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ANTI-SEMITIC BIGOTRY AS CHRONICLED BY HISTORICAL MEDALS


 


ANTI-SEMITIC PASSAGES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

The New Testament is a collection of Christian works written in the common (Koine) Greek language during the first and second centuries by early Jewish disciples of Jesus of Nazareth. Over the early years, various writings were considered for inclusion (see website: Early Christian Writings), some accepted and others excluded, a prominent version of the New Testament, written around 150 CE, now consisting of the letters of the Apostle Paul and the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Although many more of the early Gospels and other works were excluded than included in the “final version,” several anti-Semitic sentiments, some of which are shown below, remained.

The Gospel of John raises the accusation to that of a corporate guilt against “the Jews” in general: "And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him" (John 5:16). The Gospel of John also says of Jesus: “He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him” (John 7:1) and adds darkly that “no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews” (John 7:13). In the crowning accusation, John depicts Jesus as accusing “the Jews” as follows: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).

In summarizing how the words in the New Testament form a biblical basis for why Jews of today are held responsible for acts of the past, Paul Johnson, in his book A History of the Jews, writes:

"The collective guilt charge in Matthew, and the ‘sons of the devil’ charge in John, were linked together to form the core of a specifically Christian branch of anti-Semitism which was superimposed on and blended with the ancient and ramifying pagan anti-Semitic tradition to form in time a mighty engine of hatred". In fact, the several books of the New Testament are rife with anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic polemics. To cite just a few of numerous examples: the origins of the Jewish 'blood libel' accusation (depicted in several medals and in the woodcut shown in figure 56) may be found in the Gospel of Matthew 27:25, where it is written “His blood be upon us and on our children."

In explanation, Todd Baker states: "the anti Jewish interpretation is the oldest and most frequently cited in the history of the Church. This view says the Jewish people are permanently guilty and condemned in the eyes of God for their murder of Jesus Christ. As such, the cry of "His blood be upon us" means that the Jewish crowd in Jerusalem admitted full guilt for killing the Lord Jesus Christ and thereby invoked God’s curse upon themselves and their descendants until the end of time."

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