Antisemitism in Christianity


This Site Explores Issues Relating To Early Gentile Christian Antisemitism.  Among Them:

  1. What led to “Parting of the Ways” between Christians and Jews?
  2. What claims did Christians make against Jews?
  3. How was Gentile Christian antisemitism expressed, and what functions did it serve in Christianity’s development?
  4. Why did Jews not become Christians?

In brief, common expressions of Christian antisemitism are rooted in the Gospel claim that the Jews caused Jesus’ crucifixion.  Christians thus believed (and many still believe) that Christian antisemitism was no more than an appropriate response to Jewish malevolence.  Added to this were accusations that Jewish hard-hearted obstinacy caused their refusal to worship Jesus Christ as the Messiah; and their predilection for sin caused Jewish refusal to join Gentile Christianity in discarding Jewish Scriptural laws and rituals.

Although long propagated, it is important to show that these antisemitic claims were not based on reality.  By the standards of the time (including circumcision, temple worship, holiday observances, and food purity laws), Jesus was and remained an observant “Jew,” as did his disciples.  From what we know of Jesus’ life, teachings, and the time he lived in, his main adversary (as for other Messiahs) was an exploitative society governed by Roman rule and native aristocratic henchmen.  If anything, Jesus’ compassionate concerns were for the impoverished majority of Palestine’s Jews who were the oppressed subjects of Rome and its supporters.  His crucifixion by the Romans was not for religious heresy, but for leading or joining an attempt at political insurrection in proclaiming an imminent “Kingdom of God.”

As other scholars have shown, early Gentile Christianity was regarded by Romans as merely a new superstition that worshipped a crucified supposed “Son of God.”  Christian antisemitism thus arose from its need to gain prestige and credibility by presenting itself to the Roman public as a long-standing anciently-sanctified religion through claiming the historic Jewish Scriptures as its own.  These Scriptures, dating back long before any Christians first appeared, were therefore interpreted by Christian theologians for their own novel purposes.  For example, to claim that Jewish patriarchal figures such as Abraham were truly Christian; that the appearance of Jesus Christ, the universal Christian savior, had been prophesied in these ancient documents; that the laws and rituals prescribed in the Jewish Scriptures were abrogated by the coming of Jesus Christ; and that the Jews are obstinate sinners blind to the claims of “Godly” Gentile Christians, the “True Israelites.”

This site provides an article gathered from many sources that examines, develops, and supports these views:  Click on Article.