Thursday, January 3, 2013

Solid HIstorical Evidence That Uncircumcised Gentile Believers Practiced Judaism! (2nd Century)

So I read those books today by Ruether and Gager.  The former was a little outdated.  But I enjoyed Gager's "The Origins of Anti-Semitism".  The interesting thing I learned from him was that, during the Patristic Period, we have solid evidence that uncircumcised Gentile Believers allied themselves with the synagogue (despite what the Bilateralists would have you believe).  Oh, and did I mention that these same Gentiles Believers believed in practicing Judaism and also circumcising themselves?  Check this out:

EVIDENCE FROM CHRYSOSTOM:


"In 386, while still a presbyter at Antioch, in western Syria, Chrysostom interrupted his addresses against the Arians and began a series of eight sermons directed against Judaizing Christians in the city.  The timing of these sermons is of interest in that they are addressed not to the Christian calendar but rather to the Jewish festivals (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkoth) of the autumn season.  The reason for this unusual proceeding, as Chrysostom himself plainly reveals, is that numerous Christians in the city were accustomed to celebrate these festivals with the Jews.  John hoped to dissuade them from doing so.
The immediate audience of the homilies, it should be noted, is neither the Christian Judaizers nor the Jews themselves but members of Chrysostom's own congregation.  His announced aim is to combat their complacency regarding the Judaizers.  With dire threats of perdition, he urges his listeners to seek them out in their homes and to dissuade them from their foolish ways.  But if loyal Christians are the audience of the sermons, the Judaizers are the targets of his wrath and the Jews its victims.  His method is to turn the tables on these Judaizers, by likening the synagogue to a theater or a brothel rather than a place of power (I. 2-3).  Better to die of illness, which he calls a martyr's death, than to make use of Jewish charms and spells (VIII. 5-8).
Throughout the homilies, but especially in the first and last, his language is intemperate.  At one or two points in the first homily he appears to pause, as if members of the audience had expressed dismay at his words, in order to justify his choice of words.  'I know that some will condemn me for daring to say that the synagogue is no different from the theater....' (I. 2).  But he will not be deterred.  The Jews have degenerated to the level of dogs.  They are drunkards and gluttons.  They beat their servants.  They are ignorant of God.  Their festivals are worthless and were proclaimed as such by the biblical prophets.  Their synagogues are the dwelling places of demons.  'If our way is true, as it is, theirs is fraudulent.   I am not speaking of the Scriptures.  Far from it.  For they lead me to Christ.  I am speaking of their present impurity and madness' (I. 6).  And by way of summing up:  'What more can I say?  Rapacity, greed, betrayal of the poor, thefts, keeping of taverns.  The whole day would not suffice to tell of these things' (I. 7).
What were the activities of these Judaizers that so outraged the eloquent presbyter?  They attend the Jewish festivals and join in their fasts.  They undergo circumcision.  They observe the Sabbath.  They honor the synagogue as a holy site.  They make use of Jewish charms and spells as cures for diseases.  They sleep in the synagogue at Daphne, a suburb of the city, for the purpose of receiving dream-revelations.  In Chrysostom's own words, they 'have high regard for the Jews and think that their present way of life is holy' (I. 3).  Furthermore, the 'sickness' was not limited to a few.  On numerous occasions Chrysostom speaks of them as many (polloi) and at one point warns his listeners not to announce the full number lest the reputation of the church suffer damage.
...While he does not advocate the use of force against the Jews, he is not opposed to it as a means of recovering a fellow Christian from the fellowship of 'the Christ killers' (I. 4).  At another point he admits that he has come to lust for combat against the Jews (VI. I)."

EVIDENCE FROM IGNATIUS:

pg. 127 "IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH...Turning from the Didascalia, dated between 200 and 250, and the sources of the Pseudo-Clementines, reaching perhaps as early as 200, to Ignatius, we arrive at Antioch in the first decade of the second century.  In our discussion of John Chrysostom we have already discovered disputes at Antioch regarding Christians and the observance of the Mosaic commandments.  With Ignatius we encounter once again a protest by an ecclesiastical leader against the observance of Jewish practices in that city by persons who regarded themselves as Christians.
To be sure, the letters of Ignatius bear only indirectly on the city of Antioch.  They were written during Ignatius's forced journey toward martyrdom in Rome, and they address issues which he encountered in Christian communities along the way.  The tone of several passages suggests that Ignatius was genuinely surprised by the Judaizers whom he encountered on his journey.  In view of what we know about the previous and subsequent history of Christianity in Antioch, however, it seems unlikely that Ignatius was completely unfamiliar with the phenomenon of Christian Judaizers.  Perhaps what surprised him was the discovery that they were not limited to Antioch!
Two of Ignatius's letters contain clear references to Judaizers.  In Magnesians his warning 'not to be led astray by strange doctrines or old tales which are without benefit (8.1)' is directed at those who had been living according to some form of Judaism.  The contrast between the Sabbath and the Lord's Day in 9.1 may point to Sabbath observances.  Finally in 10.3 he completes the picture, though adding no new information, by expostulating that 'it is foolish to talk of Jesus Christ and to Judaize.'

In his letter to the Philadelphians, he says the following:

'If anyone should undertake to interpret Judaism to you, do not listen to him.  For it is better to hear of Christianity from a man who has been circumcised than to hear of Judaism from someone who is uncircumcised.' [6.1]

Ignatius's words are not altogether unambiguous, but the situation appears to involve an effort on the part of Gentile converts to Judaism, or perhaps Gentile Judaizers, to suggest that the two faiths be regarded as complements rather than opposites.  Unfortunately, nothing further is said about those who were 'interpreting Judaism' except that they were not born Jews."

8 comments:

  1. Great post... you can see the same hateful attitude towards Judaism and Jews today, within Christendom and even among some Hebrew Roots people, like the anonymous who post here, it is sadly, well and alive.

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  2. Torahresource has a good article on gentiles relationship to the Synagogue in the 1st Century.

    Fiscus Judaicus

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  3. Zion, I'm sorry if you take my comments as hateful towards Jews. It reminds me of when Ahab asked Elijah if he was the one who troubled Israel. Elijah replied “ I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.”

    You messianic boys want to make a pretense at keeping Torah (I was raised up to Torah, you apparently were not) but, you don’t know Torah and you don’t know it’s consequences. It’s all zitzit, kippa’s and pretense. You don’t understand that for those who are raised up to Torah, it has terrible consequences for abandoning our oath and promise and G-d stands back and let’s evil come on us for breaking the covenant. I’ve tried to show you some of that. You just don’t’ get it.

    When evil come’s upon us for our deeds it is because G-d is only righteous. If the evil did not come upon us as G-d spoke would happen, it would mean his is unjust. The evil comes on us because he is just.

    It’s people like you who are troubling Israel. You were not raised to Torah, you don’t know the Torah, you don’t keep the Torah, and you don’t understand why those of us who do must call for repentance from all Jews. I know the path, I sinned greatly and received my stripes, but I was not punished as I deserved because Yeshua took mine. Why? Because G-d is just and my sin could not go unpunished.

    You should be ashamed for your pretense to love Israel while calling me hateful towards Jews. G-d sends people to Israel with the same message over and over “repent, return, he will hear and forgive”, but, if you don’t you will be destroyed". That’s not hate that is love.

    When you get serious about the Torah and think you can handle it, just beware, the G-d of Israel is not playing with you. You will get all the curses and evil the Torah commands if you fail. The only thing that will hold off the justice of G-d from falling on you is the blood of his son. You think it harsh I have no problem telling Jew’s they better hear the son?

    Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

    You boys better wake up and get with it and come to understand what kind of message I was sent here to bring. I'm no fool because I stand and take your insults. I'm doing what I was commanded to do.

    Steven

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    1. Steven,

      Any reasonable person would take your comments as hateful towards religious Jews.

      Delete
  4. “Any reasonable person would take your comments as hateful towards religious Jews.”

    So said Israel to all the prophets including Yeshua. They paid dearly to deliver the message that seems hateful and hurts the ears, they are not smooth words like butter. However, the message is one of love, power, and resurrection to those who hear.

    “But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.
    Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.
    Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith theLORD of hosts”

    I know that sounds hateful to Jews. But it’s truth none the less.

    I told you I am under commandment to teach from G-d. I’m not here to teach because I’m good at it, nor because I just woke up one day and thought I knew it all. I’ve been on most of the Messianic websites and asked to leave or deleted. These men believe they know the counsel of G-d. They did not carefully seek the counsel of G-d in prayer and fasting to see what manner of man has come among them and if I might be sent from the counsel of G-d.

    “He that receives you receives me, and he that receives me receives him that sent me.”

    Wise men will think carefully and seek wise counsel from G-d before dismissing me out of hand. If G-d did not send me to teach I will come to nothing. But, if I am telling you the truth and am a man of G-d and I bear his sword and the full weight of heaven is behind me to bear his message, time and the Ruach haKodesh will prove what is right.

    And if G-d did choose me you can believe it was not because I was pure, but because I was cast out and trodden upon, lying in an open sepulcher with many demons flying circles above me (spiritually speaking). He took pity on me, he loved me, he called me to him, he washed me, he dressed me, he taught me, now he sends me. I judge no man, but the time has come, judgement is at hand.

    Steven

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    Replies
    1. Steven,

      They may have banned you from other sites, but that sort of thing doesn't happen on this blog.

      Delete
  5. "They may have banned you from other sites, but that sort of thing doesn't happen on this blog."

    Thank you Peter!

    ReplyDelete