Judaism states that Jesus was just a nice Jewish boy

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Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 08:43 am
The other night on a local talk show with the topic Judaism, the Jewish Rabbi was asked how does the historical Jesus fit into modern Judaism. The response was that in their opinion "he was just a nice unremarkable Jewish boy" (exact words)

Could my Jewish friends or others comment please?
 
Krumple
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 09:03 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan, I really try to understand some of these questions you pose and this one baffles me again. But I'll humor you even though I probably shouldn't.

Chances are very high that IF Jesus even existed, that he was Jewish. But what difference would it make anyways? It just seems to me that you don't actually care about the question but instead find it necessary just to keep the topic alive instead.
I doubt that even such a figure actually existed to begin with but I guess that is not the topic is it?
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 09:32 am
@Krumple,
LOL!

Obviously middle eastern Jewish leaders in the first century didn't think he was nice.

The first century shenanigans related to Jesus are reported by the historian Josephus. Jesus was an example of prophets who came out of the desert, possibly associated with a Jewish sect called the Essenes. The four gospels, as pointed out by Isaac Asimov, are representative of four viewpoints on the life of Jesus and the sect/cult that arose centered on him.

The book of John, though, is typical of ancient writings. John would have been 111 years old at the time this book was written. Not that a 111 year old guy can't write a book.. but come on?
 
salima
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 09:36 am
@Alan McDougall,
the rabbi was being kind actually, dont you think? i mean he could have said 'if he comes back i'll crucify him again!'

i actually tend to believe there had to be a charismatic person whose influence caused this religion to be built around him. and he would have been a nice jewish boy, and may not have ever wanted to be anything more or anything other than just that-but people gathered around him and built up a legend about him.

but alan, what do you think about the story of jesus? either way, if you want to consider it a myth or firmly believe there was a person called jesus...i dont recall your mentioning him in any of your posts.
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 10:30 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;90614 wrote:
Alan, I really try to understand some of these questions you pose and this one baffles me again. But I'll humor you even though I probably shouldn't.

Chances are very high that IF Jesus even existed, that he was Jewish. But what difference would it make anyways? It just seems to me that you don't actually care about the question but instead find it necessary just to keep the topic alive instead.
I doubt that even such a figure actually existed to begin with but I guess that is not the topic is it?


I quoted verbatim what the Rabbis said about Jesus. This forum is a religious one, so to simply dismiss the existence of Jesus defeats the purpose of setting up a Christian subforum

Without Jesus there would be no Christianity and no need for this forum, get it now?

For a non-existent entity Jesus certainly gets a lot of media, and a recent poll suggested after Mohammed (peace be upon him) he was the most influential person in all of human history.

Back to the question of mine, how could the Rabbi simply dismiss a hugely influential person like Jesus as "a nice Jewish boy";? but unlike you, he did not doubt that Jesus was a real historical person

I don't like being humoured by you or anyone else, "try to be more polite when you insult me"
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 11:11 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;90605 wrote:
The other night on a local talk show with the topic Judaism, the Jewish Rabbi was asked how does the historical Jesus fit into modern Judaism. The response was that in their opinion "he was just a nice unremarkable Jewish boy" (exact words)

Could my Jewish friends or others comment please?
This is an unofficial position. Neither the Jesus of history nor the Jesus of the Christian tradition is part of the Jewish religion.

The Jewish take on Jesus is hopelessly biased by the much more important influence and interaction of Christian and Jewish peoples on one another over the span of 2000 years. But that is not the influence of Jesus per se.

By the way, what very very few Christians realize is that Judaism in one sense is younger than Christianity. The near entirety of modern Judaism is rabbinic Judaism, which was an outgrowth of the Pharisees who were a minority group at the time of Jesus. Most Judaism 2000 years ago was priestly.

Then the Romans destroyed the second temple in 71 AD, leading to a Jewish diaspora and the rise of rabbinic Judaism as the dominant vein of the religion. In the 1938 or so years since then, Judaism has developed an enormous body of literature and scriptural and legal interpretation, principally the Talmud, it's developed major philosophical and theological and even mystical arms (with the Aristotelian Jewish rationalist Maimonides at one end and the Kaballah at the other)...

The point is that the points of origin for modern Judaism AND for Christianity happened at roughly the same time. So aside from the obvious that Jesus is simply not a part of the Jewish tradition, Judaism does not exactly have an unbroken thread going all the way back to Abraham and the life/death of Jesus happened before the catastrophe in 71 that launched modern Judaism.

---------- Post added 09-16-2009 at 01:15 PM ----------

Alan McDougall;90643 wrote:
how could the Rabbi simply dismiss a hugely influential person like Jesus as "a nice Jewish boy"
The historical Jesus was somewhere between a nice Jewish boy and a vagabond living with thieves in the desert. His influence is through the people who wrote about him -- and had they not written about him his historical life would be seen as unremarkable.

That is not dismissive -- that is just a take on the historical figure.

Jesus as the son of god etc is NOT the historical Jesus, it's the traditional Jesus. That is not to argue affirmatively or negatively about his divinity -- but it is this divine interpretation of him from whence he is "hugely influential".
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 11:53 am
@Alan McDougall,
Aedes,

Your response was what I was looking for and because you are Jewish it makes a great deal of sense

Jesus in the gospels was supposed to have visited synagogues or is this just a fabrication by the writers
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 12:13 pm
@Alan McDougall,
I'm struggling to understand why a Jewish person with clearly strong beliefs in God wouldn't visit Jewish temples.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 12:24 pm
@Alan McDougall,
I don't know, didymos Thomas would know If anyone would -- though I'm not sure it matters much overall to the Jewish take on things.
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 12:43 pm
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen;90672 wrote:
I'm struggling to understand why a Jewish person with clearly strong beliefs in God wouldn't visit Jewish temples.


My point is were there synagogues at the time of Jesus, were there Rabbi's etc?
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 12:56 pm
@Aedes,
We also think of Catholicism as being older than Protestantism, but since the split, the Catholic church has defined itself relative to the Protestants. So in a sense, they're the same age.

The gospels, especially Mattew, show Jesus as being knowledgeable about Jewish law. His statement that the whole Mosaic law could be reduced down to two commands (love God and love your neighbor as you love yourself) wouldn't make much sense if he wasn't educated. How he came to know so much about it so as to be able to match wits with the Pharisees isn't explained. One story suggests that at the age of 12 he was able to carry on an intelligent conversation with Jewish holy men.

I'd like to know more about what Jewish leaders in America think about Zionism.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 01:09 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;90683 wrote:
My point is were there synagogues at the time of Jesus, were there Rabbi's etc?
There were temples and priests. Rabbis are features of rabbinic judaism and they are different than priests (the word as I understand it means 'teacher')
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 04:42 pm
@Aedes,
Dave Allen;90672 wrote:
I'm struggling to understand why a Jewish person with clearly strong beliefs in God wouldn't visit Jewish temples.


Exactly.

It is reasonable to assume that the historical Jesus was Jewish, and that his teaching was directed at reforming Judaism, not at forming a distinct religious group. I think we find ample evidence for this in the Synoptic Gospels especially - Jesus takes on the questions from Jewish priests and challenges them to rethink many of their spiritual views, not convert to something new and different.

Jesus came with a new understanding of Jewish scripture. Or, at least he is attributed with being the innovator - I'm sure he picked up many of his ideas from others, along with having a few of his own; the real talent of Jesus seems to have been his delivery.

Aedes;90674 wrote:
I don't know, didymos Thomas would know If anyone would -- though I'm not sure it matters much overall to the Jewish take on things.


I would like to think that devoted Jews do consider the life of Jesus when they consider his place in their faith. However, when we talk about what Jews actually think about Jesus, it doesn't really matter where those beliefs come from.

Though, I doubt there is a single perspective. If we are willing to call "Jews for Jesus" real Jews, then there is a remarkably broad set of popular interpretations. I have no idea what the official word is from mainline Judaism. Either I've never read anything on it, or I just can't recall.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 06:30 pm
@Alan McDougall,
The rise of Christianity was seminal in the history of the world, including the history of the Jews who lived / live in Christian lands. But that is again a different question than the place of Jesus in the faith of Jews. "Jews for Jesus" would not be considered Jews by any other domain of Judaism or Jewish theology, in fact it would probably be considered either idolatry (to worship a human) or polytheism (to worship a second divine entity). I mean in Judaism God can't even be depicted and his name cannot be spoken -- and this comes from a core interpretation of the Ten Commandments. Jesus is just inconsistent with this basic tenet of theology.
 
Baal
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 07:22 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;90652 wrote:
This is an unofficial position. Neither the Jesus of history nor the Jesus of the Christian tradition is part of the Jewish religion.

The Jewish take on Jesus is hopelessly biased by the much more important influence and interaction of Christian and Jewish peoples on one another over the span of 2000 years. But that is not the influence of Jesus per se.

By the way, what very very few Christians realize is that Judaism in one sense is younger than Christianity. The near entirety of modern Judaism is rabbinic Judaism, which was an outgrowth of the Pharisees who were a minority group at the time of Jesus. Most Judaism 2000 years ago was priestly.

Then the Romans destroyed the second temple in 71 AD, leading to a Jewish diaspora and the rise of rabbinic Judaism as the dominant vein of the religion. In the 1938 or so years since then, Judaism has developed an enormous body of literature and scriptural and legal interpretation, principally the Talmud, it's developed major philosophical and theological and even mystical arms (with the Aristotelian Jewish rationalist Maimonides at one end and the Kaballah at the other)...

The point is that the points of origin for modern Judaism AND for Christianity happened at roughly the same time. So aside from the obvious that Jesus is simply not a part of the Jewish tradition, Judaism does not exactly have an unbroken thread going all the way back to Abraham and the life/death of Jesus happened before the catastrophe in 71 that launched modern Judaism.


I do not see why you need to go on about how Judaism is "Newer" than Christianity. First of all priestly Judaism was predominant among a section of the priestly class (Sadducee) which in rabbinic literature and other contemporary literature of the time was depicted as being a small oligarchal rule and not representative of then-mainstream Judaism. Most opinions place Rabbinic Judaism among Ezra, which is well before Christianity or even greko-roman rule over the area.

There is some truth grain in the fact that rabbinic Judaism and rabbinic morals to some extent were influenced by greko-roman thought, although greek thought in itself was also influenced to some extent by the former as well, according to some greek historians and philosophers, but that may be questionable.

In any event, ethical writings of Judaism make for a small minority of Rabbinic and Jewish writing in the first place, thus here is the first absurdity in the notion that rabbinic Judaism began at that era.

It is true that Ethics of the Fathers, which is a small part of the mishna, is very very similar in its notions to greek ethics and the new testament, but it is most important to note that rabbinic judaism as well as modern judaism, "Ezraic" judaism and such are all primarily Legalistic doctrines, and thus are evidently rooted in a tradition other than the largely ceremonial/festive/contemplative/ethical grecko-roman-christian nature. And while it is also true that European Judaism in terms of morality was substantially influenced by Christianity, just as Iberian/Oriental Judaism was signficiantly influenced by Islam, the legal traditions are more or less the same, and the bulk - the part and parcel of what is considered Judaism, has remained relatively homogenous since well before the second temple at least. Unbroken chain since moses? subject to historical debate etc. but certainly much older than Christianity.

Regarding Jesus, however, the subject is a bit shady. Assuming that Jesus (1) existed, and (2) existed as he was portrayed in the New Testament as (3) interpreted by trinitarian and paulian christianity, would mean that he was primarily a rabbinic figure in terms of ethics, together with some essene influences (Revelation is a good example of this) would be considered a heretic, and of such Judaism would have a very negative view, not merely a "Nice Jewish Boy". The first reason simply being the fact that the New Testament is considered scripture in the first place, which is heretical.

As soon as one of the three qualifiers above is removed, the Jewish view of Jesus becomes more flexible.

Historically, all Jewish literature on this subject has unequivocally condemned Jesus by rather harsh terms, perhaps partly due to Christian persecution. On the other hand, we find some correspondence between Rabbinic sages and early Jewish Christians as well, suggesting that the Rabbinic view of early Christianity was not as solidified as it is now.

The "Innovation" of Jesus, if it can be called that -- and this is evident throughout the new testament, is the scorning of the law and the scholarly elite - or perhaps legalism and scholarism in the first place. Jesus felt he had the right to criticize the movement as he himself was a pharisee (as is quite evident from the gospel). However the big question in Judaism, and ultimately whether he is deemed to be a heretic or not - is whether he intended to abolish the law, or whether he attempted to appeal to those who were incapable of learning and following the law. Mind you, such sentiment is not original to Jesus, and you will find similar criticism in the Talmud and Mishna - although in the latter the criticism is mainly anecdotal and not thematic like the New Testament.

There is much more to write about this, e.g. the benefits of a legal religion altogether, or whether a "Humanistic" and "Moral" religion is preferred (I would like to note that the "Humanistic" and "Traditional" Reform Judaism is becoming more assimilated, whereas the Legalistic branches of Judaism remain strong and relatively unbroken in their traditions, per above.., the merits, the defficiencies etc. but I do not think the place is here)
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 07:39 pm
@Alan McDougall,
A couple of points raised here (and maybe mental connection not made) have already been delt with before. Anyway, yes, there were synagogues in the first century CE, and there is no reason at all to doubt that the Yeshua which became the center of that cult, had gone to any of them, or to the temple in Jerusalem.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 07:40 pm
@Baal,
I appreciate your erudition on the subject.

Baal;90762 wrote:
I do not see why you need to go on about how Judaism is "Newer" than Christianity.
It's critically important, because when we're talking about the HISTORICAL Jesus, then we cannot divorce this from the fact that there was not some seamless continuity within Judaism over the last 4000 years, especially when there was a completely unrelated but infinitely more important transformation in Judaism at nearly the same time.

Baal;90762 wrote:
Most opinions place Rabbinic Judaism among Ezra, which is well before Christianity or even greko-roman rule over the area.
Yes, the Pharisees were around before the life of Jesus, but it was the decentralization of Judaism after 71 that made rabbinic Judaism become THE mainstream of it for all subsequent history.


Baal;90762 wrote:
here is the first absurdity in the notion that rabbinic Judaism began at that era.
I did not say that it "began" at that era.

Baal;90762 wrote:
Unbroken chain since moses? subject to historical debate etc. but certainly much older than Christianity.
You're missing my point, which is that there was a critical nexus in the history of Judaism following the destruction of the second temple, in which the Jewish people and tradition began to develop along a completely different line than it had up until that point. Rabbinic Judaism did not become the predominant (or nearly exclusive as it is now) thread in Judaism until after that point -- the liturgy changed, the practice changed, the relationship to a homeland changed. Sure, there is even continuity with priestly Judaism now (with Cohens still identified), there are prayers that are meant to stand in for what once were sacrificial rites -- and of course there is the Wall.
 
William
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 08:41 pm
@Alan McDougall,
It is not Jesus, it is the words that were spoke. It matters not who spoke them. The issue of his martyrdom is why we remember them. Did he exist? Well somebody did or the words wouldn't exist, would they? The words spoke a truth that could not be denied in their core meaning. So if we can not validate the man, the words mean nothing? How so very absurd that is.

Now let's look at it logically. If a man existed no matter what his name was, but in keeping with the thread let's call him Jesus. Now let's try to put together the 18 years there is no record of him. What could he have been doing in those 18 years? Perhaps gathering information and writing all that he learned. It is also known he was a very wise man and for what is written to have actually happen to a man of wisdom, makes no sense whatsoever. If he were indeed that wise he would have left the book in a place of safe keeping knowing he who found it would indeed know how to understand the message within it. It would never be understood in those times in which it was written as it was too safely hidden, or so he thought anyway.

Now suppose he who found this book, used it for their own benefit and adopted it as their own who was not so wise. Such is depicted in the search of the HOLY GRAIL and EXCALIBUR and interpreted it wrongly and used the message therein selfishly as to acquire power for himself as being something he wasn't but the words, in there truth, would offer him fame. As the wise man who wrote the book would know unless it be found by an honorable man who would interpret there words wisely, it would surely cause the death of he not so honorable. But the words were so true they would live long after.

Now put that bee in your bonnet and let it buzz around for a little while.

William
 
prothero
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 09:35 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;90683 wrote:
My point is were there synagogues at the time of Jesus, were there Rabbi's etc?

This is a repetition of previous posters but
At the time of Jesus Judaism was a temple centered faith.
Faithful Jews would travel to Jerusalem at the time of passover to make a sacrifice at the temple. God was thought to actually dwell in the inner chambers of the temple. The temple priests were the highest religous authorites.

Judaism looked a little more like Catholicism at that time with a central religous authority and physical center in Jerusalem. It is part of this system that Jesus was protesting against. The politics of holiness, the rigid adherence to the clean and the unclean, the marginalization of the poor and the powerless in the religous structure.

After the destruction of the temple and the dispersal of the jews the local synagogue and local rabbis developed as a community centered focus of faith. Ironically modern Judaism probably resembles Jesus vision of spirituality and faith more closely than modern Catholicism which now resembles temple Judaism in many ways.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 10:14 pm
@prothero,
prothero;90779 wrote:
After the destruction of the temple and the dispersal of the jews the local synagogue and local rabbis developed as a community centered focus of faith. Ironically modern Judaism probably resembles Jesus vision of spirituality and faith more closely than modern Catholicism which now resembles temple Judaism in many ways.

I've never thought of it that way before, but I see it. Unbound by the mechanics of building and protecting a state, one is free from the inevitable corruption and bloodshed involved in statehood.

But about a hundred years ago, some parts of the global Jewish community began to fear that Judaism, without a state, was in danger of being lost through absoption into host communities. So to save it, they began a second return to Jerusalem. But now, on the site believed to be where the temple sat is one of the oldest Muslim structures: the Dome of the Rock.
 
 

 
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