The Church Fathers on the Jews: What's their Excuse?

C McC Mc Posts: 3,626

Why are they so hard on the Jews? Is it Scripture or societal hatred? Who's influencing whom? Has anything changed over the years? How do we explain the Church Fathers' remarks "to" or "away", to theologians today? The Church Fathers, Were they racist or "go alone, to get along" people? What was the Jews response to the Fathers? This should say a lot of what was going on in the day.

Comments

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367

    Why do you think the ECF's were so hard on them? From isolated writings taken out of context? I just skimmed through Bercot's** dictionary of EC beliefs and found some negative comments mostly having to do with Jews not being Christians and needing to know Jesus and still waiting in vain for a Messiah. I didn't come to the conclusion to which you come. I see pity, and desire for salvation. Quite a positive message in that light.

    **[Bercot, D. W. (Ed.). (1998). In A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs: A Reference Guide to More than 700 Topics Discussed by the Early Church Fathers. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.]

    The Jews imitate God by the philanthropy that prevails among them. For they have compassion on the poor. They release the captives, bury the dead, and do other things like these that are acceptable before God.… However, they, too, have erred from true knowledge --- Aristides 125

    The doctrine among all Jews on the subject of religion is fourfold: theological, natural, moral, and ceremonial. They affirm that there is one God and that He is Creator and Lord of the universe. They believe that He has formed all these glorious works that had no previous existence.… The ceremonial service that has been adapted to divine [worship] in a dignified manner has been practiced among them with the highest degree of elaboration...With solemnity and sanctity, they offer unto God the first-fruits of the gifts bestowed by Him for the use and enjoyment of men.…Hippolytus 225

    how great was the advantage that they enjoyed in being instructed almost from their birth (at least, as soon as they could speak) in the immortality of the soul, in the existence of courts of justice under the earth, and in the rewards provided for those who have lived righteous lives. Origen 248

    Although [the pagan] Celsus will not admit it, the Jews are nevertheless possessed of a wisdom superior not only to that of the multitude, but also to those who have the appearance of philosophers. Origen

    Even when your city is captured and your land ravaged, you do not repent. Rather, you dare to utter curses on Him and all who believe in Him. Nevertheless, we do not hate you. Justin Martyr 160

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,626

    Anti-Semitism of the "Church Fathers"

    Ignatius Bishop of Antioch (98-117 A.D.) – Epistle to the Magnesians

    • "For if we are still practicing Judaism, we admit that we have not received God’s favor…it is wrong to talk about Jesus Christ and live like Jews. For Christianity did not believe in Judaism, but Judaism in Christianity."

    "Epistle of Barnabas" Chapter 4vs 6-7 (between 130 A.D. and 138 A.D.)

    • "Take heed to yourselves and be not like some piling up you sins and saying that the covenant is theirs as well as ours. It is ours, but they lost it completely just after Moses received it."

    Justin Martyr - Dialogue with Trypho (Between 138 A.D. and 161 A.D.)

    • We too, would observe your circumcision of the flesh, your Sabbath days, and in a word, all your festivals, if we were not aware of the reason why they were imposed upon you, namely, because of your sins and the hardness of heart."

    • "The custom of circumcising the flesh, handed down from Abraham, was given to you as a distinguishing mark, to set you off from other nations and from us Christians. The purpose of this was that you and only you might suffer the afflictions that are now justly yours; that only your land be desolated, and you cities ruined by fire, that the fruits of you land be eaten by strangers before your very eyes; that not one of you be permitted to enter your city of Jerusalem. Your circumcision of the flesh is the only mark by which you can certainly be distinguished from other men…as I stated before it was by reason of your sins and the sins of your fathers that, among other precepts, God imposed upon you the observance of the Sabbath as a mark."

    Origen of Alexandria (185-254 A.D.) – A ecclesiastical writer and teacher who contributed to the early formation of Christian doctrines.

    • We may thus assert in utter confidence that the Jews will not return to their earlier situation, for they have committed the most abominable of crimes, in forming this conspiracy against the Savior of the human race…hence the city where Jesus suffered was necessarily destroyed, the Jewish nation was driven from its country, and another people was called by God to the blessed election.

    John Chrysostom (344-407 A.D.) – One of the "greatest" of church fathers; known as "The Golden Mouthed." A missionary preacher famous for his sermons and addresses.

    • The synagogue is worse than a brothel…it is the den of scoundrels and the repair of wild beasts…the temple of demons devoted to idolatrous cults…the refuge of brigands and dabauchees, and the cavern of devils. It is a criminal assembly of Jews…a place of meeting for the assassins of Christ… a house worse than a drinking shop…a den of thieves, a house of ill fame, a dwelling of iniquity, the refuge of devils, a gulf and a abyss of perdition."…"I would say the same things about their souls… As for me, I hate the synagogue…I hate the Jews for the same reason.
      SOURCE: "The Roots of Christian Anti-Semitism" by Malcolm Hay

    St. Augustine (c. 354-430 A.D.), Confessions, 12.14

    • "How hateful to me are the enemies of your Scripture! How I wish that you would slay them (the Jews) with your two-edged sword so that there should be none to oppose your word! Gladly would I have them die to themselves and live to you!"

    Peter the Venerable – known as "the meekest of men, a model of Christian charity"

    "Yes, you Jews. I say, do I address you; you, who till this very day, deny the Son of God. How long, poor wretches, will ye not believe the truth? Truly I doubt whether a Jew can be really human… I lead out from its den a monstrous animal, and show it as a laughing stock in the amphitheater of the world, in the sight of all the people. I bring thee forward, thou Jew, thou brute beast, in the sight of all men." SOURCE: "The Roots of Christian Anti-Semitism" by Malcolm Hay

    I didn't go looking for this, but is this the "smoking gun" centuries after the disciples Jesus died off? Just when I am just getting over Luther's remarks about Jews, now, this: Voices of the "Church Fathers" on Jews. Help me out here...

    1. Do they all get a pass? Is this anti-semitism by another name?
    2. Why are they so hard on the Jews?
    3. Is it Scripture or societal hatred?
    4. Who's influencing whom?
    5. Has anything changed over the years?
    6. How do we explain the Church Fathers' remarks "away", to young theologians today?
    7. The Church Fathers, were they racist or "go alone, to get along" people?
    8. What was the Jews response to the Fathers?

    This says a lot of what was going on in the day. Upon this, could we have blamed Luther? The churches of today that embrace these men's teachings ("Church Fathers") HAVE and SHOULD be repudiated? CM

    PS. The OP was sent before its time. This is more of what I wanted to present. CM

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,345
    edited March 2018

    @C_M_ said:
    Anti-Semitism of the "Church Fathers"

    Ignatius Bishop of Antioch (98-117 A.D.) – Epistle to the Magnesians

    • "For if we are still practicing Judaism, we admit that we have not received God’s favor…it is wrong to talk about Jesus Christ and live like Jews. For Christianity did not believe in Judaism, but Judaism in Christianity."

    "Epistle of Barnabas" Chapter 4vs 6-7 (between 130 A.D. and 138 A.D.)

    • "Take heed to yourselves and be not like some piling up you sins and saying that the covenant is theirs as well as ours. It is ours, but they lost it completely just after Moses received it."

    Justin Martyr - Dialogue with Trypho (Between 138 A.D. and 161 A.D.)

    • We too, would observe your circumcision of the flesh, your Sabbath days, and in a word, all your festivals, if we were not aware of the reason why they were imposed upon you, namely, because of your sins and the hardness of heart."

    • "The custom of circumcising the flesh, handed down from Abraham, was given to you as a distinguishing mark, to set you off from other nations and from us Christians. The purpose of this was that you and only you might suffer the afflictions that are now justly yours; that only your land be desolated, and you cities ruined by fire, that the fruits of you land be eaten by strangers before your very eyes; that not one of you be permitted to enter your city of Jerusalem. Your circumcision of the flesh is the only mark by which you can certainly be distinguished from other men…as I stated before it was by reason of your sins and the sins of your fathers that, among other precepts, God imposed upon you the observance of the Sabbath as a mark."

    Origen of Alexandria (185-254 A.D.) – A ecclesiastical writer and teacher who contributed to the early formation of Christian doctrines.

    • We may thus assert in utter confidence that the Jews will not return to their earlier situation, for they have committed the most abominable of crimes, in forming this conspiracy against the Savior of the human race…hence the city where Jesus suffered was necessarily destroyed, the Jewish nation was driven from its country, and another people was called by God to the blessed election.

    John Chrysostom (344-407 A.D.) – One of the "greatest" of church fathers; known as "The Golden Mouthed." A missionary preacher famous for his sermons and addresses.

    • The synagogue is worse than a brothel…it is the den of scoundrels and the repair of wild beasts…the temple of demons devoted to idolatrous cults…the refuge of brigands and dabauchees, and the cavern of devils. It is a criminal assembly of Jews…a place of meeting for the assassins of Christ… a house worse than a drinking shop…a den of thieves, a house of ill fame, a dwelling of iniquity, the refuge of devils, a gulf and a abyss of perdition."…"I would say the same things about their souls… As for me, I hate the synagogue…I hate the Jews for the same reason.
      SOURCE: "The Roots of Christian Anti-Semitism" by Malcolm Hay

    St. Augustine (c. 354-430 A.D.), Confessions, 12.14

    • "How hateful to me are the enemies of your Scripture! How I wish that you would slay them (the Jews) with your two-edged sword so that there should be none to oppose your word! Gladly would I have them die to themselves and live to you!"

    Peter the Venerable – known as "the meekest of men, a model of Christian charity"

    "Yes, you Jews. I say, do I address you; you, who till this very day, deny the Son of God. How long, poor wretches, will ye not believe the truth? Truly I doubt whether a Jew can be really human… I lead out from its den a monstrous animal, and show it as a laughing stock in the amphitheater of the world, in the sight of all the people. I bring thee forward, thou Jew, thou brute beast, in the sight of all men." SOURCE: "The Roots of Christian Anti-Semitism" by Malcolm Hay

    I didn't go looking for this, but is this the "smoking gun" centuries after the disciples Jesus died off? Just when I am just getting over Luther's remarks about Jews, now, this: Voices of the "Church Fathers" on Jews. Help me out here...

    1. Do they all get a pass? Is this anti-semitism by another name?
    2. Why are they so hard on the Jews?
    3. Is it Scripture or societal hatred?
    4. Who's influencing whom?
    5. Has anything changed over the years?
    6. How do we explain the Church Fathers' remarks "away", to young theologians today?
    7. The Church Fathers, were they racist or "go alone, to get along" people?
    8. What was the Jews response to the Fathers?

    This says a lot of what was going on in the day. Upon this, could we have blamed Luther? The churches of today that embrace these men's teachings ("Church Fathers") HAVE and SHOULD be repudiated? CM

    PS. The OP was sent before its time. This is more of what I wanted to present. CM

    Thanks for posting this. I believe the early church viewed the Jews as the original persecutors of the early church. And Us vs Them meant God vs Satan. Keeping in mind the first ten years of the Church was predominately and ethnically Jewish. So it wasn't any form of racism that led to the attitudes.

    But I think if we ask why the Jews suffered as they did throughout the centuries we might find they only reaped what they had sown. Why did 114 or so nations, including Hitler treat them so harshly? Was it just out of the blue, or did they drag it in on top of themselves?

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,626

    @Dave_L said:

    But I think if we ask why the Jews suffered as they did throughout the centuries we might find they only reaped what they had sown. Why did 114 or so nations, including Hitler treat them so harshly? Was it just out of the blue, or did they drag it in on top of themselves?

    Dave,
    You may want to consider abandoning the above thoughts unless you are prepared to list Jewish in fractions or misdeed against society. CM

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,693

    @C_M_ said:
    Dave,
    You may want to consider abandoning the above thoughts unless you are prepared to list Jewish in fractions or misdeed against society. CM

    keep dreaming ... if you woke up you would see it without Dave needing to provide you with a list :wink:

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,345

    @C_M_ said:

    @Dave_L said:

    But I think if we ask why the Jews suffered as they did throughout the centuries we might find they only reaped what they had sown. Why did 114 or so nations, including Hitler treat them so harshly? Was it just out of the blue, or did they drag it in on top of themselves?

    Dave,
    You may want to consider abandoning the above thoughts unless you are prepared to list Jewish in fractions or misdeed against society. CM

    I think if you research the matter in history and look into the Talmud, it would help more than I ever could. Even an internet search of Jewish attitudes toward gentiles in the Talmud would be an eye opener.

  • dct112685dct112685 Posts: 1,114

    No, the ECF were not anti-semitic. Good grief. Out of context references can "prove" anything. Just like Scripture out of context can "justify" anything.

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,626

    @davidtaylorjr said:
    No, the ECF were not anti-semitic. Good grief. Out of context references can "prove" anything. Just like Scripture out of context can "justify" anything.

    I assume you may want to give proof of your claim that the quotes are out of context. If not, they remain as stated. Needless to say, your credibility to claim "out of context references" will be seriously brought into questioned. CM

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,693
    edited March 2018

    Is being opposed ("anti-....") in general something terrible? or does it depend on to what or to whom one is opposed?
    In the context of this thread, who had which part in the more or less obvious opposing ("anti-...") attitudes in the early days of Christianity?

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367
    edited March 2018

    The moon is made of Green Cheese. If you cannot prove it is not with links to Democrat-approved sources, then it shall stand as stated.

  • dct112685dct112685 Posts: 1,114

    @C_M_ said:
    Anti-Semitism of the "Church Fathers"

    Ignatius Bishop of Antioch (98-117 A.D.) – Epistle to the Magnesians

    • "For if we are still practicing Judaism, we admit that we have not received God’s favor…it is wrong to talk about Jesus Christ and live like Jews. For Christianity did not believe in Judaism, but Judaism in Christianity."

    This is not anti-semitic. This is saying they are no longer practicing Judaism because they now follow Christ and Judaism does not.

    Justin Martyr - Dialogue with Trypho (Between 138 A.D. and 161 A.D.)

    • We too, would observe your circumcision of the flesh, your Sabbath days, and in a word, all your festivals, if we were not aware of the reason why they were imposed upon you, namely, because of your sins and the hardness of heart."

    • "The custom of circumcising the flesh, handed down from Abraham, was given to you as a distinguishing mark, to set you off from other nations and from us Christians. The purpose of this was that you and only you might suffer the afflictions that are now justly yours; that only your land be desolated, and you cities ruined by fire, that the fruits of you land be eaten by strangers before your very eyes; that not one of you be permitted to enter your city of Jerusalem. Your circumcision of the flesh is the only mark by which you can certainly be distinguished from other men…as I stated before it was by reason of your sins and the sins of your fathers that, among other precepts, God imposed upon you the observance of the Sabbath as a mark."

    This is explaning the law is no more the Gospel had arrived.

    Origen of Alexandria (185-254 A.D.) – A ecclesiastical writer and teacher who contributed to the early formation of Christian doctrines.

    • We may thus assert in utter confidence that the Jews will not return to their earlier situation, for they have committed the most abominable of crimes, in forming this conspiracy against the Savior of the human race…hence the city where Jesus suffered was necessarily destroyed, the Jewish nation was driven from its country, and another people was called by God to the blessed election.

    This poings out that the Jews (General) rejected Christ.

    John Chrysostom (344-407 A.D.) – One of the "greatest" of church fathers; known as "The Golden Mouthed." A missionary preacher famous for his sermons and addresses.

    • The synagogue is worse than a brothel…it is the den of scoundrels and the repair of wild beasts…the temple of demons devoted to idolatrous cults…the refuge of brigands and dabauchees, and the cavern of devils. It is a criminal assembly of Jews…a place of meeting for the assassins of Christ… a house worse than a drinking shop…a den of thieves, a house of ill fame, a dwelling of iniquity, the refuge of devils, a gulf and a abyss of perdition."…"I would say the same things about their souls… As for me, I hate the synagogue…I hate the Jews for the same reason.
      SOURCE: "The Roots of Christian Anti-Semitism" by Malcolm Hay

    This is explaning the fact that the Jews defiled and twisted Scripture. Is it strong language? Yes. But it is not about all Jews, it is about the Jews that reject Christ and say that they know better. In other words, Jews like the Pharisees.

    St. Augustine (c. 354-430 A.D.), Confessions, 12.14

    • "How hateful to me are the enemies of your Scripture! How I wish that you would slay them (the Jews) with your two-edged sword so that there should be none to oppose your word! Gladly would I have them die to themselves and live to you!"

    Should we not also wish that the Word of God penetrate hearts?

    Peter the Venerable – known as "the meekest of men, a model of Christian charity"

    "Yes, you Jews. I say, do I address you; you, who till this very day, deny the Son of God. How long, poor wretches, will ye not believe the truth? Truly I doubt whether a Jew can be really human… I lead out from its den a monstrous animal, and show it as a laughing stock in the amphitheater of the world, in the sight of all the people. I bring thee forward, thou Jew, thou brute beast, in the sight of all men." SOURCE: "The Roots of Christian Anti-Semitism" by Malcolm Hay

    Once again, this is regarding the Jews' refusal to accept the Son of God.

    I didn't go looking for this, but is this the "smoking gun" centuries after the disciples Jesus died off? Just when I am just getting over Luther's remarks about Jews, now, this: Voices of the "Church Fathers" on Jews. Help me out here...

    1. Do they all get a pass? Is this anti-semitism by another name?

    It's not anti-semitism at all.

    1. Why are they so hard on the Jews?

    You realize God is just as hard on the Jews? Scripture is just as hard on the Jews?

    1. Is it Scripture or societal hatred?

    Scripture

    1. Who's influencing whom?

    ?

    1. Has anything changed over the years?

    It better not have.

    1. How do we explain the Church Fathers' remarks "away", to young theologians today?

    See my comments above. This is not hard to understand.

    1. The Church Fathers, were they racist or "go alone, to get along" people?

    Neither

    1. What was the Jews response to the Fathers?

    Not sure.

    This says a lot of what was going on in the day. Upon this, could we have blamed Luther? The churches of today that embrace these men's teachings ("Church Fathers") HAVE and SHOULD be repudiated? CM

    No, you misinterpret the Fathers.

    @C_M_ said:

    @davidtaylorjr said:
    No, the ECF were not anti-semitic. Good grief. Out of context references can "prove" anything. Just like Scripture out of context can "justify" anything.

    I assume you may want to give proof of your claim that the quotes are out of context. If not, they remain as stated. Needless to say, your credibility to claim "out of context references" will be seriously brought into questioned. CM

    I have now explained the references.

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367

    Good solid answers, David.

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,626

    @GaoLu said:
    The moon is made of Green Cheese. If you cannot prove it is not with links to Democrat-approved sources, then it shall stand as stated.

    Unhelpful to the conversation. CM

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367
    edited March 2018

    Actually, it exposes and clears up the logic being applied. Thus, One would think that it would be most helpful. I respect that you do not find it personally helpful.

  • dct112685dct112685 Posts: 1,114

    @C_M_ are you going to acknowledge my response?

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,626

    @davidtaylorjr said:
    @C_M_ are you going to acknowledge my response?

    Yes, a "C". Thanks, David, for your efforts. CM

  • dct112685dct112685 Posts: 1,114

    @C_M_ said:

    @davidtaylorjr said:
    @C_M_ are you going to acknowledge my response?

    Yes, a "C". Thanks, David, for your efforts. CM

    So you really aren't interested in the truth then. You wish to think the ECF were racist and don't wish to engage the truth?

  • SmallSaulSmallSaul Posts: 1

    I was searching for info on early church attitudes toward the Jews which in my view attach to the rejection or at least ignorance of the purpose of Jesus coming to establish the Kingdom of Israel as the Messiah, which was the main last issue he addressed with his disciples just before he ascended. It is my view, that as Paul warned the gentile believers not to become puffed up, since they were only granted an opportunity to be grafted into Israel. It is a short time opportunity for which any gentile believer should be humbly grateful. After that he wishes if his being cut off from Christ could bring them in, he would acquiesce to it.

    What I see in many of these C fathers comments is arrogance against a group of brothers who have been broken off from their own tree. There is some grief over it by some, but an overall feeling of almost hatred. Party spirit (factiousness) is a work of the flesh. You reject my president?! You reject my savior?! I'll fight you! Is there some of that there? At any rate, my point is that restoration of Israel nationally and I believe, spiritually is beginning. The hardness is being removed, and many many in Israel and other places are beginning to be called and chosen. The land of Israel is ready to receive the feet of the Messiah on the Mount of Olives, and those Jewish believers and gentiles who became grafted in Jews through Christ will be with Him when he returns to set up the glorious Kingdom of God, restored to Israel at last! Acts 1:6-10

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