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Why the Jews Rejected Jesus

David Klinghoffer

Why the Jews Rejected Jesus

David Klinghoffer

$35.99

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chapter one Before Christ Judaism in the Year 27 One of the curious things about Mel Gibson's Jesus movie,The Passion of the Christ, is the part the Jewish priestly establishment, headquartered in the Jerusalem Temple, plays in arresting Jesus and turning him over to the Romans. As viewers, we are supposed to be moved by this to personal repentance, recognizing our own sinfulness in the act of betrayal and violence. But the villainy of Gibson's Jews is hard to recognize because it makes no obvious sense. We are intended to believe the Temple priests are after Jesus because of a big dangerous following that's going to crown him Messiah, but nowhere in the film do these massively numbered followers ever make an appearance. From all the evidence ofThe Passion, you would think Jesus had about ten disciples, twenty maximum. So why were certain Jews so intent on seeing him dead? Gibson leaves us with no clear idea. Much the same difficulty is posed by the Gospels themselves. From a straightforward contemplation of the text, it is not immediately clear what gets the Jews who object to Jesus so worked up. If we try to read the Gospels together, imagining them as forming a single integrated story (to the extent possible, since they are marked by disagreements as to narrative detail), we find the Jews mounting an emotional staircase leading from initial warmth, to puzzlement and perplexity, to distress, to self-righteous annoyance, and finally to a murderous rage. When Jesus begins his ministry around the year 28, teaching in the synagogue of his hometown, Nazareth, the congregation at first "spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded from out of his mouth."(1) Then, on hearing more of his preaching, "all in the synagogue were filled with wrath."(2) Other Jews, however, were moved to follow him, and on one occasion his disciples and others stood about as he sat on a mountainthe Sermon on the Mountat which "the crowds were astonished . . . for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes."(3) The Pharisees, a Jewish faction whom we'll meet shortly, get wind of the interest and controversy Jesus is stirring up. They "murmur against his disciples," who are judged to be morally unsuitable.(4) When these self-righteous Jews find him overseeing the disciples, who are plucking grain in seeming violation of the Sabbath, "the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him, how to destroy him."(5) When Jesus heals a man on a Sabbath, the same Jews again "went out, and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him."(6) When Jesus seeks to justify himself, citing the authority of God, his "Father," then "the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God."(7) We need to step back from our assumptions about the Gospel text. Through familiarity with the general story linewe all know Jesus had detractors among his fellow Jewswe tend to assume it was only natural that small-minded bigots would take offense at this spiritually uplifted, transcendent being. But if you try to imagine reading about the Jewish reaction to Jesus without bringing to bear the cultural background of Christianity, you'll see that, as one might say of characters in a novel, the outrage of Jesus's fellow Jews seems distinctly undermotivated. They want to kill him because he healed a man by faith on the Sabbathsomething in itself that Jewish law does not forbid? Or because he called God his "Father"when God is called "Father" of the Jewish people and of their kings many times in scripture and liturgy? What's the big deal? In the next chapter, we'll see what reasons the Jews would re

- Publisher ^Why did the Jews reject Jesus? Was he really the son of God? Were the Jews culpable in his death? These ancient questions have been debated for almost two thousand years, most recently with the release of Mel Gibson's explosive "The Passion of the Christ." The controversy was never merely academic. The legal status and security of Jews--often their very lives--depended on the answer. ^In WHY THE JEWS REJECTED JESUS, David Klinghoffer reveals that the Jews since ancient times accepted not only the historical existence of Jesus but the role of certain Jews in bringing about his crucifixion and death. But he also argues that they had every reason to be skeptical of claims for his divinity. ^For one thing, Palestine under Roman occupation had numerous charismatic would-be messiahs, so Jesus would not have been unique, nor was his following the largest of its kind. For another, the biblical prophecies about the coming of the Messiah were never fulfilled by Jesus, including an inga

- Publisher
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About "Why the Jews Rejected Jesus"

chapter one Before Christ Judaism in the Year 27 One of the curious things about Mel Gibson's Jesus movie,The Passion of the Christ, is the part the Jewish priestly establishment, headquartered in the Jerusalem Temple, plays in arresting Jesus and turning him over to the Romans. As viewers, we are supposed to be moved by this to personal repentance, recognizing our own sinfulness in the act of betrayal and violence. But the villainy of Gibson's Jews is hard to recognize because it makes no obvious sense. We are intended to believe the Temple priests are after Jesus because of a big dangerous following that's going to crown him Messiah, but nowhere in the film do these massively numbered followers ever make an appearance. From all the evidence ofThe Passion, you would think Jesus had about ten disciples, twenty maximum. So why were certain Jews so intent on seeing him dead? Gibson leaves us with no clear idea. Much the same difficulty is posed by the Gospels themselves. From a straightforward contemplation of the text, it is not immediately clear what gets the Jews who object to Jesus so worked up. If we try to read the Gospels together, imagining them as forming a single integrated story (to the extent possible, since they are marked by disagreements as to narrative detail), we find the Jews mounting an emotional staircase leading from initial warmth, to puzzlement and perplexity, to distress, to self-righteous annoyance, and finally to a murderous rage. When Jesus begins his ministry around the year 28, teaching in the synagogue of his hometown, Nazareth, the congregation at first "spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded from out of his mouth."(1) Then, on hearing more of his preaching, "all in the synagogue were filled with wrath."(2) Other Jews, however, were moved to follow him, and on one occasion his disciples and others stood about as he sat on a mountainthe Sermon on the Mountat which "the crowds were astonished . . . for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes."(3) The Pharisees, a Jewish faction whom we'll meet shortly, get wind of the interest and controversy Jesus is stirring up. They "murmur against his disciples," who are judged to be morally unsuitable.(4) When these self-righteous Jews find him overseeing the disciples, who are plucking grain in seeming violation of the Sabbath, "the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him, how to destroy him."(5) When Jesus heals a man on a Sabbath, the same Jews again "went out, and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him."(6) When Jesus seeks to justify himself, citing the authority of God, his "Father," then "the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God."(7) We need to step back from our assumptions about the Gospel text. Through familiarity with the general story linewe all know Jesus had detractors among his fellow Jewswe tend to assume it was only natural that small-minded bigots would take offense at this spiritually uplifted, transcendent being. But if you try to imagine reading about the Jewish reaction to Jesus without bringing to bear the cultural background of Christianity, you'll see that, as one might say of characters in a novel, the outrage of Jesus's fellow Jews seems distinctly undermotivated. They want to kill him because he healed a man by faith on the Sabbathsomething in itself that Jewish law does not forbid? Or because he called God his "Father"when God is called "Father" of the Jewish people and of their kings many times in scripture and liturgy? What's the big deal? In the next chapter, we'll see what reasons the Jews would re
- Publisher

^Why did the Jews reject Jesus? Was he really the son of God? Were the Jews culpable in his death? These ancient questions have been debated for almost two thousand years, most recently with the release of Mel Gibson's explosive "The Passion of the Christ." The controversy was never merely academic. The legal status and security of Jews--often their very lives--depended on the answer. ^In WHY THE JEWS REJECTED JESUS, David Klinghoffer reveals that the Jews since ancient times accepted not only the historical existence of Jesus but the role of certain Jews in bringing about his crucifixion and death. But he also argues that they had every reason to be skeptical of claims for his divinity. ^For one thing, Palestine under Roman occupation had numerous charismatic would-be messiahs, so Jesus would not have been unique, nor was his following the largest of its kind. For another, the biblical prophecies about the coming of the Messiah were never fulfilled by Jesus, including an inga
- Publisher

Meet the Author

David Klinghoffer

David Klinghoffer is?a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. He is the author of five books including "Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western History" (Doubleday, 2005), "Shattered Tablets: Why We Ignore the Ten Commandments at Our Peril" (Doubleday, 2007), and the spiritual memoir "The Lord Will Gather Me In: My Journey to Jewish Orthodoxy" (Free Press, 1999), a National Jewish Book Award finalist. A former senior editor of "National Review" magazine, he has written for the "New York Times", "Wall Street Journal", "Los Angeles Times", "Commentary", "The Weekl

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Product Details

Product Details
  • Catalogue Code 237410
  • Product Code 0385510217
  • EAN 9780385510219
  • Pages 247
  • Department Academic
  • Category Biblical Studies
  • Sub-Category New Testament
  • Publisher Doubleday
  • Publication Date Mar 2005
  • Dimensions 242 x 163 x 22 mm
  • Weight 0.481kg

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