Daily Archives: 12 December 2017

“Christians must understand that for Jews the cross is a symbol of oppression”

Jesus wasn’t a Christian – that word exists for his followers and came later. He was Jewish. His mother was Jewish. He was circumcised as a Jew. He pretty much followed the Jewish law, departing from it only in the name of what he saw as its deeper meaning. “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished,” he insisted at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. Sure, he debated furiously with the Pharisees and Sadducees, especially about the significance of the temple. And, in time, this argument came to be restyled by Jesus’ gentile followers as an attack upon Jews per se. But originally it was an internal debate within Judaism, not an attack upon Jews from the outside. In was an internal debate in the same way that the prophets of the Hebrew scriptures, such as Jeremiah, often attacked the priests of the temple for missing the point.

It is a horrible irony, then, that Christianity bears primary responsibility for historic antisemitism. Few ideas can have been as poisonous as, and inspired more murderousness than, the idea that Jews were the Christ-killers.