Antisemitism and The New Testament - Christian Responses

Christian Responses

See also: Christian-Jewish reconciliation

The Catholic Church already denounced antisemitic views held by Christians in the past with a series of statements beginning in 1937 (cf. Mit Brennender Sorge of Pope Pius XI). In the decree Nostra Aetate, Pope Paul VI in Council declared that:

  • "The Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles, making both one in Himself".
  • "God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues".
  • "the death of Christ ... cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today".
  • "the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures".
  • "the Church ... decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone".

Norman Beck, professor of theology and classical languages at Texas Lutheran University, has proposed that Christian lectionaries remove what he calls "… the specific texts identified as most problematic …". Beck identifies what he deems to be offensive passages in the New Testament and indicates the instances in which these texts or portions thereof are included in major lectionary series.

Daniel Goldhagen, former Associate Professor of Political Science at Harvard University, also suggested in his book A Moral Reckoning that the Roman Catholic Church should change its doctrine and the accepted Biblical canon to excise statements he labels as antisemitic, to indicate that "The Jews' way to God is as legitimate as the Christian way".

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