The Jewish Chronicle
Agreement on Jesus?
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
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