Showing posts with label Jews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jews. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The Statsman Always Posts Thrice

My inexplicable obsession with statistics has been chronicled here and here, but I do try to keep a handle on it, recognizing it ain’t everyone’s cuppa. Mind you, the first stats post was in 2017, and the second only last year, so they are coming faster every time. As one hard-bitten detective might say to another on your favorite cop drama, “Uh oh, he’s decompensating!”

I’ll try not to run on too long.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Doesn’t Always Mean What We Think It Means (7)

In Greek, the words “Jew”, “Jews” and “Jewish” (sometimes translated “Judean”) are all variations on Ioudaios. That term was discussed in what some might call excruciating detail in the second post in this series, the length being necessary because of confusion arising from the way “Jew” is used today in popular secular and religious parlance.

Unsaved folk often refer to Gentiles converted to Judaism as “Jews”. This is most likely an accidental byproduct of unfamiliarity with biblical usage and/or the preferences of actual Jews, as opposed to evidence of a hidden agenda. Real Jews draw a clear distinction between their fellow Jews and converts to Judaism, whom they call proselytes. (Certain well-known evangelicals also use “Jew” to describe Gentiles, but for very specific theological reasons we won’t get into today.)

Suffice it to say that the Bible doesn’t use “Jew” that way.

Monday, November 08, 2021

Anonymous Asks (170)

“How should Christians regard Jews?”

This is a fairly important question to consider. Historically, there has been little agreement within Christendom about it. Today, there is increasing polarization within the evangelical ranks concerning both the religion of Judaism and the nation of Israel.

The two “poles” look something like this.

Monday, February 08, 2021

Anonymous Asks (131)

“Was Jesus really a Jew?”

If you have been a mainstream evangelical Christian most of your life and are even slightly familiar with the scriptures, this may seem like a ridiculous question with an answer so obvious it is unworthy of serious attention. And yet you might be surprised to find how many people who call themselves Christians would answer it in the negative, often quite fiercely.

Sometimes a ridiculous question is not so ridiculous when you understand where it is coming from. At very least it is not ridiculous to the person asking it.

So does the “Jesus was not a Jew” argument have any merit? Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by “a Jew”.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Jews and Jews

I recently watched a comedian on YouTube trying to sort out what it is exactly that makes a Jew a Jew. Having only minimal familiarity with the Old Testament, and possessing almost no knowledge of modern Talmudic Judaism, the poor man was entirely at sea, and eager for somebody to explain it to him.

I don’t blame him. The term is used multiple ways by different groups with different things in mind. Sorting out the various claims to Jewishness is not easy, and I think it’s fair to say the vast majority of modern users of the term either get it wrong or use it in such an ambiguous and inconsistent way that nobody really knows what they are talking about.

The biggest contributors to this confusion, oddly enough, are a certain subset of … er … Jews.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Doesn’t Always Mean What We Think It Means (2)

What is a Jew anyway?

Specifically, does a Gentile who converts to Judaism become a “Jew”? Many people today say so, and quite a few religious Jews agree with them. There is even a Judaic ritual called giyyur by which, it is alleged, a Gentile becomes Jewish.

Tracey R. Rich says, “A Jew is any person whose mother was a Jew or any person who has gone through the formal process of conversion to Judaism.

Now, if that’s a scriptural answer, there are an awful lot of Jews out there. But the Bible does not appear to use the word “Jew” that way. There is considerable elasticity in the term, but in neither Testament does it dovetail perfectly with the modern, secular usage or even the definition of many Orthodox Jews.

Curious? Let’s have a look at some history.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Do Christians Hate Jews?

Many Jews today feel that, because of historical atrocities committed against their people by the so-called “Christian” church, all Christians are Jew-haters. Unfortunately, not only many nominal Christians but even some real believers harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, and this only confirms the suspicion in Jewish minds.

But does the New Testament allow Christians to be prejudiced in this way?

Definitely not.