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A description of jesus social stance and conflict with judaism

Judaism in the Time of Jesus Judaism was a Diverse Phenomenon In Christian circles the Judaism of the time of Jesus has often been thought of as an outward legalistic religion to which the message of Jesus and the early Christians was a complete antithesis.

Such a picture has, however, proved to be a blatant caricature. Today the ministry of Jesus is seen rather as a movement within Judaism rather than as something opposed to it.

At the same time people have begun to understand how complex and still developing a phenomenon first-century Judaism was. At the beginning of the Christian era Judaism was divided into several different groupseach of which had its own views concerning the true Jewish way of life. On the other hand, certain basic beliefs were common to them all. The Basic Beliefs of Judaism Although at the beginning of the Christian era Judaism comprised several different groupscertain basic beliefs were common to them all: The covenant between God and Israel comprised duties and commitments which pertained to both parties.

God committed himself to treat Israel in accordance with its special position as his own people, and to teach the Israelites the principles of a good and blessed life.

Matthew"s Gospel and Judaism

Israel made the commitment to be obedient to God and to live a life befitting the people of God. These principles are found in the Torah or Law of Moses, its teaching and practical applications.

The Torah also included directions concerning atonement for offences committed so that the covenant might nevertheless remain in effect. It is important to note that in Judaism the Law is not a way of salvation.

Salvation - the election of God - is based exclusively on the grace of God. Jewish Groups At the beginning of the Christian era Judaism was divided into many different groups. In spite of differences between them the groups were united by certain basic beliefs. They tirelessly watch how the Jewish people observe the purity and holiness code. From this the word 'Pharisee' has come a description of jesus social stance and conflict with judaism to be a synonym of 'hypocrite'. Such a picture of the Pharisees is, however, one-sided.

In fact the Pharisees were one Jewish group among many - a lay movement which placed emphasis on the Torah the Law of Moses and its interpretation and in particular on the importance of the purity code for everyday holiness. There were also many different types of Pharisee. Some of them seem to have been fairly close to Jesus in their thinking.

Sayings resembling the teaching of Jesus occur among the sayings of Rabbi Hillel, for instance, and Hillel was active in Pharisaic circles. The Apostle Paul also came from among the Pharisees. In the opinion of the Pharisees holiness was not only for the priests and the Temple. By observing the purity code every member of the people of God might participate in the holiness of God. In the interpretation of the written Law the Pharisees had the help of the so-called 'Oral Law', i.

Conflicts between the Pharisees and the disciples of Jesus came to a head after the death of Jesus, when the Jesus movement began to accept Gentiles into membership without demanding that they be circumcised or that they observe the purity code. These controversies are reflected in the way the Pharisees are portrayed in the New Testament. Another group often mentioned in the New Testament in connection with the Pharisees are the Teachers of the Law.

Here we are dealing with a very different group of people. While the Pharisees were a kind of revival movement, 'Teacher of the Law' is a professional term. The Teachers of the Law were authoritative professional interpreters of the Torah.

The Sadducees Only sparse information has been preserved concerning the Sadducees, and none of it is impartial; most of the information comes from their opponents. In the traditional view the Sadducees were from the Hellenized Jewish upper class, which supported stable conditions and the prevailing social order, and whose religion was reasonable and worldly.

The Sadducees did not, for example, believe in life after death. The name of the Sadducees is believed to derive from the family of Zadok, the high priest who served as high priest in the days of King David.

  • The covenant between God and Israel comprised duties and commitments which pertained to both parties;
  • Water collected from high up in the mountains was stored in large rainwater storage containers and tanks;
  • On the other hand, evidently only a small minority of the upper class were Sadducees.

Not all the Sadducees were priests, however, and their number included other aristocrats. On the other hand, evidently only a small minority of the upper class were Sadducees. The Essenes The Essenes are not mentioned in the New Testament ; the information concerning them is derived from other sources. Since 1947 manuscript and archaeological discoveries have been made at Qumran on the north-west shore of the Dead Sea, and they are thought to derive from the Essenes who dwelt there.

The Essenes were a protest movement which withdrew from the world.

They believed that the high priest of the Jerusalem Temple was elected on false pretences, which invalidated the whole Temple cult.

In addition, the calendar used by the Essenes and their way of interpreting and observing the Law of Moses differed from the rest of Judaism. The Essene community of Qumran saw itself as the only true Israel, "children of light" as distinct from the "children of darkness" and their corrupt religious practices. The members of the community lived a disciplined life dictated by the regulations and a strict system of values.

At the same time they - like many of their contemporaries - expected that God would soon intervene in the course of history in a decisive manner. The Qumran discoveries were made at the north-western end of the Dead Sea in the years 1947-56. In eleven caves in the desert there were found manuscripts of the Old Testament, other religious texts and the writings of the religious group who lived at Qumran: The texts written on leather and papyrus scrolls were in the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek languages.

Some of the manuscripts were carefully packed in clay jars; most, however, were lying on the floors of the caves, at the mercy of damp and worms. In the vicinity of the caves were excavated ruins of a group of buildings covering an area of 100 x 80 metres. The first of these was built in about 150 B.

The main building contained assembly and work rooms and had a two-storey stone tower. Water collected from high up in the mountains was stored in large rainwater storage containers and tanks. Some tanks were used for ritual bathing. In the area was also found a large cemetery containing over a thousand graves. The manuscripts were evidently concealed in the caves for fear of discovery by Roman soldiers.

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The Roman army destroyed the settlement in 68 A. The oldest manuscripts found at Qumran were fragments of Old Testament manuscript copies from the third century B. The majority of the manuscripts, however, date from the two centuries preceding the turn of the era and the first century following it, that is, the time when the group that wrote and copied the scrolls lived at Qumran. The number of texts found is over two hundred. Many of the scrolls are, however, so badly damaged that only odd fragments are left.

For further information about this subject see http: One of Jesus ' twelve disciples was a Simon who bore this nickname.

Jewish-Christian Relations

Later the name Zealots came to refer to a rebel organization which supported armed resistance to Rome. This group only became a united, recognizable party just before the Jewish War. The Jewish Diaspora Diaspora means 'dispersion'. The term was used of Jewish communities living outside Palestine. At the beginning of the Christian era there were Jews living all over the Roman Empire and in the East beyond the frontiers of the Empire.

They lived in the country and in the towns, and they came from all social classes and professions.

  1. On the other hand, their strict monotheism and high moral standards attracted many, and they often had influential patrons. These must have been common debates, which one can see mirrored in the gospels' accounts of Jesus' disputes with contemporary religious leaders.
  2. For Jews, history has shown that Jesus was not the long-awaited Messiah, for Jews were not delivered from the yoke of Roman bondage and the Golden Age did not come. The Sadducees Only sparse information has been preserved concerning the Sadducees, and none of it is impartial; most of the information comes from their opponents.
  3. On the one hand, we find strongly pro-Jewish elements, essential to the identity of both Gospel and community. In addition to the sacrifices brought by individuals, communal sacrifices were offered every day in the Temple.
  4. One example is the scribe who comes to Jesus during Passion week Matt 22.
  5. Jewish Groups At the beginning of the Christian era Judaism was divided into many different groups.

Their customs were known everywhere, even if they were not always regarded favourably. On the other hand, their strict monotheism and high moral standards attracted many, and they often had influential patrons. Sometimes non-Jews joined the Jewish community. Those who converted and became full members were called proselytes. Becoming a member was preceded by ritual purification baptism and in the case of male proselytes by circumcision. At the same time the newcomers committed themselves to observing the commands of the Torah.

This was a great deal to ask, and the number of proselytes remained fairly small. This group later become fertile ground for early Christian missionary work. Diaspora Jews also met in synagoguesthe size and manner of construction of which depended on the resources of the community.

In large towns there might be several. The head of the synagogue was the spiritual leader and senior teacher of the community. Temporal matters were looked after by the council of elders, the secretary acting as bookkeeper and correspondent.

The synagogue servant was responsible for maintaining the property and for keeping order and if necessary he led the prayers. Besides being a place of worship the synagogue had a Torah school. The synagogue also functioned as a communal meeting-place and as somewhere where people from various professions could meet together.

Graeco-Roman society set its members certain obligations, not all of which a description of jesus social stance and conflict with judaism be fulfilled by Torah-observant Jews.

Thus they were granted exemptions, for instance in relation to the cult of the emperor and service in the army. The Purity and Holiness Code Regulations concerning purity and holiness are found in many cultures in different parts of the world. The terms 'clean' and 'unclean' did not then refer to cleanliness and getting dirty in the present sense of the words. Rather it was a question of the kind of actions, substances, matters, objects and places which it was desired to place out of bounds for the community.

In early Judaism attitudes towards the purity and holiness code contained in the Torah or Law of Moses varied: In any case the purity code seems to have grown in importance as the beginning of the Christian era approached.

According to the Torah, a person became unclean if he or she touched something unclean. As long as he or she was unclean he or she was not allowed to come in contact with clean people or objects. Typical sources of uncleanness were bodily secretions, corpses, unclean animals and wrongly prepared food. Holiness, too, was based on being untouched. If the holy and unclean came into contact, one or other ceased to exist: Therefore the holy had to be separated from the areas of everyday life that were susceptible to uncleanness so as to form an area of its own.