Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Seeing Judaism Anew: Christianity's Sacred Obligation,
Ed. Mary C. Boys, Rowman and Littlefield, 2002, page xv
The third principle outlined in the introduction to this work is: Ancient rivalries must not define Christian-Jewish relations today.
Although today we know Christianity and Judiasm as separate religions, what became the church was a movement within the Jewish community for many decades after the ministry and resurrection of Jesus. The destruction of the Jerusalem Temple by Roman armies in the year 70 of the first century caused a crisis among the Jewish people. Various groups, including Christianity and early rabbinic Judaism, competed for leadership in the Jewish community by claiming that they were the true heirs of biblical Israel. The gospels reflect this rivalry in which the disputants exchanged various accusatons. Christian charges of hypocrisy and legalism misrepresent Judaism and constitute an unworthy foundation for Chriatian self-understanding.
According to Joseph Blenkinsopp, this is something of a replay of the situation described in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, when those who had remained in the Land were rejected as the true heirs of Israel by those who returned from exile in Babylon and then - if Blenkinsopp is right - redefined what Judaism was and meant to suit their situation and status.