December 20, 2007


Caption: The western wall of the Jerusalem Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70. Image courtesy of wikipedia.

The theme for this week's Goat Rope is early Christian history. If this is your first visit, please click on earlier posts.

One of the most tragic features of Christian history is its role in the rise of anti-Semitism, which has had horrible consequences over the centuries.

It's important to remember that Jesus was a Jew who spent virtually his entire ministry among Jews, with perhaps a few exceptional encounters such as those related in the gospels. All of his earliest followers were Jewish. The whole New Testament, with the exception of Luke, Acts and possibly some minor epistles, was written by Jewish believers in Jesus. Likewise, many early converts were either Jewish or were Gentile "God fearers" sympathetic to Judaism.

However, controversies soon arose between the new religion and the old, reflecting Christian anger over the failure of more Jews to convert. While many Jews of the time expected some kind of Messiah, for the overwhelming majority, Jesus did not fit the bill. He was, after all, a peasant who was executed in the most degrading way and many recalled a passage in Deuteronomy that said that anyone hanged on a tree was accursed by God (21:23).

Early Christians engaged in a series of polemics in which they attempted to present themselves as the legitimate heirs of the Hebrew Bible and Jews as those who rejected their redeemer and ultimately God. The Jewish connections were further frayed as more and more Gentiles joined the movement.

Also, as early Christians attempted to survive in a Roman world, they began to shift the blame for his crucifixion from Rome to the Jewish leaders and even to the entire Jewish people. At the same time, Roman anti-Judaism increased after the Jewish revolts of the first and second centuries which resulted in the destruction of the Temple and the disperal of Jews throughout the empire.

Finally, when the church became the official religion of the empire, the state was fully set for centuries of bloody persecution.

IRAQ. Despite the Bush administration's efforts to put a triumphal spin on events in Iraq, the Washington Post reported the following:

Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of "occupying forces" as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted for the U.S. military last month.

A GOOD RESOURCE for current information about the need for "An Economy that Works for All" is here.

MORE ON THE JUDICIAL HELLHOLE CLAPTRAP can be found here and here.

NEW DRUGS could change the nature of death, according to this Wired Science item. The post speculates that with new anti-aging drugs, people would still die, but without a lot of the distasteful preliminaries.



Jay said...

Good stuff, el c. Thanks for doing it.

El Cabrero said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Buzzardbilly said...

Have you been watching the National Geographic channel this week? So far every night it's been about Bible relics and archealogy uncovering more biblical history. Night before last was a great show on the Hittites.

Very nice blog!

El Cabrero said...

Thanks! The National Geographic features sound good but I live too far out in the sticks to get cable--even the old Law and Order reruns.