Mature Christianity in the 21st Century: The Recognition and Repudiation of the Anti-Jewish Polemic of the New Testament (Shared Ground Among Jews & Christians)

Beck, Norman

Published by The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1994
ISBN 10: 0824513584 / ISBN 13: 9780824513580
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It is a common phenomenon in the history of religions for a new religious community to break away from its parent community, often with scorn and rejection. But in the case of Christianity and Jewish religion, anti-Jewish polemic in the sacred scriptures of the newer religious community has provided for later generations the theological basis for oppressive and dehumanizing treatment of those who have continued to adhere to the old religion. Now that the new religion has itself attained maturity, the time is ripe for sincere and responsible self-criticism, and Mature Christianity is a contribution to this important theological agenda.

The first classification of anti-Jewish polemic identified within Mature Christianity is Christological. It is present in every segment of the New Testament and can be expressed in such simple terms as: Then Adonai was Lord, but now Jesus is Lord. Somewhat as Jews understood God (Elohim) through Adonai their Lord, the followers of Jesus began to understand God (Theos) through Jesus their Lord, an identity normative for Christians since that time. Mature Christianity asserts that the polemical aspect of the belief in Jesus as Lord can be eliminated without repudiating the Christological essence of Christianity.

Supersessionistic, the second classification of anti-Jewish polemic within the New Testament, has caused Christians largely to isolate themselves from Jewish expressions of faith in God during the past nineteen centuries. Beck shows that this theological isolation can be broken as Christianity matures and as theological conversation between Jews and Christians increases. Mature sensitivity is needed in the Christian translation and usage of New Testament material that includes anti-Jewish supersessionistic polemic.

The third type of anti-Jewish polemic within the New Testament - an outgrowth of the supersessionistic polemic - is defamatory polemic. Defamatory polemic is not essential to the Christian message nor to Christianity; it is negative and damaging to Jews and dehumanizing to Christians. Mature Christianity repudiates the defamatory anti-Jewish polemic of the New Testament.

Norman A. Beck carefully identifies the anti-Jewish polemic within each New Testament document, discusses reasons for the development of that polemic, places the anti-Jewish polemic of the New Testament into specific classification, and suggests ways in which mature Christians can repudiate the defamatory anti-Jewish polemic of the New Testament without damage to their theology.

About the Author: Norman A. Beck is the Poehlmann Professor of Theology and Classical Languages at Texas Lutheran University. He is an ELCA pastor, and in addition to teaching full-time serves as the contract pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Stockdale (Denhawken), Texas. He has earned degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary (Ph.D.), Trinity Lutheran Seminary (B.D.), and Capital University (B.A.). In addition, he has received an honorary D.D., also from Trinity Lutheran Seminary. He is the author of Mature Christianity in the 21st Century published by Crossword, published also in Germany as Muendiges Christentum im 21. Jahrhundert by Institut Kirke und Judentum, Anti-Roman Cryptograms in the New Testament: Hidden Transcripts of Hope and Liberation published by Peter Lang, The New Testament: A New Translation and Redaction published by Fairway Press, and Blessed to Be a Blessing to Each Other: Jews, Muslims, and Christians as Children of Abraham in the Middle East, also published by Fairway Press. He has also written a movie script about the Jesus of history titled "Jesus, the Man."

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Title: Mature Christianity in the 21st Century: The...
Publisher: The Crossroad Publishing Company
Publication Date: 1994
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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