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Reply to commenter Denise

Reader comment on item: Anti-Semitism Evolves
in response to reader comment: Don't lump all Christians together as anti-semitic

Submitted by Peter J. Herz (Taiwan), Feb 16, 2005 at 02:51

I'll first of all agree with Ron Green and Denise that a biblically conscientious Christianity, while thinking it a pity that the Jews don't accept the Messiah, will condemn anti-Semitism and quite happily recognize (NOT concede) the Jewish identity of Jesus and the apostles. But I think it does us Evangelicals no harm to be historically honest. The fact that Christianity holds that the Jewish Messiah has come meant that its history would be marked first by a Jewish intramural dispute; and then, as other ethnic groups were evangelized, questions about the continued existence of a "non-Messianic Judaism" necessarily arose.

I won't throw mud at the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox alone over anti-Semitism--and I belong to neither church. Also, even the most bigoted of medieval-minded Catholics and Orthodox would see converts from Judaism as "us" rather than "them". The idea of "anti-Semitism", a term coined by Wilhelm Marr in the late 19th century, however, introduced a "racial" element that could not be removed. Further, the idiocies of the early 20th century German biblical scholar Walter Grundemann, who posited that Jesus' Galilean identity somehow made him anti-Jewish, and certain Identity groups in present-day America show that a nasty anti-Semitism can arise in Protestant soil as well. In Norway during WWII, despite the agreement of Lutheran confessionalists, modernists, and pietists that the German anti-Jewish measures were wrong and to be resisted by Norwegian Christians (one of the few things on which the leaders of these three factions seemed to have agreed), there were nonetheless people like Vidkun Quisling who saw Nazi anti-Semitism as a king of "positive Christianity" (Quisling, the son of a Lutheran pastor, advocated jettisoning the Old Testament and whatever there was in the New that seemed too Jewish: a sort of modern Marcionism).

This being said, German National Socialism was probably the point where anti-Jewish ranting and action left its theological moorings behind and took on an ethnological and political coloring. Hence, I suspect that today's European socialist anti-Semites are closer to Hitler than they'd care to admit.

Submitting....

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