A Review Article -- By: Bassam M. Madany
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A Review Article
Hated Without A Cause?: A Survey Of Anti-Semitism, Graham Keith. Carlisle, Cumbria, U.K.: Paternoster Press, 1997. 301 pages, paper, price unknown.
During the last two thousand years, three momentous events took place in the history of the Jews: the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 A.D., the Holocaust (1932–45), and the birth of the State of Israel during the fifth decade of this century. Not only do they occupy center stage in Jewish history, but they are of equal importance to Christians as well. Hated Without a Cause? comes at an important time as we are about to enter the third millennium after the birth of Christ. The author, Dr. Graham Keith, teaches Religious Education at James Hamilton Academy in Ayr, Scotland. He undertook to write this book after viewing, in 1991, a television series titled The Longest Hatred which dealt with anti-Semitism. After some research and study he was “convinced that there was more to the Christian legacy of anti-Semitism than” he “had at first thought. “
The book consists of twelve chapters. In the first, “Anti-Semitism in the Time Before Christianity,” Professor Keith remarks on the earliest literary manifestation of anti-Semitism: “We can, therefore, say with confidence that tensions
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between the Greek and Jewish populations in Egypt in the second or possibly in the third century BC saw the start of a literary tradition of anti-Semitism which has persisted in varied forms until today” (10).
Chapter Two deals with a controversial topic, “Anti-Semitism in the New Testament—the Gospels and Acts.” Dr. Keith states the case in these words:
Since the ending of the Nazi Holocaust the Christian Church has been buffeted by two distinct storms of criticism about its responsibility for generations of anti-Semitism. The first storm was stimulated by Jules Isaac, a Jewish historian from France.... [He] insisted that the Christian church was primarily responsible for the anti-Semitic legacy on which the Nazis capitalized. But he did so without impugning the New Testament. Instead, he claimed the church had misunderstood its own Scriptures and its own founder. The second storm was initiated by a Roman Catholic theologian, Rosemary Radford Ruether, who argued ... that the New Testament could not be exonerated from the charge of inherent anti-Semitism (34).
It is very important, as we follow Keith’s argument, to be careful in our exegesis of the pertinent passages in the New Testament which deal with the opposition of the Jewish authorities to the Lord Jesus Christ and His response to their hostility. This...
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