Monday, October 09, 2006

Anti-Judaism, Anti-Semitism, and Anti-Zionism: What's the difference?

Paula Fredriksen writes:

Is anti-Judaism, then, the same as anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism? I do not think so. The first is a theological position; the second, a racist one; the third, a political one.

Paul Fredriksen, "The Birth of Christianity and the Origins of Christian Anti-Judaism," in Paula Fredriksen and Adele Reinhartz (eds.), Jesus, Judaism and Christian Anti-Judaism: Reading the New Testament after the Holocaust (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 2002), 28.

In this sense I would say that certain documents in the NT (esp. John, Hebrews and Matthew) could be said to be anti-Judaistic (i.e. they reinterpret the Jewish tradition so as to produce a theological break from it) but they are not anti-semitic.

5 comments:

A. B. Caneday said...

Amen! These are essential distinctions.

Joel Willitts said...

While these might be regarded as justifiable distinctions, I don't think John and certianly not Matthew can be characterised by any of these terms.

Mowens said...

Might "anti-Temple" be more appropriate or would it only address some of the issues? I tend to think it would be helpful at least with regard to John.

Anonymous said...

I think the term anti-Judaism is a bit too strong. However, I appreciate the distinctions.

James Crossley said...

Just a thought: how relevant is the term 'antisemitism' is the ancient world given the relatively recent pseudo-scientific views it became associated with and the post-Holocaust connotations?

John is more than anti-Temple, isn't he? There is the constant rhetoric against 'the Jews' along with removal of other major Jewish practices (e.g. Sabbath). Jesus replaces a far bit of Jewish belief!
I would therefore go along with the idea of John as anti-Jewish.