The Jewish Chronicle

Agreement on Jesus?

- Whitefield, Manchester

VJames Jeffrey is disappoint­ed that “there is no real understand­ing” between Judaism and Christiani­ty “regarding who Jesus was and how he was killed” (Jews and Christians need to discuss the elephant in the church, 2 April).

However, for Jews to make a contributi­on to this problem, there has to be agreement as to the basic facts about Jesus’s life and the circumstan­ces of his supposed death.

The only early narratives of these matters are in the New Testament gospels.

Unfortunat­ely more and more modern New Testament scholars have concluded that the gospels are basically fiction. I quote from Professor G A Wells of Birkbeck College, University of London, who states: “The extent to which Jesus’ biography (in the gospels) has been constructe­d from Old Testament passages is particular­ly obvious...Messianic passages from the Old Testament would stimulate early believers to imagine and then relate incidents in the life of Jesus which fulfilled the supposed prediction­s” (The Jesus of the Early Christians, p109 et seq).

Furthermor­e, Christiani­ty initially taught that Jesus was “crucified under Pontius Pilate”, with no mention of any involvemen­t of any Jews.

However, the original idea that the Roman authoritie­s had condemned Jesus to death would have put off many potential Roman coverts to Christiani­ty. Hence the gospel writers resolved this dilemma by inventing the idea that it was the Jewish leaders who pressurise­d a reluctant Roman governor to condemn Jesus.

So, how could well meaning Jews possibly have a serious dialogue with their Christian friends about “who Jesus was and how he was killed” when the basic original narratives about these matters are widely considered to be total (and, indeed, malicious) fiction?

(Dr) Colin Linder

Edgware HA8

VAssomeone who has encountere­d numerous antisemiti­c comments throughout my life from people who had no idea of my faith, I found James Jeffery’s article resonated with my own views on our relationsh­ip with the Christian church.

People are not born hating Jews, but if it’s inbred from an early age through religion and parenting, then what hope is there?

99.9 per c ent of the population have probably never knowingly engaged with anyone Jewish, but this does not affect their warped view of what a Jew is or stands for.

An employee of a pal of mine, knowing he was Jewish, said to him innocently: “someone just Jewed me “. If that kind of terminolog­y is classed as normal, we’ve got a long way to go! Graeme Warner

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