Different Christian Attitudes
by Petra Heldt and Malcolm Löwe
The Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity in Israel, from its inception in 1966 until today, has constantly observed and evaluated developments in Christian attitudes toward Judaism in official statements by various Christian churches, starting with the Second Vatican Council. In view of the fortieth anniversary of the State of Israel in 1988, it is appropriate to consider how far those developments include any change of attitude in theology and church policy toward the State of Israel. Continue reading
by Martin Stohr
The statement of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Amsterdam in 1948 — the year of the founding of the State of Israel and the WCC — certainly is no longer valid in its unquestioned conviction concerning the Christian missionary task regarding the Jews. But it is valid in its rejection of any form of antisemitism and its confession of the guilt of Christian hatred toward Jews. Continue reading
by David Flusser
While the questioning of Jesus by the High Priest is itself deserving of a full treatment, our present concern is more restricted: we shall attempt to show how the famous Dead Sea Scrolls can shed new light on Jesus’ answer. Continue reading
A New Reading of the Prologue of the Gospel of John as a Contribution to a Christology without Anti-Judaism
by Jacobus Schoneveld
Christian theology, in particular the doctrine on Christ, has for many centuries been infested with anti-Judaism. After Auschwitz, Christians are challenged to develop a Christology without anti-Judaism: a doctrine on Christ that does not deny but affirms the integrity and worth of the Jewish people and the Jewish faith. At the heart of Christology lies the doctrine of the incarnation, and at the source of this doctrine lies the prologue of the Gospel of John, in particular the short sentence: “And the word became flesh,” or in the Greek original: Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο (Jn. 1:14). A new look at this central statement of Christian faith is therefore necessary. Continue reading
by David Flusser
The following remarks are based on three criteria:
- The observation of Robert L. Lindsey that the synoptic material, as preserved in Luke, was rewritten by Mark and that Matthew depends on Mark;
- The importance of contemporaneous Judaism for the interpretation of the Gospels;
- The simple truth that old wine is better than new wine.
This truth should be taken into account in the exegesis of Jesus’ words about fasting, contained in Mark 2:18-22; Mt 9:14-17 and Luke 5:33-39. Continue reading
(Matthew 5:3-12, Luke 6:20-26)
by David Flusser
In one of my articles I tried to show the Essene background of Jesus’ Beatitudes, and at the same time succeeded in finding in the Thanksgiving Scroll (XVIII, 14-15) a passage, which not only comes near to the general ideology of the Beatitudes, but also resembles Mt. 5:3-5 in literary patterns. The sectarian author thanks God:
|To [have appointed] me in truth
a messenger [of the peace] of Thy goodness
to proclaim to the meek the multitude of
Thine mercies, and to let them that are
of contrite spirit [hear salvation]
from [everlasting] source and to
them that mourn everlasting joy.
3. Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,
5. Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth,
4. Blessed are they that mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
by Moshe Weinfeld
It is still a prevalent view that Pentecost as a festival commemorating the revelation at Sinai and giving of the law (זמן מתן תורתינו)l cannot be earlier than the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Thus for example, E. Lohse in his article Πεντηκοστή states that ‘only in the Christian period do we find evidence that later Judaism linked this feast too with the events of the age of Moses, and particularly remembered the giving of the law at Sinai on this day. Continue reading
1. Jesus was a Jew, lived the Jewish faith and died for it. He was “made under the law” (Gal. 4:4) and did not want to become a reformer of Judaism.
2. One can determine Jesus’s place in the contemporaneous Jewish streams. He has not preached and done anything which could arouse resistance and hate among Pharisees. His criticism of the Pharisees does not distinguish itself in any way from their own self-criticism. If he has considered himself the Messiah, then this was in fulfilment of Jewish hopes and could not become a reason for a tension between himself and Judaism. Continue reading
by Dr. Pinchas Lapide
Hebrew can be found in the books of the New Testament on three different levels.
First is the plain linguistic level. Theologumena such as Pesach, Satan and Qorban appear in close proximity to such titles as Rabbi, Abba and Messiah, followed by names and appellations like Israel, Beelzebub, Abaddon, Iscariot, Boanerges, Armageddon, as well as liturgical terms like Hosanna, Hallelujah and the ubiquitous Amen, which in the Gospel of Matthew alone occurs no less than thirty-one times. Continue reading
by David Flusser
The discovery of the Essene Dead Sea Scrolls caused a revolution in research both of early Christianity and of Judaism. Many scholars thought that even the Sacrament of the Eucharist is Essene in origin. Is it not written in Josephus (Wars II, 129) that before their meal the Essenes purify themselves in cold water and “after this purification, they assemble in a private apartment which none of the uninitiated is permitted to enter; being now pure themselves, they repair to the refectory as to some sacred shrine”? But even if an Essene influence on the Christian sacrament should be accepted, a new question arises: if Christian sacred meals are influenced by the Essenes, does it mean that already Jesus’s last supper in Jerusalem was an Essene ceremony? Continue reading