Heightened Opposition to Jews in Early Christianity

I have been outlining some of the issues that I may talk about in a book on the rise of anti-Judaism in early Christianity, if I write it.  In previous posts I have detailed some of the uglier Christian attacks on Jews and Judaism, almost all of them tied to Christian ways of reading the Old Testament that different from traditional, Jewish readings.  Some Christians claimed that Jews misread what God had told them in the Scripture, and that this ...

Continue Reading →
58

When Christians Went on the Attack Against Jews

I return now, for a couple of posts, to my thoughts on the rise of anti-Judaism in the early Christian tradition, and my thesis that it was largely driven by a different way of reading the Bible, that the Christians insisted the Jewish scriptures were looking forward to Jesus as a suffering messiah who would die for sins, and in doing so fulfilled all sorts of prophecies, and most Jews thought this entire view was nonsense, if not blasphemous.

Here is ...

Continue Reading →
62

Why Christians Needed an Old Testament: Pagan Attacks on the Faith

In my discussion why Christians claimed the Jewish Bible for themselves (and argued it no longer belonged to Jews), I’ve been focusing strictly on the relationship of Jews and Christians, for obvious reasons.  But as it turns out, there is more to it than that.   Here is an issue that is hardly ever talked about in the scholarship on the rise of anti-Judaism in early Christianity, let alone among lay people wondering about why mainstream Christianity became opposed to Jews ...

Continue Reading →
37

The Jewish Bible in the Gentile Churches

I continue here with my thoughts about how Christians came to claim the Jewish Bible for themselves, and to argue that it no longer belonged to Jews.   I’ve already pointed out that the Jewish followers of Jesus (Many? Most? All?)  (I suspect the answer is “Most”), within a short time after his death (months?  a year?) began wonder why other Jews did not accept Jesus as the messiah.  After all, they themselves “knew” he had been raised from the dead.  ...

Continue Reading →
59

How “Jews” Became “Children of the Devil” in the New Testament

I have just started getting into the meat of the book proposal I have written for myself about The Battle for the Bible, on how it is that Christians claimed that the Hebrew Scriptures belonged to them rather than the Jews, and how this is what ultimately led to Christian opposition to Judaism and the Jews who practiced it.    As the argument unfolds, I hope it will make increasing sense!  Here’s the next bit, dealing with how the process began.

 

Continue Reading →

75

Should the Old Testament Even Be in the Bible?

A week or so ago I started to describe how I’m thinking of one of my future books, that I’m tentatively calling The Battle for the Bible.  The book (if I write it) will be about how Christians got the Old Testament and saw the Old Testament as *their* book rather than the Jews’, who had misinterpreted it and given up (without their knowledge) any claim to it.  My argument is that this dispute is what ultimately led to the ...

Continue Reading →
85

Is the Old Testament a Christian Book?

Yesterday I started describing a trade book that I’m thinking about writing, tentatively called (in my head) “The Battle for the Bible.”    Here is the next part of my self-reflections:

********************************************

A major part of my book will deal with one of the great puzzles in the history of religion:  Why does the Christian Bible even have an Old Testament?   And how did the early Christians, most of them gentiles, manage – in their own minds — to wrest it ...

Continue Reading →
52

Why Do Christians Have an Old Testament? Another Trade Book.

This blog post is available to anyone in the universe, free of charge.  I provide five posts a week on the blog, but to have access to the others, you need to be a blog member.  Joining is easy and inexpensive.  I charge a fee in order to raise money for charity, giving every penny to help those who are poor, homeless, and in need.  So why not join and get full-access?  You’ll get lots for your money ...

Continue Reading →
89