The gospels, however, perhaps because of subsequent editing or speaking to foreign audiences, already distanced Jesus from his origins by speaking of “the Jews”.

  3. Judi says

    An understanding of the Jewish community and the fact that Jesus was a Jew and the Apostles were also Jewish is key to a full understanding of Scripture. When they spoke of Scripture, they were referring to the Tanahk, the Old Testament, the new Testament had not been written yet, so in order to understand all of the teachings, one must look at it from the Jewish mindset of the time

  4. Helen says

    Judaism of the first century is not inherently evil, bad, or nasty. It needed refocusing and redirection which Jesus provided as Rabbi.

    Paul makes it abundantly clear that the Gospel is the the Jew first and then the Gentile until all the world acknowledges that Jesus is God with Us. Furthermore, Gentiles are grafted into the stock of faithful Abraham. If we who are grafted in are not faithful in return, we can be loped off just as easily.

    God is not finished w/the Jews nor has He given them to destruction. His word to them and to us in the Torah is plain as are the words in the prophets. Whoever curses Israel will find the curse back on him/herself.

    Without being steeped in the Old Testament, the teaching of Jesus and subsequently of His apostles, incl Paul, makes no sense whatsoever. Jesus was a reformer and did not dismiss Judaism of His day. He had harsh words to the leadership who should know better and did no better! He busted the chops of the hypocrites, not the average Jew. He came to save the lost sheep of Israel — not the Gentiles in His earthly ministry and said as much.

    However, He extended God’s grace to a few Gentiles (goyim) when He was asked in faith.

    The Judaism of His day had become over ritualized. It was the ritual that seemed to matter to the powers that were. Jesus redirected them to the relationship — corporate and individual.

    It is hard for us humans to focus on two things at once — we tend to throw the baby out w/the bath water…we go for the ritual to the exclusion of the relationship. We go whole hog for the personal intense relationship at the expense of an outward focus of ministry. We denigrate ritual in favor of only a powerful relationship.

    Jesus calls us to both in BALANCE. If we are in Christ, we are also part of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If we lose sight of that, we lose sight of why we were grafted in and the corporate nature of our life in Christ suffers damage.

    Jesus practiced the ritual of His day at the Temple in Jerusalem. He practiced the ritual of His day at the local synagogue. He also practiced the relationship and discipline of prayer before He met the needs of the sons and daughters of Israel.

    We are called to emulate His example to the best of our ability. So, Christian, steep yourself in the Old Testament, knowing that is it also a love letter fm God to you as well as to the Jew! Ruth put it well — your people are MY people!

  5. Chavoux says

    Of course Jesus was Jew! I find it difficult to imagine anybody reading the New Testament without realizing this. Even the so-called “gentile” Paul/Saul identifies himself as a Hebrew of Hebrews of the tribe of Benjamin (Philipians 3)(b.t..w. the name change Saul -> Paul didn’t occur after his conversion, but only when he started to preach to the gentiles (in Greek), suggesting that it was simply his Greek name in contrast to his Hebrew name… cf. also Mark John (Markos, Jochanan Acts 15:37)). Moreover, the very term “Christ” (Annointed) is simply a translation of “Mashiach” and have no meaning in a getile context. It can only be understood in the context of the promises given to the Jews in their Scriptures.

    @Gerald: There are pretty good arguments to be made that the term in the context of the gospels refer to the Judeans (the Jews living in the Southern area) in contrast to the Galileans. I would suggest that a major reason for the gentile Christians later distancing themselves from the Jews were the result of the Jewish rebellions (esp. the Bar Kochba rebellion which probably estranged even the Jewish followers of Jesus as Messiah). The Christians were already being persecuted for turning their backs on the pagan gods (and worshiping the God of Israel instead), no need to appear to sympathise with a rebellion as well!

  6. Chavoux says

    PS. I find it very interesting that Alfred Edersheim in his “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah“, tries his best to show the uniqueness of Jesus in the first century context and yet cannot remove Him from his Jewishness.

  7. Paul says

    Was there really any question?

    Paul S

  8. CLAYTON says

    Only in academia would they even have to come up with a question like this……

  9. Frank says

    I was raised in a Christian home, my Dad was a pastor by the time I was 6. I personally accepted “Jesus” as my Lord and Savior when I was 5. Since that time I have given my life to the study of the OT & NT. Not for one moment have I ever thought of Jesus as anything other than Jewish. I don’t know how any “Christian” could see Jesus as anything other than the promised Messiah of Israel, fulfilling all of the requirements for the Messiah, and bringing to fulfillment all that the Jewish law pointed towards. Was Jesus Jewish? Of course. Who would think otherwise?

  10. Perry says

    No one so far has mentioned the obvious fact that the NT writers native language was Aramaic, closely akin to Hebrew in which they must also have been fluent. Though writing in Greek, they were thinking in Hebrew, so much so that Black translated Matthew into Aramaic. One of the more complicated questions centers on whether this or that Greek word carries Helennic or Hebrew background, perhaps with logos as the prime example. Taken in Greek, it attacks Philo’s idea of the logos being a mad scioentist sort of power that accidentally mixed spirit and matt and made the world, Taken as Hebrew dabhar, it connects with God’s speaking the world into being and the repeated “thus says the Lord.” Jewishness was as much a part of Jesus as was the air he breathed. Some small Greek NT’s have OT quotes in boldface. Looking at any gospel page you can easily see how many of Jesus’s pronouncements were OT quotes!

  11. Paul says

    Shalom All,
    BTW there was no person called jesus christ at the time the Messiah was on the Earth, his name was and is and Always will be Yeshua. Yeshua read The Torah and Kept the 7th Day of Creation as a weekly reminder of who Created Everything, Yeshua would have also kept All the Feasts and Festivals from the Torah tooo. I guess If we want to follow the 1 and Only Messiah then we aught to follow the Right 1. Constantine was a Political manipulator not a Believer in the 1True Creator. Yeshua stated The Truth Shall Set Us Free.
    Paul NZ : )

  12. DANIEL says

    Jesus is the most misunderstood person whoever lived on earth. Jews and Christians agree on one thing about Jesus that Jesus claimed he is the messiah. But the most astonishing truth about Jesus is that Jesus didn’t claim he is the messiah. Not only that Jesus told the Jews that they should not believe any individual who claim he is the messiah. He told the Jews no individual would come as the messiah, who or what would come is the kingdom of god.

    Jesus told the Jews to always remain as Jews facing all the persecutions awaiting them and prepared to accept the Kingdom since it is not known when it will come. The contemporary Jews expected Jesus is their messiah but were disappointed that He didn’t overthrow the Romans and declare himself King, like the Messiah was supposed to do. So they rejected Jesus saying he is a failed messiah and failed to understand his message.

    On the other hand, some the Jews found their messiah in Jesus and interpreted words of Jesus and Bible in such a way to make others also to believe Jesus is the messiah and son of God. The Jews who say Jesus is the failed messiah and the Jews later became Christians who believe and preach Jesus is the Christ and son of God both went wrong in understanding the message of Jesus.

    The word messiah has no such meaning as “Savior“. Messiah simply means “anointed one”. But when the Jews started to give a meaning “savior” for the word messiah there they started to give wrong interpretation of Bible words. Yahweh is the only savior of Israel and there is no other savior for Israel according to Bible.

    Jewish belief in a messiah in the sense “savior king” lies in the promise God gave to David. In fact the promise God gave to David is conditional one. And sons of David many times failed to fulfill that condition. so God is not bound to keep his promise. But Jews inadvertently believe that the promise God gave to David is an unconditional one and that belief led the Jews to believe God is bound to provide them a super king “Messiah” from the sons of David. This wrong interpretation of Bible words and belief in a Christ culminated in Christian religion.

    Hence a different interpretation of New Testament is necessary to reveal the real Jesus who questioned the Jewish tradition and who prophesied no individual would come as messiah but who or what would come is the kingdom of God.

    I have written a different interpretation for New Testament titled ” Truth Hidden in the Gospels Revealed “. It is not yet published. I would like to present it before Bible scholars for their examination and would like to get their constructive criticism. If anybody is willing to help me please contact me in the Email address:-

    daniel.benzion@gmail.com

  13. Susan says

    The question was asked in this article if Jesus was a Jew and also asked if Jesus was a Christian. He was first a Jew but you cannot ask if Jesus or Yeshua was a Christian because the word Christian means “CHRIST IN”, and could only be used after He died and the Gift of holy spirit was given. You cannot have CHRIST IN until it was available. He had to die first. So how can you ask if Jesus was a Christian?
    It is only used three times in the New Testament. Acts 11:26 of which end of the verse states ” And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch”,. The other two are in Acts 26:28 and 1st Peter 4:16.
    That word Christian (CHRIST IN) was not used or available to use until He died and was raised from the dead and then He Jesus commanded his Apostles to wait and not depart from Jerusalem but wait for the promise of the Father (God) for the Power from on High on the day of Pentacost.
    Then those that waited for the Promise received the Gift of God and CHRIST IN which equals Christian.
    This gift is a whole new creation making for a whole new man spiritually and inwardly. That is why it states in Colossians 3:10,11 And have put on the new man (new creation) which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him( God) that created him(Jesus): where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian,bond nor free, but Christ is all, and in all.
    This is called the Church of God.
    1st Corinthians 10:31,32 is clear on the subject and states “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the Glory of God, Give none offence, neither to the Jews,(those still under the law and will be judged by their works of the law) nor to the Gentiles(unbelieving nation) nor to the Church of God.(those that believe and have “Christ In” and are a new creation and no longer under the law but saved by Grace and not by works.)
    Susan

  14. Chris says

    There is no question that Jesus was born a Jew but did he live as a Jew? Jesus came to fulfil the Law so he had to be the perfect Jew, better than the Pharisees or any Jew before him. The question we then need to ask is, did he dispense with his Jewishness once he had completed his ministry and, in a sense, he did because he broke down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile. Paul says, in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile. The important thing is that He made peace between the two.

    Crucially, Paul says that the Jews own the legacy and only when they are brought into the fold will the Gentiles have the full measure of the truth. Rediscovering the Jewish Jesus clearly gives us a fuller picture of who the historical Jesus was and what he meant by what he taught.

    It seems to me that Paul translated the Gospel into ‘Christian’ beautifully as did the other letter writers but Jesus was speaking to Jews as a rabbi, not to Christians as a pastor.

    Much of Christian theology that we consider orthodox is a modern and taught in the light of Christian tradition. Not only do we need to read the Gospels in the light of the OT but also in the post-exilic culture into which Jesus was born and in which he was taught, lived and breathed.

  15. WILLIAM says

    Have you ever noticed how much ideology controls a supposed “science” like Biblical study and archeology? First part of the century everybody looking for the big Hook-Up with Eleusinian Mysteries or other Hellenistic. Last past of last century more and more scholarys guilt-tripped by being of an Anglo ethnos that murdered Jews–thus, repent! Change your studies course. Now a new form of accent on “Jewish” studies: to attack anything Israeli (Jewish immigrants who bought but mostly terrorized Palastinians into selling cut-rate, then, and now, active harrassment, theft of their olive trees, home, rebuilding on stolen space the Western-style Israeli luxury homes for Jews only. Is this really fair? Is it time for another ideology?

  16. Gear says

    Was Jesus a Jew, He is the King of the Jews! Of the seed of David of the seed of Abraham, see Matt ch 1. for this obvious answer.
    The word Christian is a clerical error in later copies of the Apostolic or Messianic writings which ever you prefer. The terms ” Old & New Testaments” are also figments of revisionist gentile replacement theologists. Please see Copernicus and the Jews by Daniel Gruber. The correct term is covenant, not testament! The bible is full of covenants the “New Covenant” found in Jeremiah 31:33 builds upon all those other covenants ( promises) given earlier and in no way replaces them. Thus the land by God’s promise still belongs to the descendants of Jacob and the Kingship to the seed of David. If these covenants are not honored by God what makes you think that the New Covenant offered through the blood of Yeshua is trustworthy? See Hebrews 10, and verses 10-19 specifically.
    As for the covenant of the law/ instruction (Torah) it is eternal as Yeshua said in Matthew 5:17-18 unless heaven and earth has passed away?
    Christians need to quit misrepresenting what Yeshua said and did. He was completely Jewish meeting all the righteous requirements of the law! What He railed against was two things the elevating of traditions of men to be equalled with the commandments of God and those who pretended to keep outwardly while internally their thoughts were evil!
    Christians should read Romans 11 and pray for the Jewish people in Israel and the nations. Ask God to give you the heart He has for His people that He has promised to restore in the last days. Salt can flavor or make bitter.

  17. Gear says

    Also as for the roles and relationships between Peter & Paul (Kefa & Shaul) they are complex and interwoven. Paul was in submission to the leadership in Jerusalem which Peter was a part of see Acts 15. Also it was Peter who saw the first Gentile convert to Yeshua, Cornelius see Acts 10, which has nothing to do with food btw. All previous non ethnic believers had been proselytes to Judaism, see Acts 6:5, Nikolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These 4 men all represented types of people who had 2 things in common, they believed in Yeshua by faith turning from dead works, and received the Holy Spirit. The four types of followers were like Peter -Jewish and living in the land of Israel, Paul – Jewish and from Tarsus a Roman citizen, Nikolaus a Greek or Arab from Antioch who had made full conversion to Judaism including circumcision before expressing faith in Yeshua, and Cornelius a righteous Gentile who loved the people of Israel, the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius before Peter could even give the invitation! Wow!
    Soon we meet a 5th type of person who would be welcomed to the family of Yeshua, Timothy born of Jewish Mother and a Greek or Roman father, ( mixed marriage, do we have any of those today?)
    Isn’t interesting Paul circumcises Timothy in Acts 16 after receiving a ruling that Gentiles need not be circumcised just prior in chapter 15, clearly Paul saw Timothy as being Jewish. As you see though the blood of Yeshua does tare the veil it does not remove our individual distinctions but rather makes away for all of us to draw near to God. Each person has a background differing from others but Yeshua is the way to the Father no matter how diverse our circumstances.

  18. Willard R. says

    It is good that we question the “given” theology of modern Christianity and look at Jesus in his time — not the mythical time of “Luke,” “John,” and “Acts of the Apostles,” but the time more closely reflected in “Matthew” and “Mark” (stripped of their post-4th century emendations) plus what archaeology can tell. More than that, there was an “Ebionite” sect of Judaeo-Christians who existed until they were persecuted first under Bar-Kokhba in circa 130 AD (for not accepting him as Messiah), and then stamped out as a heresy to near extinction by the successors to Constantine in the late 4th century. The Ebionites believed they were founded by Jesus himself, with their early leaders Jesus’ own kin and disciples, such as James the Just and Peter. They emphasized John the Baptist and regarded Jesus as a human prophet (as opposd to a pagan divinity). Only through the cult of Saul of Tarsus/Paul did Jesus acquire gentile attributes of divinity, and this remained a scorned heretical view for the first 4 decades or more after the crucifixion. When the Jerusalem Church (which was often referred to as “The Poor” in the gospels) was forced to flee to the Jordanian desert during the 70 AD first revolt, presumably becoming the early Ebionites, the Paulists who were scattered throughout the Empire essentially inherited the Christian movement by default — largely because they were eager to separate themselves from Judaism (and the two Jewish revolts) and to accomodate to Rome. As an endnote, Mohammed’s close relative, follower, and mentor Waraqa Ibn Nawfal is said to have been an Ebionite monk, and thus the Ebionite view of Jesus and of other matters seems to have influenced the Koran. Could the Koran be truer to the real Jesus than the Paulist one we have in the “received” New Testament? W. Ron Hess (BeornsHall@earthlink.net)

  19. Gerald says

    When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, SHE spoke to Jesus and asked, “How is it that YOU being a JEW ask me for a drink?” She obviously recognized him as a Jew. Additionally, reading through the Gospel of John, you see Jesus participating in a multitude of Jewish festivals, attending synagogue, even celebrating Hannakuk – not one of the Lord’s original seven feasts but a totally Jewish celebration of their rescue by Queen Esther from the hatred of Haman.

    Jesus was a Jew. And frequently we are told we are IN HIM…also, we are told by Paul Gentiles have been “grafted in” to Israel not the other way around. We should glory in our roots AND in the tremendous growth and outreach and fruit of all the branches in Christ.

  20. Jeanie says

    It is difficult not to agree with the conclusion of “Was Jesus a Jew”:

    To wrench Jesus out of his Jewish world destroys Jesus and destroys Christianity, the religion that grew out of his teachings. Even Jesus’ most familiar role as Christ is a Jewish role. If Christians leave the concrete realities of Jesus’ life and of the history of Israel in favor of a mythic, universal, spiritual Jesus and an otherworldly kingdom of God, they deny their origins in Israel, their history, and the God who has loved and protected Israel and the church.

    It is, as Schweitzer, a pioneer in historical Jesus studies, concludes, it is the inevitable swing of the pendulum to return to the man in his own day, setting, and culture.

    It [study of the life of Jesus] set out in quest of the historical Jesus, believing that when it had found Him it could bring Him straight into our time as a Teacher and Saviour. It loosed the bands by which He had been riveted for centuries to the stony rocks of ecclesiastical doctrine, and rejoiced to see life and movement coming into the figure once more, and the historical Jesus advancing, as it seemed, to meet it. But He does not stay; He passes by our time and returns to His own. What surprised and dismayed the theology of the last forty years was that, despite all forced and arbitrary interpretations, it could not keep Him in our time, but had to let Him go. He returned to His own time, not owing to the application of any historical ingenuity, but by the same inevitable necessity by which the liberated pendulum returns to its original position.

    He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lake-side, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: “Follow thou me!” and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfil for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/schweitzer/chapter20.html

    Pasted from

  21. Ken says

    When we try to erase the Jewishness of Jesus we in fact creating our own God. It should be of no surprise that people want their own version of a messiah. Jesus came to the Jews first, but never forget that God the Father loves the entire world.

  22. aswanash says

    iesus wash alehim

    none of yoy

    im

  23. kootzie says

    At the risk of sounding arrogant, seems pretty obvious to me
    then again I don’t have sufficient education and/or credentials
    to cause me to overthink this and adhere to some comfortable position…

    Jesus was a Jew, hung out with Jews, was referred to as rabbi by some,
    knew the Jewish scriptures, and called the hierarchy to task for their moral
    ethical religious failings. That alone was enough to get himself executed.

    The kicker, the essential piece of what Jesus taught is that God is not a
    stern, angry, distant, being who gives forgiveness to His wretched sinful creatures
    only through sufficient ritual devotion / legalistic obedience / self-immolation…

    He taught that people can have a direct relationship with a loving God.

    The organizational construct referred to as “Christianity” is really Judaism 2.0
    Sure there were set-changes, new scripts, a death-defying-superhero whose
    death was demanded by the same old judgemental God1.0, and a new logo/brand
    but the same kind of control-freak-structure of intermediaries who would put in a good word
    for us with the big guy seeing as how we were far too evil to approach HIM without getting fried
    to a crisp was retained. (With the exception of the Creation Spirituality gang who really got it.)

    The assertion that Christ was a Christian is really rich…
    I mean, who put the “Christ” into Christian ?
    and who promptly took it out?

    OK, did I miss anything important?

  24. aswanash says

    education doesn’t matter if yoyr god YH is in yoy, every moment he is with yoy, and want to know how much yoy can bear, and when yoy will broke , he help yoy, he educate yoy that yoy are as humble as he is, only humble artist can create universe and all in it, because he doesn’t care if the result of creation is much better than he is

    im

    aswanash alehim

  25. aswanash says

    impashnektash seh alehim, pashnektash se ma ashna YH,

    tah ashwel Gapriel

    sah seh wetshkanesh et sehamel seh YH

    alehim seh alehim, elehim seh YH,sahamel seh shnektanesh

    tah terra Son of Man

    ta Gapriel

    Michael Schumacher et Miina Maasola

    ne ta hane, ta eshna

    imparkneshkanesh seh sahnetka et

    Imanuel Kristo ev Eloh

    sawanesh Gapriel

    sah seh sah

    im

    aswanash alehim

  26. aswanash says

    im asked for my father YH, to get tattosh soon, and they came, and yoy will see those face to face in april 2014

    im

    aswanash alehim

  27. aswanash says

    and now im change climate, early spring to north america and bad winter to europe especially to france and germany, and warm to mongolia and north asia

    im

    aswanash alehim

  28. aswanash says

    to kootzie

    iesus had light hair and blue eyes

    alehim not any jew

    and this is to hebrew popes too

    im

    aswanash alehim

    rev 19:11-19

  29. aswanash says

    word shalom is wrong understood in hebrews, and in bible YH said to jews sawioirs jehuda and kabbamel, who sved yishrael from egypt with aron and mosesh

    what YH said wash

    eresh halom sah nektash seh im alehim

    im

  30. Kurt says

    The Promised Seed
    Over two thousand years after man’s expulsion from Paradise, Jehovah told his faithful servant Abraham: “I shall surely multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens . . . and by means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves due to the fact that you have listened to my voice.” (Genesis 22:17, 18) This was more than a promise; Jehovah framed it in the form of a legal covenant and backed it by his unbreakable oath. (Genesis 17:1, 2; Hebrews 6:13-15) How remarkable that the Sovereign Lord actually contracted to bless mankind!
    The Abrahamic covenant revealed that the promised Seed would come as a human, for he would be a descendant of Abraham. But who would he be? In time, Jehovah revealed that of Abraham’s sons, Isaac would be a forebear of the Seed. Of Isaac’s two sons, Jacob was selected. (Genesis 21:12; 28:13, 14) Later, Jacob uttered these prophetic words over one of his 12 sons: “The scepter will not turn aside from Judah, neither the commander’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh [“He to Whom It Belongs”] comes; and to him the obedience of the peoples will belong.” (Genesis 49:10) Now it was known that the Seed would be a king, one who descended from Judah!
    http://www.theocraticcollector.com/The_Promised_Seed.pdf

  31. aswanash says

    abrham ish the best priest of my father YH

    rev 19:11-19

    im

    aswanash alehim

  32. luckylarrysilverstein says

    PROPHET JESUS OF NAZARETH IS INCOMPARABLE
    More than 2000 years ago there was a man born contrary to the laws of nature.
    He was rich, yet for our sake he became poor. This man lived in poverty and was raised in obscurity. He received no college education and never possessed wealth or widespread influence. He never traveled extensively. He seldom crossed the boundary of the country in which he lived.
    But this man’s life has changed the course of history.
    In infancy he startled a king. In childhood he amazed Jewish Talmudic scholars. In manhood he ruled the course of nature—walked on stormy waves and hushed the raging sea to sleep.
    He healed multitudes without medicine and made no charge for his services. He never practiced psychiatry. Yet he has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors far and near.
    He never wrote a book. Yet his life has inspired more books than any other man. He never wrote a song. Yet he has furnished the theme for more songs than all songwriters combined.
    He never founded a college, but all the schools put together cannot boast of having as many students. He never marshaled an army. He never drafted a soldier or fired a gun. Yet no leader ever had more rebels surrender to him without a shot fired.
    Herod could not kill him. He could not be seduced by evil. His enemies could not destroy him. The grave could not hold him. After three days he rose from the dead, alive forevermore!

    HE IS THE EVER PERFECT OBEDIENT PROPHET. HE IS JESUS MESSIAH

    This man stands forth upon the highest pinnacle of heavenly glory, proclaimed by God, as a True Prophet!

    I THANK JESUS FOR MUHAMMAD!

    WITHOUT MUHAMMAD I WOULD NOT KNOW THE ESSENCE OF EVIL!
    WITHOUT MUHAMMAD I WOULD NOT KNOW THE ESSENCE OF HATE!
    WITHOUT MUHAMMAD I WOULD NOT KNOW THE ESSENCE OF DEPRAVITY!
    WITHOUT MUHAMMAD I WOULD NOT KNOW THE ESSENCE OF DARKNESS!
    WITHOUT MUHAMMAD I WOULD NOT KNOW THE ESSENCE OF SENSUALITY!
    WITHOUT MUHAMMAD I WOULD NOT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TRUE PROPHET & A FALSE ONE!
    WITHOUT MUHAMMAD I WOULD NOT KNOW THE ESSENCE OF IGNORANCE!
    WITHOUT MUHAMMAD I WOULD NOT HAVE SEEN THE FACE OF HEDONISM.
    WITHOUT MUHAMMAD I WOULD NOT HAVE SEE A DEMON IN HUMAN FORM.

    MUHAMMAD WAS THE MOON!
    JESUS IS THE SUN!
    THE MOON CAN ONLY REFLECT THE LIGHT OF THE SUN!
    THE SUN GIVES LIFE!

    JESUS IS THE TRUTH.
    HE IS THE TRUE PROPHET!
    HIS WORDS GIVE LIFE!

    MUHAMMAD WAS THE LIE!
    MUHAMMAD WAS A FALSE PROPHET!
    HIS WORDS BRING DEATH!

    JESUS IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH & THE LIFE!
    JESUS IS NOT GOD, HE IS FROM GOD!
    JESUS IS THE WAY TO THE LIFE FORCE – THE CREATOR!
    JESUS BRINGS LIFE, EVEN TO THE DEAD!

    MAY THE LIFE FORCE BE WITH YOU!

  33. aswanash says

    Yh ha waH , YH means Im am Life, Ne ha waH, means i am not life (creator), Ne ha wah ne wah ne means i am not second and not first, im third

    imri

  34. Karim says

    Of course Jesus was not a Jew. His real name is Yāwshu not Yehoshua. Yāwshu means in Aramaic/Phoenician “YĀW saves”, and Yāw is known as the Canaanite/Phoenician god of water mentioned in the Ugaritic tablets. Yehoshua which means YHWH saves is a Judeo-Christian attempt to link Jesus to the Jews. Besides, YHWH is a Jewish derivation from the Phoenician Yāw, yet with a different understanding. The Phoenician Yāw is considered as one of the Elohim, or sons of Ēl, hence, we would not be surprised to find Jesus called in Matthew as Immanu-Ēl, which means “Ēl with us”.
    It is a very delicate subject and I kindly invite u to have a look at this book trailer. It will somehow give you an idea about who was the real historical Jesus that the Judeo-Christian culture is trying to hide.
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7zwA8b_A4qI

    Shalam,
    kk

  35. YH says

    ¨larim olet pieni paska siellä yhteisössä,ja tämä tuli isältä YH

    YH

  36. Henry says

    If christians read their bibles both old testement and New how could we think that Jesus was any other than be a Jew. I was born in 52 and have never thought any other than that Jesus was a jew. I hold an inner respect for the Jewish people and have had the priveledge of visiting the holy land.
    May God grant Jerusalem peace.

  37. aswanash says

    no one has read from bible what Iesush said

    nehawah ne wah neh

    son of man

    imanuel

    sanektash sehamel

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Was Jesus a Jew? | Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology linked to this post on November 15, 2013

    [...] Biblical Archaeology Society: Was Jesus a Jew? Some people claim that Jesus was a Christian. Some have claimed that he was an Aryan Christian. But in recent decades scholars have been returning to ancient historical settings and discovering the Jewish Jesus. Anthony J. Saldarini’s article “What Price the Uniqueness of Jesus” cautions against wrenching Jesus out of his Jewish world. [...]


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