Thursday, March 26, 2015

New Article on Anti-Jewish Interpretations of Hebrews

Jody A. Barnard. "Anti-Jewish Interpretations of Hebrews: Some Neglected Factors." Melilah 11 (2014): 25–52.

"Perhaps one of the most significant developments within contemporary Jewish Studies is the reclamation of the New Testament. The recovery of this particular part of Jewish history, however, has highlighted the problem of anti-Semitism that has for so long been associated with these documents. Although there is nothing as brazen as the Matthean ‘blood cry’ (Mt. 27:25), or the Johannine denouncement of ‘the Jews’ (e.g. Jn. 8:44), Hebrews is often placed among the most anti-Jewish texts of the New Testament. Key themes contributing to this perception are mainly found in the central section which paints Jesus as the eternal high priest, who offers the definitive means of atonement, and inaugurates the superior new covenant. On the other hand, it is often noted that this ‘radical supersessionism’, as it has been called, must be qualified by the author’s own Jewish identity and context, making charges of anti-Judaism, or even anti-Semitism, somewhat misleading, not to mention anachronistic. This paper revisits the anti-Jewish character of Hebrews in the light of recent developments in Jewish and New Testament Studies, showing how the classifications of this text as ‘anti-Jewish’ are not as straightforward as many have supposed."

HT: Nicholas Moore

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