Jesus the Jew as depicted in The White Crucifixion. Creative Commons
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What to do With Jesus the Jew?

Why is a Jewish Jesus so problematic for Christianity?

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Growing up in Boston in the 1950’s – 60’s this was never a question. We knew that Jesus was a Christian. Even more strange was that Jesus was an Aryan Christian who was out for Jewish blood. We wanted nothing to do with “that man.”

How did a Jew from the Galilee become a Christian, and a Jew-hating one at that? The short answer is the problem of uniqueness.

Christianity is better

All religious traditions like to see themselves as special, unique and in some ways better than others. Christianity, too, wanted to define and establish itself as distinctive from the Jewish religion, which meant separating the person of Jesus from his Jewishness and especially his Judaism. For centuries Christian scholars developed theology that ripped Jesus out of the Jewish culture, traditions and worldview in which he lived and taught.

A Jesus who taught and lived like a Jew, and an early Christian community that looked like a Jewish sect, troubled many Christian scholars. They preferred a Jesus who taught a new and unique doctrine, a religious tradition that…

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