Are the Christian Greek Scriptures (the NT) Jewish or Gentile?
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.
Jewish concept of Messiah as a global CONQUEROR ‘with Jehovah’s hand being constantly supporting him in His sworn integrity’ (Isaiah 42:7) and with the promise that 'he will not grow dim at any time' (Isaiah 42:4) is continuing in New Testament also where we find Jesus unambiguously declaring through the great illustration of vine yard that God had assured him that he would not be killed by anyone while on earth. (Mathew 21:37). Interestingly, it is from this portion of Isaiah (42:1-8) that Mathew quotes to prove Jesus's messiahship. (Mathew 12:18)
This concept suffered a great fall with apostate Christianity depicting the Messiah as a conquered one so that he can ‘take away the sins of the world’—a teaching that was obviously designed to attract all sorts of people into this new emerging religion with the intent of becoming number one in the world.
Where does it highlight the most? Where did that jesus krayst thing walk most of its days? It simply ties Judaism in with the religion that is supposed to prepare the common people for communism and enslavement. Is that what you want for the whole human race?
In fact, Jesus had no idea about him being a messiah. For him, God is the one who preforms "renewal" or "restoration" (Mathew 19:28; Act 3:21) whenever provisions for life's enjoyments are depleted/destroyed because of unwise choices of humans. Thus God is the most important person in the universe, yet the one who keeps Himself in the lowest profile possible, seeking no worship/prominence [sign of ego], or even gratitude [which makes His love conditional/impure] from beneficiaries of restoration. (Luke 6:38) He comes when there is a need, and goes into silence thereafter. Thus His action speaker louder than words!
Jewish concept of Messiah as a global CONQUEROR ‘with Jehovah’s hand being constantly supporting him in His sworn integrity’ (Isaiah 42:7).
Sure, so we are still waiting, waiting, waiting, for this Jewish hero to be the global conqueror and restorer of the the kingdom of god.
It's interesting to consider just who the author of Isaiah may have thought he was writing about, and why he considered it necessary?
We are on surer ground when we get to Daniel's prediction of a global conqueror. Written after the conquests of Alexander the Great, restless native peoples predicted the rise of a 'native' hero who would restore a local kingdom. You can find local demotic literature in Ptolemaic Egypt making similar predictions.
None of them were fulfilled in any meaningful way. That's why the tiny christian sect resorted to myth and magic with the death of Jesus, who briefly thought he was that hero.
Concept of Messiah originated from a theological dilemma (not from God). When Jews' claim of being a chosen nation was foiled by the Babylonians, they had to invent another claim that a Messiah would restore what was lost to them. This concept was unwittingly relayed by NT writers through Jesus.
Even this too was done thoughtlessly. If the concept of Messiah was really from God, Messiah would be sent only in the concluding period of this world, not 2000 years before which would make room for all the distortions and confusions with over 41000 warring Christian sects. If concept of Messiah originated from God, He would have sent Messiah during the time of Television and internet when everyone on earth could have witnessed all his miracles and resurrections live which would mark the end of all religions and atheism.