RE: More Re: [XTalk] Violence
>Steve Black asks:Some terms have to be used very carefully. "Ethnic" is such a term I
><<Could you elaborate? Which texts do you suggest have this ethnic
>component? My first reaction is that there is no such reference to
>"ethnicity" (and it seems anachronistic to speak in such terms - but here I
>could be simply uninformed...), especially in Paul, but I would like to know
>what you are specifically referring to before I respond in full.<<
>Dave Hindley replies...
>In Romans there are a few fairly modest statements that "Israel" has been
>humbled, 1:8 "but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but
>obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury." In 2:21 he expresses the
>opinion of Jews: "you then who teach others, will you not teach yourself?
>While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 [snip]
> 1 Thess 2:15, though, gets a
>bit mean: "[Jews] who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove
>us out, and displease God and oppose all men [snip]
think. The actual term, at least in the dictionary I have, does not
include a distinct "racial" component. This is important. Using it in
regards to Paul's attitude towards the Jews is not without some
difficulty. IF by this term we simply mean a
social/political/religious entity that Paul (I think) was beginning
to realize was not going to accept his message, then I don't think I
have a huge problem. ALTHOUGH, your reading does tend to sidestep
some passages where Paul seems to demonstrate less of an animosity.
Ga 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor
free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ
Ro 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God
for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also
to the Greek.
Ro 11:26 and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, "The
Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from
Jacob"; (The context seem to me to suggest that Paul is NOT talking
about some "spiritual" Israel here)
I suggest that Paul was simply not consistent or systematic in his
thinking towards Non-XN Jews.
Needless to say Paul, in the passages you quote, DOES reveal an sense
that his gospel had more currency with Gentiles than it seemed to
with Jews. But then again, he did consider himself the Apostle to the
Gentiles, and not to the Jews, so perhaps this animosity is really
just a attitude born on a realization that his audience was not
Jewish. In any event, I still don't see anything that suggest that
the book is written (or redacted, if you will) from a non-Jewish
point of view. Speaking in terms of "the Jews" reflects, it seems to
me, Paul's awareness that, like I said, his letters were dominantly
for Gentiles. (I attended an excellent series of lectures by Rabbi
Boyarin on GJohn - it was amazing - but to the matter at hand, he
said that he refers to those fellow Jews who criticized him as "Those
Jews". This certainly does not mean that he ceased to being Jewish!!)
One final note. Speaking in terms a ethnicity, I think it important
to be clear that we are NOT talking about racial notions. Paul is
obviously upset that "his" people rejected his message (Rom 9:1-5),
and he had a strong reaction to this rejection that some times boils
over into polemic, other times into sorrow, yet other times into
theological reflection - but I think we are on thin (or non-existent)
ice to suggest that Paul was thinking racially. This is what I meant
by anachronistic in the earlier post. It is one thing to string
together harsh polemics because of a social/political/religious
group's rejection of something, it is quite another to develop any
notion based on race. This seems to require a (seriously misguided)
theory of race itself, perhaps needing a notion of genetics, or
something like it, which is completely out of place in the 1st Cent.
The Gnostics (I do not have a good knowledge here - so please correct
me if I stray from the truth) believed that there were different
types of people - some children of the light, others of the darkness
- this might be a good ground also to grow a racial theory. This
manner of thought is clearly not present in Paul.
>There is nothing in the Timothy letters. Titus seems to tell a bit aboutBecause I don't believe the Pastorals were written by Paul, I do not
>what he thinks of Jews at that point: 1:14 "instead of giving heed to Jewish
>myths or to commands of men who reject the truth. 15 To the pure all
>things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their
>very minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They profess to know God, but
>they deny him by their deeds; they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for
>any good deed."
think we can use them to reconstruct Paul's thought.
>I believe that there is without doubt (at least to me) strong
>The four Gospels, for their part, have the occasional disapproving statement
>(especially John), but mainly are content to hint, repeatedly, that the Jews
>did not live up to their end of the covenant with their God, and their
>inheritance was given to others who were more deserving.
"Anti-Judaism" in the NT. On this we fully agree. I think it is based
on a response to the early Xn message, on not on an ethnic theory. [I
am not sure that "Anti-Judaism" is even the correct terminology. I
see early Christianity as itself a form of Judaism, so perhaps
something like "Anti-Other-Judaism" would be more accurate.]
The NT writers often used the non-Xn Jews as foils to make their
point - Matt, righteousness, in my view, is built upon the idea that
whatever it is, it must be better than what the the scribes and
The NT writers, in my assessment, are guilty of a binary fashion of
thinking where in this case the Pharisees/Scribes/etc occupy the "no"
side of the binary. This has had disastrous historical consequences,
and this post is by no means an attempt to absolve the NT writer of
their rightful share of guilt. I believe it is important, on the
other hand, not to over state this guilt.
Vancouver School of Theology
Once in a while you can get shown the light
in the strangest of places if you look at it right...
-Robert Hunter From SCARLET BEGONIAS
- I know this is off topic, however, during the past few days I noticed the
discussion going on about the use of copyrighhted material. Anyway, my
question is this, how do I properly cite a web page I used information from
in an academic paper. I am a student and an interested historical Jesus
individual. I realize this is off topic so please send reply to me off the
Thomas G. Barnes