Jesus ‘Used to Be Jewish’? That’s Not What the Gospels Say

Bernard Starr, Huffington Post, Jan.17

When I interviewed Christians and Jews for my book “Jesus Uncensored: Restoring the Authentic Jew,” I heard over and over “everyone knows Jesus was Jewish.” But when I dug a little deeper I discovered that “everyone knows he was Jewish” really means “he used to be Jewish.” Then I found that many still believe that Jesus was born Christian and that he launched a new religion.

The fact is, Jesus was born into a family of practicing Jews dedicated to Judaism. As prescribed in the Torah, he was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. Throughout his life he was thoroughly committed to Judaism, the Torah and Jewish practices. He prayed in synagogues and taught Torah to “multitudes” of fellow Jews. And John the Baptist only baptized Jews to purify them for the expected arrival of the Jewish Messiah. All this is stated clearly in the Gospels.

Christians are astonished when I inform them that the word “Jew” appears 202 times in the New Testament and 82 times in the Gospels, while “Christian” does not show up at all in the Gospels and is mentioned only three times in later parts of the New Testament — the first mention is when Paul is preaching in Antioch years after the crucifixion (Acts 11:26). Why is “Christian” absent from the Gospels, which span Jesus’ life and ministry? Because there was no Christianity during Jesus’ life.

With the goal of healing antagonisms and closing the longstanding divide between Christianity and Judaism, I set out to restore the Jewish foundation of Christianity — a foundation that Christianity stands on. In this quest I explore issues that have been overlooked or minimized, issues that were major factors in severing ties between Christianity and Judaism and that blurred their common heritage.

Read the complete article here.