Today's Oxford University Press blog has a brief discussion by biblical scholar, Ann Conway-Jones**, examining how we may 'see' the NT?
"The New Testament: Jewish of Gentile."
Conway-Jones acknowledges the work of Jewish scholars (for example, Geza Vermes) in correcting some mistaken historical christian viewpoints.
Quote: "In the first century, it was impossible to distinguish between what was “Jewish” and what was “Christian.” “Messiah” started as a Jewish concept, and the followers of Jesus interpreted his life, death, and resurrection within the framework provided by the Jewish scriptures."
"The theology of the New Testament, even its Christology, is Jewish. It represents one offshoot of the tremendous variety within Second Temple Judaism. But a complex relationship developed between the New Testament’s theology and its sociology. It turned out that its ideas had more traction among Gentiles than Jews. Paul was already aware of the ironies–hence his convoluted, horticulturally suspect, image of the wild olive shoot grafted into the cultivated olive tree (Romans 11:17-24)."
Quote: "In the New Testament, we see the inception of the struggle between Jews and Christians over the same God. What was to be the future of the God of Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, and Jeremiah? Who knew best how to interpret the scriptures? The New Testament read Sunday by Sunday in churches is not a simple record of the Jewish Jesus and the Jewish Paul. It witnesses to the beginnings of Christian identity formation–a convoluted process whereby Jewish concepts were appropriated by outsiders. The relationship between Judaism and Christianity was skewed from the start, and the complications are still with us today."
If that discussion interests you, you can find the full article at:
**Ann Conway-Jones is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham and The Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education. She is the author of Gregory of Nyssa’s Tabernacle Imagery in its Jewish and Christian Contexts.