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Should all Christians repent for anti-Semitism? If so, how?. Holy Week is historically a time when there is an increase of anti-Semitic attacks and hate crimes. How can our study of scripture help us to fight anti-Semitism?. Hieronymus Bosch. Christ Carrying the Cross. 1490.

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should all christians repent for anti semitism if so how
Should all Christians repent for anti-Semitism? If so, how?
  • Holy Week is historically a time when there is an increase of anti-Semitic attacks and hate crimes.
  • How can our study of scripture help us to fight anti-Semitism?

Hieronymus Bosch. Christ Carrying the Cross. 1490.

holocaust commemoration prayer prelude
Holocaust CommemorationPrayer Prelude

Never Again!

prayer of john paul ii
In a visit to Jerusalem and the Wailing Wall, Pope John Paul II prayed that:

”God of our fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your name to the nations. We are deeply saddened by the behavior of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer.And asking your forgiveness, we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the covenant.”

Prayer of John Paul II
taking responsibility for anti semitism

Taking Responsibility for Anti-Semitism

Although there were many courageous and righteous Christians that opposed Fascism and the anti-Semitism in the early half of the 20th Century, Christianity was used to fuel the anti-Semitism of the Nazis. Moreover, anti-Semitism spread due to either the active participation or apathy of Christians. Unfortunately, this sprung from centuries of anti-Semitism. Understanding that history is one place to take responsibility.

"Priest and Rabbi" by David Olere

jewish christian timeline

Jewish-Christian Timeline

Adapted from

early christian leadership christians were still the minority
Early Christian Leadership (Christians were still the Minority)

1. “Do you have to be a Jew to be a Christian?”

- Council of Jerusalem

- Christians begin to seek gentiles as converts

- conversion of Jews in large numbers only an aspiration, not a reality

Note: By the fourth century, the Catholic Church had decreed that it was heresy to practice the mosaic law.

2. “Is the Hebrew Bible part of our sacred text?”

- Catholic Old Testament vs. Hebrew Bible

3. “Is the land of Israel our Holy Land?”

- Crusades

4. “Should Jews be permitted to live as Jews under Christian rule?”

Adapted from

  • Jews should be allowed to remain in Christian realm
  • They serve a positive function to Christian life
    • “guardians of scripture”
    • constant reminder of Christ’s death
    • examples of those who defy God and are punished

Results of Augustine:

1. Jews must be kept alive and around Christians

2. Jews must live beneath the status of Christians

St. Augustine

Adapted from

massacre in the rhineland 1096 ce
Massacre in the Rhineland, 1096 CE
  • Represents a new trend in persecutions of the Jews
  • Massacre of Jews as the Crusaders of Pope Urban II march through Europe toward Holy Land
  • Local rulers and the Emperor of Rome declared that Jews remain unharmed
  • Crusaders rationalize that both Islamic infidels and Jewish “murderers” deserve death

"The Last Way" by Chaim Goldleeng

Note: lower levels of Christian society proved uncontrollable and not always representative of official church doctrine

Adapted from

st william of norwich 1144
St. William of Norwich, 1144
  • A Christian boy named William was supposedly killed by Jews who were performing a ritual sacrifice of a Christian child (murder of Christ by Jews)
  • Led to charges of ritual murder and conspiracy
  • Rumors of conspiracy spread all over Europe

Note: Hysteria created by these charges create atmosphere where something similar to the “Final Solution” of Hitler might have been possible in Middle Ages

“Both the Crusader violence and the ritual murder libels originated in lower levels of Christian society and persisted despite condemnation by leading spokesmen for the church.”

- Saperstein

“Blood Libel”

Adapted from

a shift in the treatment of the jews in medieval christendom
A Shift In the Treatment of the Jews in Medieval Christendom

1. Fear of Muslim expansion translates to fear of Jews

2. Franciscans and Dominicans overturn Augustine’s doctrine of toleration and replace it with a doctrine of persecution

3. Economic shift from trading and providing services to providing financial services such as banking

- Christians shift blame to Jews for participating in same economic system not yet accepted as moral

4. Europe needed and used persecution to advance from 12th Century to Modern World

Adapted from

possible christian courses of action mending the divide
Possible Christian Courses of Action Mending the Divide
  • Refute the charge of Deicide
  • Repudiate anti-Semitism
  • Repent/atone in the wake of the Holocaust
  • More accurately teach about Jews and Judaism in the practice of Christian education
  • Affirm that the historical Jesus and the original Apostles were Jewish.
  • Interpret difficult biblical passages in context.

Adapted from

nostra aetate repudiating anti semitism
Nostra AetateRepudiating Anti-Semitism

Pope Paul VI in a 1965 declaration called the Nostra Aetate says that the Catholic Church is spiritually tied to “Abraham’s stock.” The Nostra Aetate also tells that God still holds the Jewish people close to him because of their ancestral “Fathers.” Paul VI, in addition states that the death of Christ cannot and should not be attributed to Jews today.The Nostra Aetate also condemns all persecutions, feelings of anti-Semitism, and hatred of all Jews past and present.

Adapted from,30,Contemporary Christian Perspectives Concerning Jewish Relations

the first modern pope to pray in a synagogue
John Paul II is greeted by Rabbi Elio Toaff, Chief Rabbi of Rome, during the pope\'s landmark visit to the great Synagogue of Rome, where he referred to the Jewish people as the "elder brothers" of Christians (1986).

When John Paul II died on April 2, 2005, at the age of 84, he made one final gesture to the Jews when he mentioned “the rabbi of Rome.” Toaff and John Paul’s longtime secretary were the only living people mentioned in the will.

Toaff called the reference a “significant and profound gesture for Jews” and “an indication to the Catholic world.” John Paul, he said, “wanted to indicate a road aimed at further destroying all the obstacles that have divided Jews and Christians through the centuries.”

The First Modern Pope to Pray in a Synagogue

Adapted from

affirm that jesus was jewish
Affirm that Jesus Was Jewish

Pope John Paul II in

an address to clergy

and lay people in America

in 1999 emphasized a

need for respect of the

Jewish faith, reminding

Catholics in America

that “the history of salvation

makes clear our special relationship with the Jewish people”. The Pope also stated that Jesus belonged to the Jewish people, and his Church was founded with Jewish roots.

Adapted from,30,Contemporary Christian Perspectives Concerning Jewish Relations

jesus barabbas vs jesus the messiah
Jesus Barabbas vs. Jesus the Messiah

Matthew 27: 15-26

15 Now on the occasion of the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd one prisoner whom they wished. 16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called (Jesus) Barabbas. 17 So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, "Which one do you want me to release to you, (Jesus) Barabbas*, or Jesus called Messiah?" 18 For he knew that it was out of envy that they had handed him over. 19 While he was still seated on the bench, his wife sent him a message, "Have nothing to do with that righteous man. I suffered much in a dream today because of him."

20 The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas but to destroy Jesus. 21 The governor said to them in reply, "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They answered, "Barabbas!" 22 Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus called Messiah?" They all said, "Let him be crucified!" 23 But he said, "Why? What evil has he done?" They only shouted the louder, "Let him be crucified!"

24 When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man\'s blood. Look to it yourselves."

25 And the whole people said in reply, "His blood be upon us and upon our children." **

26 Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.

*[Jesus] Barabbas: it is possible that the double name is the original reading; Jesus was a common Jewish name. The Aramaic name Barabbas means "son of the father"; the irony of the choice offered between him and Jesus, the true son of the Father, would be evident to those addressees of Matthew who knew that.

**The controversy between Matthew\'s church and Pharisaic Judaism about which was the true people of God is reflected here. As the Second Vatican Council has pointed out, guilt for Jesus\' death is not attributable to all the Jews of his time or to any Jews of later times.

john s treatment of the jews
John’s Treatment of the Jews

John’s community has become separated from mainstream Judaism; John lays the blame for Jesus’ death on “the Jews”

“Exodus” by Marc Chagall

- Adapted from Mr. Evans

john s treatment of the jews18
John’s Treatment of “the Jews”

His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. - John 9:22

They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. - John 16: 2-3

“The Martyrdom of St. Stephen” by Bernardo Daddi in 1324.

- Adapted from Mr. Evans

john s treatment of the jews19
John’s Treatment of the Jews

“So the band of soldiers and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound him, and brought him to Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who has counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.”

-John 18:12-14

The Taking of the Christ by Caravaggio

- Adapted from Mr. Evans

john s treatment of the jews20
John’s Treatment of the Jews

“The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of

G-d.’ When Pilate heard this statement, he became even more afraid.”

- John 19:7-8

- Adapted from Mr. Evans

john s treatment of the jews21
John’s Treatment of “the Jews”

“My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.” - John 18:36

“Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out, ‘If you release him, you are not a friend of Caesar.’”

- John 19:12

- Adapted from Mr. Evans

tenebrae the shadows of christian discipleship
Tenebrae:The Shadows of Christian Discipleship

"The Yellow Crucifixion" (1943)

Marc Chagall


Pray for Greater Unity and Understanding During Holy Week and Passover

"The White Crucifixion" (1938) Marc Chagall