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Switch to Forum Live View Why Such a Toxic Relationship For So Long?
3 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2012 - 7:05AM #1
koolpoi
Posts: 6,595

Could the centuries of Jewish-Christian friction stem from the Christian desire to convert?Was the Jewish refusal to accept a new interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures a part of it?What else was behind this?Could any event in the 1st century have resulted in a more civil relationship between the faiths?

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2012 - 9:36AM #2
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

The problem is not so much in the 1st century but in the 4th.


If Christianity had not been made the official religion of the Empire, things could have been radically different. The union of religion and state power never leads to anything good, for either side.


The Empire was going to collapse eventually, and Christianity already had a wide institutional network, so it is reasonable that the Church could have still served as the unifier of European civilization in the Middle Ages. The Church, however, would have probably looked very different.


That Christianity is proselytizing faith naturally made for conflict with Judaism (which had abandoned proselytism for practical and understandable reasons). That Christianity grew out of Judaism made this even more problematic. However, it was the political element - the Christian religion replacing the old Roman state cult as the symbol and instrument of imperial power - that made the toleration of other religions problematic.


Judaism's non-negotiable monotheism was a conflict in that regard, too: The Roman state had no problem with other pagan religions because the philosophy behind them was the same as their own and the names of gods could be interchangeable and there was nothing prohibiting venerating another deity along side the native pantheon. Jews (and Christians) wouldn't accept that, and that led the imperial state to persecute them both.


When Christians became the imperial state, they didn't learn from their experience. They didn't follow the Torah commandment to not oppress the stranger because they were strangers in Egypt.


This is a lesson that Jews are having to struggle with, too, now that they are finally in the position of wielding state power again after 2,000 years.

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2012 - 9:40AM #3
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

WRT to the 1st century, it's a very good question as to what would have happened if the Jerusalem Church had not been destroyed in the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE.


The church led by St. James was primarily of Jewish origin and retained a stronger connection with the mother religion than the more Gentile churches elsewhere in the world. Would that have influenced the development of Christian doctrine and eased the tensions - or would it have exacerbated them?


We'll never know.


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3 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2012 - 11:22AM #4
river8101
Posts: 5,568

Christians still call us Christ Killers.   That has not stopped.  That's how they were taught from childhood.   I grew up among Christians, and it was no picnic.  It was very difficult, sometimes dangerous, and once as a kid, I had to go to hospital for getting hit in the eye with the wheel of a bike thrown at me.   I was bleeding all over the place.  And what kind of kids hate Jews enough to kill an animal (a beautiful white cat)  and put it in  front of your front door, with a note that says:  "Matza, Matza, two for five.  That's what keeps the Jews alive."   I don't think it will ever change, because most Jews aren't going to convert, (why should they?) and Christians aren't going to stop trying to either convert us or get rid of us somehow.   The only reason some support Israel is because they think Jesus is landing in Israel when the end times come.   My son married a Catholic girl, and she decided to convert to Judaism after her 2nd child was born.  Not only a little bit but she became very Orthodox, and won't even eat in my house unless the food's brought in from a kosher restaurant on paper plates.  My son wasn't raised that way, but he goes along with her.  He tries anyway.   I'll say one thing for her, though.  She has certainly become a great cook. Yumm. 

“Faith is deciding to allow yourself to believe something your intellect would otherwise cause you to reject.”
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3 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2012 - 1:34PM #5
rocketjsquirell
Posts: 16,799

I will remind everyone of the old axiom" "You can not co-exist with people who want to kill you"


The simple fact is that for many centuries, Christians wanted to kill Jews physically and spiritually. Now that Christians merely wish to kill Jews spiritually we get along much better. When Christians stop seeking to kill Jews both physically and spiritually we will get on like gangbusters.  

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2012 - 2:09PM #6
river8101
Posts: 5,568

In South America, Jews are still being persecuted.  I have friends who live there.  Some are intermarried, but if they are, they raise their children in the Catholic faith, because they have an easier time getting into college, and getting jobs.  Jews are still descriminated against and bombs blow up Jewish institutions from time to time killing children.   Many Jews have left Argentina and moved to Israel, where they may not be any safer, what with the surrounding countries hoping to drive the Jewish country into the sea.  If you look at Israel on the map, you can barely make it out it's so tiny compared to the huge Muslim countries surrounding it.  


"Some things never change."

“Faith is deciding to allow yourself to believe something your intellect would otherwise cause you to reject.”
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3 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2012 - 4:27PM #7
howiedds
Posts: 2,687

kool:


Although you were told that The problem is not so much in the 1st century but in the 4th, the 4th century codified what had been going on for hundreds of years. The disagreements began at the end of the 1st century. The post 70 years, to say the least, were as difficult for Jewish life as our own 20th century Holocaust and generated the harsh disagreements.


The variations in Jewish practice and belief that had been tolerated before 70 when there was a central Jewish address, a nation, and a common language all of which was in danger of disappearing after 70 and 132, were not as easily tolerated post 70. Jewishness was no longer going to be tied to geography. People were fleeing hither and yon, and Jewishness was going to have to now become portable to be packed along with one's tallis, tephillin, and change of clothes. The Oral Teachings were going to have to be written down as there would no longer be a Pharisee on every corner to whom one could address one's questions. The long revered and read books that were not quite canon would have to be added to the canon so that when one asked for a Bible in North Africa or Gaul it would include these valued prophetic books without the need of "a special order."


Along with that organization and codifying of Jewish life, we would have to clearly define the parameters of Jewish belief. There was less room for sectarian differences. "This is what we believe" must have become the order of the day. Messianic sectarians were different enough, but those Christians were getting further and further from Jesus the Messiah and morphing into Jesus as God, which was even farther outside the community of belief that was emerging. So from the Jewish side, we became less tolerant of the differences between us, and probably acted on that intolerance by exclusion.


From the Christian side, they had had discovered "the truth." It was clear to them what Jesus represented. How could we not see what they saw so clearly? He was a Jew like us but we stubbornly and stiffneckedly resisted "the truth." Surely we knew. What impatience and anger that must have generated. The people of Jesus/God did not think he was what the  church knew him to be. How disconcerting for Christianity that his own people denied him. We were stubbornly resisting the truth or we were in league with the devil to undo God's truth and son.


The very need for the Church, the new Israel, the new chosen of God,  a new institution, was generated by the radically new and unique teaching of Jesus that had not been heard before. Those Jews, however, were yawning at it all, saying that they had heard it all before. Outrageous, thought the Christians, adding to the contention between the two.


No kool, the animosity began in that 1st century and was simply codified in the fourth.

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2012 - 4:35PM #8
howiedds
Posts: 2,687

Nieciedo:


what would have happened if the Jerusalem Church had not been destroyed in the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE.


The church led by St. James was primarily of Jewish origin and retained a stronger connection with the mother religion than the more Gentile churches elsewhere in the world. Would that have influenced the development of Christian doctrine and eased the tensions - or would it have exacerbated them?


We'll never know.



I agree. It is clear from Nieciedo's own scripture that there was a significant dispute between those seeking to create a new religion around Jesus, the gentile diaspora of Jesus people, and the early Jewish Jesus people in Jerusalem who knew Jesus best and were remaining connected to their Jewish roots. The only difference between those Jewish Jesus people and their fellow Jews was that they thought they had found the expected Jewish messiah in Jesus. Perhaps without their destruction along with their fellow Jews in 70 and without Paul, Christianity would have remained a small sect of Judaism that would have disappeared over the decades.

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2012 - 9:26PM #9
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

All that is true, except that however much Christians might have felt they had the "truth" and however much they might have resented that Jews didn't recognize their "truth," there was so much diversity within the Christian world before the 4th century and - most importantly - they had no access to the Imperial power, and thus really couldn't do much to persecute anybody.


A religion allied with empire must by its nature be intolerant, must persecute the Other, must stamp our everything contrary to the One True Faith because the empire must be the supreme and absolute authority that allows no dissent. 


That is the inevitable result whenever religion and political power are united. We see it in the Islamist countries...and we see it in Israel, too. 

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 18, 2012 - 3:42AM #10
NahumS
Posts: 1,791

Christianity remained intolerant long after the fall of the Empire. And the Holocaust didn't happen in a vacuum. It took place in countries that had been poisoned by antisemitism for centuries.


And much anti-Israel bias today is simply warmed-over antisemitism.


But we can't ignore the huge strides that Christians have made in attepmpting to atone for 2000 years of antisemitism. The Catholic Church, for one, has re-evaluated many of its attitudes towards Jews and Judaism. - and I hope that this continues.

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