Historical Context

Anti-Judaism in Early Church Writings: A Rivalry Intensifies

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Christians might well have regarded the New Testament passages that disparage various Jewish beliefs and practices as a “period piece” if the rivalry with Judaism had not widened and deepened in Christianity’s formative years. Early church writers added…

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Military Occupation

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A centurion asked Jesus to heal a sick loved one (Matt 8:5-13). In Luke’s version this centurion is proposed as deserving because he loves the people and built a synagogue for them (Luke 7:3-5). A soldier who stood watch at the crucifixion of Jesus …

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What is the Meaning of “The Jews” in the New Testament

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A major factor in fostering misunderstanding and hostility toward Jews on the part of Christians is the basic term used in the New Testament, the Jews. In translations of the New Testament, as well as in the interpretation of it, Christians have often …

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The Historical Jesus and Archaeology

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When the French scholar Ernst Renan wrote his The Life of Jesus in the last century (1863) he spoke of his journeys in Galilee providing him with a fifth gospel, ‘torn but still legible.’ Renan could scarcely have imagined how, over 100 years later, his …

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Sociology, Jesus and Judaism in Galilee

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In recent years scholars have come to realize that to understand a biblical text, one must be aware of the social and cultural context in which it originated. That basic insight has been brought into sharper focus by the use of insights from sociology …

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The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust

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In my book, The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust: A Christian Interpretation (Fortress, 1994), I reflect on that tiny minority of European Gentiles who risked their lives to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. Far too few Gentiles rescued Jews,…

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