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6 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2009 - 2:21PM #1
GeneStecher
Posts: 556
Dennis wrote in the "A 'Real Man's Galatians Thread":  ".......Luke's supersessionist and virulently anti-Jewish rhetoric....Acts is basically an anti-Jewish polemic, with 20/28 chapters including slurs. That is the 'historical reality' of Acts."

The above sentence is at best a partial description of the “historical reality” of Acts, and needs to be put in context.  In Acts everything happens according to the foreknowledge and plan of God revealed in the OT:

The Message of Acts can in one way be seen as a justification to Jewish Christians of the trajectory of the Christian mission.  That is, although the prophets and Moses had predicted that the Messiah, “being the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles” (26:23), a large number of Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, even violently so, and that’s why the Jesus message was taken to the Gentiles.  It's certainly a debate, however, that the violence contention could be supported outside of Acts.  Are we to suppose that the author or his sources were vicious enough to just make it up and that this "in-house" battle among Jews never reached that level of contention????

Jesus who is Lord and Messiah (2:36), the Holy and Righteous One (3:14), the Author of Life (3:15), was crucified by the Jews of Judea and Jerusalem (2:14), particularly their leaders, betrayers and murderers (7:52), using the Gentiles, including Herod and Pilate (3:27), to do the actual killing (2:23).  However, both the common folk and their rulers acted out of ignorance (3:17).  These events only happened because God knew about it in advance and planned it (2:23); it was predestined by his hand (4:28), having first revealed his intentions in the words of the OT prophets, that the Messiah should suffer (3:18). 

Even so, the Jerusalem Jews cannot escape responsibility.  They must repent (2:38, 3:19) of murdering their own Messiah.  Devout Jews from every nation witnessed the Pentecost (2:5), so there is no excuse. Three thousand initially did repent (2:41), but the Jewish leadership continued to oppose the upstarts with their messianic claims about Jesus (4:1-22), even imprisoning and flogging them (5:17-42).  These circumstances, however, did not prevent the number of Jerusalem disciples, which included many priests, from increasing (6:7).  But with the stoning of Stephen (6:8-15), persecution, especially as led by Saul, scattered the Jesus followers across Judea and Samaria (8:1-3), even as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch (11:19).

From this point forward, as best I can tell,  regarding the mission to the Jews, beyond Jerusalem and Judea, Acts does not mention accusations of killing the Messiah.  The message simply is that you need to accept Jesus as your Messiah (17:3) who sets you free from all of the sins from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses (13:38-39).

Unexpectedly, Saul the Jew, became converted to the Jesus-way (9:1-19).  He preached in the synagogues in Damascus and to the Hellenists in Jerusalem that Jesus was the Messiah.  Jews in both places are depicted as trying to kill him because of this message (9:19-25).  From the church at Antioch, Saul, also known as Paul (13:9), and Barnabas, were eventually sent out on a more extensive mission by the Holy Spirit (13:1-4).  On Paphos they won a battle with the Jewish magician false prophet Bar-Jesus (13:4-12).  They preached in the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, were eventually rejected, proclaimed that the message would now go to the Gentiles, and were driven from the region by persecution (14:13-52).  They proceeded to Iconium where both Jews and Gentiles were converted but unbelieving Jews stirred things up leading to mistreatment and stoning (14:1-7).  Paul’s mission, with his companions, continues to receive similar reactions through chapter 20, as he attempts to get both Jews and Gentiles to believe that Jesus was the Messiah.   

Eventually, when trying to make a conciliatory action (see also having Timothy circumcised, 16:3) toward the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, regarding Jewish law and the Temple, “Jews from Asia” incited the crowd to try to kill him for his past rejection of Jewish practices and beliefs (21:27-36).  Paul defended himself to the Jerusalem council, after which some Jews swore to neither eat nor drink until they had killed him (23:12).  Across a number of years Paul is kept in custody and defends himself before various high placed Roman officials, eventually being sent to Rome for a hearing before the emperor (24-28).  Paul meets in Rome with local Jewish leaders who are initially open to hearing his story and message (28:17-22), and some were convinced and others refused to believe that Jesus was the Messiah (28:23-25).  Paul takes a parting shot at the refusers, saying that the Holy Spirit had predicted in Isaiah (6:9, 44:18) their lack of understanding, distorted perception, and dull hearts (28:25-27), so now the message is preached to the Gentiles. 

Gene
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2009 - 2:56PM #2
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
Shouldn't you have entitled it "Acts and 'The Jews'"? The "blood libel" charge is made SIX TIMES in the first four chapters!!!!
2:22-23 "this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law..."
2:36  "this Jesus you crucified"
3:15 "you killed the Author of life
3:17 "you acted in ignorance"
4:10  "Jesus Christ of Nazereth, whom you crucified"
4:27 "For this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel gathered against your holy servant Jesus"

Argue as you may about the theology in it, the book  is a hideous piece of offal, written in the second century, which has the effect of calling all Jews murderers. It hammers the point home again and again. Again and again these things are said to the Jewish leaders. Is there any wonder that the Crusaders and the Inquisiters and the Nazis were all bent on genocide?  To make a statement like "The above sentence is at best a partial description of the “historical reality” of Acts, and needs to be put in context. In Acts everything happens according to the foreknowledge and plan of God revealed in the OT" is naive at best and promulgates the same horrors at worst... There was no such "plan of god" but in the mind of those who would mine the Hebrew scriptures for prooftexts. Show me where Acts 26:23 is found in the Hebrew scriptures! "One specifically fresh elementin the Christology of the Acts is that of the suffering Messiah... This is given as a bare statement without the backing of biblical evidence... Paul, too,k appeals to Scripture, but without citing chapter and verse..." (Vermes, Jesus the Jew, 150) Fresh, indeed... and nothing to do with Judaism!

We can be thankful that the Acts Seminar pronounced it fiction! And a wretched piece of fiction, too, to go to the gehenna of disgusting anti-Semitism along with John's "gospel!"

Dennis
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2009 - 3:31PM #3
teilhard
Posts: 51,416
Anway,
GOOD Translation
is especially VERY important in PROPERLY Understanding
those portions of The Greek Testament Writings
which have Historically been used ( WRONGLY !!! )
to foster "Anti-Jewish" Sentiments ...

OFTEN,
The Koine Word,
"hoi Ioudaioi"
has been WRONGLY translated
as "The Jews,"
where it SHOULD have been Translated
as "The JUDEANS" ...

The Lord Jesus of Nazareth
and ALL of His Earliest Disciples WERE "Jewish"
AND they were even MORE clearly
Trouble-making "Galileans" ( !!! ) ...

THAT Fact
is the REAL Meaning
of those Greek Testament Invectives
AGAINST "The JUDEANS" ...
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2009 - 4:24PM #4
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
Teilhard, I agree that the translation has a lot to do with how we understand passages. One of the Spring 2008 Seminar Papers was from a book, The Misunderstood Jew," by Amy-Jill Levine. In it, she speaks to the term "Jew" and "Judean," as different translators use. She stated that the term "Judean" had "some historical credibility." She adds, "However, the geographical designation downplays the significant shift in Jewish thought at least by the second century bce, if not earlier, when the 'ethnic-geographical self-definition" (of Judean) was supplemented by religious (or 'cultural') and political definitions, because it was only in this period that the Judean ethnos opened itself to the incorporation of outsiders." She notes the relgious context of Ioudaioi as found in 2 Maccabees and Josephus to show the use of "Jew" as meaning a religious identity.. Here is an interesting point she makes about this: "The argument that Jesus is not a Jew but a Galilean and then severing of Jews today from any connection to the people of Israel in the late Second Temple period lead to the inevitable conclusion that Jews have no connection - historically, ethnically, spiritually - to the land of Israel. Jesus the Jew becomes Jesus the Galilean and Jesus the Galilean becomes Jesus the Palestinian."

So, "Judean" softens the language. But, was it a "Judean," political, geographical identity or was it a religious identity?  The synoptics do not seem to make much use of the name "Jew." This word seems to be proudly owned by the author of Acts and the author of John. Was this author referring to "the Jews" in a religious context or in a geographical context? I guess that is the question. I note that the Jesus Seminar uses the word "Judean" in its translations. I wasn't concerned about what word was what, during my diatribe... If it had started out "Judean," would that have, two millennia ago, softened the language, or would "Judean" have the same connotation that "Jew" does to cretins?
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2009 - 7:06PM #5
GeneStecher
Posts: 556
Dennis wrote: "Argue as you may about the theology in it, the book is a hideous piece of offal, written in the second century, which has the effect of calling all Jews murderers. It hammers the point home again and again. Again and again these things are said to the Jewish leaders. Is there any wonder that the Crusaders and the Inquisiters and the Nazis were all bent on genocide?"

Let's for argument's sake define Jews as those who follow the religious traditions and beliefs of Judaism: Mosaic law, temple, circumcision, etc.  This notion of assessing blame is a difficult task.  Does Acts have "the effect of calling ALL Jews murderers?"  I think in the first 7 chapters for sure that label can be thought of as applying to Jerusalem Jews, particularly the leaders, who are credited with killing Jesus.  In the last 21 chapters it can be applied, in the secondary sense to those groups of Jews who attempt or want to 'take out' Paul.  But it seems a stretch to apply it to ALL Jews.

Acts does not seem to be hate literature in the modern sense.  There is no call to vengeance, retaliation, or any form of violence.  There's not even the cursing or visual fantasies of castration which are found in the pauline letters toward Jewish Christians.  We don't have any verbal attacks such as, 'let them burn in hell,' or its like.  So the author of Acts is not an advocate of acts of evil against one's accuser. 

In fact, insightful later readers would have to say that the way the author advocates responding to the behavior of the 'refusing Jews' is to remain long suffering, non-violent, focused and persistent.  The very last paragraphs find Paul attempting to persuade certain Jews that Jesus was the Messiah, and the last sentence of the last chapter has Paul attempting to persuade whomever would come to him.

If there is any mention of payback at all, it would be found in the implications of a few last judgment references.  In other words its in the hands of God.  This is very similar to Romans 9-11 which proclaims at the end that "all Israel will be saved."

Did Acts contribute early on to a trend to demonize Jews?  Yes, in so far as at least some Jews were portrayed as murderers.  No, in so far as Acts never endorses a violent response.  Can one draw a straight, or even a crooked line from Acts to the Crusaders, Inquisitors, Nazis?  It's not until a religion becomes identified with secular rule that evil takes over large scale, and that did happen beginning with Constantine, over and over again. That's when you get large scale nihilism.

Gene
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 01, 2009 - 2:32PM #6
teilhard
Posts: 51,416

Feb 22, 2009 -- 4:24PM, MisterC wrote:

Teilhard, I agree that the translation has a lot to do with how we understand passages. One of the Spring 2008 Seminar Papers was from a book, The Misunderstood Jew," by Amy-Jill Levine. In it, she speaks to the term "Jew" and "Judean," as different translators use. She stated that the term "Judean" had "some historical credibility." She adds, "However, the geographical designation downplays the significant shift in Jewish thought at least by the second century bce, if not earlier, when the 'ethnic-geographical self-definition" (of Judean) was supplemented by religious (or 'cultural') and political definitions, because it was only in this period that the Judean ethnos opened itself to the incorporation of outsiders." She notes the relgious context of Ioudaioi as found in 2 Maccabees and Josephus to show the use of "Jew" as meaning a religious identity.. Here is an interesting point she makes about this: "The argument that Jesus is not a Jew but a Galilean and then severing of Jews today from any connection to the people of Israel in the late Second Temple period lead to the inevitable conclusion that Jews have no connection - historically, ethnically, spiritually - to the land of Israel. Jesus the Jew becomes Jesus the Galilean and Jesus the Galilean becomes Jesus the Palestinian." So, "Judean" softens the language. But, was it a "Judean," political, geographical identity or was it a religious identity? The synoptics do not seem to make much use of the name "Jew." This word seems to be proudly owned by the author of Acts and the author of John. Was this author referring to "the Jews" in a religious context or in a geographical context? I guess that is the question. I note that the Jesus Seminar uses the word "Judean" in its translations. I wasn't concerned about what word was what, during my diatribe... If it had started out "Judean," would that have, two millennia ago, softened the language, or would "Judean" have the same connotation that "Jew" does to cretins?



 


Recent Archaeological exams of "Sepphoris"


 -- a supposedly well-Hellenized City --


have turned up a surprising number


of ( apparently piously devout ) "Jewish" Houses,


as seem by presence of a "Mikva,"


i.e., a Ritual Bath ...


 


The dis-connect between Galilean "Jews" and "Judean" Jews


was REAL -- but not TOTAL ...

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 01, 2009 - 3:44PM #7
Heterodoxustwo
Posts: 18

Feb 22, 2009 -- 7:06PM, GeneStecher wrote:

Let's for argument's sake define Jews as those who follow the religious traditions and beliefs of Judaism: Mosaic law, temple, circumcision, etc.



I agree and make the distinction between Jew and Judean by recalling that there were/are Judeo-Christians (non-Jewish converts from "pagan" religions then, and practicing non-Jewish "Christians" now, who either knowingly or unknowlingly conform to some degree with the religious traditions and beliefs of Judaism) and Jewish Christians (former adherents of Judaism who converted to Christianity and, in effect and influence, weren't or aren't required to forsake the teachings and customs of Judaism).

Heterodox: another opinion characterized by departure from accepted beliefs or standards; unorthodox; dissident; heretical. Sound familiar?
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 01, 2009 - 4:31PM #8
MisterC
Posts: 1,865

 


Tielhard stated, "Recent Archaeological exams of "Sepphoris"  -- a supposedly well-Hellenized City -- have turned up a surprising number of ( apparently piously devout ) "Jewish" Houses, as seem by presence of a "Mikva," i.e., a Ritual Bath .. The dis-connect between Galilean "Jews" and "Judean" Jews was REAL -- but not TOTAL ..."


I say, I don't understand the point of the post. "Stone vessels of varying shapes and sizes, carved or lathe-turned from soft white chalk stone, along with stepped and plastered pools chiseled into bedcrock, called miqwaoth (singular, miqweh) and referred to in this book as ritual baths, are both found whereever Jews lived in Galilee as well as around Jerusalem in Judea" (p. 5, Excavating Jesus, Crosson & Reed). How do miqwaoth found in both Galilee and Judea show a disconnect between Galilean Jews and Judean Jews? Certainly one can find a difference in the two groups, just as one can find differences in each of those groups and Samaritans, but ritual baths have been found all over the general Palestinian area. (The first century Greco-Roman theater would be better evidence of perhaps a Hellenistic disconnect, wouldn't it?)


Dennis

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 01, 2009 - 6:27PM #9
teilhard
Posts: 51,416

Mar 1, 2009 -- 4:31PM, MisterC wrote:


 


Tielhard stated, "Recent Archaeological exams of "Sepphoris"  -- a supposedly well-Hellenized City -- have turned up a surprising number of ( apparently piously devout ) "Jewish" Houses, as seem by presence of a "Mikva," i.e., a Ritual Bath .. The dis-connect between Galilean "Jews" and "Judean" Jews was REAL -- but not TOTAL ..."


I say, I don't understand the point of the post. "Stone vessels of varying shapes and sizes, carved or lathe-turned from soft white chalk stone, along with stepped and plastered pools chiseled into bedcrock, called miqwaoth (singular, miqweh) and referred to in this book as ritual baths, are both found whereever Jews lived in Galilee as well as around Jerusalem in Judea" (p. 5, Excavating Jesus, Crosson & Reed). How do miqwaoth found in both Galilee and Judea show a disconnect between Galilean Jews and Judean Jews? Certainly one can find a difference in the two groups, just as one can find differences in each of those groups and Samaritans, but ritual baths have been found all over the general Palestinian area. (The first century Greco-Roman theater would be better evidence of perhaps a Hellenistic disconnect, wouldn't it?)


Dennis




 


Exactly the Point, yes ... ???


"Galilean" Jews WERE quite "Jewish"


WITHOUT being "Judean" Jews ...

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 01, 2009 - 6:38PM #10
MisterC
Posts: 1,865

Teilhard: Exactly the Point, yes ... ??? "Galilean" Jews WERE quite "Jewish" WITHOUT being "Judean" Jews ...


Me: Bull. You have shown no difference. Both underwent ablution. We don't find but one synagogue in Palestine dated in the first century. One cannot prove that Galileans didn't practice in temple worship. As a matter of fact, Mark, the earliest gospel, has Jesus heading off to celebrate holy days at the temple.


 

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