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Re: [SPAM] [XTalk] Jesus was neither Jewish nor Christian

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  • John C. Poirier
    I m sorry, I just don t get the point. If Israelite meant then what Jewish means now, then why is it wrong to call Jesus a Jew when we mean by it what
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 8 8:03 AM
      I'm sorry, I just don't get the point. If "Israelite" meant then what "Jewish" means now, then why is it wrong to call Jesus a "Jew" when we mean by it what we usually mean by "Jew"?

      John C. Poirier


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Loren Rosson
      To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2007 6:17 AM
      Subject: [SPAM] [XTalk] Jesus was neither Jewish nor Christian


      List --

      Jack Elliott has an excellent essay in the current
      issue of The Journal for the Study of the Historical
      Jesus (Vol 5.2, July '07, pp 119-154), called "Jesus
      the Israelite was neither a 'Jew' nor a 'Christian':
      On Correcting Misleading Nomenclature", very
      well-argued and a must read. If he's right (and I've
      become increasingly convinced that both he and Philip
      Esler are), the term "Jew"/"Judaism" needs to be
      dropped from our discussion of early Christian
      origins.

      Elliott discusses the process of identification and
      self-identification, insider and outsider language,
      the fact that Jesus is never called Ioudaios in the NT
      (save on three occasions, and by outsiders), that
      Ioudaios was understood in either a narrow regional
      sense or broader ethnic sense (depending on context)
      -- but in any case correctly translated as "Judean"
      and not "Jew", and the usages of Ioudaios in the
      Gospels, Acts, and letters of Paul. In the end, he
      outlines his five-point "Resulting Picture" (pp
      146-147) as follows:

      (1) Jesus identified himself and his associates as
      Israelites, and his mission as directed to the House
      of Israel. He was identified by other Israelite
      insiders according to his Israelite family and lineage
      and by his place of birth and upbringing, Nazareth and
      Galilee. He was Yeshua bar Yoseph, an 'Israelite', a
      'Galilean', a 'Nazarene from Nazareth of Galilee, but
      not a 'Judean' resident in Judea.

      (2) Jesus never called himself a Ioudaios and was
      never designated as such by fellow Israelites. He was
      called, or thought of as, a Ioudaios only by
      non-Israelite outsiders whose terminology was
      consistent with Hellenistic and Roman practice,
      designating as 'Judean' all residents of Judea,
      together with all those connected to Judea by blood
      relations, Torah allegiance, patriotism, and loyalty
      to Judea, the holy city of Jerusalem and the Temple.

      (3) His first followers were identified by fellow
      Israelites also as 'Galileans', 'Nazarenes', or
      members of 'the Way', but never as 'Judeans'.

      (4) They too, like Jesus, viewed themselves as
      Israelites. They preferred 'Israel' and 'Israelite' as
      self-identifiers when speaking to the ingroup Israel
      and when addressing fellow disciples.

      (5) Paul's usage is consistent with this pattern. He
      too prefers 'Israel' and 'Israelite' as
      self-identifiers in settings where Israelite Christ
      followers or Israelites outside the Christ movement
      are present. With an eye to the Israelite fellow
      believers who are in the audiences of his letters to
      the Philippians, the Corinthians, and the Romans, he
      identifies himself as an 'Israelite'. With an eye to
      his Gentile readers, on the other hand, he can also
      identify himself, as a concession to their
      nomenclature, as a Ioudaios.

      So Jesus was no more Jewish than Christian. He was a
      Judean in the broad ethnic sense often used by
      Greco-Roman outsiders, but even better a Galilean
      Israelite from the insider perspective. With Elliott
      I'm concerned that we "agree to employ terms of
      identification and self-identification today that
      reflect, and are consistent with, the historical,
      social, and cultural situation and practice of Jesus
      and his early followers" (p 154). Sometimes we don't
      do this well: the tendency of some scholars to
      pluralize "Judaism" (and "Christianity") for the sake
      of emphasizing ancient diversity is (to me)
      unnecessary and patronizing. But erasing "Judaism"
      from the discussion altogether, as revisionist as it
      sounds, is warranted.

      Loren Rosson III
      Nashua NH
      http://lorenrosson.blogspot.com

      __________________________________________________________
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    • Loren Rosson
      ... Israelite then does not mean what Jewish means now. Jewishness is all about the beliefs and practices associated with the Mishnah rather than the
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 8 8:31 AM
        John C. Poirier wrote:

        > I'm sorry, I just don't get the point. If
        > "Israelite" meant then what "Jewish" means now, then
        > why is it wrong to call Jesus a "Jew" when we mean
        > by it what we usually mean by "Jew"?

        "Israelite" then does not mean what "Jewish" means
        now. Jewishness is all about the beliefs and practices
        associated with the Mishnah rather than the temple
        cult of Judea, and it was only by the third century
        that "Judaism" as such had really emerged (a common
        pattern of religion irrespective of locale). The point
        is to seriously distinguish between Israelites/Judeans
        and later Jews; the temple's destruction left that
        much of a change in its wake.

        Loren Rosson III
        Nashua NH
        http://lorenrosson.blogspot.com



        ____________________________________________________________________________________
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      • Frank Jacks
        ... While I truly do appreciate this clarification (as well as your original posting of the article), I must say that I find this definition of Jewishness
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 8 8:51 AM
          Loren Rosson wrote:
          > John C. Poirier wrote:
          >
          >
          >> I'm sorry, I just don't get the point. If
          >> "Israelite" meant then what "Jewish" means now, then
          >> why is it wrong to call Jesus a "Jew" when we mean
          >> by it what we usually mean by "Jew"?
          >>
          >
          > "Israelite" then does not mean what "Jewish" means
          > now. Jewishness is all about the beliefs and practices
          > associated with the Mishnah rather than the temple
          > cult of Judea, and it was only by the third century
          > that "Judaism" as such had really emerged (a common
          > pattern of religion irrespective of locale). The point
          > is to seriously distinguish between Israelites/Judeans
          > and later Jews; the temple's destruction left that
          > much of a change in its wake.
          >
          > Loren Rosson III
          > Nashua NH
          > http://lorenrosson.blogspot.com
          >
          While I truly do appreciate this clarification (as well as your original
          posting of the article), I must say that I find this definition of
          "Jewishness" and "Judaism" a bit odd, to say the least. Not that I
          disagree with your substance for we must indeed distinguish
          between what Judaism was before and after the destruction of the Temple,
          especially as post-70 Judaism (normally referred to as "Rabbinic
          Judaism") was based upon the specifics of one particular
          branch/brand/variety of pre-destruction Judaism, i.e. the Hillelite
          traditions of Pharisaism. And yes I am quite aware that in what I just
          said I did not use your suggested usage but then I do not find that this
          traditional way of talking about "ancient times" either confusing or
          involving any necessary anachronism. Yes, there are much too many who
          do engage in the unfortunate anachronism of projecting onto/into the
          pre-70 era beliefs and practices which are most definitely post-70, but
          I honestly fail to see how any nomenclature can prevent this error ...
          although this is hardly my "final word" on this important topic. At
          least, the involvement of the term "Israelite" as the way that at least
          many of those who we now call "Jews" thought of themselves (Paul in his
          letters being a most important bench-mark for us) is
          surely something we need to remember, although my own suspicion is that
          it is a term concerning "political citizenship," an aspect of historical
          discussions which I find all too often shunted aside by the current
          popularity of considering sociological issues, which are also important,
          just not exclusively so, I think. Anyway, thanks for the posting if
          only because it revives this board after our summer vacation/time-off
          and for drawing our attention to the posted essay.

          Most sincerely,

          Frank

          Clive F. Jacks, Th.D. (Union Seminary, N.Y.C.)
          Professor of Religion, Emeritus
          Pikeville College,
          Pikeville, KY

          (but now happily retired back home in the metro Atlanta area!)
        • Jeff Peterson
          Loren, I can see there are important distinctions to be made in describing adherents of the religion emanating from Judea before and after the revolts of 66
          Message 4 of 4 , Sep 8 9:46 AM
            Loren,

            I can see there are important distinctions to be made in describing
            adherents of the religion emanating from Judea before and after the
            revolts of 66 and 132, and describing both periods merely with the
            label "Judaism" does mislead in suggesting identity. But reserving
            "Judaism" for the later period and "Israelite" (and "Israelitism"?)
            for the earlier period misleads as well by exaggerating the
            discontinuity. For an umbrella label for the religion of Judea
            during the period of Christian origins, "second temple Judaism" fills
            the bill on precisely the point that concerns you (because it,
            y'know, mentions the temple).

            Jeff Peterson
            Austin Graduate School of Theology
            Austin, Texas


            On Sep 8, 2007, at 10:31 AM, Loren Rosson wrote:

            > John C. Poirier wrote:
            >
            > > I'm sorry, I just don't get the point. If
            > > "Israelite" meant then what "Jewish" means now, then
            > > why is it wrong to call Jesus a "Jew" when we mean
            > > by it what we usually mean by "Jew"?
            >
            > "Israelite" then does not mean what "Jewish" means
            > now. Jewishness is all about the beliefs and practices
            > associated with the Mishnah rather than the temple
            > cult of Judea, and it was only by the third century
            > that "Judaism" as such had really emerged (a common
            > pattern of religion irrespective of locale). The point
            > is to seriously distinguish between Israelites/Judeans
            > and later Jews; the temple's destruction left that
            > much of a change in its wake.
            >
            > Loren Rosson III
            > Nashua NH
            > http://lorenrosson.blogspot.com
            >
            > __________________________________________________________
            > Building a website is a piece of cake. Yahoo! Small Business gives
            > you all the tools to get online.
            > http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/webhosting
            >
            >



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