Monday, September 01, 2008

Are Jews a People?

An interesting discussion by Flesh is Grass, sparked by the boycott Israel campaign in Britain. She points to a lecture by Michael Walzer on this topic: Michael Walzer. (Clicking on this brings you directly to the audio file).

1 comment:

  1. Every people has the right to define itself, to determine the terms they use to talk about themselves, and to decide which parts of their history they choose to identify with. I mention this because few people, Jews or otherwise, realize how much Jewish identity is under attack in historical Jesus studies and always has been in this field. It's a serious problem that is mostly ignored.

    Most Christian scholars on the historical Jesus (not all of them, but an overwhelming majority) have always acted as if 1st century Jewish history belongs entirely to them and they can make any kind of mess of it they want. There is a movement afoot to even stop using the word "Jew" for this ancient people and using "Judean". The underlying motivation, in my opinion, is to be able to accuse Judeans (i.e., Jews) of killing Jesus, without appearing to be anti-Jewish.

    An equally serious problem is that virtually every one of these scholars defines ancient Judaism as revolving around "Temple, rituals, purity concerns" (or some such assortment). They never go to ancient Jews to find out their opinion of themselves, which would be more along the lines of "spirituality, justice, peace, due process". Scholars are writing important parts of Judaism right out of history. It is very frightening. Curiously, almost no one is paying attention.

    Leon Zitzer