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David Ewart

Yes, if Rohrbaugh and Malina are correct it is anachronistic to use the nomenclature "Jewish" in a first century context. But. Given the anti-Jewish sentiment that is still so prevalent in our century, I am quite prepared to be anachronistic, if that is what it takes to discuss the first century in terms that reject the modern anti-Jewish attempts to erase "Jews" from history. I assert that Jesus and his first followers are among the ancestors of the people we now refer to as Jews. And so, even though that nomenclature may not have become established until the 4th century, I am comfortable using the term ahistorically to refer to all points in the long history of the Jewish peoples. Jesus was Jewish.

But the point this post also makes, is that the contemporary English translations of the second testament are wrong in their translation of the Greek term for "Judean" as "Jews." The translators are wrongly being anachronistic. And this incorrect translation fuels the Christian hatred of "Jews" as Christ killers.

Jesus is Jewish, but Jews did not kill Jesus.

Elite Judeans who were collaborators and subjects of Roman rulers were stuck in the hard place of needing to keep the peace participated in his arrest and false trial on trumped-up charges.

And English translations of the second testament falsely hide the politics that were at play at the time of Jesus. Wherever we see "Jews" in an English translation, we (almost always) should cross that out and correctly write "Judean elites."

Celli Hem

Thanks for your reply. In their *Social-science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels* (2003) Malina and Rohrbaugh assert: "There was nothing 'Jewish' in the first-century Mediterranean ..." because " 'normative Judaism,' hence the distinctively 'Jewish' tradition, does not emerge until at least the late fourth century C.E. ..." (p. 427). So, following Malina and Rohrbaugh, it seems anachronistic to claim "Jesus and his first followers were all Jewish." This is consistent with Elliott's position and, if memory serves, with Mason and Horsley, too.

David Ewart

Hi Celli Hem, Yes I am aware of Amy-Jill Levine's work. I'm not a historian, so I am not aware of how much anti-Semitism might be at work in scholarly historian circles, but I am definitely aware of this amongst some comments I have received on this site. (All of which I delete.) The point that Rohrbaugh and Malina are making is: Jesus is Jewish (in the post-Roman era usage of that naming of the people of Israel), but he was not Judean (in the Roman era usage of that naming by the people of Israel) (Yes, I know that his birth in Bethlehem makes him a Judean, but as an adult, Jesus is consistently referred to as being from Galilee by Judeans).

And if we modern readers of the Gospels lose the local politics that were in play at the time of Jesus (among which were the politics between Judeans and Galileans, and between elites and everyone else), we falsely read that Jews were enemies of Jesus; that the Jews killed Jesus.

Jesus and his first followers were all Jewish. The Gospels cannot be read without understanding first century Jewish culture and identity. But no, contrary to the English translation of John 7:1, the Jews were not seeking an opportunity to kill Jesus. Judean, Roman collaborating, elites were seeking an opportunity to kill Jesus.

Celli Hem

I presume you realize that there are Jewish and Christian scholars who have characterized taking the "Jews" out of the NT as a thoroughly despicable anti-Jewish move. See, e.g., Amy-Jill Levine's attack in *The Misunderstood Jew* on John H. Elliott, author of "Jesus the Israelite Was Neither a 'Jew' Nor a 'Christian': On Correcting Misleading Nomenclature". I think she also criticizes Malina and/or Mason in the same book. Aside from what you written above, I wonder how you would answer these accusers.

Dennis Gannon

Yes, finally, someone else sees this. I agree with, thanks.

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