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Thread: Was the antisemitism in the Book of John just an internecine squabble between Jews?

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    Contributor repoman's Avatar
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    Was the antisemitism in the Book of John just an internecine squabble between Jews?

    I have heard this while watching a Bart Ehrman lecture, but I can't find it now.

    Basically, was whoever wrote John part of a wacky Jewish sect?

    I wonder what the writer's take on how his writings were used would be.

    Was the word "Jews" as it is written in English now, initially imparted with more complex or specific meaning in the writing of John?
    Sam Smith is a He.

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    NFL.

    I hew more to the scenario of Burton Mack's Who Wrote the New Testament?: The Making of the Christian Myth. Mack suggests northern Syria a mite after the turn to the second century, and that the antisemitism arises from the denial and expulsion of the nascent Christian community from the Jewish communities of the Jewish Diaspora. Of course, Judaism had reformed and restructured itself in exile after the destruction of the Temple and razing of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

    GJohn was written by a Grecophone, far from Judea. I think it unlikely that the writer was a 'Jew', in the sense of being (or having been) a resident of Judea, nor in the sense of being a practitioner of YHWH, nor speaker of Hebrew. AJohn was a goy.

    I suspect that the Gospel of John has been considerably reworked. The rumors which intrigue me are more to the effect that GJohn has a Gnostic core that has been recast....much as the epistles of Paul/Saul were recast. Possibly twice.

    My best on the four gospel authors to best fit the description of being part of a wacky Jewish sect would have been AMatthew. He believed in prophetic stars and bodily resurrection of the dead. I mean, really....wandering astronomers and zombies on the streets of Jerusalem? That Matt...he's was a crazy guy.
    Last edited by whollygoats; 04-02-2018 at 08:30 PM.

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    Contributor repoman's Avatar
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    Ok, that makes sense. Ehrman may be hamstrung in his worldview because he thinks there was a real historic Jesus who was not god.
    Sam Smith is a He.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by repoman View Post
    I have heard this while watching a Bart Ehrman lecture, but I can't find it now.

    Basically, was whoever wrote John part of a wacky Jewish sect?

    I wonder what the writer's take on how his writings were used would be.

    Was the word "Jews" as it is written in English now, initially imparted with more complex or specific meaning in the writing of John?
    It seems incredibly likely, considering that there was a kingdom named "Judea" at the time, and people who lived there; people who in that generation were infamous and reviled for rebelling against Mother Rome. Among gentile Christians, often facing criticism from their born-Jewish counterparts, the likelihood of tension between those who were ethnically Jewish and those who were not must have been considerable.

    After all, "wacky Jewish sect" is a pretty good description of the earliest Christians. But within one generation, the movement had spread to include quite a lot of non-Jews. John is the last of the gospels to be written, well after but not beyond the memory of the apocalyptic events that led to the destruction of the temple and most aspects of the Judean way of life.

    Notice that in John, judaoi in the plural is almost always applied to the Temple and its agents; the people Jesus talks to throughout most of his journeys are the polloi (the crowd) or the oxlos (the mob), but seldom "the jews", even though they were also Jewish. It's even possible that this is what is meant in the famous trial scene; it may not have been everyone present that was calling for Jesus' death so much as a certain crowd of people associated with the Judean theocracy.

    But of course, what was meant by the writer has no bearing on how it was later interpreted. From the early Roman period on, there can be no doubt that John was read by most Christians as a Biblical justification for racial prejudice and religious oppression.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by repoman View Post
    I have heard this while watching a Bart Ehrman lecture, but I can't find it now.

    Basically, was whoever wrote John part of a wacky Jewish sect?

    I wonder what the writer's take on how his writings were used would be.

    Was the word "Jews" as it is written in English now, initially imparted with more complex or specific meaning in the writing of John?
    It seems incredibly likely, considering that there was a kingdom named "Judea" at the time, and people who lived there; people who in that generation were infamous and reviled for rebelling against Mother Rome. Among gentile Christians, often facing criticism from their born-Jewish counterparts, the likelihood of tension between those who were ethnically Jewish and those who were not must have been considerable.
    Well, yes. The tension had been present long before the arrival of the Romans. The Seleucid dynasty disintegrated in the century prior, Judea got its sovereignty and immediately engaged in imperialism followed by a nasty civil war between those of Hellenistic tendencies and....no wait...well, any way, one side invited in the Romans and that was that. They put Herod the Great in charge...who was resented because he was not a Jew.

    After all, "wacky Jewish sect" is a pretty good description of the earliest Christians. But within one generation, the movement had spread to include quite a lot of non-Jews. John is the last of the gospels to be written, well after but not beyond the memory of the apocalyptic events that led to the destruction of the temple and most aspects of the Judean way of life.
    True about the christians really wanting to be a 'Jewish sect', wacky or not. Estimated at forty years from the destruction of the Temple. Considering how apocalyptic this must have been to devotees of YHVH, I'd say it is distinctly not beyond everybody's memory. I suspect the Jews would still be quite piqued about it, but a bunch of gentiles would be like..."See, you guys fucked up and we won the covenant. Too bad, suckers."

    Notice that in John, judaoi in the plural is almost always applied to the Temple and its agents; the people Jesus talks to throughout most of his journeys are the polloi (the crowd) or the oxlos (the mob), but seldom "the jews", even though they were also Jewish. It's even possible that this is what is meant in the famous trial scene; it may not have been everyone present that was calling for Jesus' death so much as a certain crowd of people associated with the Judean theocracy.
    Yeah, could be, I suppose. But how about it was because none of it ever happened at all and it was all an inspired piece of midrash? The Christians what wrote it would want their precursors to have qualified for salvation. Writing with more general descriptors allows the doors to be left wide.

    But of course, what was meant by the writer has no bearing on how it was later interpreted. From the early Roman period on, there can be no doubt that John was read by most Christians as a Biblical justification for racial prejudice and religious oppression.
    Yep...It's all in the interpretation.

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    It certainly wasn't anti-semitism back then (unlike the context used today), since the majority of individuals there were semites anyway. I would agree to some point that Christians back then were not in favour of certain particular judaic practices e.g. like the pharasees but then again, neither did the "priestly-class" (or maccabees) who were also Jews who also did not agree with the pharisees and vice-versa.

    Today of course anti-semitism has the context as a race of people (combined with religion to some) and the rhetoric that suggests Christians are racially prejudice simply by the disputes from the religious aspect and NOT the racial apsect (which is against the Christian theology anyway) is erroneous.

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    You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know,
    for salvation is from the Jews.
    John 4:22 (NIV)

    Yeah. Real anti-semitism right there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know,
    for salvation is from the Jews.
    John 4:22 (NIV)

    Yeah. Real anti-semitism right there.
    Yeah.

    Damning.

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    Screwtape Subsymbolic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know,
    for salvation is from the Jews.
    John 4:22 (NIV)

    Yeah. Real anti-semitism right there.
    Except, of course, the Samaritans were themselves Jews claiming descendance from Joseph, of the coat, through Levi, Ephraim. While it was internecine, it was antisemitism. This was precisely why the parable of the Good Samaritan was framed as it was. The parable wasn't asserting that non Jews were brothers, merely Jews that were hated by the other tribes of Israel.

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    Veteran Member C_Mucius_Scaevola's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subsymbolic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know,
    for salvation is from the Jews.
    John 4:22 (NIV)

    Yeah. Real anti-semitism right there.
    Except, of course, the Samaritans were themselves Jews claiming descendance from Joseph, of the coat, through Levi, Ephraim. While it was internecine, it was antisemitism. This was precisely why the parable of the Good Samaritan was framed as it was. The parable wasn't asserting that non Jews were brothers, merely Jews that were hated by the other tribes of Israel.

    (View video on YouTube)

    Apologies for the poor video quality.

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