Dialogue or Diatribe?
Studies in the Historical Connection Between Christian Theology and Anti-Jewish Rhetoric

John August Schumacher

eBook edition Cover art: “The Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem” by Francesco Hayez (1791–1882) Unless otherwise indicated, Bible quotations are my own translations. The Greek text used is the third edition Greek New Testament (London: United Bible Society, 1983). The LXX text is the 8th edition Septuaginta (Stuttgart: Wüttembergische Bibelanstalt, 1965). Copyright © 2013 John August Schumacher All rights reserved

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............................................................................................................60 The Logos............75 JUSTIN ON “ISRAEL” AND THE FATE OF THE JEWS .................................................................................................................... 53 The Origin and Nature of the Logos ................................................................ 75 The Law as Proscription for Jewish Sin ............... 42 PROPHECY AND SUPERSESSIONISM ............................................................... 83 4 ..........................................................................................55 The “Spermatic Logos” ............................................................................ 9 –2– ANTI-JEWISH RHETORIC IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN .. 20 –3– JUSTIN MARTYR’S DIALOGUE WITH TRYPHO ....66 JUSTIN ON THE MOSAIC LAW .............................................................54 The Distinction Between the Father and the Son ...................64 Justin’s Doctrine of Scripture ......................36 Outline of the Book ............................49 JUSTIN’S COSMIC PRINCIPLE .................................................................................53 The Logos as a Cosmic Principle ................................................................63 JUSTIN’S INTERPRETIVE INNOVATION ...............................40 JUSTIN AND HIS WORLD ................................................................ 31 INTRODUCTION ................................................... 31 Dating the Historical Argument ................................................... 7 –1– THE “JEWISH CONSPIRACY” IN THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW ..CONTENTS FORWARD ............................................... 45 Justin’s Presuppositions: Outline ............................. 64 The Logos as an Hermeneutical Principle ................ Christology and the Historical Argument .................................................................................................................................

.. 119 CONTEXT OF THE CONTROVERSY ........................................ 176 THE “JEWISH CONSPIRACY” IN THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW ..................................................... 123 LUTHER’S RESPONSE TO COUNTER-INTERPRETATIONS ............................................ 162 Christian Identity and the Apocalypse ................................................................................................................................................................................. 159 THE END TIMES . 133 CONCLUSIONS ...................................................................................................... 137 –6– PURITY AND SALVATION IN PAULINE CHRISTIANITY AND “CHRISTIAN IDENTITY” ........................................................................................................... 145 Is Paul Anti-Judaic? ............ 170 –7– FINAL THOUGHTS .............................................................................................................................................................................................................. 99 –4– AUGUSTINE AND THE JEWS: PROPHECY AND HISTORY IN CITY OF GOD ................................... 89 Suggestions for Further Research.......................................................... 83 THE LEGACY OF SUPERSESSIONISM.............................DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? God’s Actions in History .................................................................... 139 PAUL’S WORLD: PHARISAIC JUDAISM ............................................... 139 INTRODUCTION ............... 119 INTRODUCTION ........... 156 The “Chosen People of God” ........ 176 5 ........................................................... 127 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF LUTHER’S “HISTORICAL ARGUMENT” ................. 89 Ancient Polemic and Modern Faith ......................................... 102 –5– LUTHER’S VIEW OF HISTORY AND THEOLOGY IN ON THE JEWS AND THEIR LIES ......................................................... 162 Paul and the End Times: Resurrection and Redemption ... 141 Paul’s “Theology of Inclusion” ................ 157 The Gospel According to Christian Identity: Salvation by Race ............................... 166 CONCLUSIONS .. 120 THE JEWS AND DIVINE JUDGMENT .......... 149 CHRISTIAN IDENTITY’S DOCTRINE OF RACIAL PURITY ..................... 173 SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY ...........................................................................

.................................................................................................. 177 LUTHER’S VIEW OF HISTORY AND THEOLOGY IN ON THE JEWS AND THEIR LIES............... 179 PURITY AND SALVATION IN PAULINE CHRISTIANITY . 179 6 ..JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER JUSTIN MARTYR’S DIALOGUE WITH TRYPHO .......................

As will be argued in more detail herein. Part III. meanwhile. a convert from Neoplatonism to Christianity.D.FORWARD The work presented here is a culmination of my interest in the history of Christian animosity toward the Jews. meanwhile. In his Dialogue With Trypho. it carries connotations of hatred for Jews based on ethnic or “racial” prejudice. anti-Judaism. which he insists is a prophecy for the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple in 70 A. My study of this subject culminated in a thesis 7 . As such. I prefer the term “anti-Jewish” to either the more ubiquitous term anti-Semitism or its complement. Justin goes to some length to prove that Judaism has been superseded by Christianity. skips ahead to the second century and a man named Justin. having been coined in the 19th century. Parts I and II examine two instances of anti-Jewish rhetoric in the New Testament. I would argue. The former is of recent origin. The latter. Justin’s argument involves an obscure text from Genesis (49:10). however. Epithets such as “Christ-killer” leveled against Jews would fall into this category. is meant to describe animosity based on religious disagreement. What follows is focused on the religious side of this equation. that the distinction between the terms is artificial: the simple fact is that historic hatred of Jews was often a complex matter that involved both ethnic and religious dimensions.

et al. In the years that followed my encounter with Luther’s diatribe. an outgrowth of an earlier movement called British Israelism. The paper I wrote for a history class at the time is now included as Part V. meanwhile. I had become aware of the existence of a Christian Identity. were imposters. Christian Identity claimed to have found the true people of Israel in the pale-faced population of northern Europe. is a series of snapshots in the history of antiJewish sentiments on the part of Christians.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER submitted to the faculty of Wartburg Theological Seminary (Dubuque. On the Jews and Their Lies. I traced allusions to Genesis 49:10 (which I had dubbed the “historical argument”) back through Christian history. My own observations and conclusions. Luther quoted Genesis 49:10 to prove that the Jews had been replaced by the Christian church as the Chosen People of God. constituting Part VIII. What follows then. Whereas Justin. Raised a Lutheran (and the son of a pastor to boot!). To wit: the Germanic and Scandinavian were the so-called “ten lost tribes of Israel. At the same time. It was this work that was the catalyst for later studies that led to the thesis outlined above. argued that Christianity replaced the Jews as the Chosen People of God. are offered as well.” The Jews. January 2013 8 . it was not until I was in college that I heard of Luther’s infamous diatribe. That thesis now constitutes Part III of this study. It is my hope that my own contributions can help others who are pursuing similar research. Within the pages of this venomous tract. Part IV then jumps ahead to the time of the Reformation. IA) in 1998 as part of the requirements for a Master of Arts. I encountered its use in Augustine’s City of God (the resulting research paper included as Part IV) and finally in the work of a Justin. Along the way..

“He has been raised from the dead. lest his disciples. and you will see him there. we remember that that impostor said while living. Out of fear of him those who were guarding were shaken and became as the dead. coming by night. tell his disciples. “Do not be afraid. “Lord. steal him and say to the people. just as he said. for he has been raised. the chief priests and Pharisees came together before Pilate.–1– THE “JEWISH CONSPIRACY” IN THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW On the next day. at the dawning of the first [day] of the Sabbath. “After three days I will rise. saying. Behold I said [this] to 9 . After the Sabbath. for you know that Jesus who was crucified lives.” Pilate said to them. His face was as lightning and his clothing bright as snow. go make it [as] secure as you know. for an angel of the Lord coming down out of heaven and coming forward rolled away the stone and began to sit on it. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold. Come see the place where he was.’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” And going. And going quickly. “Have a guard of soldiers.” Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day. there was a great earthquake. which is after the day of preparation. sealing the stone [along] with the soldiers. But the angel said by way of answer to the women. ‘He has been raised from the dead. they began to secure the tomb. and behold he goes before you into Galilee. He is not here.

And after they had gathered together with the elders. “ Do not be afraid. And behold Jesus met them. early Christians developed its 1 Matthew 27:62-28:15 10 . reported to the chief priests all that had happened. an alternative interpretation of Jesus’ purported resurrection was offered: he had not risen from the dead. they took ho ld of his feet and worshipped him. What are to make of this strange tale? I believe the text itself provides the answer: it is a theological and polemical refutation of Jewish disbelief in Jesus. saying. which may only have been spread by word of mouth. however. In reacting to this Jewish polemic. It is possible. only Matthew relates this story of a “conspiracy” between the Jewish leaders and the guards whom they had placed to watch Jesus’ tomb. “Say.” While they were going. Then Jesus said to them. they gave it to the soldiers. we will persuade him and make you free from care. to speculate about its general content. it denied that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. I further believe that in this passage. And this story is spread widely among the Jews up to this day. ‘His disciples.’ And should this be heard by the governor. And quickly going up from the tomb with fear and great joy they ran to report to his disciples.” Those who took the silver did as they had been instructed. his dead body had been taken (stolen) from the tomb by his disciples.1 Of the canonical Gospels. Rather. after coming at night. who then claimed he had returned from the dead. Instead. Matthew is refuting a story put forward by his Jewish rivals that explained Jesus’ resurrection in purely naturalistic terms. “Greetings!” Coming to him. following from this would be a denial that Jesus was raised from the dead. taking a large amount of silver. No attempt will be made to “reconstruct” this source. and they will be seeing me there. behold some of the soldiers. despite what his followers insisted. Go report to my disciples that I went into Galilee. stole him while we were sleeping. saying. after going into the city.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER you. First.

Vol. The guards posted to watch the tomb were first-hand witnesses to this miraculous event. though the choice of wording is most unusual. but must not be allowed to tell others. 1968). is found in Gerhard Friedrich (ed. This word ties into an earlier theme in Matthew’s story. The guards were eyewitnesses to the event. (Grand Rapids. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.” This must mean the Sabbath. VI. that is.e. who could not allow word of Jesus’ resurrection to spread. Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. developed usage which the translators of the Septuagint adopted and which was to influence the New Testament writers. While the Septuagint does use πλαωάω in the literal The text reads: “The next day. 228-253. B.). The chief priests and Pharisees (who are not mentioned afterward) approach Pilate and request that a guard be placed at the entrance to the tomb where Jesus is being laid. 2 11 . the tale was turned on its head. after the day of Preparation.”3 However. lest it undermine their own authority. Eerdmans Publishing Company. it is a later. nor of the problem this would create for their eating the Passover meal! 3 A full discussion of the history of πλάνος from which this brief outline is taken. in the process.. The term used by the Jewish officials to describe Jesus is strong and derogatory: πλάνος. but were silenced by the Jewish officials. The Greek verb πλανάω literally means “to lead astray. MI: Wm.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? own. but first is it necessary to say more about the word itself. They were therefore bribed into complicity. What is intriguing about this text is Matthew’s portrayal of Jewish officials.2 Their concern is that his disciples would fulfill their master’s prophecy (i. his claim that he would rise from the dead after three days) by stealing the body. only to claim that he was resurrected. Matthew is apparently unconcerned with the paradox of having Torah-conscious Pharisees approach a ritually-impure Gentile (Pilate) on the most holy Sabbath of the year. Also.

” … “And then many will be caused to fall. as in the command not to lead the blind astray4. ‘I am the Christ. For false Christs and false prophets will be raised up. it is more often used to mean a transgression of the will of God. however. 27:62-28:15 text.5 Jesus’ point is clear: He alone is the true Messiah (Christ). they are a deceiver (πλάνος).’ and they will lead many astray [καί πολλους πλανήσοῦσιν]. 9-11. In the LXX. Hebrew Scripture stresses the culpability of humanity: humans sin because. Jesus is a false Messiah.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER sense. a πλάνος who mislead his disciples into believing that he would return from Deuteronomy 27:18a: “Cursed is the one leading the blind astray on the road” (LXX). the “leading astray” of oneself or others. saying. though hearing the word of God. this “straying” from the right path is πλάνος. even the elect. ‘Behold. According to them. When we return to the Mt.’ do not believe. 5 Mt. for many will be coming in my name. 24:4. if it is possible. And many false prophets will be raised up and they will lead many astray… Then if someone should say to you. and they will hand each other over and hate each another. after denouncing the scribes and Pharisees and predicting the destruction of the temple. here is the Christ. they do not obey. 24:23-24. and they will give great signs and omens so as to lead astray.’ or ‘Here. we see this charge of “leading astray” applied by the Jewish officials to Jesus. If anyone else comes claiming to be the Christ. 4 12 . In chapter 24. This notion is present in Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus. Jesus cautions his disciples about false teachers: “See that someone does not lead you astray [πλάνήση]. Later development tied πλάναω to eschatological dualism.

A. Prophets and Messiahs. It is to this that we now turn. that Jesus was one of many persons making claims within the bounds of existing notions of a coming “anointed one” or king-figure. Horsley and J. as noted above. however. 7 Luke 24:19. S. Bandits. it is important to remember that Jesus was not the first (nor the last) “messiah” to be executed by the Romans. The dramatic appearance of the angel at the tomb and the bribing of the guards by the Jewish officials points to the fact the Jews knew the truth. Hanson6 argue that modern assumptions about messianic expectation among ancient Jews are skewed. 1985). A. In this light. Hanson.” one of the travelers on the road to Emmaus went on to state that “we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. the Jewish religious leadership merely added the name of Jesus of Nazareth to their list of πλάνοι (“deceivers”).”7 Jesus fulfilled the requirements expected of a messiah. The authors point out. which in this case seems to have been interpreted in worldly terms. Nonetheless. There were others both before and after Jesus who made messianic claims and attracted followers. S. his word would be fulfilled. (Minneapolis: Winston Press. It is also a matter of debate as to whether the term messiah is rightly applied to this time period. as is the Jews’ rejection of Jesus as Messiah. According to Matthew. the very term messiah may not have been used by the people to whom we attribute it. 21 6 13 . The circle is complete.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? the dead. Moreover. even if this meant stealing the body and falsifying the resurrection. the story is exactly reversed. Horsley and J. the writers of the New Testament do tie Jesus to messianic expectation. R. Describing Jesus of Nazareth as “a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people. He who would redeem R. or at least not in the time we assume it to have been used. but chose to ignore and cover it up. They also insist that our understanding of messianic expectation at the time of Jesus is exaggerated and misunderstood. First.

9 Finally.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Israel would do so with the sword. Matthew. the Greek term christos (hence. is less concerned with the Romans’ historical or political motivations in crucifying Jesus as an insurrectionist who claimed the title “King of the Jews” than with the theological and eschatological plot perpetrated against him. the election of a king was a “revolutionary” act done in the face of an external threat (such as the Philistines) or internal problems (e.. Horsely and Hanson. Jesus clearly placed himself in opposition to the religious and political authorities of his day.10 In its original context. the messiah was not a universal divine savior come to save the world from sin. from which we get “Messiah. I Kings lays particular emphasis on Yahweh’s intervention in human history. Ancient Israelite kingship was “conditional. 94. but an earthly. giving the king a spiritual as well as political base. however. I Kings 11:26-40.’ and was revolutionary. The historical reasons for his death are thus as numerous as the enemies he made during his lifetime. Horsley and Hanson note that Jewish messianic expectation among the peasantry was that of a king (“anointed one”) in Davidic fashion. raising up a new king after Solomon became oppressive and had violated the covenant. anointed by the power of God and elected by the people. was by popular election or ‘anointing. as the king who would vanquish the Roman occupiers and reestablish the throne of David. 12:16-20).”8 In other words. similarly.” a charge which is loaded with meaning. “Christ”).g. human ruler. Added to this was the notion that those chosen were anointed by Yahweh. The charge made was that Jesus claimed to be “king of the Jews. 10 See I Kings 11:1-13 9 8 14 . who was chosen by God and anointed by Samuel to become the first king of Israel. The term meshiak. Israelite kings were elected by popular election or casting lots and could be removed in like fashion. The connection of anointing with kingship hearkens back to Saul.” means “anointed one”.

DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? who would follow God’s will and establish God’s rule in the form of a more just society on earth. But this is not the definition in which Matthew and the Jesus community believed. The definition had changed, for in Jesus they saw not an earthly king but a heavenly figure walking among humans. Jesus’ life and death was seen as the fulfillment of prophecy from the very Scriptures that early Christians shared with their Jewish brothers and sisters. But there was more. The earthly Jesus had very little that was positive to say about the state-of-affairs in the world of his day. His teaching turned accepted ways of thinking and behaving upside-down and inside-out. Such ideas would have been seen by the existing power structure as chaos and madness amidst their ordered society. For this, he was hated by both Jewish and Roman officials, who may have conspired together to kill Jesus, as the text claims. However, what the text is relating in retrospect, some forty or so years after Jesus’ crucifixion, cannot be taken at face value, particularly in the light of the focus-text for this study. With this in mind, I believe Matthew 27:62-28:15 is shown for what it really is: a combination of evangelical outreach toward the unconverted and anti-Jewish polemic against those who refused to believe. Moreover, Matthew’s mosaic incorporates Hebrew Bible quotations to reinterpret the term “Israel” itself. For Matthew, the community that confesses Jesus as Messiah is the new Israel. Jesus did not come arguing against Torah, but bringing a new interpretation of it. This is Jesus the über-rabbi, come to bring right understanding, but only to those who comprehend his teaching.11 As anti-Jewish polemic, on the other hand, Matthew’s gospel lashes out against the “enemy.” Portraying Jewish reactions against Jesus, Matthew intends his readers to come away with a sense of appeasement: those who now work and speak against them have
Cf. 11:25, where Jesus is portrayed praying to the Father with thanks that “you [God] have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants.”


JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER done so since the beginning. It is these unbelievers that Peter F. Ellis dubs “pseudo-Israel.” By rejecting Jesus, the Jewish officials (typified as “Pharisees”) have themselves been rejected; while this animosity may have been present for the historical Jesus, it is in Matthew’s time a way of dealing with polemic coming from the synagogue. The story of the Pharisees’ relations with Jesus mirrors the situation between Jews and Christians in Matthew’s own day.12 Viewed in this light, the πλάνος texts in Matthew 24:4, 24:9-11, 24:23-24 and 27:63 are part of the same “window and mirror” situation. It is no accident that the warning Jesus gives about false messiahs is mirrored in the charge by the Pharisees and high priests that he is a πλάνος. Again, this serves as a mirror for Matthew’s admonition to avoid false teachings. What is more interesting, however, is the window this opens to relations between Matthew’s community and the synagogue of his day, with particular attention to the larger context of polemical exchange that must have existed. In short, there must have been considerable animosity between the Christian community and the synagogue—enough, at least, to warrant the type of polemic here displayed. It is unlikely, I think, that Matthew would tell such a story for no reason; apart from helping to forward Matthew’s theological agenda, the 27:62-28:15 text has no real place in his gospel. In addition, the animosity must have endured, since there are numerous allusions in other, later texts to this very problem. My conclusions are corroborated by several scholars. Noting the usage of the term “Jews” in Matthew 28:15, A. J. Saldarini distinguishes between certain unbelieving “Jews” who are the target of Matthew’s polemic and the people of Israel in general:
Caution should be exercised in distinguishing too immovably between “Jews” and “Christians,” since there were likely many who considered themselves Jews who believed in Christ, and not as converts to a new, separate religion. The use of the terms here, as well as that of “church,” is strictly for succinctness of language.



Clearly the author of Matthew is replying to a common charge of fraud made by Jews who did not accept Jesus and his resurrection. The author explains the origin of this charge by the story of the bribed guards and then comments, ‘and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.’ … The author of Matthew attacks a particular group within Israel with the gentile designation for Israel. . .Their distance from Matthew is conveyed by the gentile usage “Jews.” However, not all those in Israel, but only some, those who have rejected Jesus’ resurrection, are included in this designation.13

It is Saldarini’s contention that Matthew’s use of “Jews” is a window into the animosity between those who did and those who did not accept Jesus as Messiah, respectively. He notes that “Jew” was a term used by Gentiles and not by the people of Israel as selfdesignation. Saldarini also argues that Matthew’s church was concerned less with divisions among Christians (such as was Paul) than with the relationship of the church to the synagogue. In Matthew’s time, it seems clear that those in the synagogue and those in the Christian community clashed over messianic claims about Jesus. In attacking this splinter group of “Jewish-Christians,” it is understandable that some in the synagogue might create a rumor about Jesus which included a less-than-flattering explanation for the resurrection. (After all, in response to the virgin birth, Jewish polemic held that Jesus was the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier. How far is it to also disclaim the resurrection as the work of grave-robbing disciples?) As stated before, a plethora of external evidence points to the

Anthony. J. Saldarini, Matthew’s Christian-Jewish Community, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994), 35.



the notion of grave-robbing disciples fits nicely with the idea that Jesus and his followers were deceivers. Claudia Setzer. and had consummated their unbelief by knowingly covering up his resurrection. 40ff. In his Dialogue With Trypho. they were transmitted throughout the church. 41 on page 200. 16 For John’s usage of πλάνος see John 7:10-31.. and Martin Luther in the 16th century accepted and forwarded this belief is evidence of its enduring influence. 1994). (Minneapolis: Fortress Press. 108. In his treatise On the Jews and Their Lies. That transmission brought with it the understanding that certain Jews had conspired against Jesus during his lifetime. Jewish nonbelievers) a naturalistic explanation for the resurrection was necessary.16 What this also means is that no matter the nature of the original rumor. 15 Justin Martyr. See also n. the Christian side of this exchange) continued long after Matthew’s time.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER existence of such a Jewish rumor. adding that this had been foreshadowed in Jonah’s three-day affair in the belly of a fish and foretold to the Jews by Jesus himself. Justin Martyr repeats the claim that the Jews knew about the resurrection of Jesus and covered up the truth. The fact that the author of John’s gospel in the first century. 14 18 . 15 Although Setzer questions whether or not Justin is merely repeating the charges made by Matthew. Jewish Responses to Early Christians: History and Polemics. it is clear that this polemical exchange (or. who knowingly hide the truth from the people. Dialogue With Trypho. at least. Setzer sees this passage as falling against the framework of first-century polemic between Christians and Jews. For nonbelievers (particularly. Claudia Setzer14 points to several Jewish and later Christian writings in which references or allusions are made to alternative explanations for the resurrection.E. The point is that after Matthew’s words had been written down. but lays much of the blame on the rabbis. Martin Luther vacillates between espousing the blindness of the Jews and condemning their wanton ignorance. Justin in the second. 30 -150 C.

Such persons have no part in the Christian community. Unfortunately for history. and even more difficult to expunge from. Matthew added to the history of anti-Jewish polemic a conspiracy story that is difficult to reconcile with. for they are not part of the true Israel. the Gospel message. 19 .DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? the resulting polemical reaction by Christianity throughout history has been furious: anyone who does not believe that Jesus was really raised from the dead is a πλάνος. in his attempt to defend Christian belief against an assault (real or perceived) from the synagogue.

my judgment is true (valid). You judge according to the flesh. Whomever follows me will never walk in the Darkness.–2– ANTI-JEWISH RHETORIC IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN Again. and the Father who sent me [also] witnesses about me. because it is not I alone. “If I witness about myself. 20 . I AM the one witnessing about myself. “I am the Light of the world. because I know from where I came and to where I am going. you would have known my Father. the Pharisees said to him. In your own law it is written that the witness of two persons is valid.” Therefore. emphasis mine. saying. “Where is your father?” Jesus answered. my witness is true. If you had known me. but I and the one who sent me. because his hour had not yet come. Jesus spoke to them.” Therefore. And if I do judge. they began to say to him. I judge no one. Your witness is not true (valid). “You know neither me nor my Father. And no one arrested him. Jesus answered and said to them. but will have the Light of life. “You are witnessing about yourself.” He spoke these words while teaching in the treasury in the temple.17 17 John 8:12-20.

W. between the true Light (Jesus) and all “false” (or incomplete) lights. and his own people did not accept [or receive] him.19 The dichotomy between believer and unbeliever appears immediately in the first chapter of the Gospel. the one having been sent from God … came in order that he might witness about the Light … [for] this one [John] was not the Light. master” or (2) “seize with hostile intent. was coming into the world. A Shorter Lexicon of the New Testament. it is also tied to a motif of judgment which runs throughout John’s Gospel. F. comprehend and overcome. and the world did not know him. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. overtake. which enlightens all human beings. As such. Gingrich18 suggest two possibilities: (1) “grasp.” and furthermore. “Light” then disappears from the text until the third chapter. He was in the world. First among these incomplete lights is John the Baptist.” As we shall see. John 1:4 states that “life” was in the Logos. 110. where it is unequivocally connected to judgment (κρίσις).” This Light is said to “shine in the Darkness. it is part of the ongoing Johannine dichotomy between those who believe and walk in “Light” from those who do not believe and walk in “Darkness. put out. 1975). while this Light is said to be “life” of all human beings. After stating that F. Wilbur Gingrich. 18 21 . fifth impression. come upon. the Gospel of John draws the sharp distinction between “Light” and Darkness. and that that life was “the Light of all human beings. 19 John 1:6-11. and the world came into being through him. The true Light.” From beginning to the end.” and the Darkness did not κατέλεβεν it.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? The motif of “light” (φώς) is introduced early in John’s Gospel. He came to his own things. The exact translation of κατέλεβεν in 1:5 is crucial to understanding John’s gospel as a whole.

but when they are. true Light.g. explicitly states that some “Jews” believed in Jesus. the “crowds” of 7:12-13. the one sent from God to testify about the Light. (2) Jesus’ opponents are not always mentioned by name (e. we are told that “the one who believes in him [the Son] is not judged. though that belief is challenged by Jesus and leads ultimately to his condemnation of them as children of the Devil. the verb is a perfect form (κέκρεται) indicating a state which has come into being in the past and continues in the present. they alternate between οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι and the Pharisees (see most notably 8:12-20). those who do evil and stay away from the Light. who is the Light.”21 In 5:18.” while the one who refuses to believe is already judged.. but in order that it might be saved through him. in comparison to the one. The scene is one of yet another conflict between Jesus and his opponents.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER the Son came into the world not in order to judge it.20 The distinction is made emphatic in verse 19: As we see from these two passages. (3) in claiming that Jesus has a demon and is deceiving the crowd. As such. 20). is contrasted with Jesus. in fact. Jesus’ “deception” of the crowd is spoken in 20 22 .” for it is the very Word through which all that exists came into being. But as such. it is the “life of all human beings. 8:31ff. we are told that “the Judeans” John 3:17-18a. his opponents seem to connect his “possession” with his birthplace and with a regional rivalry between “Judeans” from Jerusalem (symbolizing the Temple establishment and Jewish authorities) and Samaritans or Galilean “outsiders” looked down upon by that establishment. “Light” is a double-edged sword. it also entails an implicit “judgment” or “discrimination” of persons: John the Baptist. it is also the Great Discriminator persons: those who do good and walk toward the Light vs. In John 5:35. On the one hand. a statement probably more rhetorical than universal. we encounter yet a third use of “light”—that of metaphor for the witness of a lesser light. “the Judeans. In 7:45-52. 21 I believe that the Greek term οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι is more appropriately translated “the Judeans” for several reasons: (1) not all “Jews” oppose Jesus.

following his statement equating himself with God (see 5:1-18). 52). Further. in which he details his relationship to the Father and his authority arising therefrom. John’s relevance and importance are upheld: he was a “burning and shining lamp”—a “light” to the people. is just as quickly downplayed in favor of the true witness to Jesus: the Father who sent him. we see the “light” of John the Baptist contrasted with the one to whom he witnessed. and I know that his witness. the midst of the heated exchange in 7:31-59. but I say these things to you in order that you might be saved. preparing the way for the Light (Jesus) to come. First. The key passage for our purposes is verse 31ff. for “a prophet is not to arise out of Galilee” (v. who is the true Light. where Jesus names John the Baptist among the witnesses to his authority: If I witness about myself. my witness is not true. but you wished to rejoice in his light [only] for an hour. the witness of John. in which Jesus proclaims that the οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι are children of the Devil. It is this witness. You have sent [people] to John. they respond by saying. put forth in Jesus’ defense. is true. I do not accept the witness of a human being. Jesus. Jesus responds with a long monologue. Several important themes permeate the passage. that Jesus’ opponents refuse to terms also of his place of origin. it is clear that the people did bask in John’s light for a time.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? are seeking to kill Jesus. to whom Jesus constantly refers and in comparison to whom all others stand in secondary position. However. Secondly. That one [John] was a burning and shining lamp. But I have a witness greater than John’s…22 Here again. which he witnesses about me. and he has witnessed to the truth. “Is it not right that we say that you are a Samaritan and you have a demon?” 22 John 5:31-36 23 .. There is another who is witnessing about me.

’ your sin remains. as evident in Chapter 9. by Jesus. ‘We see. The climax occurs in 9:35ff. the theme of light is applied directly to Jesus. where Jesus links the literal blindness of the man to the metaphorical lack of insight that the Pharisees are displaying: And Jesus said. Jesus response is as surprising as it is illuminating to the overall theme of “light” within John’s gospel: 23 24 John 8:12. “I am the Light of the world. Once again. “We are not blind also. light and life are connected. there is an example of the enigmatic Jesus making statements which seem wildly out of context to the rest of the storyline. Having received word that Lazarus was ill. Whoever follows me will never walk in the Darkness.”24 In the story of the raising of Lazarus. Jesus heals a man who was blind from birth. In John 8:12-20. Jesus’ opponents were plotting against his life. Upon hearing this.” Those of the Pharisees who were with him heart these things and said to him. “If you were blind. those who believe and follow Jesus are contrasted with those who do not: Again. and this miracle prompts an investigation by the Pharisees. saying. “For judgment I came into this world. John 9:39-41. and those who see might become blind. But now [because] you say. and again. in order that those who do not see might see. Jesus spoke to them.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER accept. are we?” Jesus said to them. Jesus and his disciples prepare to return to Judea. 24 . Jesus’ disciples question the wisdom of returning to the very area where just a short time before. but will have the Light of life.. you would not have sin.”23 Light is also connected to sight.

because the Light is not in him/her. because he/she sees the Light of this world. in order that you might become children of the Light. he/she stumbles. Having entered Jerusalem. in order that the Darkness not overcome [or seize or comprehend(?)] you. despite the continuing threat from his opponents. Jesus “cries out” in verse 46: I have come. Answering the crowd. we are reminded of the urgency of Jesus’ mission on earth: Jesus is here for only a short time. Jesus avoids a direct response to their question of who the Son of Man is. illustrative of the large scope of “light” within the Fourth Gospel. in order that whoever believes in me may not remain in the Darkness. believe in the Light. Jesus is again teaching in public. “Are there not twelve hours of the day? If someone should walk in the day. 27 John 12:46. he/she does not stumble. John 12:35-36. for our purposes. And whoever walks in the Darkness does not know where I am going.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Jesus answered. Walk as you have the Light.27 25 26 John 11:9-10. so do not delay in believing in Jesus and accepting/comprehending the Light. 25 . This message of urgency is explicit in 12:35-36. after which he will return to the Father. the author(s) seem to be saying. But if someone should walk in the night. The urgency of Jesus’ message is also an urgency for those who would believe: time is short.26 Finally. Again. As you have the Light. a Light in the world.25 This strange response to the disciples question about Jesus safety is. telling them instead: Still a short time the Light of the world is among [literally: “in”] you.


As we have seen, Light and Darkness are opposing principles— cosmic realities—in John’s Gospel. As the Light of the world, Jesus—the incarnate Logos—embodies that life offered to those who believe and follow him. But the distinction between Light and Darkness is no mere dualism. The key to this understanding lies in the term κατέλαβεν, a term which can be described as having both worldly and other-worldly sets of meaning.28 By “worldly,” I mean the following possible translations: “seize with hostile intent,” or “overtake” or “come upon.” By “other-worldly,” I mean “grasp” and/or “comprehend.” The distinction between the two sets is clear: the former is one of action against the Light, while the latter is the lack of reception of understanding of it. The interplay between these meanings is crucial to understanding John’s use of the light motif. Jesus, who came from the Father and will return to the Father, is the Light of the world while in the world, offering a way (indeed, the only way) for human beings to avoid walking in Darkness. This is no Gnostic dualism of psychics and sarkics.29 All who believe, accept, comprehend or grasp the Light will be saved, for “the one who hears my word and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (5:24). This provides a segue to the second part of our topic: Light as judgment. Jesus states repeatedly throughout the gospel that he
These two sets of meanings are listed in Gingrich; the designations are my own. 29 Gnosticism taught that psychics were those who had the most of the spark of divinity within them, while sarkics had the least. Psychic comes from ψύχη, often translated “soul.” Sarkic comes from σαρχ, meaning “flesh.” In Gnostic metaphysics, the psychic was the most spiritual, being most imbued with the spark of divinity from the world of Light (above). The sarkic, meanwhile, was closest to creation and the world of matter (below).


DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? judges no one, though even if he does judge, that judgment is valid, because it is not he alone who judges, but the Father as well (see 8:15ff). This theme of “non-judgment” or delayed judgment is part of the realized eschatology of John’s gospel. John 3:16-21 goes to great pains to point out that the Father did not send the Son to judge the world, but to save it. The “Light of the world,” which comes into a world that is hostile to it, becomes the Great Discriminator of persons, separating those who believe from those who do not. Ironically, that judgment is not an active process on God’s part, but the passive result of human decision and refusal to believe:
Whomever believes in him [Jesus] is not judged, but whoever does not believe already has been judged, because he/she has not believed in the only begotten Son of God.30

It is not Jesus nor even the Father who condemns; rather, the human being who refuses to believe in Jesus as the Messiah has already judged him- or herself, by the active rejection of Jesus’ message. Such is the realized eschatology: those who walk in the Light avoid judgment, while those who continue to walk in Darkness are already judged. John 12:44-50 is clear: Jesus has come as a Light to the world, so that those who believe will no longer be in Darkness. There is no hint of predestination here, so as to say that some are “chosen” by God to remain in Darkness; rather, the knowledge of the world’s rejection of the Light is enough to condemn unbelievers by their own stubbornness.
Whoever rejects [or ignores] me and does not receive [or accept or comprehend or grasp] my word has a judge: the word which I have spoken—that will judge him [or her] on last day. Because I myself have not spoken, but the one who sent me, the Father, has given me a commandment

John 3:18.


what I say and what I speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. Therefore, what I am telling to you, just as the Father has spoken to me, so I am telling to you.31

Note how this passage connects to the focus text, 8:12-20. Jesus speaks not on his own authority, but on the Father’s authority, with a “commandment” given to him by the Father. This commandment is eternal life, but it is clear that this commandment also only applies to those who believe or accept Jesus, the Light of the world. Jesus’ word which will judge on the last day is the very “commandment” of the Father: the offer of eternal life to those who believe and the promise that to follow Jesus is to step out of the Darkness into the Light. This is not a matter of coming to the fork in the road and choosing between two paths; rather, it is a matter of the world, which already walks in Darkness, being given the opportunity to come out of that Darkness into the one, true Light of the world—out of judgment and into eternal life. Those who refuse remain where they were to begin with, and the word of life and promise that Jesus spoke to them becomes a witness (testimony) to their judgment. This is most clearly stated in John 5:39-47, where Jesus attacks the false sense of security to which his opponents continue to cling:
You search the scriptures, because you think you have life in them. They are the ones witnessing about me. [But] you do not wish to come to me in order that you might have life. I do not accept glory from a human being, but I have come to know that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. I have spoken in the name of my Father, and you do not receive [accept] me. If another should come in his own name, you would receive [that one]. How is it possible for that you believe the glory received from


John 12:48-50


(Garden City.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? another [human being] and do not seek the glory which [comes] from God alone?32 The symbolic power of this passage is elusive. The Anchor Bible: The Gospel According to John. that Torah had come to be seen by Jews of Jesus’ day as the “imperishable light” given to the world.”34 When seen in his light. they do not operate with the proper discernment of persons. Moses is your accuser.) that placed emphasis on the Law to the exclusion of the Messianic reality that came into the world in Jesus of Nazareth. how will you believe what I say?35 Judgment is closely linked to rejection of the Light. See Wisdom 18:3-4. Jesus continues: Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father. the message of the passage becomes more profoundly clear: it is an indictment of a form of Judaism (and particularly. emphases added. symbolized by “Judeans. I-XII. unless one remembers. for those who do not walk in the Light suffer a dual malady. First. etc. “images that Jesus uses for himself are often images that Judaism used for the Law. in whom you have put your hope. I would argue. 344. Raymond Brown. 33 32 29 . NY: 1966). of the Jewish leadership.33 Brown also notes that throughout the Gospel of John. This is why Jesus tells his opponents: John 5:39-44.” Pharisees. 35 John 5:45-47. But if you do not believe what he wrote. as Raymond Brown points out. For if you believed Moses. for he wrote about me. 34 Ibid. you would have believed me.

brought on either by ignorance of the truth or stubborn refusal to accept it (or. while those who remain in Darkness are already in a state of judgment. but because of what was imposed from the inside of each person. for they have rejected the means by which (according to 3:18ff) to avoid judgment. I judge no one. and that those who reject him are already judged. As a result.or herself. both). The Darkness did not κατέλαβεν the Light: it did not “seize with hostile intent.” “master” it either. 30 .” “overtake. There is no middle ground: those who walk in Light escape judgment. The subtle irony of the Gospel of John.” or “come upon” the Light.” are able to discriminate between persons: the believers and the unbelievers.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER You judge according to the flesh. who does not accept the Light. because it is not I alone. but likewise. but I and the one who sent me. related to “light” and “judgment. As such. my judgment is true. it did not “grasp. Jesus goes to great lengths to point out that he judges no one. And if I do judge.36 Jesus and the Father. Secondly. 36 John 8:15-16. possessing “right judgment. the judgment prepared for those who reject Jesus is a self-imposed judgment.” “put out.” is the means by which judgment is finally administered. in the realized eschatology of the Fourth Gospel. the Father.” “comprehend and overcome. it stands condemned not because of what Jesus or the Father imposed from outside. perhaps. those who continue in Darkness stand already judged. on him.

And yet. it is only through dialogue that understanding comes—dialogue with one’s neighbor and oneself. Specifically.–3– JUSTIN MARTYR’S DIALOGUE WITH TRYPHO INTRODUCTION The story of Christian animosity toward the Jews has only become a topic of serious discussion relatively recently. but rather with intra-Christian dialogue.” for the Church bears at least some responsibility for the Nazi attempt to eradicate European Jewry. In fact. and he 37 31 . The Holocaust will forever cast a shadow upon any discussion of “Jewish-Christian dialogue. The present work is not concerned with Jewish-Christian dialogue. it offers a historical analysis and critique of a particular theological construct that I have dubbed the “historical argument”: an allegorical reading of Genesis 49:1037 used for centuries in Christian “A ruler [or prince or lord] shall not fail out of Judah and a ruler out of his thigh until he should come for whom it has been stored up. it was not until the twentieth century that the full implications of this situation has become clear.

Οὐκ ἐκλείψει ἀρχων ἐξ Ιουδα καὶ ηγούμενος ἐκ τῶν μηρῶν ἀυτοῦ ἕως ἂν ἔλθῃ τὰ ἀποκείενα ἀθτῷ.” for the one to come is Messiah.” yet reject many of the foundational teachings of so-called “mainstream” Christianity.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER polemic against the Jews..g. for the gospel writers point out that. The New Testament affirms this as well. This distinction of singular from plural recognizes that Judaism of ancient times (like both Judaism and Christianity of the modern day) was not monolithic. Jehovah’s Witnesses) who also claim the name “Christian. Josephus described various “sects” or schools of thought within Judaism. The tendency to see Judaism as a singular unit.” Though generalized statements about first-century Jewish messianic expectation over-simplify the issue. each with specific teachings that were at least in part mutually-exclusive. Foundational for some was the issue of the Mosaic Law: were Christians obligated to dietary restrictions.” signifying Jewish self-rule. a leader who would rise up and free them from Roman occupation. would be analogous to describing modern Christianity without delving into the important ritual and doctrinal differences between Roman Catholic.38 at least some Jews at the time of Jesus of Nazareth hoped for a political Messiah. whereas the Sadducees did not. 38 A fairly recent trend among scholars has been to speak not of firstcentury Judaism. Writing in the first century and addressing a pagan audience. circumcision. καἰ αὐτὸς προσδοκία ἐθνῶν. Protestant and Eastern Orthodox traditions—to say nothing of groups (e. The “historical argument” finds in the Genesis passage a prophecy concerning the fate of the Jews: the “scepter. the Pharisees believed in bodily resurrection. new questions began to circulate. But when certain Jews began to teach that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. 32 . but rather of first-century Judaisms. ignoring the multiplicity of opinions within the various groups that fell under its umbrella. and other things Jewish? is the expectation of the nations” (translation mine). Mormons. for example. “the expectation of the nations. was to cease when “he should come for whom it has been stored up.

DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Paul’s answer seems to have carried great weight, at least for the long-term development of doctrine: Christians ought not be required to follow the Law, for Christ was the end of the Law. The rapid increase in Gentile membership, which was in many ways a result of this teaching, also contributed. Finally, the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem, and the subsequent exile of its inhabitants, seems to have closed the matter. Centuries before Solomon’s temple was built, much less the second temple that replaced it later on, a dying man made a prophetic statement with reference to one of his sons. The man was Jacob, also known as Israel; the son was Judah, the “Lion’s whelp.” The prophecy stated that the scepter or prince or ruler would not pass from Judah until someone else laid claim to it. Centuries later, in early Christian circles, the “someone else” was believed to be Jesus, whose Messianic entrance into the world sealed the fate of the Jews. In the eyes of Christians, the prophecy also foretold the rejection of Jesus by the Jewish people, and their eventual rejection by God as the Chosen People. As a result, the particular interpretation with which we are concerned, which I have dubbed the “historical argument,” is but one among many prooftexts that undergird so-called “replacement theology,” or the teaching that the Church has superseded (replaced) the Jewish People as Israel. Proponents of the “historical argument” shared a belief in Biblical prophecy, and saw in the destruction of the temple a fulfillment of that prophecy. Such figures as Justin Martyr, Augustine of Hippo, and Martin Luther proclaimed the whole-scale replacement of the Jews by the Christian church as the Chosen People of God, or the “New Israel.” But answering the question of just how important this particular interpretation was in the history of anti-Jewish through is more difficult. The “historical argument” plays an important part in Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho in the 2nd century, and appears again in Augustine’s City of God in the 5th century. It reappears explicitly in the writings of Martin Luther, 33

JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER specifically in his infamous tract On the Jews and Their Lies, written in 1543, three years before his death. Apart from these explicit examples, the historical argument seems to have remained in the background. But given the three examples, spanning more than a millennia of Christian history, perhaps the historical argument was not explicitly used elsewhere precisely because it was assumed everywhere. In other words, the rejection of the Jews and their replacement by the Church as “God’s Chosen People” was presupposed and did not require overt mention. Such a conclusion is, of course, speculative, but it does make one wonder. The greater power (and danger) of the historical argument lies in its implications for Christian theology, for it provides a definitive answer to a very ancient question: if Messiah has come, and the Jews did not accept him, what becomes of them? Jews, including those who came to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, saw themselves as a Chosen People, a people set apart by God with a special covenant. At the core of that covenant were (1) the Mosaic Law itself, which proscribed a way of life and (2) the practice of circumcision, which provided an outward sign of one’s participation in the covenant. But when the question of circumcision arose among early Christians, the answer that was accepted was the one that was, in many ways, the least Jewish: circumcision was not to be practiced, or at least not to be required, among Christians. This decision had profound implications for Christian theology, as well as for the social interactions of Jews and Christians. Though it began as a sect within Judaism, by the end of the first century, Christianity had developed into a separate religious tradition. But the emergence of Christianity from Judaism raised many questions, not the least of which was the relationship of Christians to Jews. If Jesus was Messiah, and if the Mosaic covenant found both its completion and its end in him, what placed remained for the Jewish people as Jews? The answer, as we 34

DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? shall see, was as important as it was unfortunate for JewishChristian relations from this point forward, for, at least in part, it is provided by the interpretation here known as the “historical argument.” Above all else, the historical argument teaches supersessionism, or replacement theology: Judaism was superseded by Christianity; any claim by Jews to be the Chosen People is now false, for the Church is Israel. It is important to note that supersessionism is not found among the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament, nor does it appear in the early Christian doctrines of the Apostle Paul. The first Christians were, after all, Jews who had come to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the crucified and risen Son of God, the Messiah promised in the Hebrew Bible. Nonetheless, it is equally true that the vast majority of the Jewish community rejected the messianic claims being made about Jesus. But while the explicit idea that the church had replaced Israel does not appear in the New Testament, the frustration that these early believers held for their non-believing contemporaries is evident in the following passage from Acts:
The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul. Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out loudly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles.39

Over time, the vast majority within the Jewish community refused to the accept Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah, and in the wake of missionary work to the gentiles, the Church became increasingly non-Jewish. Ironically, Paul’s journeys, aimed at spreading the

Acts 13:44-46.


Christians and their contemporaries continued to look to the Scriptures for answers. that is. Because the first believers in Jesus were Jews. It was only a matter of time before Christians found new answers. DATING THE HISTORICAL ARGUMENT The exact origin of the historical argument. perhaps in the latter part of the 1st century. the history as told by the winners (Christians) seems to indicate that this was increasingly the case. Jew and Gentile alike.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER message about Christ to all the world. would have been shocking. in those Scriptures—answers which would become all the more divisive for both communities. and new prophecies. It is not to be found even implicitly in the New Testament. it appears for the first time in the second century writings of Justin Martyr. Of the known and extant early Christians writings. the supersessionist interpretation of Genesis 49:10. for example. Nonetheless. Christians and Jews were distinctive religious groups. Justin’s usage of the argument seems to indicate that he inherited it from earlier usage. It therefore seems reasonable to conclude that the allegory here referred to as the “historical argument” had its origins some time before Justin. One can imagine. they brought to 36 . set the stage by which Jews and Christians would separate forever. But whatever the reason for their rejection of the Apostle’s message. Nor is such animosity particularly surprising: the radical shift in world-view that the followers of Jesus presented to their contemporaries. is probably lost to history. And while it would be erroneous to assume that all encounters between Christians and Jews during this time were filled with strife. By the end of the first century. the reception passages like Matthew 10:34-37 must have met within the Jewish community. and with mutual animosity for the other. each with their own histories and theological agendas.

E. On the Jews and Their 37 . this later gave way to the rabbinical movement. Nowhere was this more evident than in the various messianic texts that Christians now insisted were prophecies about Jesus. The tragedy of that event for the Jewish community is difficult to overstate. The chief of these for our purposes is Genesis 49:10. However. albeit in an altered state. and the sacrificial rites proscribed by ancient law have not been practiced since. the teachers of the Torah. It seems that when Christians reflected on the event.” But although these early Christians shared a common Scripture with Judaism.” My first encounter with the historical argument came while writing a college paper on Martin Luther’s attitude toward the Jews. Instead. were seen as marking the fulfillment of prophecy and the carryingout of divine retribution. one can hypothesize that the historical argument arose sometime after 70 C. the interpretation of those writings differed radically on many points. known to modern Christians as the “Old Testament. Judaism continued.E. From a Christian perspective. the momentous events of 70 C. the religious center of Judaism ceased to exist. and Jews continued to follow the covenant they believed God had given to them. Within the pages of Luther’s infamous treatise. perhaps the result of Christian reflection upon that momentous year. With Jerusalem destroyed and the temple gone. they concluded that Jewish rejection of Christ had resulted in God’s rejection of them as the Chosen People. There is no way of knowing when such a conclusion was actually reached. in which the synagogue became the center of Jewish life.. but its legacy lives on the allegorical reading of Genesis 49:10 here known as the “historical argument. Through it all.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? their new faith an old book: the Hebrew Bible. Judaism became realm of the Pharisees. When this allegory first appeared among early Christians is not known.

for “a prince will not fail out of Judah” until “he should come for whom it has been stored up. but also for their whole-scale replacement by the (Gentile) Christian Church. That conclusion was no doubt reinforced by the “triumph” of Christianity and the formation of the Holy Roman Empire.” according to Christian allegorists. and murder. can also be translated “Gentiles. Genesis 49:10 became a proof-text not only for Jewish rejection of Christ.” This. Given the widespread Jewish reluctance to accept Jesus as the Messiah. This.” Many Jews had refused to accept Jesus as Messiah. was read back into Genesis 49:10 to become a prophecy concerning Jewish rejection of Christ as the Messiah. 40 38 . As will be discussed in the final chapter. 137-306. As Christian evangelism toward the Jews morphed into polemic against them. too. 47: The Christian in Society IV. became fuel for the historical argument. For so grave a sin (so the argument went) the Jews had been rejected by God and replaced with the (Gentile) Christian Church: the true.40 I first discovered the allegorical reading of Genesis 49:10 that purported to “prove” that the Jews had been rejected and superseded by Christians as the new. The Greek term for “nations” (ἔθνη). Vol. spiritual Israel. Nor was this a new innovation. was a reference to Christ. the legacy of this idea has been hatred. the Christian community apparently concluded (as Justin did) that the destruction of the temple and subsequent dispersion of the Jewish people were a punishment from God. who would take his rightful place as ruler of all nations: the King of Israel and all the world.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Lies. true Israel.” The “he. persecution. Genesis 49:10 was thus a prophecy about the end of Jewish self-rule with the coming of Christ. for the true See the American Edition of Luther’s Works. while many Gentiles believed. for Christ was the “expectation of the nations. Jacob’s blessing of his son Judah contained a prophecy about the future of the Jewish people. in turn.

] Quotes from Justin are my own translations of the Greek text as found in J. to the writings of Justin Martyr.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Israel had never been ethnic.D. 4 [hereafter Justin]. Ancient Christian Writers series.J. translated by Leslie William Barnard. 1857). In the years following my first encounter with Luther and the historical argument. W. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 23. Barnard suggested this dating in Justin Martyr: His Life and Thought. to which I have compared: Thomas B. 1997). Justin claimed to record a two-day-long debate between himself and a learned Jew named Trypho. I: The Apostolic Fathers Justin Martyr. (Mahwah. translator and editor.” L. “a Hebrew of circumcision. Migne. The Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A. 1903). probably written around 160 C. 56. The Fathers of the Church [series]: A New Translation. VI. Falls. n. (Paris.. true Israelites were the spiritual heirs. 42 Citing the consensus of “many scholars. eds. Vol.E. St. no. explicit usage of this particular allegory was traced back to the 2nd century. Dillon and Dennis D. I concluded that this belief was neither original to Luther. 325. Writings of Saint Justin Martyr.. Justin Martyr: The First and Second Apologies. nor his alone. Irenaeus. Patrologiae Gracae. Dialogue with Trypho. it was not only in the Dialogue that Justin’s use of the historical argument appears. Vol. Burghardt. P. (New York: Christian Heritage. eds. McManus. John J. living in the cities of the Greeks and Corinthians. a Jew. Inc. in which he attempted to convince pagan readers of the truth of Christian claims about Jesus: Dialogue with Trypho 1 [hereafter Dial. a refugee from the recent war [Bar Kochba rebellion]. Walter J. 1967). In the end.”41 Of Justin’s extant works considered authentic by scholars. In his treatise. the Dialogue is the latest.42 However.: Paulist Press. 1948). N. On the contrary. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. 41 39 . Genesis 49:10 was quoted as part of Justin’s argument in his first Apology. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

the audience is Jewish. Third. Justin’s method shifted from philosophy to prophecy. until he should come for whom it has been stored up. the Logos (or “second God”) incarnate. being the first of the prophets. it is yours to carefully examine and to learn until what time there was a ruler and a king of their own kind among the Jews.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Moses. 32. nor a leader out of his thighs. No longer content to prove the reasonable nature of Christianity. which dates to a number of years after the writing of the Apologies. Secondly. 40 . In the Dialogue. contains the same arguments relating to the Genesis passage. however. The Dialogue. Justin’s audience in this regard was the philosophically-sophisticated pagan. but in greatly expanded form. Justin sought to prove to a Gentile audience that Christianity was a reasonable. to whom his arguments. you appeared and ruled over the Jews and took possession of all their land. and he is the expectation of the nations. This is done for several reasons. from whom they are also called “Jews. this allows for a more fullydeveloped view of Justin’s beliefs and motivations. I believe that it is only in the context of the Dialogue that various 43 I Apol. that were intended to convince his Jewish audience that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah. based upon a reading of Hebrew Bible. said expressly: “A ruler shall not fail out of Judah. OUTLINE OF THE BOOK This study will focus upon Justin’s use of the historical argument (Genesis 49:10ff) in the Dialogue With Trypho.” and after his [Christ’s] coming.43 In his Apologies. It was until the manifestation of Jesus Christ. our teacher…For Judah is the forefather of the Jews. he instead devised arguments.” Therefore. even logical religion. and the fulfillment of Mosaic Law.

Chapter 3 shows how Justin’s Logos became an interpretive lens through which he read the Septuagint. and that the Hebrew Bible contained prophecies about the coming of the Logos in the flesh (Jesus Christ). the Logos was the universal force through which all creation had come into being. According to Justin. for Genesis 49:10 was read as foretelling not only of the coming of Christ (“the one for whom it is has been stored up”) but of God’s eventual rejection of the Jews as the Chosen People. I believe that the arguments presented in the Dialogue have profound implications for understanding relations between Christians and Jews. perhaps due both to its length and Justin’s rather indirect writing style. The first chapter introduces the notion of the “historical argument” and sets the parameters within which the rest of this study will proceed. Chapter 4 describes Justin’s attitude toward the Mosaic Law and its implications for his theology. presuppositions that underlie Justin’s use of the historical argument itself. Chapters 2 outlines Justin’s theology of the Logos. and most importantly. As we shall see. Throughout. Justin’s argument is simple: Christians did not follow the Mosaic Law because it had been given only for the Jews. the Dialogue has not received the same degree of scholarly attention that has been paid to the Apologies. Finally. As such.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? presuppositions become clear. In short: arguments such as these buttressed Christianity’s historical intolerance for Jews as Jews. as a proscriptive set of regulations designed to curb Jewish sinfulness. the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible and the only Scripture that Justin knew. Justin believed that the Logos had inspired the ancient Hebrew prophets. there was a direct link between Justin’s Logos doctrine and his understanding of prophecy. a term borrowed from pagan philosophy. both in ancient and modern times. as well as prophecies concerning the fate of those who would accept or reject Christ. which was Christianized and shaped to fit Justin’s theological agenda. it had also been 41 . Fourth.

” Edwin R. proved that the prophecy of Genesis 49:10 had been fulfilled. In this respect. Finally. the loss of Jewish self-rule in 70 C.. Chapter 6 considers the historical context against which this “argument from history” must be viewed. circumcision was a mark of divinely-ordained exile.” Justin’s supersessionism was grounded in the belief that a specific historical event. indeed. albeit centuries that have been filled more with animosity than amiability. JUSTIN AND HIS WORLD “The aim of the early Greek Philosophers was to find some central principle in the confused multiplicity of existence. This chapter also offers analysis and opinion concerning the implications of the historical argument for modern theology.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER periodically increased in proportion to their ever-increasing “hardheartedness. serve as model for 20 centuries of Jewish-Christian relations. “called out ones. Goodenough. especially in light of the Holocaust. in which it was argued that the ἐκκλεσία44—the Christian “assembly” (or “church. Chapter 5 explores the logical complement to Justin’s argument about the Law: God’s alleged ordination of the Christian Church as the new Israel. Justin only repeated earlier forms of supersessionist theology. less with dialogue than with diatribe. but for the purposes of divine punishment.” Justin further contended that the Law was given to set Israel apart not as the Chosen People. Consideration will be given to the notion that the historical argument may. By this reasoning. by which they were separated from society and especially from their homeland.” as it is more popularly translated today)—had replaced the synagogue as the “house of the Lord. The Theology of Justin Martyr: An Investigation into the Conceptions of Early Christian Literature and Its Hellenistic and Judaistic 45 44 42 .E.”45 For Literally.

Justin changed the original teaching by stating that the Logos became incarnate in the person of Jesus.” the spark of divinity present in every human being. the “Spermatic Logos” was the means by which the universe came into existence. it was possible for one to participate in divine Reason. The Greek conception of God held that the Creator was far removed from the world. God used this Logos to create all that existed. the “Spermatic Logos” was the means by which the universe came into existence. then. 1923) 1. and the glue that held it together. Through the “seeds of the Logos. Influences. His studies in Stoic and Platonist philosophy provided the framework and language with which to expound his later Christian beliefs. and the glue that held it together. this search ended with the figure of Christ. from whom the Logos was “begotten” in ages past. Chief among these was the doctrine of the Logos. As God’s creative agent. The other function of the Logos was intermediary—that is. they had one Creator (God). Justin inherited a belief in the “Spermatic Logos. 43 . From the Stoics. it was the Logos who spoke to Moses from the burning bush. Thereafter. the world had one Creator (God).” the “spark” of divinity present in every human being. For example. As God’s creative agent.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Justin. (Jena: Verlag Frommannsche Buchhandlung (Walter Biedermann). Justin interpreted the Theophanies of the Hebrew Bible in terms of the Logos. the Logos was active in creation before the Incarnation. However. then. As a result. God used this Logos to create all that existed. the Greek concept incorporating both Reason and Order. Through the “seeds of the Logos. it was possible for one to participate in divine Reason. For Justin. God required an intermediary (the Logos) through which to communicate with creation.” a divine force that permeated all of creation. from whom the Logos was “begotten” in ages past. as “messenger” for God. For Justin.

who spoke to Moses from in the burning bush. The Spermatic Logos had been sown in Jew and Gentile alike. As a result. to those who would accept it.. Justin taught that Socrates had lived according to the seed of the Logos.” Justin affirmed that pagan philosophy and Jewish tradition contained certain truths. Christians had the “whole of the Logos. we see that Justin’s conception of God was heavily influenced by Platonism: God. as spirit. In short. Justin believed that the God was utterly transcendent and unapproachable. Likewise. It was therefore the responsibility of every person not only to take hold of the “seed. Herein lay the conflict. the “whole of the Logos” was made available to those who would accept it. In this regard. Justin interpreted the various theophanies of the Hebrew Bible in terms of the Logos. for according to Justin. the “whole of the Logos” was made available in the world.” but to acknowledge the Sower (i. With the coming of Jesus. they did so because of the “seeds of the Logos. the doctrine of the Logos allowed Justin to Christianize teachings borrowed from Greek philosophy and the Hebrew Bible (OT). Quite to the contrary. only in Christ was the whole of the Logos to be found—not in pagan philosophy or Jewish tradition. And finally. it was the Logos. especially when they prophesied about the coming Messiah. For example.” For Justin. was to be totally separate from matter.e. it was the Logos who took human form and came to Earth as Jesus of Nazareth. he believed that the Hebrew prophets were inspired by the Logos. but he further declared that Christianity alone had all the truth. With the coming of Jesus. But while Jews and pagans had “seeds” of the Logos. and not God. the Incarnation was not the first time that the Logos had been active in creation. however. The “seeds of the Logos” had already be sown among 44 . and that the Logos was therefore the divine intermediary acting as both messenger and agent for God. For example. Christ).JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER To the degree that human beings comprehended divine things.

3-4 (January-April. Apart from this. It was therefore the responsibility of the individual to not only take hold of that “seed.46 Justin depicts an encounter between a group of Jews (only one of whom. and Justin’s invectives—whether directed at Trypho. or at Jews in general—are far from accommodating to Jewish selfidentity as the “Chosen People. The Dialogue as a whole suggests that such encounters. is named) and himself. when they did occur. is fairly and even favorably presented.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Jew and Gentile alike. PROPHECY AND SUPERSESSIONISM The question of whether the opening scene of the Dialogue with Trypho accurately reflects second-century Jewish-Christian relations remains open. In opposition to this view. as presented by Justin the Christian. one could not hope to be saved.” The Jewish Quarterly Review LXXXIII. Christ). 371). what we have dubbed the “historical argument”: For example.” Texte und Untersuchungen zur Gershichte der altchristilichen Literatur 90 (1966): 10-28] that Justin’s Trypho is assigned only a subordinate role and “is confined to relatively brief and limited queries and responses” (see Hirshmann. quoting Hoffman. Trypho.” against whom all manner of invective is directed. 1993): 369384) argues that Trypho serves as little more than Justin’s “captive audience. Hirshmann also calls attention to Manfred Hoffman’s contention [“Der Dialog in der apologetischen Literatur. 46 45 ..” but to acknowledge the Sower (i. Demetrios Trakatellis (“Justin Martyr’s Trypho. The general tone of the Dialogue itself is quite hostile.” Harvard Theological Review 79:1-3 (1986): 286-297) concludes that Trypho the Jew. were hostile. Marc Hirshman (“Polemic Literary Units in the Classical Midrashim and Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho.” But it is not until Chapter 52 of the Dialogue that Justin plays his trump card.e. Nos.

” (Heiko A. and a leader out of his thigh. however. because the Jews have failed to accept Jesus as the Messiah. an outgrowth of more secular 19th and 20th century notions about race and the superiority of whites to non-whites. The first of these. there are events. until he should come for whom it has been stored up. Porter (Philadelphia: Fortress Press. When combined in the minds of some authors. In the words of Heiko Oberman: “Strictly speaking. or statements which long before the rise of the concept come very close to the reality of anti-Semitism. Oberman. Does the Dialogue record an actual conversation. while Christians are the “new Israel. 48 When speaking of polemic or hatred directed against Jews.” The dual nature of Justin’s message—evangelism and judgment—leads to questions. The latter references hatred based on race or ethnicity. “anti-Judaism” or “anti-Semitism. admit that to speak of pre-19th century “anti-Semitism” is anachronistic. 1981). as noted above. I have come to prefer the term “anti-Jewish” to either of the traditional appellations. attitudes. Justin was attempting to convert Jews to Christianity by allusion to the Scriptures they held in common. xi. almost always by Christians. the terms “antiSemitism” and “anti-Judaism” were used synonymously.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER A ruler shall not fail out of Judah. the Dialogue was an evangelistic attempt to prove that Jesus is the promised Messiah. Justin’s allegorical interpretation of Scripture betray supersessionist presuppositions: the Jews are the rejected and scorned former People of God.47 In its own way. The Roots of Anti-Semitism in the Age of Renaissance and Reformation. translated by James I.). concerns the historicity of the Dialogue. Nevertheless. or simply reflect Justin’s rhetorical creativity: Justin’s quotation of Genesis 49:10 (as found in the Migne text) matches exactly the text as found in Rahlf’s edition of LXX. 47 46 . ‘antiSemitism’ did not exist prior to the race theory of the nineteenth century. Others. and he is the expectation of the nations. As anti-Jewish48 polemic. however.” The former is meant to reference specifically religious or theological attacks against Jews.

to abandon the identity and practices of Judaism. part of Justin’s argument. it is clear that Justin’s motives were two-fold. “Israel” once again became a conquered and subjugated people. Justin grew impatient with their misunderstanding. The Persians permitted considerable freedom with respect to Jewish religious expression. From the text itself. or total rejection of his teaching about Christ. In light of these facts. Rather. I believe that the phrase “once again” is an important. but the land itself was occupied by foreigners. he seems truly to have believed that the ‘historical argument” had become history: with the destruction of the Temple and subsequent scattering of the Jews to the Diaspora.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? forming and manipulating a “straw figure” (Trypho) for the purposes of expositing his own conclusions? Secondly. This “second temple” was in Jesus’ day the center of Jewish religious self-identity. and embrace Christian teachings as the only way to salvation. In Jesus’ day. Those who returned from the Babylonian Exile had been rebuilt both the walls and the Temple at Jerusalem. Moreover. but Jewish national identity was more difficult to reclaim. incomprehension. with King Herod (appointed by the occupiers and only half-Jewish by lineage) as the local authority. and thereafter to Roman rule. Palestine was but one of many provinces controlled by the Romans. Justin’s argument against the Jews was no empty bit of rhetoric. and obstinacy. First. he pronounced God’s judgment upon them. he used prophecies such as Genesis 49:10 to pronounce God’s judgment upon their blindness. apparently in reaction to Jewish rejection of his message. One senses from the text that having explained the Christian message to Jews (whether in the Dialogue or elsewhere). Israel was not sovereign. ignorance. Justin’s argument would appear to be 47 . As a result. Persian rule gave way to Greek rule under Alexander the Great. He surely was aware that in Jesus’ day. he was calling upon Jews to convert—that is. though unstated. one is left to wonder what was Justin’s motivation for writing the Dialogue. Second.

the Jews had placed their hopes in a false interpretation of Scripture—so goes the traditional Christian summary of the situation.”49 Those who believed in Jesus as Messiah were to recognize that the earthly kingdom of Israel had given way to the spiritual Kingdom of God in Christ. for the Kingdom of God was not to be found among the Jews. the Jewish prophets promised the people that a return to the land would indeed occur. By rejecting Jesus as the real Messiah. In this sense. In the wake of the Exile. By expecting a military messiah who would fight the Romans and conquer the Holy Land for them. and the scepter had passed from Judah. for as he explained to Pilate. it could be argued that the “scepter” (symbolic of Jewish self-rule) had indeed passed from Judah. the Christian interpretation of Jesus’ kingship differed markedly from Jewish messianic or Roman imperialism. over 100 years after the time of Jesus. Justin proudly proclaimed that Christ had come. But early Christians’ claims about Jesus forever changed the expectations of those who believed him to be the Messiah.. but with Christ and the church.” According to Christian teaching. I believe. the “new Israel.e.” However. The scepter was no longer with Judah. is the prophecy (or lack thereof) relating to the re-establishment of Jewish self-rule. and the promises made about the people’s return to the land would be fulfilled. The gospels record various sayings of Jesus that point to the spiritual or eschatological nature of the Kingdom. Nothing remained for Jews who refused to 49 John 18:36 48 . Standing in the second century. The difference. a descendant of David and heir to the throne of Israel. the Hebrew Bible) that these believers shared with their non-believing Jewish contemporaries. the coming of the Messiah had been prophesied in the Scriptures (i. but among the Christians. “my kingdom is not of the world. The King of that Kingdom was Christ himself. the Jews had sealed their own fate. hence his appellation by Pilate as “King of the Jews. God’s anger would not last forever.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER historically inaccurate.

DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? accept Jesus as the Messiah but judgment. 50 49 . Because of this. those who had lived according to reason (i. First. even before the time of Jesus. 8. It was by these seeds of the Logos. According to Justin. Foundational to Justin’s thought was his belief in the Logos. which Justin also referred to as an “angel” or “second God. it was through the Logos that God had created and organized the universe. the Spermatic Logos had sown a “seed of the Logos” in every human being. This belief in the Logos as a communicative agent underlay another of Justin’s teachings. the very sparks of divine Reason. that human reason was made possible.e. replaced by the Church (the new Israel). Forever removed from their homeland. the “word” or “reason” of God. through its participation in creation. that of the so-called “Spermatic Logos” (λόγος σπερματικός). could rightly be considered Christians.. JUSTIN’S PRESUPPOSITIONS: OUTLINE Underlying Justin’s use of the historical argument was a set of presuppositions about the nature of God and God’s relation to the world. As such. 46 and II Apol.51 The Spermatic Logos provided Justin with an explanation for One wonders what Justin’s response would be to the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948! 51 See I Apol. forever abandoned. according to the Logos). the Logos held an intermediary and intercessory position: having created the world by means of the Logos. As a result. they stood as an example to the nations that God’s judgment would come upon all those who disobeyed or sought to subvert divine will.” The Logos served several functions in Justin’s worldview.50 they were now to live in the misery of divinelyordained exile. the immutable and transcendent God also dealt with creation through the Logos.

Proper understanding of these Willis A. 4 53 II Apol. Moses.” Shotwell concludes. The Biblical Exegesis of Justin Martyr. Specifically. 10. but the whole of the Logos (τὸ λογικὸν τὸ ὅλον). “In either case. 52 50 . Shotwell notes the problematic nature of Justin’s understanding of “inspired” Scripture. the coming of the Logos in the flesh. indeed. who is also the firstborn of God. the Hebrew Bible contained prophecies about what Christian theology calls the Incarnation.. As a result. and by so doing. while elsewhere stating that the Prophetic Spirit inspired the prophets. 1965). while Jews did not and. it was the Logos who inspired the prophets of old.”53 As we shall see. foretold the coming of the Logos in the flesh.52 Now that the Logos had become incarnate in Jesus. could not. Justin’s contention that Christians alone had the “whole of the Logos” led him to contend that they alone were able to properly interpret Scripture. A second presupposition involved Justin’s understanding and interpretation of Scripture. Christians had not only the seed. Similarly. As mentioned above. and so forth. the Hebrew Bible. Shotwell.” See Willis A. i.” Note especially Justin’s apparent mixing of these ideas in I Apol. (London: SPCK. Justin believed that God had inspired the ancient prophets through the Logos. “it is ultimately God who is the inspirer. Christians properly understood that the prophecy of Genesis 49:10 had been fulfilled. sometimes attributing to the Logos the function of inspiring. for “the whole Logos revealed for our sake became Christ and body and Logos and soul. the prophecies written by these prophets were therefore about the Logos.e. 33: Justin attributes inspiration to the Prophetic Spirit (Holy Spirit). but just as quickly backs away from what post-Nicene ears would expect to hear (explicit trinitarian teaching) in favor of a somewhat reductionist monotheism: “The Spirit and the power which is from God is to be understood as nothing other than the Logos.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER the Theophanies recorded in the Hebrew Bible: the Logos (not God the Creator) had spoken to Abraham.

119. Attempting to reconcile Gentile faith to Jewish resistance. they defiantly refused to accept it. for Christians were not subject to the Law of Moses. The severity of these charges cannot be overstated. as a result. based on prophecy from the Scriptures. it was contrary to God’s will.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? prophecies required the gift of insight given by God through the Logos. Justin concluded that either (1) the Jews failed to see the truth about Christ. Dial. Justin also held that the Law had become a stumbling block for Jews. or sheer obstinacy. (3) they were aware of the truth. sown in part throughout creation. most damaging of all. or (2) they were too foolish to understand what was in their own Scriptures.54 In other words. In short. As we shall see. Justin’s reading of Genesis 49:10 presupposed all of these positions to one degree or another. For Christians to be circumcised or observe the Sabbaths was frivolous. remained unable to discern Scripture. for which he saw but one purpose: to curb human sin. indeed. he seems to have concentrated on the third. they failed to understand that righteousness under the Law did not lead to salvation. the Law had been given to curb Jewish sin. for they lacked the “whole of the Logos. for it had been given to. were given in whole to Christians. Christians alone had this gift of insight. ignorance. The Jews. but because when faced with the irrefutable truth. and was intended for. for Justin’s view of and definition of “Scripture. or. however. but refused to accept it. who rejected Jesus and denied that he was the Messiah. In the end. the seeds of the Logos. they alone were able to understand the Scriptures. for they alone had the “whole of the Logos” present in Jesus Christ. Specifically. Jews alone. 54 51 .” Justin’s third presupposition concerned the Mosaic Law. Justin’s arguments about misinterpretation can be described in terms of blindness. As noted above.” see Chapter 3. By their devotion to its fulfillment. Justin believed the Jews had been expelled from their land and rejected by God not only for ignorance or blindness about Christ.

nor was he likely the first. members of the true Israel. Augustine of Hippo references Genesis 49:10 and demonstrates the same supersessionist interpretation in City of God. Martin Luther quoted this same passage in his infamous treatise. in the light of Luther’s own writings on 55 52 . it foretold Christ’s coming as “the expectations of the nations. abandoned. Later on. Alternately. Genesis 49:10 was thus a prophecy in two ways. something of which the ancient philosophers could only have dreamed. Genesis 49:10 foretold the end of the Jews as the Chosen People. the Jews’ only hope was to reject the teachings of their leaders.” for it had replaced the blind. while “old man Luther” merely condemned them. As noted in the introduction. The prophecy had been fulfilled in their expulsion and exile from Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman legions.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Justin’s fourth presupposition was that the Church had inherited the title “Israel. then went on to persecute and kill Christ’s followers. On the Jews and Their Lies. For this. the Church. The presuppositions described above will be discussed further in the proceeding chapters. Only in this way could they rightfully be called people of “Israel”—that is. The historical argument is discernible in other patristic literature. such that “young man Luther” sought to convert the Jews. ignorant. having rejected his teachings.55 Given the ease with which the Nazis used Attempts have been made to distinguish between Luther’s early and later attitudes toward the Jews. and cursed by God.” The incarnate Logos was divine Reason in human form. Justin was not the last to use these arguments against the Jews. however. and obstinate Jews as the Chosen People of God. The Jews killed Christ. Second. Justin suggested that Christians were those to whom the promises had always been directed. Justin was thoroughly convinced that God had foreseen these events and foretold them in the Scriptures. Either way. who misread and misinterpreted the Scriptures. This dichotomy is untenable. they were now rejected. and become Christians. especially the so-called Adversus Judaeos writings. First.

DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? religious material (such as Luther’s) in their propaganda. In short. The final chapter will address the implications and ramifications of so many centuries of anti-Jewish thought polemic—implicit and explicit—among Christians. the Logos was the key to unlocking the true meaning of Scripture. Handbuch zur Geschichte von Christen und Juden: Darstellung mit Quellen. that Luther’s earliest lectures—those on the Psalms. If Justin’s doctrine was uniquely Christian in outcome. 1971). the “historical argument” has far-reaching implications for modern Christian theology. the evidence indicates that the Luther of these earlier years shared to the [fullest] in the medieval prejudices against the Jews. 126-127.). a key that was available to Christians alone. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press. in fact. According to Bertram.” See Luther’s Works. Stuttgart: 1968). part of a world-view that Justin adopted and adapted for his own purposes. Vol. … Similar sentiments are expressed in Luther’s Lectures on Romans of 1515-1516 … In short. Kirche und Synagoge. In other words. Maurer “demonstrated. Justin’s Logos was a Christianized Logos. 53 . An understanding of Justin’s Logos doctrine necessarily begins with the philosophical backdrop from which he inherited the term. in Rengstorf and von Kortzfleish (eds. In the introduction to his translation of On the Jews and Their Lies. I. 47: The Christian in Society IV. delivered in 15131515—already contained in essence the whole burden of his later charges against the Jews. Martin Bertram notes the work of Wilhelm Maurer (Die Zeit der Reformation. shaped by his belief in the uniqueness of God and the manifestation of God’s Logos in Jesus the subject. JUSTIN’S COSMIC PRINCIPLE THE ORIGIN AND NATURE OF THE LOGOS Precisely what Justin meant by “Logos” (λόγος) had a profound impact upon his theology. its heritage (as a product of Greek philosophy) remained pagan.

”57 Barnard noted three implications of the Logos doctrine as exposited by Christian writers. nor does he walk around..” with an emphasis that “the whole [Logos] only resided in Jesus Christ. for you should not think that the unbegotten God himself has come down from anywhere or gone up to anywhere. THE LOGOS AS A COSMIC PRINCIPLE Greek philosophy had its origins in a search for meaning in the world and for that principle or power by which it was held together.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Christ. all of which are discernible in Justin’s use of that doctrine. 23 [hereafter “Logos”]. I Apol. W. “The Logos Theology of St. Dial. distinct in number but not in essence from the transcendent Father-Creator. thoroughly. references salvation only for those to whom “God and his Christ gave to understand these things [i.56 L. and not the Father-Creator. this was the Logos. but by means of indescribable power. Barnard. 7. the prophecies about Christ]. but he remains in his own place.” 57 56 54 . n. cf. L. quickly seeing and quickly hearing. Justin Martyr. Barnard tempered this remark in a footnote in Justin (p.3) by noting that Justin interpreted salvation as “effected through the death of Christ” (cf. wherever that is. For Justin. 7-8). that was active in creation.” The Downside Review 89 (1971?): 134. First. it “enabled them Dial. Barnard has shown that “St. the “reason” or “Word” of God. not with eyes or ears. It was this Logos. or rise up. however. or sleep. 127. The last sentence of Dial. W. 85. For the inexpressible Father and Lord of all things has not arrived anywhere.e. Justin’s starting point is that the [Logos] is the personal Reason of God in which all [human beings] partake.

“Logos. however.” 58 59 Barnard. Goodenough defined ἀγένητος as “the philosophical term applied to Deity to express the fact that [God] has no beginning.” In short. “Logos.”61 Early Christian theologians. the Hebrew Bible. having had a beginning. that Christ as [Logos] was a teacher whose words brought salvation to [humanity]. for ἀγέννητος pointed to the attribute of that most profoundly separated the latter from the former: that of “unbegottenness. 60 Ibid. but to the Jewish Scriptures.”58 Justin applied this hermeneutic not only to pagan philosophy.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? [the apologists] to claim as ‘Christian’ anything that was good or noble in pagan philosophy and literature. 61 Goodenough. the Logos “provided a basis for their rather intellectual view of salvation. 14.”59 Finally. found ἀγένητος to be less useful in describing the relation of the begotten Son to the unbegotten Father than ἀγέννητος.” 132. are subject. viz. Barnard. compare Barnard’s comments cited above. the Father alone was ἀγέννητος.”60 THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE FATHER AND THE SON In describing God the Father. n. “The Logos was also a theological necessity which enabled them to solve the cosmological problem and to show that Christianity itself was as old as the creation. and as such is superior to the exigencies of change and decay to which all other beings. 55 . 129. Justin employed the term ἀγέννητος (“unbegotten”) which is to be distinguished from ἀγένητος (“without beginning”).” 132. or “unbegotten.

the quality that Clement of Alexandria was to term περιγραφῄ. was active in creation through a definable. without which no other thing could exist. In this regard. utterly transcendent. for any real thing which comes into existence necessarily pre-supposes some real thing from which it came into existence. and the last term of such a series must be unbegotten62 This last term is ἀγέννητος. a term that Goodenough took to mean that God is utterly beyond human reason. In describing the relation of God the Father to the Logos. who is infinite power. 1973). But to say that God is transcendent is not to say that God is inactive. there was no one to give God a name. Closely related was Justin’s insistence upon the “unutterableness” of God. 162. Jean Daniélou noted that “in the very act of begetting the Word. “circumscribed.”63 This notion of “circumscription” was shaped in a unique way by Quoted without citation in Goodenough. Justin employed the philosophical notion of self-manifestation by means of “personhood. translated and edited by John Austin Baker. Great Britain: The Pitman Press. A History of Early Christian Doctrine Before the Council of Nicea: Volume Two: Gospel Message and Hellenistic Culture. The indefinable. 129. Jean Daniélou. It was in this sense that Justin applied “unbegotten” (ἀγέννητος) to the Father. the Father gives him definition. Contrary to the Stoics. impersonal God. Justin emphasized the activity of God through the Logos. the uncaused Cause of all others in the series and the source or beginning of all else. From the Father’s “unbegotten” existence.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Aristotle taught that if there is nothing eternal. 63 62 56 . neither can there be any coming into existence. personal. Justin further posited the utter “namelessness” of the Deity: since nothing preceded God. (Bath.” Such “personhood” further implied a “definition” of the Logos. creative agent: the Spermatic Logos.

163.” not “in the beginning. was quick to point out that Justin did not mean to say that God “made” the Logos. 1. had been present with Abraham.”65 Clearly. Dial. See Falls. 65 64 57 . Rather.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Justin and other apologists when they argued that “the first form of this limitation is the act of generation itself. Just such a limitation had been ascribed to the Logos in the act of the Father’s “begetting” it to be the communicative agent between the material world and the transcendent Godhead. Justin was not Trinitarian in the later Nicene sense. Goodenough. and so forth. that from the beginning of all created things God begat a certain power out of himself—the Logos. Chapter 61 of the Dialogue with Trypho opens with Justin’s address to his Jewish audience. 244.64 When applied to theophany. Justin contrasted the Logos who was “circumscribed” [περιγραφῄ] from the “uncircumscribed” (ἀπεριγραφῄ) Father. 4. “I will give you. 227.” Roberts and Donaldson expanded this to suggest a rendering of “in the beginning.” As noted above. n. before all creatures” for Justin’s phrase ἀρχὴν πρὸ τῶν κτισμάτων. Justin was alluding not to the eternal procession of the Son from the Father (as later Nicene theology would). Roberts and Donaldson. the difficult task of maintaining monotheism in light of his claims about Jesus led him to emphasize the distinction between God and Christ to a degree that later generations would find problematic. A footnote in Falls’ translation notes that ἀρχὲν may mean “a beginning. another witness from the Scriptures. he explains. this teaching helped explain why the Logos. however. friends. The Father was not bound to places or times. In the meantime. Moses. but to the Logos as “begotten” before the rest of the created order. 61. n. and not the transcendent Father. where Wisdom describes her origin in terms both of creation and begetting … [Justin] quietly ignores the first Daniélou.

“Logos. but. nor was there from eternity (I was speaking in such a way to them) other than the one who created and arranged everything.” 135. 11. Nor do we think that there is one God for you. 66 58 . Dial. 70 Ibid. 56-60. see Dial.” 135. specifically with Jews. unfounded. 67 Dial. is admirable. there were texts within the Jewish Wisdom tradition that “imply either a poetic or a real personification of Wisdom. but in my opinion. Justin’s purpose was not to show that the Son and the Father were one.68 Second. For example. just the opposite. Justin went to great lengths to show that the Goodenough. Goodenough also notes that while Justin attributes the verb ποιέω (“to make”) to Trypho. the “let us make” phrase of Genesis 1:26) portrayed “God as conversing to another who is a rational being like himself.”69 Finally. 129. Proverbs 8:22. cf. Justin was not a systematic theologian.. Barnard notes that it was in contrast to strict Jewish monotheism that the “otherness” of Justin’s Logos theology was most pronounced: There will not be another God. in fact. 69 Barnard. he himself does not use it. see Dial.”70 Throughout these and similar passages. other passages (e. Trypho. 147f. Justin’s basis for this claim of “otherness” was three-fold. 129.g. biblical theophanies could not be explained in terms of direct communication between a transcendent God and the created order. “Logos. First. and one must remember that his beliefs were developed in the midst of conflict and debate. 68 Barnard.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER term [creation] in expounding the passage to lay stress on the conception of begetting. In fact. emphasis mine. but another for us…67 According to Barnard.66 This attempt to preserve Justin’s orthodoxy inviolate in the light of later developments.

Justin stated that Christians had learned that he [Logos] is the Son of the living God himself. and we hold him in the second place.”73 Goodenough concluded from this that if Justin understood “new race” in the Pauline sense of existing in Christ or Christ existing in us.72 This distinction was also reflected in Justin’s teaching about the incarnate Logos. impulses. n. D. thus contained a subordination of Son to Father. developed as it was in the light of the monotheism that Christianity inherited from Judaism. Kelly. Justin’s theology of the Godhead. 72 The latter argument was especially important in Justin’s fight against Marcion. Paraphrasing J.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Logos was God in second place only. I Apology. Barnard comments that “this rank or order (taxis) … is not intended to suggest degrees of subordination within the Godhead but refers to the triad as manifested in creation and revelation. 116-117. shared the same γνώμη (will) and οὐσία (substance) and νούς (mind) with God the Father. then he was saying that “as Christ is the mystic Person in whom all the new race dwells. 159. And so. and the prophetic Spirit in the third order. God in second rank. Barnard adds: “Justin’s statement is the language of Christian experience and worship rather than doctrinal expression” (see Barnard. Goodenough quoted the Greek text (without citation): πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως καὶ ἀρχὴ πάλιν ἄλλου γένους. N. 73 Goodenough. the only begotten of the one God.” To this. for he referred to Christ as “the firstborn of all creation and the beginning again of another race. translation mine. for to hold that the Logos was numerically distinct but of the same “substance” as God the Father-Creator was to deny Marcion’s claim that there were two separate Gods. so all creation is sustained and permeated by the I Apology 13. 77). but had no independent thoughts. 71 59 .71 Justin argued that there was one God and one Logos. or existence apart from the Father-Creator. This Logos. and who dwells in the new race.

according to the Stoics. see I Apology 55. was the “Spermatic Logos. 160. 76 Goodenough. resembles a cross. with arms outstretched. Justin found a universal symbol of power: the sails of ships are hung on beams that form a cross. When male and female elements united. “while respiration through the nose indicates a special and immediate linking of spirit and matter” in human beings. was to point to “the cosmic Christ or Logos [as] the guiding and sustaining force of the universe. This idea was further applied to God.” The active element. 159. 74 75 Goodenough. even the face forms a cross in the projection of the nose. 60 . the active and the passive. 161. In Stoic physiology.” A dynamic power. according to Goodenough. 159. “to indicate that in the universal Matter there were two elements. 160. germination took place. just as his notion of the cross as an “omnipresent mystic symbol” speaks to the universality of his Christology. Goodenough.”78 In later Platonic usage.76 Justin’s point in proving the omnipresence of the cross.”74 The centrality of Christ for Justin’s theology now comes into view.”77 THE “SPERMATIC LOGOS” Justin’s Christology was further tied to his belief in the doctrine of the “Spermatic Logos” (τό λόγος σπερματικός).JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER First Born of God.75 In the symbol and shape of the cross. 78 Goodenough. the Spermatic Logos was the gaseous element present in all creatures. responsible for reproduction. the human. the Spermatic Logos was thought responsible for the cyclical flow of the universe and for “the coming into being of the various phenomena of the universe. 77 Goodenough.

at least in part.81 Goodenough. According to Barnard.” for St. especially human beings.” Goodenough believed that Justin understood Spermatic Logos as active in two ways: in creation and in revelation. Pohlenz. identifying them with the Stoic semina virtutum.” 138. the Spermatic Logos was the creative and sustaining Principle through which the universe came into existence. and by which it continued to exist. “Logos. Others scholars stress the moral implications of Justin’s Logos idea. 162.e. know the [Logos]-Christ. Die Stoa I (Gottengen.”80 Conversely. Pohlenz emphasized how Justin “conceived the relationship between the logos-Christ and the seed of the logos. 412. By this assessment. M. the moral dispositions already implanted in the soul. but saw the seeds of the Logos “as something human and distinct from the divine logos. Barnard. so also the Spermatic Logos was active in revelation. As the Logos had been active in creation as the beginning (ἀρχη) of all things. There is no clear consensus among scholars as to what Justin meant by “Spermatic Logos. 199. 1948): 88.”79 In short. Justin attributed divinity to the Spermatic Logos. This made possible a natural knowledge which in men such as Socrates was so far developed that they could. Justin … did not conceive of these [seeds of the Logos present in creation] in the physical sense but transferred them to the ethical field..” 138. “Logos. “Spermatic Logos” was at once the means of God’s creative activity and the communicative agent linking God to creation. 80 79 61 . 81 M. gaseous) effluence from God whose entering into matter caused it at first to take on form.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? the term represented “the spiritual (i. mediating the saving knowledge which God wished to make known to the world. and afterwards to have the power of growth and generation. cited in Barnard.

”85 Indeed. Justin did not mean a germinative force but a static factor incapable of further development. 86 Barnard.T. Justin understood [the Spermatic Logos] not in the cosmologicalpantheistic sense of the Stoa but as a spiritual-ethical principle.” 139.. a part of himself. 44 (1952-53): 157-95. Studia Theologica (Vol. Studia Theologica (Vol. who believed “that by ‘seed of the [Logos]’ St. even before the coming of Christ in the flesh.”86 Carl Andresen. cited in Barnard. Justin assumed the presence in every man.” 140. “Logos. the sowing [Logos] who sows in [human beings]. i. R. Holte.” 140. 83 [Title not given]. cited in Barnard. Z. 84 [Title not given]. showed “that St. before the coming of Christ. cited in Barnard. 12. 10 and 13.”83 As quoted by Barnard. Holte went on as follows: St. “Logos. 85 Barnard.N.” 139. Justin’s Logos was an “active and divine potential.W. Citing II Apology 8. sowing his seed in religious and moral illumination …84 Barnard.”82 This theory was “vigorously criticized” by another scholar. 82 62 . 12. 1958): 109-68. “Logos. took issue with Holte’s “denial of any immediate knowledge of the [Logos]” in humanity.” 138. Justin did not assume in [humanity] any immediate knowledge of the [Logos] but an analogous knowledge gained through things reflecting and resembling logos … the epithet spermatikos does not mean “disseminated” but refers to the [Logos] in a special activity. of part of the ‘sowing [Logos]’ which is identical with Christ.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Carl Andresen used as his starting point “that St. “Logos. Barnard claimed. 1958): 109-68. “Logos. however.e.

in faith. sown in Jew and Gentile alike. and Christology are all related to his use of the historical argument. And yet. With specific reference to his view of the Spermatic Logos. While some human beings had always lived by the “seeds of the Logos. Finally. the whole Logos entered the world.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? THE LOGOS. according to the Logos. But much more than a mere tool for creation. the Logos. This whole Logos was made available to those who. Justin believed that the “Spermatic Logos” permeated all of the created order. This same Logos was the creative agent through whom the world came into being.” 63 . the “second God. Justin also believed that the Logos became incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth. after all. impersonal Being.” the Incarnation brought the “whole of the Logos” into the world. God’s interaction with the world was accomplished in and through the Logos. With the coming of Jesus. CHRISTOLOGY AND THE HISTORICAL ARGUMENT Justin’s doctrines of Godhead. accepted that Jesus was the Messiah promised and foretold in the Hebrew Bible. all were equally capable of living according to reason. As such. Justin also believed that comprehension of this fact was made possible only by the Logos.” begotten by God for that purpose. totally separate from the created order: unnamed. The seeds were. the Logos was the animating Principle upon which creation was founded. sowing the “seeds” by which human beings were made capable of living rationally—that is. and indefinably Other. for no one could rightly read and understanding the Scriptures apart from the enlightening power of the Logos. It was up to the individual to accept or reject the Christian message. Justin’s idea of the “Sower” had profound implications for his attitude toward the Jews. and the sustaining Power by which it continues to exist. unbegotten. His teachings were grounded in the idea that God the Creator was a transcendent. which alone contained this “whole of the Logos.

Barnard.88 These two facts had intriguing implications for Justin’s understanding and interpretation of Scripture. the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. 6. blindness. so much more were the Jews made the target of this criticism. Justin simultaneously proclaimed the truth of the Hebrew Bible and the inability of the Jews to understand their own scriptures. First. 6. 87 It is also generally accepted that Justin knew no Hebrew.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER But if Justin’s idea of the Spermatic Logos left Gentiles with no excuse for not accepting Christ as Messiah. excising. the Septuagint. and obstinacy—the result. for he believed that only Christians possessed the power of the Logos by which the Scripture could rightly be interpreted. 89 Justin accused the Jewish teachers of denying the accuracy and validity of the Greek translation. The core of this argument lay once again in his Logos doctrine. the Jews suffered from ignorance. This is especially important because Justin believed that known discrepancies between the Greek and Hebrew texts were examples of the Jews ignoring. who Shotwell. of their rejection of Christ. Justin mirrored other Christian authors. Justin. JUSTIN’S INTERPRETIVE INNOVATION THE LOGOS AS AN HERMENEUTICAL PRINCIPLE “The Scriptures that Justin knew so well were the Old Testament in Greek”—that is. 68). of mistranslating. 88 87 64 . Justin’s appellation of “inspired” to the Septuagint brought with it a Christological and allegorical hermeneutic. See Shotwell. 95ff. By contrast.89 By so arguing. 43ff. Goodenough. As we shall see. or of teaching that the Christian interpretation was a misreading of the text (see Dial. or otherwise distorting the true meaning of the text. Justin taught.

Justin accused the Jews of outright mutilation of the text: excising prophetic passages from the LXX which proved Christians’ claims about Jesus.91 God present in the incarnate Logos was also present after Jesus’ ascension. and he was called Jesus Christ. 5. Justin had no concern for the historical or even the theological value of the Hebrew Bible for the ancient Israelites. Shotwell further divided the predictive element of Justin’s teaching into two sections. 33. and (2) the vessel by which that message was delivered. 3. or such material as might be so construed. God. rather. which had foretold the coming of the Logos. in response to messianic claims being made about Jesus. cf. “revelation” had two parts: (1) the message itself.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? insisted that the Jews had tampered with the Hebrew text.92 The first referred to the mystery of Christ.” or such material Elsewhere (Dial. The revelation contained in the Hebrew Bible was “the Logos himself. In Justin’s worldview. I Apol. through the Scriptures. 65 . Justin’s belief in prophecy had a profound influence upon his reading of Scripture. for it is here that his doctrines of the Logos and divine revelation converged. 92 Shotwell. and even excised certain passages from it. all because of its divine origin. who had become man. and contained material predictive of the Messiah. Thus. 90 I Apol. had inspired the prophets of ancient Israel to speak words of prophecy about the Logos. 71-73). 3. it was the prophetic or “prognostic” value of the Hebrew Bible that drove him forward. 91 Shotwell. the content of which explicitly referred to “hard-heartedness. The second referred to God’s commandments given because of Jewish intransigence. Justin believed in a duality of the Hebrew Bible as both the message and the messenger. through the Logos.”90 But revelation was also the Hebrew Bible.

occasioned by an encounter with “a certain old man” (παλαιός τις πρεσβύτης).96 While by Jewish “hard-heartedness” Justin ultimately meant the rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. as his description of how he came to be a Christian makes clear. concerning both the beginning and end [of things]. Justin’s quest for Truth ended after his conversion to Christianity. and they are what it is necessary for a philosopher to know. he saw this only as the climax of a longstanding history of Jewish intransigence. 8.” 95 The old man proclaimed to Justin that these ancient prophets had spoken not of their own accord. 95 Dial. who introduced him to the writings of the ancient Hebrews. 93 66 . which indeed are now happening. 3-8. They are called prophets. 94 Having met teachers from the various schools of philosophy. 94 See Dial. The next chapter will outline Justin’s contention that the Law was given for Jewish “hard-heartedness.” JUSTIN’S DOCTRINE OF SCRIPTURE Justin maintained that God had verbally-inspired every word of Scripture. 7. and they foretold many things.93 This chapter will deal with Justin’s understanding of Scripture as explicating the mystery of Christ. 96 Dial. and there is much to be benefited from consulting them. Thereafter.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER as could be so construed. … Their writings are still extant and now remain. …Because of these things I am a [Christian] philosopher. and a love for the prophets and for those men who were friends of Christ. having believed them. but by means of the Holy Spirit. “a fire rose up in my soul.

the gates of light might be opened to you.”98 Then came the gift of understanding the Scriptures. Christians alone were 97 98 Dial. it was necessary for the person to have faith. could only be given—to Christians. unless we had been given grace to comprehend from the One having willed them?99 Behind this and similar statements lay Justin’s doctrine of the Logos. what the world before the time of Christ had in part (Spermatic Logos). active in the creation of the world. As we have seen above. But because this required faith. 67 . 99 Dial. Justin stated: Would you suppose. With the coming of Christ. continued to be active in sowing the seeds of divine Reason in the world. 119.97 This teaching underlay Justin’s understanding of Scripture. the old man called upon Justin to pray [that] before all things. True understanding came only as a result of the gift of understanding.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Finally.” Therefore. 7 Shotwell. gentlemen. the “seeds” had given way to the “whole. For all this is neither seen nor understood. by which he or she “was able to gain all the knowledge necessary to a philosopher. 6. Christians now had in its complete form (the whole of the Logos) in the person of Jesus Christ. which was a gift from God. Justin believed that the Logos. So equipped. But before this gift would be imbued. that we have been able to comprehend the things in the Scriptures. except by the one to whom God and his Christ give the ability to understand. it was only given— indeed. as well as his beliefs concerning the proper interpretation of the Scripture. Addressing his Jewish listeners in the Dialogue.

the third was obstinacy. The second was blindness. This three-fold approach was likely borne of Justin’s experience with Jewish resistance to Christian missionary efforts. now either already fulfilled or being fulfilled. He repeatedly contrasted the many Gentiles who had come to faith in Christ with the majority of Jews who had remained unconverted. Justin seemed confident that if they would only turn to the Scriptures with open eyes. compounded with impatience over their continued adherence to the Mosaic Law. that is. if a Jews came to believe in Christ. Like many prophecy-minded Christians throughout history. It is also interesting to note that Justin did not apply these criteria categorically. the Logos itself was the key to unlocking the meaning of Scripture. while they remained closed to others. even the meager seeds of the Logos would be sufficient to prove his case about Christ. 68 . And so we see that from Justin’s perspective. whereby the Jews knew and understood the truth. a Scripture filled with prophecies about Christ. Jews were misled by their teachers (rabbis) into false belief and misunderstanding. By this theory. This did not mean. especially the Jews. why had Jews remained unconvinced—both having an equal share of the seed of the Logos that led to understanding? Justin posited three hypotheses. but refused to accept or believe it. And of course. he or she could also receive the gift of grace by which the deeper meaning of the Scriptures would be revealed. rather than allegorical or typological reading of the text. But if Gentiles had understood the Gospel. Jews missed the true meaning and content of Scripture because they insisted upon a literal. Here we encounter one of the logical inconsistencies about Justin’s beliefs.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER able to discern the meaning of the Scriptures. Finally. he did not classify some Jews under one rubric (ignorance) while placing others under another (obstinacy). however. The first was ignorance. Justin apparently believed that one could not help but see prophecies about Christ in the Hebrew Scriptures. Rather. that Jews were incapable of understanding that Jesus was the Messiah.

I myself will be innocent on the day of judgment. has been hidden from you. God was hidden from the Jews and their rabbis. I am struggling to the point of fatigue.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? he seems to have held these three ideas dialectically. For you blaspheme much when you speak. 69 . In response. 38. Moreover. sympathizing with you. nor to have communion with this word. despising the traditions of your own teachers. 38 Dial. Justin argued. but rather having become eager. the maker of the whole world and the Almighty. this great wisdom of God. and to have spoken with them in a pillar of cloud…100 Justin’s response demonstrated his assumptions about Jewish ignorance. failed to grasp the meaning of Scripture because it was concealed from them. In a long monologue. to persuade us that this crucified man was present with Moses and Aaron. failing to discern the Scriptures 100 101 Dial. so that you will understand these things which are paradoxical for you. For you will yet hear other words seeming like paradoxes. also remain an excited listener. We begin our survey of Justin’s application of these ideas with Chapter 38 of the Dialogue. but do not be thrown into confusion.101 The Jews. but if not. Justin had attempted to prove to his Jewish audience that Jesus was the Messiah. they are convicted by the Holy Spirit. but they moreover choose to teach their own false beliefs. Trypho stated: It would have been better for us if we had been persuaded by the teachers’ giving a law that none of us [Jews] was to speak with any of you [Christians]. bolstered by blindness: I know that. Since they are not able to know the things which are from God. Therefore. as the word of God says.

It had been predicted that Christ would “capture us from error and give us gifts”—the gift of discerning the Scriptures. the most important example concerns Genesis 49:10. or in order to escape Roman persecution for the sake of “the name. Jacob foretold the two advents of Christ. Dial. however. 39. Here the true power of Justin’s polemic makes itself known. 106 In the first.”104 These charges of blindness and ignorance were eclipsed. Several accusations follow therefrom. as it portrayed Christ in a mythic battle against the personified forces of human error. πλάνος (“deception”). having the gift of insight. 103 102 70 . by his most serious charge—that of obstinacy. including the notion that the Jews rejected Christ for political gain. it too would have been excised. and by the heart until death. removing passages that proved that Christ was the Messiah. it was predicted Dial. 104 Dial. they preferred their own ideas to Scripture. Justin continued. 106 Dial.”105 He further rebuked the Jews for rejecting the Septuagint as an incorrect translation. but refused to believe it. 39.” 102 The Jews in their blindness and ignorance despised those who. and added to this the charge that the Jews tampered with or altered the Hebrew text. for in it. 39. Justin’s choice of the verb αίχμαλωτεύω (“to take captive”) is intriguing. According to Justin. for he states that the Jews knew the truth.103 Those who “have been taught out of the whole truth” honored God and Christ “by actions. For our purposes. had the Jews understood its real meaning. understood the Scriptures properly. by knowledge. It is with this in mind that Justin went on to state: “And it is therefore no surprise … if you also hate those who know these things and convict you with knowledge of your endless hardness of heart. intermixing charges of blindness or ignorance and obstinacy.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER properly. 105 See I Apology 4. 120.

108 Dial.” Throughout the Dialogue. Justin singled out the Jews as the people who earned God’s wrath. out of which beginning [Christ] came. so that then there was one offering sacrifices for you according to the law of Moses.” rather than the usual “people. and your land was laid waste. For the Spirit which was in the prophets both anointed and appointed kings for you. there has by no means been a prophet. I have chosen to translate Justin’s word γένος as “race. The fact that Jesus was the Messiah had been proven by the fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy as recorded in Genesis 49:10. But after the manifestation and death of Jesus our Christ among your race.107 His second coming. would be full of glory and splendor. 52. nor is there [now]. after which neither a prophet nor a king [was] to come from your race … and [furthermore] the Gentiles who came to believe in Christ’s passion [would] expect his coming again. and it has been left behind like a crop-watcher’s hut. when there was warring on the land and the sacred vessels were carried off). nor do you have proof.” evident in much of Justin’s writings. For … among your race there was one called high priest. It is this pejorative notion of “a people set apart. I have translated γένος as “race” and λαὸς as “people” to show Justin’s intermixing of the two terms. failed among your race. a prophet did not cease among you as lord and leader and ruler of your people. 52. nor do you dare to shamelessly say that. 107 71 . for neither a prophet nor a ruler. which warrants this translation. But you also ceased to be under your own king. until this Jesus Christ both was born and suffered. and nevertheless ruling lawfully and prophesying according to succession until John was born (as also when your people were carried captive into Babylon. 108 Dial. to which Justin also looked.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? that he would be humiliated and killed.

ignorance. 53.. and were strengthened in their burdens by this hope. Arndt and F. was Justin’s belief (to be taken up in the proceeding chapter) that the Jews misunderstood.” ἀμπελών. 46. translation and adaptation of Walter Bauer’s GriechischDeutsches Wörterbuch und der übrigen urchristlichen Literatur. and similarly of the Gentiles who were about to believe [in] him. its appearance in Jesus’ parables (cf. However Justin derived his use of “vineyard. misapplied.” as a “foretelling of the works done by him in his first advent. Justin’s disdain for the rabbis is also worth noting. 1952. was a prediction that some of the Jews would believe in Christ. 109 72 . and obstinacy of the Jews. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. with Christian eyes: Dial. As a result. Mark 12:1ff. and thoroughly misused the yoke of the Law. This.109 Justin also noted that the text mentions a donkey that is accustomed to the yoke. insisting that salvation was tied to circumcision and observation of the other commandments. who like “an unsaddled donkey did not have a yoke upon its neck” until Christ came and sent the disciples to convert them. for they bore the “yoke” of the Jewish law. for it was they who had excised from the Hebrew Bible various passages that clearly made reference to Christ. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. He held these Jewish teachers singularly responsible for the blindness. The Gentiles now looked forward to Christ’s second advent. 21:28ff. that is. he proclaimed. 1957). Justin repeatedly admonished Trypho to abandon the interpretations of the rabbis and read the Scripture both anew and aright.” The foal was the Gentiles. “tying up his foal to the vine and the foal of his donkey to the vine tendril. however. Matthew 20:1ff. What this also referenced. Luke 13:6.5.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Justin interpreted the next phrase. See ἀμπελών in William F. Wilbur Gingrich. 4th revised and augmented edition. 20:9ff) and the Similitudes of Hermas (5.2) points to a tradition within early Christianity that used “vineyard” as a symbol for the Christian community.

fatted bulls have surrounded me.111 For Justin. to speak about both them and those who would do similarly.” and with such enthusiasm and mind come to the words of the prophets. Many calves have encircled me. 103. you will not be able to actually receive an advantage from the prophets. Justin’s allegory of Psalm 22 combined polemic against the rabbis with the “predictive” quality of Scripture and the notion that the Jews were “Christ-killers”: What is said next in the Psalm—”Trouble is near. 73 . 110 111 Dial. in order that you suffer under the same people that the prophets themselves suffered. And he spoke the words. to help him. your teachers were the reason your children went up to the Mount of Olives to seize and lead [him] to them. came up to him from the Mount of Olives. 112. even one person.110 Finally. Because of this the Word spoke of them as being bulls. on that night when those from your people. All my bones are poured out and dispersed just like water”— likewise was a foretelling of the things happening to him. since we know bulls are the cause of calves. because there is no one to help me.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Therefore. as rendering help to an innocent person. And the saying. Psalm 22 was a prophetic passage in two senses. As bulls are the fathers of calves. Dial. if you do not despise the dogmas of those who raise themselves up and wish to be called “Rabbi. For.” also became indicative of it. as ravishing and roaring lions. Rabbi. sent by the Pharisees and Scribes along with the teachers. “There is no one to help. “fatted bulls have surrounded me” beforehand. They opened their mouths upon me. they encircled him—those whom the Word called young calves. when he was taken before your teachers. For there was no one. therefore. horned and bent on destruction.

Second. and obstinate people. which God had foreseen! Given what has been discussed above. culminating in their rejection of Christ. This was done because of their sinfulness. Similarly. The emphasis within Justin’s discussion of the Law is not on God’s faithfulness. That the Jews could be capable of such unmitigated evil was no random thought for Justin. particularly Jewish sin. the Pharisees. Specifically. removed. a sinfulness that found its ultimate expression in their rejection and murder of Jesus. idolatrous. it is not surprising that for Justin. Genesis 49:10) prophesied the eventual ruin of the entire Jewish people. Justin’s attitude toward the Law was closely connected to his anti-Jewish beliefs about human sin. ignorant. As we shall see. rebellious. it foretold the actual events of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest. Psalm 22 pointed to the guilt of the rabbis. Justin’s emphasis upon the Law as God’s punishment saw as its climax God’s final judgment upon the people of Israel: they are rejected.. the Jews.e. With this attitude came the belief that God had progressively increased the both severity and volume of laws in direct proportion to increasing Jewish sin. while other parts of Scripture (especially. i. the Mosaic Law was not a covenant in the usual sense of the word. the Law served but one purpose: to curb Jewish sin. All of this had at its center Justin’s belief that these things had been predicted in prophetic texts such as Genesis 49:10. blind. it passed judgment before the fact upon those who would instigate and orchestrate Jesus’ suffering and death. for our purposes.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER First. 74 . but on Jewish sinfulness. Psalm 22 passed judgment specifically upon Jewish rabbis and leaders. The Law was God’s means of restraining a sinful. and the Scribes—the “bulls” who sent “young calves horned and bent on destruction” (other Jews of lesser authority) to do their evil bidding. According to Justin. and replaced as the People of God in favor of the Christians.

75 .” Failure to fulfill this commandment would result in estrangement from the people—a reference to Genesis 17:14. 8. then keep the things as it is commanded—the Sabbath and the festivals and the new moons of God—and simply do all the things which are written in the Law. and you have followed people of no worth. is unknown and neither has he believed [in] himself. but “for the stranger and the [slave] who was purchased.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? JUSTIN ON THE MOSAIC LAW THE LAW AS PROSCRIPTION FOR JEWISH SIN Justin’s attitude toward the Mosaic Law boldly reflected his negative attitudes about Judaism as a religion and the Jews as a people. practicing endurance and selfcontrol and good judgment. Christians failed to keep God’s explicit laws. nor does he have any power until Elijah should come to anoint him. 10. Dial. But you have been deceived by false words. Ironically. for while professing faith in and obedience to God.112 Trypho then reminded Justin that circumcision on the eighth day was commanded not for the Jews alone. the Dialogue portrays Trypho as admonishing Justin to abandon his Christian beliefs and embrace Judaism: It was better that you continue to philosophize Plato or some other philosopher. if he even exists and is somewhere. And then you will perhaps be shown mercy from God. … If then you will listen to me (for I have already thought of you as a friend) first be circumcised. to make him manifest to all.113 Implied in this critique of Christian teaching was a charge of hypocrisy. Such was the challenge for Justin: how to defend the theological consistency of Christianity while maintaining that the 112 113 Dial. But this Christ.

Isaac. Justin’s response to this challenge took another step in separating Jews from Christians as the Chosen People.”114 for there will be also a final law. nor commandment. and a covenant ruling over all. A law placed alongside another law overrides the one before it. All laws are not the same. And an eternal and final law and the covenant of faith—which is Christ— has been given to us. For the Law given on Horeb is already old. Justin also argued that the Mosaic Law had looked forward “to the coming of a law which was not inadequate but perfect. before Christ came to establish the new covenant. Justin argued. for that practice post-dated all of them. vol. and yours [the Jews’] alone. It was now necessary for every human being to watch. 158. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). The fact that sin persisted under the Law was the very proof by which it was shown to have been ineffective. spiritual Israelites were the “descendants” of the patriarchs (Judah.B. 11. 114 76 . after which there is no law. Why then Eric Francis Osborn.115 The true. Justin Martyr. but this [Law of Christ] is simply for all.C. nor order. And a covenant placed afterward negates the first. 115 Dial. as many as were seeking the inheritance of God. Beiträge zur Historischen Theologie [series]. the incarnation of “right reason” (ὀρθὸς λόγος) came to distinguish the greater law from the lesser. 47 (Tübingen: J. Jacob. Conversely. 1973). Abraham) through Christ.” He consistently argued that the Mosaic Law had been a temporary and limited means by which God had dealt with specific problems. Justin’s contention in the Dialogue was not so much that the Law was “bad” as that the Law was “inadequate. But the patriarchs had certainly not been justified on the basis of circumcision. Christ.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Law was not binding upon them.

the Jews utterly failed to understand the tenets of the Law. The old covenant. More ominously. But the Jews refused to accept this. For example. and the tenets of the Law a way of setting the people of Israel apart from the nations— not as an example of righteousness. To one degree or another. meant to be a temporary arrangement. The new Law wills you to continually observe the Sabbath. not considering why it is prescribed for you. but you think greatly upon the circumcision of the flesh. or even to see that the Law was null and void after the coming of Christ. rather than through Christ. 12. and you do not see. of rabid disobedience. Justin tied the notion of Jewish sin to his discussion of the Mosaic Law. blindly placing hope in their own piety. however. Justin also taught that the Law had become an instrument of divine judgment. … There is already need for a second circumcision. they obstinately held fast to the notion that salvation came through obedience to the tenets of the Law.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? the Law? Justin consistently and emphatically argued that the Mosaic Law was given for one purpose: to curb Jewish sin. Justin brusquely informs Trypho that circumcision was a sign given by God 116 Dial. Speaking of Christ as the New Law. and you think not working for one day to be pious. and now you neither acknowledge nor repent for your evil deeds. but rather. and you have done evil to his new holy Covenant. … The Lawgiver is present. for he believed that it was binding upon the Jews alone. Justin proclaimed: This very law [of Christ] you [Jews] have treated shamefully. 77 .116 As with their failure to properly understand the Scriptures. in Chapter 16 of the Dialogue. had now found its completion and end in the coming of Christ.

but as often as you were able. One is reminded of another similar mark. and heap insults as much as you can upon him. 16. but with its misapplication in 117 118 Dial. 78 . As a result. 16. Justin insisted. that of Cain. that others eat your fruits before you. cursing in your synagogues those who believe in Christ.120 While Justin does not make such a clear allegory. Justin’s concern was not with circumcision as such.117 This was so. 119 Dial. and now you reject those who hope in him. 120 See Genesis 4:15. carried a positive connotation. at least at first. setting them apart for divinely ordained suffering and punishment. the sign of God’s covenant with the Jews. the “mark” of circumcision had. and the one having sent him.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER in order that you [Jews] might be separated from all nations and from us [Christians]. you did this also. God the Father and maker of all things. Like Cain. so you alone might suffer that which you now are justly suffering—your lands laid waste and your cities destroyed with fire. Dial. for it was the mark of the old covenant. and no one of you goes up into Jerusalem. also like Cain. for you killed the just One and his prophets before him. For you do not have authority to put your hands on us. was reinterpreted by Justin as a mark upon Jews. because of those who now rule over you. 16.” and had thus prepared “what is deserving for the end. because God had foreknown “things which were about to happen and are happening. Justin believed that the “mark” set the Jewish people apart for a form of punishment. the comparison is hardly unfounded.”118 And these things happened well and justly for you.119 Circumcision.

18.124 and other laws had been imposed to curb Jewish sin. Dial. but for you alone. to know what was said and done by the 121 122 Dial. not because God had need of them. God had made circumcision part of the punishment to be meted out upon the obstinate Jews. you might not worship idols. 79 . as it was foretold. Justin repeated the charge that “this circumcision is not necessary for all.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? light of the new covenant in Christ.126 In the midst of Roman persecution. but “so that [by] giving yourselves to God through this [Temple]. Justin contended that the Law had come in stages. 18. The Law’s sole purpose was to curb Jewish “lawlessness and hard-heartedness”. But a full understanding of this fact came only through the “the great grace received from God. 126 Dial. 123 Dial. 127 Dial. 20. For their refusal to forego circumcision and instead embrace Christ.”121 Sabbaths. it did not apply to Christians. purpose and limitations of the Mosaic Law also provided Justin with an explanation for why Christians did not observe it. 124 Dial. 125 Dial.”125 This approach to the meaning. Elsewhere. a punishment that was theirs alone. Justin challenged his Jewish listeners to explain why. in order that. 19. According to his assessment. if Christians quite willingly endured such sufferings. you might suffer these things which you now suffer in justice.122 sacrifices. 22.123 dietary restrictions. 21. they should “observe also the things which do not harm us in the least [such as] circumcision of the flesh and Sabbaths and feasts?”127 As mentioned above. 22. these stages had been proportional to the increasing sin of the people.

In stark contrast to the Mosaic Law. especially the Christians. God justified Abraham. having foreknowledge. Sabbaths and feasts and offerings and sacrifices. for the purpose of curbing Jewish sin. that is. knew that your nation would be worthy to be expelled from Jerusalem and that no one would be permitted to enter into there. since Enoch and Noah together with their children and others like them were acceptable to God. and all those who sought to follow God. 80 . Justin explained. Dial. while not being circumcised nor observing Sabbaths.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER prophets. emphasis added. answering Trypho’s observation that Christ had lived under the Law and kept the commandments. but not in order to be justified by it. 92. but that those from Moses and afterwards would be justified on account of circumcision and other commandments. Justin argued that Christ had indeed lived under the law. 92. [But God will be slandered] unless you show that because God. to whom he pointed whenever challenged by Trypho’s charge that Christians should keep the Law. Note Justin’s charge not of blindness or ignorance. Before the Law was given. but of obstinacy: 128 129 Dial. Jewish sin and hard-heartedness had produced in them an animosity toward God. Justin then returned to his argument about the Patriarchs.”128 Justin’s emphasis on the limitations of the Law was evident also in the fact that it had been given not to Adam: For if someone should wish to inquire of you. This proved that the Law was given to Jews only. why God appointed … that those from Abraham until Moses were to be justified on account of circumcision. the prophets. a universal and eternal law.129 Finally. which for him was summed up in the commandment to love God and the neighbor. Justin pointed to the Law of Christ.

130 81 .DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? But you [Jews] have not shown friendship or love toward God or the prophets or toward yourselves. In Chapter 89. For having the ability to understand that this [man] is the Christ from the signs existing through Moses. Justin further believed that proper interpretation of the Scriptures was possible only for Christians. As noted above. On the basis of these presuppositions.…For you curse in Dial. Justin believed that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch. Trypho alluded to Deuteronomy 21:23 to argue that even if the coming Messiah was to suffer. 93. and was an eternal priest of God and a king and the Christ. “we [Jews] doubt whether the Christ should be so shamefully crucified.131 These ideas apparently underlay Justin’s claim that the persecution of Christians by the Roman government had Jewish origins. the first five books of the Hebrew Bible.” 131 This argument. was being about to come. as also until you laid hands even on Christ himself. of course. for the Law declares that he who is crucified is to be accursed. for it was foretold of God that all of you and those like you would not believe that this one who existed from the beginning. but as has been shown. bears a striking resemblance to Paul’s argument in Romans 1:18-22 that Gentiles are “without excuse” for failing to recognize God’s existence through nature.” Justin therefore meant manifestations of divine power as recorded by Moses in the Scriptures.” in the sense of divine Reason. who had received the gift of discernment by means of the “whole of the Logos. it becomes clear that Justin blamed Jewish obfuscation of the Scriptures on the passive notions of ignorance or blindness. emphasis added. you refuse to do so…130 Like many Christians throughout history. you were found to always be worshippers of idols and murderers of the just. but also on the more active concept of obstinacy: the Jews actively chose to reject what they knew to be true. By “signs.

what is notably absent in all of this is specific reference (such as found in Paul’s letter to the Romans) to Gentile sins. the expulsion of Christians from the synagogue was seen not only as a catalyst for subsequent persecution of Christians by the Roman government. while the Roman officials are made at best compliant. for it was imposed only on them. the Jews are singularly responsible for the crucifixion (murder) of Jesus. for it forms the basis of the “Christ killer” accusation. despite all the evidence for Christian truth. Conversely.” both in the past and in the present. thereafter as a punishment for continued obstinacy. but was tied back again to the Jews as the root cause and active agent of persecution.133 Viewed in this way. 96. Jews became Justin’s par excellence example of idolatry and “hard-heartedness. Having rejected Jesus as the Messiah. They alone were responsible for keeping the Law. 132 133 Or Gentiles [τὰ ἔθνη]. on the subject of Gentile sin. In fact. but was always tempered with the joyous proclamation that Gentiles had abandoned their former ways and embraced the new Law of Christ.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER your synagogues all those who have become Christians. and the other nations132 are also carrying out your curse by their deed. and/or obstinacy. killing those who are only confessing themselves to be Christians. they now suffered expulsion from their land and a divinely-ordained exile in the Diaspora—all because. Gentile sin was mentioned as a past event in several places. According to this belief. In the history of anti-Jewish sentiments by Christians. Dial. at worst patsies of a Jewish conspiracy. blindness. this charge carries the farthest. Justin was disturbingly silent. first as constraint for sin. 82 . they nonetheless persisted in their ignorance. Of course.

But salvation nonetheless meant salvation through Christ. human beings had chosen sin. Conversely. adds them together and crowns them. the Scriptures themselves foretold that the Jews would reject Christ. On the one hand. In the regard. Justin maintained that salvation remained open to all. The climax of this salvation history was the coming of the Logos in the flesh. and those who believed in his name gained the benefit of salvation from his death. and he saw no place within God’s salvific plan for Jews as Jews. and furthermore prophesied that Gentiles would accept him. 156. and his writings were filled with calls for Jews to believe and repent.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? JUSTIN ON “ISRAEL” AND THE FATE OF THE JEWS GOD’S ACTIONS IN HISTORY Like the Jews. 83 . rather. Justin sincerely and repeatedly called upon Jews to repent and accept Jesus as the Messiah. he pointed to the Gentiles as the epitome of faith in Christ.”134 In the beginning. “it sums them up. and now suffered the consequences of this choice. Justin understood God’s salvific action as having a history. Justin did not pronounce judgment on all Jews: his pessimistic assessment of Jewish fate was balanced by an evangelistic call for Jews to repent and come into the Christian fold. The covenant under the 134 Osborn. In Justin’s eyes. Justin clearly believed that the people of Israel had been judged and rejected by God for their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. The double edge of Justin’s rhetoric must not escape our notice. But Christ suffered and died. And yet. As seen in the previous chapter. But the Incarnation was not simply the product of prior events.

84 . And so we see that the historical argument both precedes and underlies Justin’s approach to the “Jewish question. Chapter 120 of the Dialogue is the climax of Justin’s argument. in accordance with the divine plan of our redemption. Apparently. or they would suffer. Though his line of reasoning is difficult to follow. the seed was divided among his sons. being children of Abraham. Genesis 49:10 also proved that the “expectation of the Gentiles” was not Judah. Justin saw in Judah the family line of those who would believe. that Jesus was the Messiah whose coming had been prophesied in the Scriptures (Hebrew Bible). Justin took this as a sign that some Jews. on the foreknowledge that they would reject God’s Messiah. In my view. but Christ. and obstinacy. It was now time for Jews to accept. blindness. In bringing these charges. he left no room for Jews as Jews: they would either repent and convert. 120. Justin returned to the root of his argument about the fate of the Jews: Genesis 49:10 prophesied both the rejection of the Jews as the Chosen People and the end of Jewish self-rule. would believe in Christ. also children of Abraham. however. After Jacob.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Law had ended with the coming of Christ. Quoting the promises to Isaac and Judah concerning the descendants that they were to have. the point at which he returned full circle. while his brothers (the other sons of Jacob) represented the Jews who would not believe. Finally. When Jews refused to do this. repeating his earlier quote of Genesis 49:10. according to Justin. would not.” In the end.”135 The remainder of Justin’s argument was centered in Judah. Here again is the text: 135 Dial. Justin’s main point was that through Judah the promises have been fulfilled. Justin’s countered with charges of Jewish ignorance. as Gentiles had. while others. Justin noted in passing that these promises were made “only to them from whom Christ was to come through the Virgin Mary.

and especially with Justin’s repeated attempts to convince Trypho that Jesus was the Messiah? Ultimately. and he is the expectation of the nations. does this jibe with the evangelical thrust of the Dialogue. until he should come for whom it has been stored up. 138 Dial. Romans 9-11. for Israel referred not to the Jewish people. the ruler of the nations “for whom it [kingship] has been stored up. Justin’s admonition for Jewish conversion must be read in the context of his contention that the overwhelming number of Jews were beyond 136 137 Genesis 49:10 (LXX.136 The nations (or Gentiles). this argument for the inclusion of both Jews and Gentiles is reminiscent of Paul’s argument that Gentiles are grafted onto the rootstock of Israel. How. quoting the parable of the Sower and the Seed. Justin believed that Christians alone were able to read the Scripture and understand its true (hidden) meaning. but to Christians. Isra means “a man who overcomes. who overcame all. but rather of Christ. 125. As we have seen. then. 125 where. had not awaited the coming of Judah.137 But the fact that Justin was operating with a different assumptions is evident from Dial. 85 . and a ruler [or leader] out of his thigh.” This brings us to Justin’s new definition of “Israel. Justin argued.” while el means “power”. Justin stated that “it is necessary to speak in the hope that there is some good ground somewhere.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? A prince [or ruler or lord] shall not fail out of Judah. my translation). Justin thus tied the name Israel to those (whether Jew or Gentile) who believed in Jesus as the Messiah. At first. especially 11:11-36.”138 That hope for “good ground” found expression in Justin’s belief that Christians were the recipients of an understanding of the Scriptures (by means of the whole of the Logos) that was impossible for Jews. Israel thus spoke of Christ.” According to Justin.

remained loyal to the faith of their ancestors and even attempted to convert Christians to the Jewish world-view. 25. behold. the line of demarcation lay in his claims about Jesus. a certain number of Jews no doubt continued to convert. Quoting Isaiah 24:14. the belief of the Gentiles. and the major contrast was between the unbelief of the Jews vs. Even at this late date. blindness or obstinacy. “and I will remove them. Those who did not were without the Truth. It was this unconverted majority that Justin certainly had in mind when he wrote of “those who justify themselves and are saying they are children of Abraham will wish to inherit with [us Christians] even a small place. whether because of ignorance. the Hebrew Bible. I will proceed to remove this people.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER hope. But as we have seen.or herself with the true Israel (the Church) and thereby be saved. but a religious one. for God had predicted this fate in their own holy book. History itself proved that the 139 Dial. Justin thus proclaimed divine judgment on the Jews: “Therefore. Justin’s jeremiad against the Jews did not stop there. 86 . A Jew who repented and believed in Christ as the Messiah could align him.” and yet would not.” says the Lord. a fulfillment of prophecy. For their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. this was. but the overwhelming majority. and I will hide the shrewdness of the shrewd. as represented by Trypho.” Justin found the fulfillment of the Isaiah passage in Genesis 49:10.139 Justin’s was not a racial outlook. and I will destroy the wisdom of the wise. moreover. The Jews had indeed been removed by God: their spiritual removal as the Chosen People had been manifested in their physical removal from Jerusalem. the Jewish people were rejected by God.

Justin’s call for Jewish conversion was rooted in the belief that Christianity had replaced Judaism and that Jews no longer had a place as Jews within God’s plan for salvation. Furthermore. Their refusal to abandon Mosaic Law and acknowledge the truth of Christian claims was seen by Justin as further proof of their lost state. Justin attributed to the Jews a jealousy of “those of us [Christians] who think these things [concerning Jewish sin] and correct you [Jews]. that Justin’s argument was two-fold in nature.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? prophecy of Genesis 49:10 had been fulfilled. For them.” We find. and obstinacy was divine judgment. each as he is worthy. they were without hope of salvation. foretold in Genesis 49:10 and now manifested in history. therefore. At the same time. 87 . blindness. and obstinate Jews were nonetheless envious of God’s gift to Christians of insight into Scripture. and he saw in Scripture a prophecy that this would occur. On the other hand. hence. and obstinate. 39. being enlightened through the name of this same Christ. knowing your continual hardness of heart.” Justin concluded that God was withholding final destruction of the Jews out of the foresight that day by day some [Jews] are becoming disciples into the name of Christ. he did not take this idea to its logical end and suggest that such envy might move them to convert.141 140 141 Dial. blind. Justin hoped and believed that some Jews would be converted. it was clear to him that the vast majority of Jews had not converted.”140 Justin apparently believed that the blind. Dial. Ignorant. On the one hand. for all his “evangelistic” tendencies. and never would. the “historical argument. And yet. Rather. They also receive good gifts. tying this “jealousy” to the notion of “remnant. 39. and leaving behind the way of deception. the consequence of ignorance. ignorant.

Through all of this.” 142 Moreover. Justin maintains what seems to us a double standard. Having chosen sin. rather. but this does not mean that Justin believed God caused these things to happen. but by faith. nor by adherence to a now outmoded Mosaic Law. but refused to accept it. the Gentiles who do not convert are certainly destined for divine judgment. Justin believed that human beings were endowed with free will. on the other hand. and their rejection of him. With the coming of Christ. arguing that some were converting and being saved? Here we return to the fact that Justin was not a systematic theologian. while. The Jews freely chose to reject Christ. whose fate will be determined by their choice. Jews as Jews were indeed set apart by their circumcision—not as a sign of a covenant with God. As noted at the beginning of this chapter. humans (and especially the Jews) now suffered the consequences of that choice. On the one hand. on the one hand. God had given circumcision as a sign of the promise made to Abraham. their own choices set them apart. But such judgment is not specified. he seems to take it for granted. But kinship in the true Israel was not by blood. Justin clearly believed in a divine prophecy about the rejection of Jesus by the Jews. Long ago. 39. On the other hand. but this did 142 Dial. the promise that Israel would be saved. God foreknew and foretold this in the Scripture (such as Genesis 49:10). That this was part of Justin’s thinking is evident from his insistence that Jews were obstinate: Jews knew the truth. 88 . Justin goes into great detail about the impending doom of the Jews.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER How could Justin argue. for Jewish rejection and punishment. just as Gentiles chose to follow. but whose choice was foretold in prophecies of their collective fate. and Justin never really discusses the issue at all. but rather as representation of their “continual hardness of heart. By refusing to set aside the Mosaic Law and accept Christ. the Jews have consigned themselves to divine retribution.

” had now rejected God and killed God’s Messiah. 143 89 . interpretations which leave little room for dialogue amidst the scathing polemic of the “new Israel. their rejection as the People of God came as the direct result of their free choice—made because of blindness. became a weapon for Christian polemicists to use against their Jewish adversaries. The term “Christ-killers” may be as old as Christian animosity toward Jewish non-believers. as did the writings of Augustine. As a result.” The historical argument has had a long and unfortunate history in the Church. the entire Hebrew Bible. Irenaeus’ use of Genesis 49:10 in Against Heresies 4:10 mirrored that of Justin. otherwise obscure prophecies were seen as prophecies of divine vengeance. Stated in this way.” or even the socalled “new” testament143 vis-à-vis the “old. For Augustine’s use of the historical argument. see Reply to Faustus the Manichæan XII. to be leveled against those who—once known as the “Chosen People. and indeed. and/or obstinacy—to reject Jesus as the Messiah.” though “New Testament remains the designation for the books that comprise that Christian include in their canon. but it has been fueled by such things as the historical argument. THE LEGACY OF SUPERSESSIONISM ANCIENT POLEMIC AND MODERN FAITH When read allegorically. Rather.144 Scholarly circles prefer the term “Hebrew Bible” to “Old Testament. the title of this chapter contains a misnomer: Justin did not believe that the Jews were “fated” to reject Christ and thus earn divine wrath.42 and City of God XVI. Genesis 49:10. 144 I have argued elsewhere (see Part IV below) that Genesis 49:10 was the lens through which Augustine read all of Scripture.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? not nullify the choice that Jews made.42. ignorance.

of course. whose operatic Ring trilogy inspired many (including the young Adolph Hitler) to nationalistic zeal. secular) ends. and yet. a 19th century racial theorist. superseded and replaced by Christianity.. Hitler was. Houston Stuart Chamberlain. As a result. one can draw an uneasy connection through the muddled course of history between Justin’s thoughts and Hitler’s actions. no churchman. an interpretation that warranted misuse of other biblical material for religious (and later. for Hitler’s rise to power came no less on the shoulders of the Church’s long history of antiJudaic145 rhetoric (and action) than on the more secular brand of “anti-Semitism” that flourished in European society.g. teachings or opinions that express or advocate animosity toward Jews on the basis of race.” 145 90 . The second “Anti-Judaism” is used here in the sense of a religious conflict with Judaism. The first seeks to label as “antiSemitism” those attitudes.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Great emphasis is placed in these and other writings upon prophetic “proof” that Judaism has been rejected by God. advocated a racial form of social Darwinism that influenced later Nazi belief in “race purity.” that advocated hatred of Jews purely on the basis of race. as contrasted with later “anti-Semitism. 146 e.147 Throughout this work. teachings that deal with animosity toward the Jews have been labeled “anti-Jewish. Around the same time. The latter is especially visible when one views the historical argument through the horrific roadway of anti-Jewish thought and action that led to Auschwitz. On the Jews and Their Lies 147 This movement found its most artistic expression in the musical genius of Richard Wagner. Nazism found no less justification in the writings of God-fearing Christians such as Martin Luther146 than of the 19th century neopagans who advocated a replacement of Bible stories with ancient Teutonic myths.” This term is used in contrast to two definitions that I believe distort the true history of Jewish-Christian relations.

Marr’s work drew on a tradition that had analyzed the so-called “Semitic” languages and deduced (erroneously) that this language must have been spoken by a “Semitic” people. for example. the attitudes of Hitler from those of Justin. both definitions are flawed. the conclusion reached is that Justin’s arguments are about religion and not about race or ethnicity. According to this view.org/jsource/biography/WilhelmM arr. be rejected by God. “anti-Semitism. at the center of Justin’s argument is a religious claim: the Hebrew prophets foretold both the coming of Messiah and his summary rejection by the Jewish people. the brainchild of a German racial theorist named Wilhelm Marr. not as a Jew.” The appellation anti-Semitism has since been used to describe writings or speech that is hostile to Jews. This leads us to the second school of thought.148 Though anti-Semitism is commonly associated with ethnic or racial animosity.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? contrasts racial hatred of Jews from religious animosity. While this interpretation does look upon the Jews as an ethnic group (set apart. the term has also been used to describe attitudes that are primarily religious in character.jewishvirtuallibrary. for example. which seeks to contrast. in turn.” while Justin’s Dialogue would be placed into a http://www. To wit: a Jew who accepted Christ as Messiah would be included in “true Israel”—though as a Christian. as they setup a dichotomy where one does not necessarily exist.html 148 91 .” and those (like Marr) who fought against them were “anti-Semites. Jews were thus termed “Semites. exiled from their homeland and superseded by the Church as the true Israel. The first term is overly broad. by circumcision). Passages like Genesis 49:10 are prophetic proof for the notion that the Jews would. Hitler’s Mein Kampf would rightly be called “anti-Semitism. From my own view. As we have seen. encompassing all animosity toward Jews and attaching to it one label.” But “anti-Semitism” as such is a 19th century phenomenon.

perhaps more appropriately translated. care must be taken to avoid making too much of the double entendre in the Greek word εθνη.” So-called “anti-Judaism” is said to describe theological arguments against the Jews without reference to ethnic or “racial” categories. Christian membership became increasing Gentile. this definition over-simplifies the situation. and we must read this notion back into ancient texts.” does not necessarily connote “race” as understood by modern readers. For these 92 . But having said this. Rather. While Justin’s accusations against the Jews may have contained an ethnic component. It has been argued that original Christian animosity toward the Jews was based upon religious. “the Gentiles.” as well as the underlying ethnic tone of a Gentile Christian attacking the Jews as a nation set apart for special punishment. differences. which can rightly be translated either as “nations” or “Gentiles. at the risk of making Justin a proto-Nazi. based upon a theological construct. however. For example. Justin saw circumcision as a religious act that set Jews off as a people designated by God for special punishment. The religious act thus identified its practitioners in ethnic terms. as a people distinct from “the nations”—or. As an alternative to these terms and the artificial distinction they involve. creating a false dichotomy between hatred of Jews based on religion and that based upon race. “race” remains the product of a later age.” Such a term synthesizes the notions of “anti-Judaism” and “anti-Semitism” while taking into account the broad spectrum that exists between them. but it is also true that Justin’s Dialogue presupposes certain ethnic distinctions as well.” The far-reaching implications of Justin’s theological use of the “historical argument. must not escape our notice. I propose the term “anti-Jewish. This is true. this comes only secondarily to his main argument. In my view. This term.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER different category: “anti-Judaism. As the Church began to function and develop on its own. rather than racial or ethnic. based upon his particular reading of Scripture.

despite the fact that Paul had contended that the Gentile vine was being grafted onto the root of Israel. for Justin seems to have inherited rather than coined it himself. writing in the mid-second century.. If Justin’s Dialogue represents actual exchanges between Jews and 149 See Romans 11:17-24. it is not surprising that a Gentile Church concluded that the Law given to the Jews was not applicable to Christians. it is clear that certain historical events—e. When the Gentile church. punishment imposed. and Justin. and not vice versa. forced to answer Judaism. With this as background. turned to Scripture and apostolic teaching for answers. seems to be the earliest written record of this particular interpretation.149 But if the destruction of the Temple in 70 C. We can only assume that it existed as a kind of oral tradition. It is not. Why this is the case may be lost to history.g. it turned first of all to the Scripture that it held in common with Judaism. we return to the Dialogue With Trypho. they seemed to repudiate Jewish religion in general. the Roman dictum that no Jew was to re-enter Jerusalem after the Bar Kochba rebellion. the destruction of the Temple in 70 C. Irrespective of when this particular allegory came into existence. and the resultant “Diaspora” of the Jewish people—became a lens through which later Christians read Genesis 49:10 as a prophecy fulfilled. and a Gentile Christian Church chosen to take their place.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Gentiles. Jewish heritage was at best somewhat familiar. marked a watershed in Christian interpretation of Genesis 49:10. especially for those “God-fearers” who had been affiliated with Judaism to one degree or another before their conversion. 93 .. Given the fact that apostolic teaching included a tradition that repudiated the Law as the way to salvation. Jewish thought and practice was foreign material altogether. the Jews rejected.E. one would expect to see the so-called “historical argument” reflected in the New Testament writings themselves. When those same Scriptures and tradition were read with a more radical viewpoint. At worst.E.

it is at least possible that something like what is recorded actually occurred. Justin. lies in the dual nature of the Dialogue as polemic and evangelistic tool. despite his supersessionist presuppositions (or. is written by the winners. where Justin and Trypho address each other as “friend”— then Justin was at least open to debate with Jews on a somewhat equal footing. as a way of passing judgment upon the Jews? The answer. If my assumption about amiability is warranted—and if not. and the Christian philosopher. it remains to be seen in light of the opening and final chapters of the Dialogue. I believe. It is my assumption that depictions of amiability between Justin and Trypho represent one facet of second century Jewish-Christian relations. From this point of view. because of them). the Dialogue is an intricate web of Justin’s recollection. the Dialogue represents (1) Justin’s sincere attempts to convert Jews to Christianity and (2) the frustration resulting from his failure to do so. notwithstanding his frequent polemical digressions. Trypho. at least at first. for passages such as Genesis 49:10 proved that Jewish obstinacy and the divine retribution that followed therefrom had been foretold long before. Conversely. for only as Christians could they be part of true Israel. as I believe. If. he would not be responsible before God for Jewish unbelief. Justin seems to have been motivated by an evangelistic agenda: it was his responsibility as a Christian to attempt to convert Jews. perhaps. No other known record exists than Justin’s account of the supposed two-day conversation between the Jew. with Justin’s subsequent use of the historical argument. In other words. then how do we reconcile the apparent amiability between Justin and Trypho. History. after all. But if Justin’s evangelistic spirit led to a certain openness for 94 . whether this represents historical fact or literary construct.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Christians. Likewise. should he fail in this regard. Justin’s repeated reversion to polemic and diatribe counter this dialogue with the other (or another) facet of these relations: Christian supersessionism. permeated by rhetorical embellishment.

Trypho is simply no match for Justin. I believe. it set the stage for Justin’s later attacks against circumcision as the mark by which the Jews are “set apart” for divine punishment. It is no surprise. for example. While it would be anachronistic to attribute modern racist notions to Justin. Justin’s use of the historical argument is the first explicit usage of this particular allegory. The fact that it is repeated in the writings of the Fathers. and more importantly. that Justin’s theological attacks found an ethnic voice. Second. who takes in stride whatever questions or concerns his Jewish listeners raise. who is a Gentile Christian. xi. the idea that a Christian held an ethnic prejudice against Jews is not outside the limits of reason. but as “a Hebrew of the circumcision. First. that there is much more to the Dialogue than a theological disputation between a Jew and a Christian.” As noted above. however.’” See Oberman. therefore. Oberman. this fact becomes all the more clear.151 It seems clear. 1.”150 We might posit that Trypho’s introduction as “Hebrew of the circumcision” served two purposes. points to the power of this belief. Justin’s attitude shows just how easily theological controversy took on ethnic connotations: Justin the Gentile addressed Trypho. noted that Augustine cited the Roman pagan philosopher Seneca “as his authority for the fact that the Jews were ‘an arch-criminal race. regardless of its origin. First. If Trypho is merely a literary construct—a “straw figure”—as some scholars believe. 151 150 95 .DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? debate. at any rate. who is portrayed in the Dialogue as introducing himself not only as a Jew by religion. echoed in his belief that by circumcision. it clearly distinguished him from Justin. Jews have a unique Dial. his passion for Christian truth outweighed any egalitarian concern he might have for what the modern age would call “interfaith dialogue. Justin alone is the author of the Dialogue. and apparently assumed by subsequent generations of Christians. Second. that in that debate.

”152 I believe that the ethnic overtones of Justin’s arguments point to a larger issue: the history of Christian anti-Jewish polemic is one of a progressive.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER identity as the recipients of divine rejection and punishment. are the very instigators of that evil opinion they [the Gentiles] have of the Just One and of us. His disciples. who. Writing less than 100 years later. slow but steady shift away from the purely theological and toward the ethnic.. Justin placed far less emphasis on God’s plan than on God’s foreknowledge. 17.” The Jews were first accused of homicide. or perhaps more appropriately.. there is a striking and disturbing similarity between ancient beliefs and modern propaganda. therefore. however. the power of prophesy. toward a merging of the two. is not that Jesus was sent to die for the sins of the world. After you had crucified the only sinless and just Man . In this regard. 96 . you not only failed to feel remorse for your evil deed.. does Isaiah cry out: “Because of you My name is blasphemed among the Gentiles. later generations would add a much more ominous 152 Dial. but also for that of all others. the earliest Christians believed that Jesus had been crucified as part of God’s plan and with God’s foreknowledge. you are to blame not only for your own wickedness. and after you realized that He had risen from the dead and had ascended into Heaven . as unjustly as have you Jews. but you even dispatched certain picked men from Jerusalem to every land. As noted above. If the portrayal of Peter’s speech in Acts 2:23 is any indication. With good reason. indeed. but that the Jews were “Christ-killers.. to report the outbreak of the godless heresy of the Christians and to spread those ugly rumors against us which are repeated by those who do not know us. As a result. Justin believed this was the result of their choice to reject Jesus as the Messiah: The other nations have not treated Christ and us. His followers.

154 What are we to make of this conspiracy theory. the more easily and frequently the “Christ-killers” were The term “Christ killer” has been hurled against Jews for centuries. Worse yet was the so-called “blood libel. Over time. from the perspective of Christian theology as a whole. 39. Jesus’ betrayal and death were necessary for the salvation of the world. p. what is missing from this belief is the apparent lack of comprehension that. Apart from its other horrific implications. this bread had been transformed into the body of Christ. As a result. Justin seems to suggest that insofar as they persecuted Christians. 155 Bread (or wafers) that had been blessed by a priest for distribution at the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper). Medieval history is replete with stories of how Jews stole consecrated hosts155 from Christian churches in order to profane them in various inventive and scandalous ways. 154 Dial. depicting Jews as behind-the-scenes agents. the Romans were mere pawns of the Jews. 96. It seems that the later one goes in history (especially in the West). hence the legend of the “wandering Jew. Seen in its totality. the teaching was that Jews were desecrating not merely a central symbol of Christian belief.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? charge: “deicide. 153 97 . instigating the malevolent actions of others? More stories such as these would follow in the centuries to come. but the actual body of Christ. on the mistaken notion that they alone were responsibility for Jesus’ death. the religious and ethnic character of the dispute was intermixed. Jews were the quintessential heretics within Christian society.” And through it all.”153 This may offer some explanation for the demonization of Jews in subsequent centuries. Jews were depicted as foreigners in every land. it seems clear that such folklore built upon earlier theological disputes that viewed Jews as “other”.” the claim that Jews routinely kidnapped and murdered unbaptized Christian infants in order to cure a horrible skin disease endemic only to them. See above. According to the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. this gave way to the Jew as “outsider” in a (Gentile) Christian world.

deceive.” 157 The following passage offers a glimpse into Luther’s use of the now welldeveloped “historical argument”: Therefore a Christian should be content and not argue with the Jews. and neither is he any longer their God. together with your temple and priesthood. strike. 47: The Christian in Society IV. we see the facts before our eyes. Jew. are no longer his people. do not say any more than this: “Listen. and these too do not deceive us. Bertram. 137. On the Jews and Their Lies. On the Jews and Their Lies. have been destroyed for over 1.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER seen as monsters: the religious outcast gave way to a demonic figure that existed on the very fringes of society. 158 Luther. 156 98 . apparently of Jewish authorship. and fixing no time limit and no end to it … Therefore this work of wrath is proof that the Jews.156 Extolling an evangelical drive to convert the Jews but fed by frustration and impatience at their resistance.158 Martin Luther. 126-127. comforting them neither with words nor with deeds. so terribly. 157 Luther. truly a terrible one.460 years?” … For such a ruthless wrath of God is sufficient evidence that they assuredly have erred and gone astray. in which biblical texts were quoted in order to “destroy the basis of our faith. waiting for any opportunity to steal. 1971). or kill. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press. surely rejected by God. so unmercifully. this is their lot. are you aware that Jerusalem and your sovereignty. unfortunately. This blending of religious and ethnic presuppositions is prominent in Martin Luther’s infamous 1543 treatise. Luther’s Works. … Yes. Vol. They may interpret this as they will. translated by Martin H. For one dare not regard God as so cruel that he would punish his own people so long. Even a child can comprehend this. and in addition keep silent. Luther’s treatise is a response to an unidentified anti-Christian treatise. On the Jews and Their Lies. emphases added. On the Jews and Their Lies. But if you have to or want to talk with them. 138.

In this context.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? While Luther does not cite Genesis 49:10 in this passage. as well as to admonish these same readers to belief in Christ. his comments do reference the presuppositions by which it is read. their temple and the priesthood “have been destroyed for over 1460 years. 160 Luther On the Jews and Their Lies. 138. for example. and only after a long diatribe against Jewish pride and boasting. while noting that such arguments are also present in Justin’s first Apology. these facts stood as evidence of God’s rejection of the Jews: they were no longer God’s people. the removal of God’s comfort in times of distress—these were cited as proof that the Jews “assuredly have erred and gone astray. I believe the Dialogue represents an expansion of Justin’s earlier arguments.”160 SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH This study has focused upon Justin’s references to the “historical argument” only within the Dialogue. (2) those same Scripture predicted that the unbelieving Jews would be banished from their homeland. nor was God their God. the fact that God’s wrath had no apparent end in sight. The purpose of the I Apology was to defend Christianity against various charges leveled against it by the pagans. Luther’s quotation of Genesis 49:10 does not occur until page 178 of the published translated. 159 99 . In fact. God’s silence. had a superior knowledge of God’s plan. Genesis 49:10 was quoted to argue that (1) Christians. Jewish sovereignty. 161 See.159 The city of Jerusalem. who read the “predictive” Scriptures.” For Luther. and (3) the fact that the Romans themselves conquered the Jews and expelled them from Jerusalem proved that the prophecies had been fulfilled. a full forty pages into his argument. I Apology 31-34.161 As such.

Justin further charged that Jews had been misled by the rabbis into continual error and so must abandon their adherence to the Law and embrace Christianity if they held any hope of salvation. and establish in Judea a kingdom ruled by Jews”164—there would seem to be a connection between Justin’s belief in a literal reign of Christ (whose coming fulfills the messianic prophecy of Genesis 49:10) and the belief that the Christians have usurped all things Jewish to become the new Israel. In detailing Justin’s “presuppositions. 80. prophecies were quoted first and foremost to convince the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah. As a result. Such a connection first occurred to me after reading an article by Robert L. reclaim the city.163 If. and the Idea of the Holy Land. Jewish Messianism.” Harvard Theological Review 79:1-3 (1986): 298-307. Wilken on Christian chiliasm and its connection to Jewish and Christian messianism. for whom the belief in a literal thousand-year reign of Christ was an orthodox Christian stance. Since the historical argument is considered Robert L. The historical argument was part of this attempt. 164 Wilken. and utterly misconstrued the Scriptures. though he admits that there are non-millenarians among the orthodox. “Early Christian Chiliasm. 162 100 . 162 Among the early Christian writers discussed in Wilken’s article is Justin Martyr. 163 Dial. misinterpreted. In the Dialogue. therefore. as Wilken states. Justin’s attempt in the Dialogue was to convert Jews. Wilken.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Conversely. rebuild the temple. 299. perhaps central to it. “early Christian chiliasm is the obverse side of Jewish Messianism”—that is. Genesis 49:10 was quoted in part to prove his contention that they misread. “the hope that the Jews will return to the land of their ancestors.” I have not explored what I see as a possible connection between Justin’s chiliastic thinking (belief in a literal thousand-year reign of Christ on earth) and his use of the historical argument.

Justin’s chiliasm would be yet another presupposition underlying his interpretation of Genesis 49:10. 101 .DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? ipso facto proof of God’s rejection and abandonment of the Jews as the Chosen People.

I have termed this particular interpretation of this particular text the “historical argument. like a lioness—who dares rouse him up? The scepter shall not 102 . While on the surface. he stretches out like a lion. he claims. you have gone up.” As we shall see. In reaching this conclusion. Augustine reads both Old and New Testament texts through the “lens” of Genesis 49:10-12. my son. Augustine discusses many prophecies relating either directly or indirectly to Christ. it is through this text that Augustine’s interprets nearly all other texts. Among these is the (replacement) of Judaism by Christianity. which. Throughout City of God. it became for Augustine the allegorical key to Christological prophecy: Judah is a lion’s whelp. have been fulfilled. Genesis 49:10 appears cryptic and irrelevant to history. He crouches down. from the prey. a situation which Augustine sees as the final culmination of God’s plans of old.–4– AUGUSTINE AND THE JEWS: PROPHECY AND HISTORY IN CITY OF GOD “Prophecy” for Augustine was no small matter.

until tribute come to him. it is ex post facto proof that Christ is the Messiah. his eyes are darker than wine and his teeth whiter than milk. it is a proof-text in support of the “supersessionist” notion that the Church has replaced the Jews as the Chosen People.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? depart from Judah. The true children of Abraham. but also texts from the New Testament. See Dialogue with Trypho and On the Jews and Their Lies. he washes his garments in wine and his robe in the blood of grapes. while all “earthly” citizens of the City of Man will be condemned. italics added. respectively. we will see how Augustine employs this lens to read not only Hebrew Bible passages. Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine. and Luther after him) in two important ways: first. and the obedience of the people is his. I believe.166 is seen by Augustine (as by Justin before. nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet. Augustine argues. The end result. which is referenced throughout the history of Christian apologetics.165 This passage. from Justin Martyr to Martin Luther. the two ideas are inseparably linked in Augustine’s argument. Secondly. which redefines “Israel” in terms of a dichotomy pitting “spiritual” against “physical” descent from Abraham. 103 . are children by faith and according to the promise: members of the City of God not by physical descent. as we shall see. This study will focus on Augustine’s use of Genesis 49:10 as a “lens” for other “prophecies” concerning the coming of Christ and the establishment of the Church. an understanding which. In so doing. over and against Judaism. undergirds the entirety of Augustine’s discussion of the “two cities. only they are predestined to salvation. but by spiritual descent As such.” Augustine provides a definition of these two “cities” in Chapter 28 of Book XIV of City of God: 165 166 Genesis 49:10-12 (NRSV). is a decidedly “supersessionist” understanding of Christianity. As we shall see.

” one for honor. predestined to eternal life. then the “spiritual”. 595). By two cities I mean two societies of human beings. Augustine argues that “in the individual man” the “animal” comes first. undue attachment to earthly and temporal things of this world. Concerning The City of God Against the Pagans. the two cities are mingled: citizens of the Heavenly City live and travel as pilgrims on the Earthly City.” Citizens of both cities are so by God’s providence: the citizen of the City of God chosen by grace. for they are heading. the other doomed to undergo eternal punishment with the Devil. speaking allegorically. though correctly done with reference to the outward act. that is. rather than to God and the next world. the other of those who live according to God’s will. Both were created from the same “lump.” but if reborn into Christ. prior to the End. all human beings are “inevitably evil and carnal to begin with. so to speak. represents possession. was wrong with respect to his motivations. the two cities are completely separate. Augustine states that although Cain’s sacrifice was rightly offered. the distinction between them became pronounced after Abel’s death at his brother’s hand. It is this distinction City of God XV.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER I classify the human race into two branches: the one consists of those who live by human standards. Cain typifies the earthly city. 167 104 . they “will afterwards be good and spiritual. translated by Henry Bettenson. (London: Penguin Classics Series. it was not rightly divided: Cain’s sacrifice. Alluding to Paul’s similar division. the citizen of the Earthly City likewise predestined to damnation. one of which is predestined to reign with God for all eternity. 1984). 1972. another for dishonor. Augustine. Quotes and page number references are from St. However. Penguin Books. in two different directions.167 In terms of their eternal destiny. Adam is father to both cities.1 (p. I also call these two classes the two cities.

for it was for him that the “Hebrew” people were named.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? which Augustine sees at the heart of all citizens of the earthly city. It was to these people. Since nothing in Scripture happens by accident. Terah. for Heber is not a direct son of Shem. not in curing their depraved desires. which Augustine quotes widely. the biblical narrative returns to list Shem’s descendants.” and it was precisely this mentality which Augustine attacked both with respect to paganism and with respect to the Jews’ persisting “earthly” reading of Mosaic Law: both sought to control God for their own ends. Heber’s prominence at the beginning of this list is taken by Augustine as a signal of his importance. after Babel. Augustine points to the fact that after detailing the episode of the Tower of Babel. Seth. Augustine then continues to trace the City of God. the people were divided into many language groups. beginning with Abraham’s father. that the Hebrew language. original to all humanity. whom Augustine credits for preserving the worship of the one true God. was passed on. this must be to emphasize Shem’s descendants. namely. Here again we see the complexity of Augustine’s argument. seeking to account for every nuance in the text. of which one was the family Heber. Noah’s oldest son. all humanity shared a common language. but in fulfilling them. rather than trusting in God for God’s ends. who is listed first among the descendants of Shem. for “they suppose that with this gift [offering] God is being bought over to help them. Finally. and the earthly city through Cain’s line. as those through whom the lineage City of God was to be passed down. according to Augustine. Before Babel. but a great-great grandson. Of particular importance is Heber. This prominence is mirrored in Augustine’s lists of three promises which God made to Abraham: 105 . Augustine next traces the lineage of the City of God through the generations of Adam’s son. Augustine concludes. Abraham plays a prominent role in Paul’s understanding of salvation history.

there will be nothing to puzzle them.21 (p. he is able in Chapter 21 of Book XVI to make a statement which is a startling “foreshadowing” of his later argument: At any rate. The covenant of Sinai has been replaced by the covenant in Christ. Augustine takes these promises about Abraham’s posterity to be representative of spiritual descendants according to faith. rather than physical descent from Abraham. they accept the word saeculum here in accordance with our confident belief that the beginning of the future era (saeculum) starts with the end of the present era. As such. 2.’ If. they still remain in other cities of the land of Canaan. 106 .168 “Israel.” The giving of Canaan to “Israel” is fulfilled by Christians inhabiting that land! 168 City of God XVI.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER 1. Yet the statement. 3. For even though the Israelites have been expelled from Jerusalem. those who believe in Christ are now rightly called “Israel. The land of Canaan will be given to Abraham’s “seed” forever (Genesis 13:8ff).” is reinterpreted in terms of faith in Christ. no one doubts that the only land referred to here is the country called Canaan. is itself the seed of Abraham. on the other hand. 680). ‘I shall give it to you and to your seed for ever. and a great nation will arise from Abraham’s “seed” (Genesis 12:1ff). Like Paul. and they will remain there to the end. The land of Canaan will be given to Abraham’s “seed” (Genesis 12:7). being inhabited by Christians.” as well as “forever. if they take ‘for ever’ (usque in saeculum) to mean ‘for eternity. And the whole land. Abraham and his descendants will be blessed and given a great name.’ may puzzle some people.

169 170 City of God XVI.” are symbols of the two cities. Sarah. Keturah. but of the Melchizedek priesthood. Abraham took another wife. and when Sarah died. that is. All this leads up to Augustine’s treatment of the “classic” text on God’s predestination and providence: Galatians 4:21-5:1. Abraham’s two sons. with the former (earthly) standing as a testimony to the latter (heavenly).. while Isaac was born “by a promise. 598).e. this notion carries strongly supersessionist overtones: Judaism has been replaced by Christianity.”170 Most importantly. Those in the earthly city (typified by Ishmael) are born “according to the flesh. Augustine reminds his readers that Christ came not in the line of the Aaronic. final “ high priest. his first wife. 680) City of God VI. for [here] we see both of them called wives. when Christ was at last revealed]. but they [Hagar and Keturah] are both also found to have been concubines. ”169 Read through the lens of Genesis 49:10.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Augustine also connects the blessing of Abraham by Melchizedek to the Letter to the Hebrews. for the Aaronic line was destined “to be abolished when the events prefigured by these shadows came to the light of day [i.” Claiming that the blessing of Abraham is a prophetic foreshadowing of Christ’s coming. heirs according to faith. But only Sarah is Abraham’s true wife.” through normal human reproduction. only the “sons of the promise” are true heirs. both born of Abraham’s “seed.22 (p. a symbol of God’s grace. The same division applies to Abraham’s three wives. God promised Abraham that his descendants would carry on Abraham’s name through Isaac. 107 . Hagar was later sent away. a promise which Augustine takes to be symbolic of Isaac’s special status. alluding to that letter’s Christological interpretation of Psalm 110:1: Christ is the new.3 (p. gave her servant Hagar to Abraham to bear him the son she was unable to have.

174 Augustine. City of God XVI. quoting Genesis 25:1ff. Augustine lays out the first of several interpretations in defense of his supersessionist claims: Two nations are in your womb. as we turn to his allegory of the story of Rebecca’s twins.35 (p. ibid. the elder would serve the younger. for. One of the peoples will overcome the other. Augustine also finds a rationale for his claims: 171 172 Augustine. 697). Interpreting allegorically. and the elder will be servant to the younger. and to the sons of this concubines Abraham gave presents.35 (p. and two peoples will derive their separate existence from your belly. 697) 173 See Romans 9.’171 Emphasizing the dichotomy between son of Sarah and sons of the concubines. 173 Quoting the Genesis account. 108 . Augustine concludes: “Thus the sons of the concubines have some gifts.”172 This distinction between “heir” and non-heir drives Augustine forward. and sent them away from his son Isaac. to the eastern lands. but they do not come to the promised kingdom–neither the heretics nor the Jews by physical descent– because there is no heir except Isaac. borrowed from Paul’s letter to the Romans. ‘Now Abraham gave all his property to his son Isaac.174 This passage serves Augustine’s argument for predestination rather nicely. to the east. in his own lifetime.10-12. quoting Genesis 25:23. God chose one over the other and foresaw that in complete contradiction to the normal social order. City of God XVI. before either of these twins were born.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER for the Scripture goes on to say.

and to whom the princes do reverence. Augustine retells the story in terms of Christ. But in fact it is more appropriate to believe that the prophetic statement. “It is Christ whom the nations serve. and the elder will be servant to the younger. the Christians. “an event with allegorical significance. because the Law and the Prophets are themselves not understood.” is fulfilled in Christ. And what can this meaning be except a prophecy which is now being clearly fulfilled in the Jews and the Christians?175 The second prophecy in support of supersession is Jacob’s tricking his brother out of the birth-right and blessing. Now it is true that this prophecy might seem to have been fulfilled in the nation of the Idumaeans … for the Idumaeans were later to be overcome by the people descended from the younger son.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? …the younger was chosen. As for the statement ‘The elder will be servant to the younger. while the elder was rejected. who are the children of Abraham according to spiritual descent. 698). The fact that Isaac is not angry at his son’s trickery becomes for Augustine a prophetic sign of the truth of this interpretation: the blessing is not revoked because the “great mystery [sacramentum] is straightway revealed” to Isaac “in the depths of his heart.” The Jews “bless” Christ even while they curse him.’ hardly anyone of our people has taken it as meaning anything else but that the older people of the Jews was destined to serve the younger people.” Christians. 109 .35 (p. Law and Prophets: “Isaac is the Law and Prophets. ‘One of these peoples will overcome the other. even by the lips of Jews. as by someone who does not know what he is doing. have received the blessing and the inheritance in Christ. without any question of merit. forming part of the divine plan. 175 City of God XVI.’ was intended to convey some more important meaning.” The sacramentum. that is by the Israelites. for they fail to see how Christ fulfills the Law and the Prophets. and Christ is blessed by the Law and the Prophets.

until tribute comes to him. did not fully pass from Jewish hands until the time of Christ: For we learn from the authentic history of the Jews themselves.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER for it was to Christ that the writers of the Hebrew Bible prophetically looked forward.176 Like Justin Martyr before him and Martin Luther after him. he bowed down and gave up his spirit to death. Their (Christians’) hands are “on the necks of the enemies” after the growth of Christianity throughout the world. quoted above. under whom Christ was born. “He is raised up by Him whom no man hath seen or can see. or power of the Jewish monarchy. So the scepter did not depart from 176 Quote from NRSV 110 . that Herod. which I see as the climax of his argument. where he argued for just the ex post facto proof cited above: “your brothers will praise you” is fulfilled. even in spite of opposition. the key verse is Genesis 49:10: The scepter shall not pass from Judah.” are saved according to election by grace.” As we have seen. was their first foreign king. Augustine argues that the scepter. the “sons of the promise. Christ is the “lion’s whelp”: ascending the cross. Clearly Augustine concludes that Jacob knew this “in the depths of his heart” and therefore let the blessing stand. That the “elder” (the Jews) will serve the “younger” (Christians) is made explicit in Augustine’s third example of prophecy: his interpretation of Genesis 49:10-12. and the obedience of the peoples is his. Augustine first addressed this Genesis text in his treatise against Faustus. because all Christians praise Christ. Those who praise Christ are the sons of Judah. sleeping as a lion. nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet.

but his younger brother will be greater than he. the kings of Israel—have never been lacking. When Jacob blessed them. That the “elder” should serve the “younger” fulfills the Old Testament theme of God’s choice of one over another.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? the seed of Judah till the things laid up for him [Christ] came. this theme is given both a Christological and supersessionist spin by reading it 177 178 City of God. intentionally placing his right hand on the younger brother. In Augustine’s usage.” to emphasize that it is through faith in Christ that believers.” the conclusion is clear: the blessing of Jacob’s sons is an allegory describing the supersession of Judaism by Christianity. “he is the desire of the nations.177 Augustine’s translation of this passage reads. and he will be exalted. he crossed his hands. however. and his descendants will become a great multitude of nations. And so it is Christ himself in whom the promises made to Judah ‘have been laid up’.179 Given Augustine’s earlier equation of Jews as the “elder” and Christians as the “younger. (an action itself rife with allegorical possibility. a theme resounded in Paul. which Augustine either missed or ignored).178 That the Jews have rejected Christ was prophesied in a forth example of prophecy: the story of the blessing of the Joseph’s sons. XII City of God ___ 179 [reference] 111 . including Gentiles. share in the inheritance. and ‘until these things come’ to fulfillment princes from that stock—that is. symbolic that: This one also will become a prophet.

but a fulfillment of prophecy. this text “hints at” the final displacement of the old covenant of Sinai with the new covenant in Christ. an argument from history. God foreknew Saul’s sin. but the kingship ‘will not endure’ for Saul. since he was not destined to reign for ever. Augustine’s sixth example of prophecy. Thus what was symbolized in that kingdom endured. for Aaron’s line is being superseded. Because this prophecy is fulfilled in Christ. Eli is informed. Again alluding to Psalm 110. but symbolically. 112 .” The Aaronic priesthood will be displaced from God’s service. the temple is destroyed and the Jewish people scattered throughout the world. for God had designed his kingship to be a prefigurement of the eternal kingship . and besides. the prophecy concerning the “elder” serving the “younger” is also seen as fulfilled. even though its members live on. Augustine ponders rhetorically about what else this could be. anyway.180 180 City of God XVII. nor was his line. .JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER through Genesis 49:10. “Everyone of your house…will fall by the sword” not literally. an action which Augustine argues was not finally fulfilled in Samuel himself. Saul was not destined to rule forever. Noting that in his time. for a remnant will be saved. whose high priest is Christ. 730). Those who survive will do “him” (Christ) obeisance.6 (p. . Rather. It is. The notion of Aaron’s priesthood being superseded is also linked to Saul’s kingship. Augustine states that the Aaronic priesthood is superseded by the priesthood of Melchizedek. The supersession of Jews by Christians is made even more explicit in a fifth prophecy: the 1 Samuel story where Eli is addressed by the “man of God. and will endure. and the identity of Chosen People has passed from Jews to Christians. in short.

and so long as the Law is read and held in esteem above Christ. as God had always intended.” but if (or when) they accept Christ as Messiah.” is taken by Augustine to mean the two “parts” of Israel. 183 “The Lord says to my lord. Augustine again alludes to Christ’s fulfillment of Psalm 110: Christ. 733). the son of David. but Augustine references another. “a veil is laid on their [Jews’] hearts. corresponding to the two cities. “the veil will be taken away. 182 1 Samuel 13:28. who is better than you. 181 113 . above you”). has been given the kingdom. ‘Sit at my right hand. though not quoted by Augustine. 2 Cor. “and Israel will be divided into two. 3:15f.7 (p. 184 City of God XVII. Matthew 1:1 (NRSV). Citing an alternative translation (“good. The division is final. and whoever passes over from one group (or city) to the other is merely going to where they belong. while his enemies have become his footstool. cf. until I make your enemies your footstool” (Psalm 110:1.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? The kingship of Israel was to pass to David. among whose descendants was the true King: “Jesus the Messiah. The division is also pronounced: those who believe in Christ will have nothing to do with the non-believers. for the two groups are forever separate. a fulfillment of Genesis 49:10! The verse. this text fits well with his tracing of the lineage from Abraham through David to Christ.183 And since Israel (by which Augustine here means unbelieving Jews) is one of the enemies of Christ.”181 The kingdom is “torn” from Saul and given “to a neighbor of yours.” 182 Of course. who is “above” David.”184 The message is abundantly clear: given their rejection of Christ. the son of Abraham. spiritual meaning. the passage points to Christ’s messianic reign as the rightful heir to the kingship “torn” from Israel. this “tearing” and giving takes place with reference to physical kingship. NRSV). for God will not change God’s mind or go back on God’s word.

descent. The Jews will thus come to understand that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah. by causing the Father to love the Son. p. where Augustine interprets Malachi 4:5-6185 in what may seem a surprisingly inclusive way: on the Last Day. including Moses himself–interpreted it. while Christians inhabit the land of Canaan. of course. for “Israel” is defined in terms of spiritual. 957). but by teaching men that the Father loves the Son. it passed almost 300 years before Augustine’s own time— and the Jewish people are now scattered across the face of the earth. so that in my coming I may not utterly shake the earth. so that the Jews also. not. before the great and splendid Day of the Lord.29 (p. who is our Christ. Before Christ comes. Jews will be converted—but not all of them. the prophets.186 Elijah will teach the Jews that the Father. The scepter has passed from Judah— indeed. And yet. 185 114 . whom they worship as God.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER unbelieving Jews have themselves been rejected. rather than physical. And so we turn to the final judgment. History is prima facie evidence in Augustine’s case. Elijah will come to teach them the spiritual understanding of the Law. loves Christ.” (Augustine’s translation. 957) 186 City of God XX. the triumph of Christianity refutes any Jewish claims to the contrary and forever proves the supersession of the Jewish religion. “See. Augustine does not teach the condemnation of all Jews. who first hated the Son.29. and only then will they begin to “interpret the law as their fathers–that is. and he will turn the heart of the father to the son and the heart of a man to his neighbour. they will repent and believe. I shall send you Elija the Tishbite. City of God XX. This rejection has occurred according to God’s providence. and was foretold by the prophecies cited above.” Then Elijah will turn the heart of God the Father towards the Son. will love this same Son.

Rather than turn to God in Christ. Their parents will rise on that day. however. City of God XX. and I shall pour out over the house of David and over the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and mercy. and they will mourn for him as if for one very dear. As such. Perhaps more provocative. Saul was never intended to rule forever. The answer is as “When that day comes. they have persisted in their reading of the Law. for it is only upon the children that mercy and grace will be given. but to punishment. and they will grieve as men grieve for an only son” (Augustine’s translation. 960). his throne has been usurped by David’s line culminating in Christ.”188 And yet not all the Jews will be saved. whom they mocked at in the persons of their parents. Then they will look at me because they have gloated over me. whose high priest is Christ. not so much as punishment (though this is among its function) as a fulfillment of God’s will.187 Augustine states that “on that day” the Jews will repent for gloating over Jesus’ suffering and death and will recognize Jesus as the one “who formerly came in humility. rather than spiritual. 188 City of God XX. The implications of Augustine’s eschatology are provocative: the Jews have failed to see that the prophecy concerning the passing of the scepter from Judah (climaxing in the destruction of Jerusalem) was fulfilled with the coming of Christ. And so the kingdom has been taken from them. a reading which is temporal and earthly.30 (p. 187 115 . 960). they also show themselves to be true members of the City of God. destined for heavenly glory. The only hope for Jews is to turn from their misreading of the Law and their “possession” of earthly things and embrace the spiritual things of God. is Augustine’s explanation of why God has allowed Jews to continue as Jews. I shall seek to remove all the nations who come against Jerusalem. the Aaronic priesthood has been superseded by the priesthood of Melchizedek. p.30. for those saved will only be the children of those who once mocked and killed Jesus. Quoting Zechariah 12:9-10.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? and be saved.

and not everywhere. 828).189 Rather than destroy them altogether. there are Jews in every land in which Christianity exists. 116 . 828). unwitting pawns in God’s plan to spread the Gospel.190 And so the Jews function as a witness to the truth of Christian claims about Jesus. was also foretold in a seventh prophecy: As for my God. in fact. City of God XVIII. and thus. Augustine argues that their unbelief. “for fear that they should forget the Law of God and thus fail to bear convincing witness” to the truth of the Christian Gospel (a fulfillment of Genesis 49:10). God has chosen to “scatter” them across the world.46 (p. As for the rest. The Diaspora thus serves a dual function: punishment for Jewish unbelief and (ironically) evangelical device for the spread of Christianity. have believed. Jews fulfill their own scriptures. which is everywhere. and make up the remnant. who are part of the City of God.46 (p. my God has shown me this in the case of my enemies. And “although [the Jews are] conquered and oppressed by the Romans. scatter them by your might.” God has not put a total end to their existence as Jews.191 189 190 Psalm 59:11 (Augustine’s translation. [For] if they lived with that testimony of the Scriptures only in their own land. indeed. Some. would not have them available among all nations as witnesses to the prophecies which were given beforehand concerning Christ. 191 Ibid. lest at some time they forget your Law. according to Augustine. Do not slay them. City of God XVIII. his mercy will go before me.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER simple as it is disturbing: in refusing to believe in Christ. their fate. the obvious result would be that the Church.

for the Genesis 49:10 text. Zealots were committed to a very literal coming of Messiah. The Essenes retreated to the desert in protest of the impurity they perceived around the Temple in Jerusalem. Finally. they are part of the “earthly city” destined for damnation. The fact that the Jews are spread around the world. used as it has been in Christian supersessionist theology. and perhaps indirectly linked to the New Testament itself. is just as easily made to serve anti-Jewish political ends.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Throughout this paper. Augustine’s thoughts are part of a larger tradition of Jewish/Christian polemic. and a fulfillment of the very prophetic text (Genesis 49:10) through which Augustine reads all others. not physically. A good example is Luther’s treatise On the Jews and Their Lies (cited above). Jewish identity by physical descent alone is no guarantee of salvation apart from belief in Christ. but rather (not unlike modern Christianity) a disparate collection of worldviews with some features that were common and others that were unique to each group. and the Jews do not believe this. In its historical perspective. as theological justification for hatred and genocide. I have suggested that Augustine’s interpretation of Genesis 49:10 stands at the heart of his treatment of the “Jewish question”192 and acts as the hermeneutic tool for his other interpretive work. providing a witness to the truth of Christian claims. such as Hitler and the modern white supremacist movements. Whatever The ominous overtones of this term are both obvious and intentional. If Christ is Messiah. 193 It is important to note that Judaism was not a monolith structure. supersessionism may be the natural outgrowth of a “sibling rivalry”: the final “victory” of one faction of first-century Judaism193 over another. In the end. The special status of “Israel” as Chosen People is defined spiritually. directly traceable to Justin Martyr’s work in the second century. is further historical proof of Christian claims. rather than the more figurative language used by others. Pharisees and Sadducees had differing views on the afterlife. those Jews who believed that Jesus was the Messiah proclaimed that the prophecies were fulfilled and 192 117 .

All of these groups nonetheless saw themselves as Jews.g. Like all of Augustine’s theology.” the End was near.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER its ultimate cause. his conclusions concerning the historical fulfillment of prophecy reach out from the past to encompass—indeed.. stretching even into the modern day. the effect of this idea has been profound. the Law and Prophets) and a shared view that however defined. with commitment to the holy writings (e. to underlay—much of the Western Christian theological tradition of “supersessionism. they were to remain separate and pure over-and-against Gentiles—and even each other! 118 .

that was used as “proof” for the rejection of Jews as the Chosen People. On the Jews and Their Lies. adopted by Luther from medieval tradition. particularly as Christians and Jews reflection the Holocaust. as well as Hitler’s use of these statements as justification of racial hatred in the twentieth century.” It was this argument. Such reflection has also brought about a debate concerning Martin Luther’s statements against the Jews in the sixteenth century. My purpose. to examine Luther’s use of the so-called “historical argument. however. 119 .” but rather to focus upon Luther’s 1543 treatise. is not to delve into the controversial issue of Luther as an “proto-Nazi. its roots in Western Christianity and the degree to which Christianity is responsible for the Holocaust.–5– LUTHER’S VIEW OF HISTORY AND THEOLOGY IN ON THE JEWS AND THEIR LIES INTRODUCTION The subject of “Luther and the Jews” has received a great deal of attention in recent years.

“may well have been the source for some of the statements about Jewish teaching and practice which are cited about Luther in his treatise and which are not 194 120 . In light of this fact. CONTEXT OF THE CONTROVERSY Luther’s stated purpose in writing On the Jews and Their Lies was to respond to a Jewish apologetic which. the Jews no longer hold claim to “Chosen People” status before God: they have been rejected by God for rejecting and killing his Messiah. focusing upon how Luther is to be interpreted. Luther insisted that the passage prophesied about Christ. We shall then examine Luther’s argument concerning the Genesis passage within the context of his “historical argument”. as Luther states at the beginning This pamphlet.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Luther’s use of the historical argument is directly related to his Christological interpretation of the Bible. one of several proof-texts he uses in On the Jews and Their Lies. which.194 Yet. his reasons for writing. in turn. how can they still call themselves “God’s elect. Luther further argues that. we shall examine the context of Luther’s treatise. fed Luther’s over-arching theme: the Jews have been exiled from their homeland of Palestine. To begin. Finally. Jerusalem and the Temple for 1500 years. by way of a “dialog” between a Jew and a Christian.” rejecting the Gospel and its Messiah in favor of their legalistic Judaism? Our study will focus upon Luther’s use of Genesis 49:10. who had come fifteen hundred years ago. had dismissed Christianity’s interpretation of Scripture. which has never been identified. Luther continued. on the basis of the historical argument. and the anti-Jewish polemics which likely influenced his thinking. we shall consider the implications of this study for the modern debate. we shall then examine other information helpful drawn from editorial notes in The American Edition of Luther’s Works as it is helpful.

is exactly 1468 years. he came not to “quarrel with the Jews. n.”195 Rather. together with your temple and priesthood. 195 LW 47:137.E.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? of the treatise. for that is impossible. as pages 140-176 (constituting Part I) are devoted to a discussion of “false boasts” of the Jews and are unimportant for our study. nor to learn from them how they interpret or understand Scripture”. do not say any more than this: “Listen. 196 LW 47:138. since Vaspasian destroyed Jerusalem and expelled the Jews from the city. warning them about the Jews and admonishing them not to listen to anything the Jews may say. accepted by scholars. Luther had this advice for those engaged in dialog with the Jews: [If] you have to or want to talk with them. 121 . have been destroyed for over 1. It is also clear that Luther’s view of history is linked to a Christological interpretation of Scripture: the Jews have been rejected by God for 1500 years and are no longer the “chosen people” for one and only one reason--they have rejected Jesus as the Christ. We now skip ahead in the treatise. 133. are you aware that Jerusalem and your sovereignty. for the destruction of Jerusalem. Luther assumes the date 74 C. his purpose was to counsel and educate his fellow Christians. for God would not have so cruelly punished the Chosen People (destroyed the temple and Jerusalem. 36 [hereafter LW]. p. nor did he “propose to convert the Jews.” Luther’s Works Volume 47. Jew. In passing it should be traceable to other authorities. especially about the Scriptures. rather than the date of 70 C. which we Christians write as the year 1542 since the birth of Christ.460 years?” For this year.196 Here we see the “historical argument” as Luther uses it: the fact of God’s wrath was sufficient evidence that the Jews had gone astray.E. exiled them from their land) without good reason. going on fifteen hundred years.

.” Luther is thinking of converted Jews whose anti-Judaic writings were current during his lifetime. In reference to “some from their own race. 197 122 . [both] for the strengthening of our faith and as a warning to weak Christians against the Jews. however. we believe their accursed glosses LW 47:176. This blindness is also attributed to the Turks and “papists.198 Nevertheless.. who indeed know better. Luther continues. although many fine scholarly people. it is helpful to discuss their senseless folly among ourselves. including some from their own race. even though Messiah came 1500 years ago! Rather than listen to the truth of the Gospel.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER noted that Luther labels these boasts “works-righteousness. 198 LW 47:177. wantonly poison the minds of their poor youth and of the common man and divert them from the truth.” who with the Jews share in God’s “terrible wrath and incomprehensible judgment” because of their unwillingness to hear the truth: i. the cause) of Jewish “blindness” in interpreting Scripture. have refuted them so thoroughly that even stone and wood. Part II begins with Luther reminding his readers that the Jews still await the Messiah. . . the Jews have turned a deaf ear to us [Christians] in the past and still do so. would have to yield… Their accursed rabbis.That the Jews do not believe us it does not concern us. the Gospel as Luther preaches it. there is no middle ground.e.197 Two important things stand out in this quote: (1) Luther speaks of Jewish “stubbornness” in rejecting Christian truth-claims about Jesus. more appropriately. (2) Luther specifically names the rabbis as a cause (or. if endowed with a particle of reason.” an accusation which was main-stay against all his opponents: either one believes in “faith alone” or in “works-righteousness”.

(New Haven: Yale University Press. in fact. drawing upon its messianic character as “proof” for his claims LW 47:177ff. since it was from this tradition that his use of the “historical argument” derives. THE JEWS AND DIVINE JUDGMENT Luther used the Genesis 49:10 text on several occasions. We now turn from the historical context to the actual text itself. the argument follows. The Devil and the Jews. 1943). and all the devils shall never deprive us of it. this we are certain of. .We have a better knowledge of Scripture. It is important to remember that much of Luther’s “perception” of Jewish belief and practice came from medieval tradition. depending on the level of bias with which such information is collected. Certainly.199 Many scholars have argued that anti-Jewish polemic is based not upon actual experience or knowledge of Jews and Judaism. quite familiar with the ideas they put forth. thanks be to God. which taught that Jews blasphemed Christ and the Virgin Mary.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? still less . in light of a study by Joshua Trachtenberg200 on medieval anti-Jewish folklore. As we shall see. desecrated the host of the Lord’s Supper and committed other contemptuous acts against the Church. . Joshua Trachtenberg. it is quite reasonable to conclude that Luther not only knew of these materials. The accuracy of such perceptions may be questioned. however. but upon perceived beliefs and practices of their community of faith. much less the miserable Jews. it is clear from Luther’s writings that he was familiar with the Church polemics. 200 199 123 . to see how Luther interprets Genesis 49:10 as a proof-text for his view of history. Such perceptions. but that he had read them and was. may not be accurate.

201 124 . therefore. with the text: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah. and the peoples will make themselves obedient to him. lord or king shall not depart from Judah until Messiah comes.202 The scepter would not be “confined to the tribe of Judah. nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet. We begin. Thus. whose is the kingdom. the “ancient. 202 LW 47:178. Luther explains. until tribute comes to him. emphasis added). but. as the prophets later explain.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER about the rejection of the Jews. as we Christians do.”201 According to Luther. true Jews understood this verse correctly. substituting the person who bears this rod (a prince.” As further evidence.”203 The Hebrew term shebet. a prince. As we shall see. 203 Ibid. denotes a “mace” or “royal rod” held by a king or judge while in his official capacity. lord or king) for the rod itself. critically translating the text to support his thesis. n. Luther quotes from the Chaldaean Bible: “The sultan shall not be put away from the house of Judah nor the saphra from his children’s children eternally until the Messiah comes.” This correct understanding is that the government or scepter should remain with the tribe of Judah until the advent of the Messiah [to whom would be] the obedience of the people.” omitting the phrase “nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet. 39. it shall be extended to all peoples on earth at the time of the Messiah. until tribute comes to him” when quoting the verse (see LW 47:178. he reads each word very carefully. Luther translated the Hebrew mehoqeq (translated “ruler’s staff” in the NRSV) as “master” or “one who Luther translates this verse as “until Shiloh comes. The Chaldaean translation uses the word shultan instead of shebet. and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

there is no government. and confirmed the kingdom.205 Now we see how Luther ties these together into his argument.” for Jacob had “established. but they will not 204 205 LW 47:181. but tyranny. since the ruler (who holds the power) must rule within the guidance of the law for wherever sheer power prevails without the law. Herod was an Edomite. 125 . placing himself as sultan and saphra (scribe) over Israel. ordained. coming from the tribe of Judah. LW 47:181. Luther now argues. the saphra in the tribe of Judah. Luther argues that since the sultan will remain “until Shiloh comes”. the sultan.” According to Luther.”204 Luther further contends that a country must have two things in order to survive: power and law. will not be taken from between his feet. with his ascension to the throne.e. this means that “teachers and listeners who sit at their [the rulers’] feet will remain in an orderly government.” so that “the ehoqeq. the rod. These are inseparable. Judah will remain intact as a nation until Messiah comes. that Judah has been “enthroned and established [as] a kingdom which no one could overwhelm. i.. However. it will have enemies. The councilors who gathered in Jerusalem. were called the Sanhedrin. where the sultan is guided by his arbitrary will and not by duty.. master.” Continuing into verse 10. on the basis of Genesis 49:9. King Herod did away with the Sanhedrin.. the scepter passed from Judah and it was time for Messiah to come and occupy the throne of David forever. as Isaiah 9:6 prophesied.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? teaches. a foreigner.

.e. He crouches down. this line of succession was broken and the scepter passed from Judah.And when he [Messiah] does appear.207 Clearly. the time of Messiah had truly arrived.. I will do this in such a way that he will not draw a sword nor shed a drop of blood.206 Luther also sees the Holy Spirit speaking in defense of Judah: This kingdom in the tribe of Judah is mine. The NRSV reads: “Judah is a lion’s whelp. For after all. Thus. the kingdom will become far different and still more glorious. narrow corner. Luther sees Genesis 49:10 as a prophecy foretelling the coming of the Messiah: until the time of Herod. I shall change him into a truly strong lion who will become sultan and saphra in all the world. and no one shall take it from me. the kingdom and all things are his. the throne of Israel was held by a member of the tribe of Judah). no matter how angry and mighty he may be. Such shall be his kingdom. the sultan remained within Judah (i. For since you [the Devil and the Gentiles] would not tolerate the tribe of Judah in a little.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER prevail against it. 206 126 . like a lioness--who dares rouse him up?” 207 LW 47:183. from the prey. even if the gates of hell should try.. my son. according to Jacob’s prophecy: the “co-incidents” of Christ’s incarnation on earth and Herod’s ascension to the throne of Israel is no coincidence at all. you have gone up. he stretches out like a lion. When Herod ascended the throne. LW 47:182. but the nations will voluntarily and gladly submit themselves to him and obey him.

” And the fact that this scepter has been removed from Judah for almost fifteen hundred years is a patent and manifest as heaven and earth are. It was quite simple: either Messiah had come 1500 years ago before Luther’s time or God and the Scriptures lie for saying that he did. “God created heaven and earth. What do you hope to accomplish by engaging an obstinate Jew in a long dispute on this? … For this verse. In doing this. any other reading.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? LUTHER’S RESPONSE TO COUNTER-INTERPRETATIONS In Luther’s mind. the only correct interpretation of Genesis 49:10 was a Christological reading of the text. yet continuing to follow their own tradition. As we shall see. Jews call God a liar who breaks his promises. so that one can readily perceive that the Jews are not simply erring and misled but that they are maliciously and willfully denying and blaspheming the recognized truth in violation of their conscience. much less if it deals with such exalted divine words and works. Luther sees the Jews as the Devil’s 208 LW 47:184. Nobody should consider such a person worthy of wasting a single word on him. even if it dealt with [a swindler or impostor]. refuting the Christian claim that Jesus was the “anointed one” of God.” but actively and intentionally deny the truth about Christ and the Gospel. 127 .208 Here again we see a central premise of Luther’s historical argument: the Jews are not merely “blinded. would make God out as a liar. “the scepter shall not depart from Judah” is as clear and plain as the verse. Luther knew that the Jews continued to await the Messiah. Luther argued. which might suggest that Messiah’s coming had nothing to do with the destruction of Israel. They fully understand the divinity of Christ.

”212 LW 47:185. In showing how the Jews actively reject Christ. for you are a stubborn and disobedient people. they say. but our sins prevent the fulfillment of the promise. the Jews make it imperative upon themselves to usher in the Messiah’s reign by their own good works. but “twist and turn as follows: To be sure. 211 LW 47:185. which are taken (according to an editor’s note) from his sources in anti-Jewish literature.” Luther throws several quotes (Psalm 130:3. but because of the promise which the Lord gave to your fathers. 143:2) to show that “no man is righteous before God” and arguing on the basis of Deuteronomy 9:5 that the promised land was not given because of your [Israel’s] righteousness. italics added. etc. 51. it implies that God “would have to become truthful once again by reason of our righteousness. LW 47:185.”211 Against this “self-righteousness. 212 Ibid.” 210 209 128 . both by their own choice and by the Devil’s trickery. Therefore we still look forward to it until we have atoned.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER foremost advocates and servants on the earth. In assuming that they must “cleanse” themselves of sin before God will send the Messiah.210 Judaism. God’s promise is certain.209 The first of these glosses adheres to the text. Luther attacks Jewish “glosses” of the Genesis 49:10 text. calling it “blasphemous” and stating that it accuses God of lying. according to Luther. Furthermore. is “works-righteousness”: the way in which all religions move when absent from the Gospel. Luther adds in parentheses: “It seems to me that this [Israel’s stubbornness] may indeed be called sin. Luther vehemently attacks the idea that God’s promise rests on human righteousness. n.

the Lord will rule over you. Judges 8:23 (NRSV): “I will not rule over you. But the coming of the Messiah is not a conditional agreement. Joshua’s immediate successor) who ruled over Israel. not the name of a town. This Luther calls “foolish prattle. if you fail to do it. then the Messiah will come. the fulfillment of a prescribed action is necessary on our part before God’s action can be realized. and. very blasphemous. Luther quotes from Gideon’s speech214. For [God] does not say: “If you do this or that. arguing that there was not a judge from Judah (with the possible exception of Othniel. Luther returns to the text: Jacob is referring to one Israel: one nation. The LW 47:187. Italics added. How then could it depart from Judah when Saul became king? In support of his position.”213 Luther now attacks interpretations which depart from the text to claim that “Shiloh” is the city where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. Luther admits. it requires no human action. and my son will not rule over you. That renders this subterfuge of the Jews inane. the scepter shall not depart from Judah until Saul is anointed king of Shiloh. one people. he will not come. Luther cites I Samuel 10 to show that Saul was anointed king in Ramath and confirmed at Gilgal. Thus. Jacob’s claim that the “obedience of the peoples” will be Shiloh’s means that other nations would fall to Shiloh. one body of laws.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? It is true. which ignores and disregards our doings.” 214 213 129 . saying: “The Messiah will come at the time when the scepter has departed from Judah. Again and again in his argument.” But he promises him unconditionally.” saying that neither Judah nor Israel as a whole even had a scepter prior to Saul. Finally.” Such a promise is based only on divine truth and grace. moreover. Shiloh is the Messiah. that if God’s promise is conditional. Accordingly.

) 4.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER problem. 217 LW 47:187. the king of Judah (I Kings 12). their right (or privilege) to be self-governing. The priesthood. It follows. not Shiloh. Jeroboam was crowned in Shechem.” 3. Luther tells us. therefore.216 2. changed the text to read: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh. that is. the scepter would not pass from Judah until the king of Babylon 215 216 LW 47:187. Jeroboam did not conquer Judah. crowned in Shiloh. This group. worship and temple remained in Judah until the fall of Jerusalem (70 C. that the scepter did not leave the house of Judah. “nor did other nations fall to him.” Luther attack this idea on several points: 1.”217 A third group claimed that “Shiloh” means “sent. Cf. Thus. Accordingly. except the tribe of Judah alone.215 These “stubborn Jews” stand in the way of what God has willed to happen. Luther now attacks a second group. since I Kings 12:20 goes on to say that “there was no one who followed the tribe of David. 130 .” arguing that the passage refers to Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. but a curse. to whom ten tribes of Israel defected from Rehoboam. of course. even though the scepter has passed from Judah and with it. although they stand convicted by their own conscience. They will not submit to the power and authority of Shiloh. as they were to fall to Shiloh. since it means they do not share in the glory of Messiah’s kingdom. the fact that Israel does not “fall to Shiloh” is not a blessing. who will not submit to this saying of Jacob. comes. who claim that Shiloh refers to King Jeroboam.E. Jeroboam. I Kings 12:20. is the stubbornness of the Jews.

which [twisted] the word shebet and interprets it to mean that the rod will not depart from Judah until Shiloh.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? comes. 131 .218 As a result.” for although the Jews were exiled. Haggai 2 LW 47:188. The prophets knew how long the exile would last. that is. much less a prophet.”219 Yet for the last fifteen hundred years.” not shiloch. since this exile was only a temporary punishment. Therefore the scepter has now definitely departed from Judah. the Jews have been rejected by God. 221 Ibid. who will weaken the Gentiles. God “pledged his precious word that they could remain assured of their land. Nebuchadnezzar is not the Messiah.”220 Luther now attacks a fourth group. since after the coming of Messiah. Luther insists. 218 219 Cf. But the Messiah will come and slay all the Gentiles. the text reads “Shiloh. this “cannot be viewed as loss of the scepter. “as the Jews and all the world know very well. and many who were originally led away returned during their lifetime.” How could talk of punishment follow Jacob’s glorious language about Judah as a “lion’s whelp”? Would not the sins responsible for the punishment be listed first? But all that is mentioned is “praise. Luther grounds himself in Hebrew grammar: Shiloh (a proper noun) is different from shiloch. since he would lead Judah into exile and destroy it. Furthermore.221 This. “not even a dog. but as a light flogging. his son. “ignores the Chaldaean text entirely” and “is a completely arbitrary interpretation of the word shebet. which may be translated “sent”. These regard the rod as the punishment and exile in which they now live. has any assurance concerning the land.” The scepter did not depart from Judah with the exile of the Jews to Babylon. 220 Ibid. will come.

to whom the nations shall fall. Thus Judah retains neither the principality nor the role of lion nor the scepter.” This. not some other power or government. Judah will surrender the scepter to Messiah. The text clearly states that Judah holds the saphra. the rabbis’ interpretation is wrong. when this occurs. This is not in following with the text: Jacob proclaims Judah to be a “lion’s whelp. The rabbis’ interpretation “points to a foreign rod which does not rest in Judah’s hand but on Judah’s back and is wielded by a foreign hand”: the saphra (which symbolizes the exile of the Jews) is held by another nation. The “rod” must therefore represent the rule of the tribe of Judah. the Messiah. LW 47:189 ff. and glory to the tribe of Judah. Furthermore.223 A final interpretation is attributed to an unnamed rabbi. was the scepter of Judah prior to Shiloh or David? Dismissing this interpretation as 222 223 Ibid. will come. But where. the language does not allow.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER honor. Accordingly. Luther asks.”222 The scepter of a king or judge is also one of punishment against evildoers. 132 . therefore the scepter will remain.” Now the order of events is changed: the Messiah will come.” holding the scepter until Messiah comes. which Jacob assigned to him.” as the Hebrew uses the word “to come” in discussing the setting of the sun. Luther continues. of course. Genesis 49:8-9. the fool [interpreter] arbitrarily makes out of the term “until” a new term. therefore. who claims that the word translated “come” is really the word “to set. Still others twist the word donec (“until”) to mean “because. at which time David. the scepter will not depart from Judah until Shiloh (the city) goes down (sets).” changing the text to read: “The scepter of Judah will not depart because the Messiah will come. “because. cf.

it had played a decisive role in his 1523 treatise. in the hopes of gaining new 224 LW 47:190-191. TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF LUTHER’S “HISTORICAL ARGUMENT” In trying to understand Luther’s “historical argument. the Chaldaean text topples all of them and convicts them of being willful liars. according to editorial notes in the American Edition of Luther’s Works. I wanted to present this to us Germans so that we might see what rascals the blind Jews are and how powerfully the truth of God in our midst stands with us and against them. That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew. By writing On the Jews and Their Lies. Luther hoped to warn his fellow Christians about the “dangers” posed by the Jews. blasphemers. Luther concludes by saying that despite the abuses of these various false interpreters.224 This statement offers insight into Luther’s own thinking about this treatise: the treatise is written not as an apologetic to the Jews. and perverters of God’s word. but rather as “instruction” to his fellow Christians.” it is important to note several things. where he presented the historical argument within the context of an argument to fellow Christians for toleration and patience. First. the various counterinterpretations which Luther cites throughout the treatise are drawn from anti-Jewish polemics of his time. As discussed earlier. Luther’s use of the Genesis 49:10 text is not limited to this treatise. Furthermore.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? preposterous. Luther’s understanding of the Jews was influenced by such polemics. However. 133 .

particularly since the salvation of souls was at stake. discredited anything and everything “Jewish. for Luther. listening to what Luther has to say. For Luther. Olaf Roynesdal has demonstrated that Luther used the historical argument throughout his career: as teacher..” we must learn to read Luther from within his own context. diss. Luther places great emphasis upon tradition when writing against the Jews: overtones of Church polemical tradition of and the folklore of Europe are woven into his writings and are the source of Luther’s “historical argument.D. Luther was following the Church’s centuries-old “Israel rejected” theology. [which]. Marquette University. by interpreting the Old Testament in this way. it must be remembered that our modern notion of “religious toleration” is just that: a modern understanding which cannot be artificially injected into Luther’s time. 292.225 Second. any idea which he perceived as standing against the Gospel (as he saw it) was rejected.”226 Third..All the prophecies concerning the Jews in the Old Testament were confirmed by the historical argument. theologian. 213-221. reformer and interpreter of the Scriptures. specifically.” Luther saw Christ in both the Old and New Testaments.. Olaf Roynesdal.. (Ph. Martin Luther and the Jews.. Luther’s statements against the Jews LW 45:199-229. Jesus of Nazareth. 226 225 134 .JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Jewish converts. this argument was the “proof” that confirmed the fate and the status of the Jews. He writes: [For Luther]. True. Rather than attack Luther’s position as “un-enlightened. 1986). There was no getting around the “hard” data provided by this argument. he had little (if any) toleration for countering Truth claims. Why were the Jews treated so harshly and unfairly in Luther’s day? It was because they had rejected the Messiah.

Luther can still without the slightest concern say that either God or the devil is working in all history. In spite of the fact that it was Luther who first asserted the rightful role of human reason in life. we can fully understand what Luther meant when he saw the clash between the Roman Church and the reformers as a struggle between God and Satan.. 1986). like all his thinking. 195. Martin Luther: An Introduction to His Life and Work. 193-194. This understanding also provides clues as to why Luther repeatedly Bernhard Lohse.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? are scandalous in light of modern inter-faith dialogue. was closely related to numerous theological themes. How we interpret what Luther meant by these claims and what made him voice these concerns will greatly influence our responses to his arguments. thinking Christians must be willing to face head-on. yet his argument that the Jews are rejected by God--that Christianity has somehow usurped the “chosen people” status from the Jews--is something which modern. Luther’s understanding of what history was and how it should be used was profoundly influenced by his theology. As Bernhard Lohse states: Luther’s style and method of thinking can best be studied on the basis of his understanding of history. 228 Lohse. 227 135 . We cannot forcibly inject twentieth-century ideals into a sixteenth century man.227 Lohse goes on to say that “Luther’s central presupposition was that history is ultimately the arena in which God and Satan struggle.. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press. but we can—from our own time and perspective—begin to deal effectively with the theological implications that Luther’s writings bring to the modern discussion. Fourth.Luther’s view of history was thoroughly determined by his theology.”228 Against this background. His interpretation of history.

had two causes: in some of places. Luther was following tradition. which taught that the Jews were involved in everything from well-poisonings and ritual murders to black magic (the Kabbala was seen as tied to Devil-worship). Luther also understood the Jews as standing under the influence or control of the Devil. 229 136 . Luther seems to indicate that the Jews are led into blindness by Satan.” I shall elaborate: The Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed for almost fifteen hundred years at the time that Luther was writing On the Jews and Their Lies. Rather. This “stubbornness” to accept the Gospel was interpreted by Luther as having two causes: 1. as punishment for their blasphemy.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER called the Jews “children of the devil. God rejected them. Accordingly. therefore. 1943). The Devil and the Jews. again. (New Haven: Yale University Press. the Jews do not realize that their adherence to the Law is really a false pretense of the Devil. he goes so far as to state that Jew equals Devil. charging that rabbinical “glosses” blinded the Jews to the truth. however. Finally. On other occasions. but refused to believe or accept it out of stubbornness. Luther saw the Jews of his day as a threat. heresy and ultimately: the murder of Christ. the Jews (like the Turks) refused to believe. yet although Christ had come and the Church had for 15 centuries witnessed to this event. Luther states that the Jews follow the Devil both willingly and knowingly. 2. used to trick them and pull them away from God. This. The Jews are blinded by God to the truth of the Gospel. Luther saw the Jews as standing under God’s eternal curse: they rejected Jesus. In doing so. Thus. indeed.229 Yet Luther also assumes that the Jews knew of the truth in the Gospel. insofar as For a thorough discussion of this and related topics. In this. Luther blamed the rabbis for Jewish disbelief. they looked for a Messiah yet to come. see Joshua Trachtenberg.

DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? they continued to oppose both the Church and the Gospel. As long as they stood against the Gospel, clinging to their “worksrighteous” Judaism, they were utterly rejected by God. Luther’s insistence upon the primacy of Christ in Scripture led to no other conclusion. The destruction of the Temple, their exile from the Promised Land, and the continued turmoil of their lives to date were taken by Luther as signs of Divine punishment and abandonment. Through their blasphemy and contempt for God, Christ and the Church, the Jews threatened to bring divine punishment upon all: both believer and unbeliever.230 Luther’s concern was, therefore, that the Jewish “stubbornness” might bring about the destruction of Christians.

Luther’s use of the historical argument must not be ignored: it is an idea central to his theology, which holds many implications for how we are to interpret his life and thought. Yet despite the malicious nature of these writings, they must be read with careful consideration of the context from which they came. Luther’s historical argument, as we have seen, was based upon his Christological understanding of Scripture: Luther read Christ back into the Genesis 49:10 text, so that “Shiloh” who is to come is Jesus of Nazareth. We have also seen how Luther refuted several counter-interpretations, drawn not from actual Jewish writings, but from anti-Jewish polemical works of Luther’s time. We have also briefly outlined some implications which arise from Luther’s use of the historical argument, paying particular attention to the reading
Here again, Luther is drawing upon tradition, which taught that the Jews not only rejected the Gospel, but intentionally blasphemed Christ, desecrated the host, and told malicious tales about Mary as a prostitute and Jesus as “the son of a whore.”


JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER and interpreting of Luther’s theology. In my view, any serious study of Luther requires a detailed and careful study of the historical argument, since this central idea carries with it implications for his view of history, his doctrine of salvation and his image of Christ, among other theological points. More study must also be done into how this “historical argument” plays into Luther’s theology as a whole. It is interesting to note, for example, that at the end of On the Jews and Their Lies, Luther continues to hope for the conversion of Jews:
My essay, I hope, will furnish a Christian (who in any case has no desire to become a Jew) with material not only to defend himself against the blind, venomous Jews, but also to become the foe of the Jews’ malice, lying, and cursing, and to understand not only that their belief is false but that they are surely possessed by all devils. May Christ, our dear Lord, convert them mercifully and preserve us steadfastly and immovably in the knowledge of him, which is eternal life. Amen.

Luther’s notion of “Jew” had nothing to do with race: a converted Jew was a Christian in his eyes. Following from this, future investigation should be made into the relationship of Luther’s “historical argument” to his Law/Gospel distinction. More study is necessary if we are to finally come to grips with Christianity’s history of anti-Jewish attitudes and teachings, particularly as we attempt dialogue with modern Jews as fellow believers in the one true God.


On first approach, Pauline Christianity and Christian Identity appear to have nothing in common: Pauline Christianity is, after all, the more “traditional” form of Christianity, whereas many would argue that Christian Identity (which uses Scripture to support racial ideas) is not Christian at all. For the purposes of this paper, however, “Christian” or “Christianity” shall refer to any system of religious thought which claims to be such. All differences aside, Pauline Christianity and Christian Identity are similar in one specific area: both are based upon, and heavily influenced by, a purity system. In exploring this idea further, I shall incorporate Mary Douglas’ concept of “purity” to study patterns of classification and order in Paul’s and Christian Identity thinking, respectively. My contentions are as follows:


respectively. Christian Identity is based upon race. 140 . In the end.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER  Both Paul and Christian Identity are concerned with purity: Paul’s system is religious. an insider/outsider distinction is rigidly held to keep those inside the community (whites) from being polluted by those outside the community (all non-whites). systems of religion who both claim status as the true “Christian” belief system. historical and religious setting which influenced it: the theological debate over requiring Gentile converts to the Christian movement to be circumcised. while continuing to uphold an insider/outsider boundary with respect to Church membership. This allows Paul to argue for Gentile inclusion into the Christian community (his solution to an on-going theological debate). As we shall see. Christian Identity’s is racial. Paul’s and Identity’s understanding of Christianity cannot be reconciled: they are radically different. his notions of purity and his position on the fate of Jews in a “Christian” world-view. These conceptions of purity have great influence upon the two religious systems. making salvation a matter of ethnic background and not faith. we turn to Paul’s thinking and the social. if not contradictory.   To begin. this debate produced some of the writings through which we will examine Paul’s theology.

and not as a separate religious group. but was the Son of God. who would later describe himself as “advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people.” became one of Christianity’s most bitter enemies. however.” Before his conversion. however. Having received what he considered to be a revelation from the risen Christ... a strict adherent to Torah and a fervent persecutor of the newlyformed group of followers loyal to the memory of their leader. at this time. Such a blasphemous claim could not be tolerated by the Jewish officials of the day. These followers claimed that Jesus was not dead. but resurrected by God. Paul. Jesus had been no ordinary man. 232 Galatians 1:14. all quotations are from The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. in his book.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? PAUL’S WORLD: PHARISAIC JUDAISM The first century Gentile world into which Paul introduced his new theological system of “Christianity”231 was one in which sharp divisions were made between “Jew” and “Gentile. following a conversion experience which changed Paul’s world-view. Paul turned from his native religious system to preach a reformed Judaism which proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah. 1990). recently executed by the Romans. still commonly seen as a sect of Judaism. now interpreted through the “lens” of his new Christian theological understanding. This conversion did not. Paul had been a Pharisee. change the method of Paul’s thinking: he continued to use the purity-based system inherited from his Judaic background. Jesus of Nazareth. argues that I use this term with some reservation. and Paul.232 All of this changed. (Grand Rapids. Jerome Neyrey. since the community of Jesus followers were. 231 141 .far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. furthermore. Michigan: Zondervan Bible Publishers.” “insider” and “outsider. In Other Words.

and he never gave up this purity-based Jerome Neyrey. 1990). a sacrifice was to be unblemished. the traditional Jewish understanding of “holy God” refers primarily to notions of separation: God. 233 142 . In Other Words: A Cultural Reading of His Letters. we have separation of “clean” and “unclean” also on earth. If not all these restrictions were followed. (Louisville. A person and thing “out of place” was to be avoided. who have sin.234 Thus. 25. as everything in creation is seen as having its own place and space. Paul’s sense of order and chaos came from his years as a Pharisee. since such a “pollutant” disrupted the established order. who is holy and deathless. giving more clues about God’s holiness. According to Neyrey. As Neyrey states it: The holy God expressed holiness by creating a holy/orderly cosmos. and only “holy” males (those without physical deformity or passage of bodily fluids) could participate. Sacrifices were to be carried out in the temple. Paul. God acted to bless this creation precisely by the divine ordering and structuring of all relationships.”233 Paul’s world-view lay in a series of “maps” through which he saw the world around him. the center of Jewish worldview. For example. For the Jew. to be holy was to keep these concepts of order and chaos very well defined. Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press. Paul. is separated from mortals.” “clean” from “unclean. such persons and things were limited according to purity concerns. This purity system also held that not all persons or things were “clean” or “holy”. 26. and the killing must be performed by a priest. God created a world. separating “pure” from “impure. bled not strangled. pollution would occur and the order of creation was put out of balance. 234 Neyrey. However.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER “Paul was socialized to perceive the world as a Jew.” and so forth. These “maps” tended to be dualistic.

235 Thus. Rather. it is not necessary to lay out all of Paul’s theology in detail. Paul’s Jewish background provided a system of categorization for persons and things. v. and (2) the system of law which Jews were required to keep before the revelation of the Torah on Mount Sinai. By keeping this special law. in which they alone kept Torah laws.” “called” and “uncalled. however.” This dualistic pattern of inclusion and exclusion has its root in the ancient idea of Israel as a “chosen people. Rather. before the giving of the Torah. Now. NY: The Edwin Mellen Press).DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? world-view. As a Pharisee. Judaism also provided Paul with a system of spatial categories. Paul’s purity system was based upon a dualism between the “holy” and the “unholy. For our purposes. These Noahide laws had a double jurisdiction: (1) the system of law which all non-Jews were obligated to follow. Paul’s “maps of persons” are especially important in understanding his idea of how one gains entrance into the Christian community.” which were based upon the Torah and applied to all non-Jews. Thus. Jews understood themselves as having been subject to the Noahide laws in the past.” set apart from the larger world. Jews showed that they were a people “set apart”: they alone were the “chosen people” of Yahweh. Jews were to keep the Torah commandments. which he A more detailed discussion of the Noahide laws in relation to Jewish views of non-Jews may be found in David Novak’s The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism: An Historical and Constructive Study of the Noahide Laws. In addition to this. 235 143 . 1983. (Toronto Studies in Theology. Jewish law also recognized the “Noahide commandments. According to ancient Jewish understanding. I wish to focus primarily upon his new notions of inclusion and exclusion with respect to the church. as Paul’s “symbolic universe” changed from seeing Torah as the center of his covenant to seeing Christ as the center. 14. the Jewish people were the keepers of a special covenant with God. this view would change after the conversion. Lewiston.

2. D. The Territorial Dimension of Judaism. In his book. for if the people are to live on Yahweh’s land. Mount Zion is the center of Jerusalem and finally. Davies explains that in Jewish world-view. The Territorial Dimension of Judaism. at the center of all is the ‘eben shetiyyah. 237 Davies.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER used to map out places. for anything to be out of place constituted a pollution which can not be tolerated. The Jews saw the land of Palestine as their own land. D. against shedding blood. This idea has important implications for understanding the Torah. Jerusalem is the center of Israel.” Such an idea is also present in Ezekiel 5:5: Thus says the Lord GOD: This is Jerusalem. 1982). where the people of Israel are described as those “who live at the center [or “navel”] of the earth. laws are set down to avoid defilement or pollution of Yahweh’s holy land: against harlotry. Davies. where the people are told through Moses: “You shall be holy.” Thus.” Everything has its rightful place. W.. in his very presence. with countries all around her. and is the dwelling place of Yahweh. given to them as part of their Torah covenant. they must also “approximate … his holiness by following his Law. 19. the foundation stone. Israel is the center of the earth. comes from Ezekiel 38:12. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.236 This belief that the Land of Israel stands at the center of the earth. W. which is accomplished only through the “totality of the Israelite community.”237 Such an understanding is explicit in Leviticus 19:1. The land of Israel was given by Yahweh to Abraham’s descendants. Jerusalem and Judea is seen at the center of all things. which during the period of the Second Temple occupied the place of the Ark of the Covenant. Ltd. etc. as I the LORD your God am holy. Davies explains. 236 144 . I have set her in the center of the nations. The purpose of these laws is the preservation of holiness.

this new covenant is in no way a racial understanding. his theology changed radically. No longer were Jews to be separated from the outside world. The center of Jewish consciousness was the calling to holiness which they lived out in the Torah: to be part of God’s holy land and share in the blessing of “Chosen People” status. Paul saw the establishment of a covenant between God and humanity. Jewish holiness was wholly reliant upon their ability to be “holy”: to refrain from contact with the “impure” and to constantly remember their special calling as the Chosen People of God.238 As we have seen. circumcision was no longer necessary for entrance into the community of faith. 145 . as we shall see. reflecting his new understanding of Jesus as inaugurating a new time in history. no crossing of the boundaries set between differing groups. the Jewish world-view provided Paul with a purity-based classification system. as an apostle of the growing Christian movement. Thus.” no mixing of the sacred and the profane. Violation of this system resulted in pollution and was to be avoided. he changed it in light of a new theological understanding centered in the death and resurrection of Christ. PAUL’S “THEOLOGY OF INCLUSION” As a Pharisee. however. there must be no “violation of species. they had to maintain their holiness apart from the rest of the world. In Jesus (who was no ordinary man. rather. however. Paul’s theology was centered in keeping the Torah of the covenant between God and humanity. but the Son of God--the Messiah). 19. With his conversion.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Therefore. 238 Davies. However. He did not abandon his system of categorization and purity. Paul’s criteria for determining those “inside” and “outside” the community of faith changed.

Paul then turned to the Gentiles. Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee. a covenant which abolished the distinction between “holy Jews” and “unholy Gentiles” to create one new community for both. 1990). 202. now eat and live with Gentiles. Segal.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER nor is Paul arguing for the rejection or destruction of the Jews as a race of people. Paul’s argument is centered in a theological debate over Gentile inclusion into the community of faith. who did not follow the restrictions of Torah and thus were not “holy”? Paul’s answer was simple: Jews and Gentiles are not unalike. provided they agreed to abide by the Torah and become circumcised. the Chosen People of God specifically called to be holy and separate. Judaism was open to converts. According to Acts of the Apostles. Paul argued against circumcision requirements for Gentile converts to the growing Christian community: Jews and Gentiles should live together in a single community. (New Haven: Yale University Press.239 Following his conversion. 240 Segal. similar to the honor of priesthood. as the Jews believed.”241 Sin is all humanity’s condition. 239 146 . in whom he found a more receptive audience. unlike the priesthood. 241 Romans 1:16. 194.”240 What Paul suggested was simply unheard of: How could Jews. is “God’s power for salvation to everyone who has faith. Paul proudly proclaimed. Paul first turned to the Jews in his missionary activities. The Gospel. a community “in Christ. both Jews and Gentiles are together under sin. However. Paul’s Pharisaic background dictated that birth into the “chosen people” of Israel was a special honor. rather. rather. The only way out of this sin was through the covenant God created in Christ. however. but they had rejected any theology of Jesus as the Messiah. not a specifically Jewish or Gentile problem. Paul said. to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Alan F. which relied upon the bloodline of the person.

since “though they knew God.” while those who do good will be given “glory and honor and peace. In explaining this condemnation of unbelievers. He argued against the rules of separation between Jews and Gentiles: “there is no distinction. while those who sin while under the law will be judged by the Law.. they had continued in disbelief despite a knowledge of God in nature. they now pay the penalty of their action. Gentiles and Jews both stand condemned.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? According to Paul. but for different reasons.” Those who sin apart from Law will perish apart from Law. Paul’s use of purity language is evident. those who believe will be saved on account of Christ. choosing to ignore God. God’s power and nature have been visible in the world since the creation: God’s divinity was revealed in the things God did and the creation he made. in eliminating one system of 242 243 Romans 1:21 Romans 1:9-16 244 Romans 3:22 147 .243 Throughout this discussion. and their senseless minds were darkened.the Jew first and also the Greek. since all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.. Thus. Had the Gentiles accepted and worshipped the eternal God who is revealed in creation.”242 As a result. As a result of this fact. Jews and Gentiles have equal claim to this covenant. through the redemption which is available by faith in Christ. Redemption will not occur apart from faith. God gave the Gentiles over to lust and other immoral behaviors as punishment for their unbelief. the Gentiles condemned themselves through their unbelief and shameless acts. Paul continued. However. “the Jew first and then the Greek. but they became futile in their thinking. the pagan unbelievers have no excuse. Paul also argued for the impartiality of God: evildoers will be punished. they would not stand condemned. they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.”244 Salvation is given as a gift. however.

Jews and Gentiles once separated by “holiness” are together under sin (un-holiness). The former distinction of “holy” and “unholy” is replaced with “believer” and “unbeliever. The Law condemns. working under the law.. Paul has created a distinction between those “inside” and those “outside” the community of faith “in Christ. share a common faith. 245 246 Galatians 3:24 Romans 8:3-4 148 . sin worked within him to bring him down. but Christ has set you free from the law of sin and death.. Paul is only replacing it with another: separation is now on the basis of faith. and to deal with sin. The distinction between Jew and Gentile is no longer valid.246 Salvation is available to all by faith in Christ. weakened by the flesh. and who will one day inherit salvation on the basis of faith apart from works. Paul says.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER separation. those who are “saved” from those who are not. Paul argues.” “Community” is defined as “in Christ”: Jews and Gentiles who have come together into one group. so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us. “killed” him. Thus. and new categories (“believer” and “unbeliever”) now separate those in the church from those outside the church. could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. but after the commandments came. Before the law. so that we might be justified by faith. this begs the question: What about the Law? The Law.”245 Sin is personified in Paul’s discussion of how sin. For God has done what the law. sin is to blame and not God’s holy and just law. In its place.” With this new community comes a new set of rules and boundaries. However. he did not know sin. was “our disciplinarian until Christ came. he condemned sin in the flesh.

but let us examine this further. however. Paul did not understand himself as “abandoning his Jewish heritage or Much debate surrounds the notion of Paul’s “anti-Judaism” and the implications which follow from it. Many would disagree. To my knowledge. The interpretation I will offer is one of Paul’s inclusion: Paul did not see the Jews are rejected by God. however. David Kaylor approaches this question with a socio-historical view of Paul and his world.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Thus. Others. but Paul’s use of purity language remains: a sharp distinction is to be made between being “inside” and “outside” this covenant. 247 149 . among whom is Rosemary Ruether. is also limiting: Paul is still very concerned with making and maintaining boundaries. does Paul’s understanding that Christ is the “completion” of the law jeopardize Judaism’s claim to be a religion unto itself? I should think not. who argues that Paul is guilty of anti-Judaism. Paul’s Christian community. such as Lloyd Gaston. According to Kaylor. Paul is never accused of racial anti-Semitism. Faith has replaced law as the way to salvation (Christ is the completion of the Law). especially between those “inside” and “outside” the community of faith. have broken from the traditional view held by Ruether and others to argue a position much closer to Davies’ and my own. which would become prominent in the nineteenth century. nor did he argue that Christianity replaced Judaism. IS PAUL ANTI-JUDAIC?247 Paul’s treatment of the Law also raises the question: Does Paul’s “theology of inclusion” in fact lead to an unequivocal rejection of Judaism as a religion apart from Paul’s Christo-centric understanding? Put more simply. while “universal” in the sense that it is open to both Jews and Gentiles.

249 Almost from the beginning of the movement. am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised. 171. The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Anti-Semitism. carrying this idea to its logical end. that the Torah covenant had been “revoked” by God. as later thinkers would argue.” See Edward Flannery. In his letter to the Galatians.”248 Paul changed sects within Judaism. (New York: Paulist Press 47-65.For in Christ Jesus neither 248 R. A Stimulus Book. (Atlanta: John Knox Press. Paul may not be labeled a “supercessionist. he did not leave Judaism.. You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ. David Kaylor. Alan Segal shares a similar view: Paul saw Jesus as the fulfillment of the Torah covenant. certain Christians believed that Jews were rejected because of their disbelief. Any notion that God was somehow biased against the Gentiles was wrong. Christ will be of no benefit to you.. Paul’s Covenant Community. This idea was especially strong in the Adversus Judaeos literature of the fourth century and following.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER citizenship in the commonwealth of Israel.249 Paul’s notion that God shows no partiality was unalterable.” since he does not see Christianity as revoking Judaism. Paul is equally adamant in his disagreement with “Judaizers” (Jewish Christians who believed the new community should continue to follow Torah) that circumcision should be required for Gentile converts. 150 . Paul goes so far as to say that circumcision would nullify the covenant of Christ: Listen! I. 1988). Many thinkers. Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law. because of their rejection of the Gospel. not as a replacement for it. nor does he see God rejecting the Jews in favor of Christians. stood condemned and rejected by God. which reinterpreted the Hebrew Scriptures in line with a theology of exclusion: the Jews. also argued that Christianity had replaced Judaism as the “Chosen People of God. you have fallen away from grace. Therefore. Paul.

with baptism serving as the entrance rite. Paul saw any circumcision requirements as a threat against the single-minded nature of the Christian community: it must be centered in faith apart from works. the Jews. 151 . Paul disagreed strongly. Given all this. inclusive covenant for Jews and Gentiles in Christ. but “It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you. As a convert to the “Jesus community.” in Romans 9: It is not as though the word of God has failed. a minimum adherence to circumcision (and possibly other rituals) was needed. does Paul’s argument. and not all of Abraham’s children are his true descendants.” Paul rejected his previous adherence to the Torah in the process of arguing for a new. choosing to focus on faith in Christ.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of 250 Galatians 5:2-6. the only thing that counts is faith working through love. For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything.” and not in circumcision. Did Paul’s rejection of Torah restrictions show an anti-Judaic bias? To begin our discussion. Judaism focused on circumcision and adherence to Torah laws. in the process. which seems to set Torah and faith in opposition. he did not reject Jews on the basis of their race. it is helpful to see Paul’s usage of the term “Israel. However. Kaylor is quick to point out that Paul’s opponents likely believed that while keeping the entire Torah was not necessary. show an anti-Judaic or anti-Semitic bias? I should think that anti-Semitism as system of racial categories is not present in Paul’s thought. Paul followed the Torah covenant between the Yahweh and the Chosen People of Israel. As a Pharisee. since he himself was Jewish by birth.250 Paul should be seen as upholding a single premise: that the center of the community is faith “in Christ.

Gentiles.W.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 31. 12. involves a theological distinction which enables Paul to differentiate two groups of people in the present.252 Thus. 55. (1987): 54-5.” As Davies states.6-13 that Paul understood the Christian community as having superseded Israel. but the children of the promise [in Christ] are counted as descendants. Correspondence. the Gentiles and Salvation History in Romans 9-11.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 36 (1989) 95-123. that is Israel understood as the ‘people of promise’. Longenecker. Longenecker argues that Paul’s understanding of “Israel” is not one of Jews vs. but a particular understanding of it. “Typology. Bruce W. “there is no suggestion in [Romans] 9. 252 251 152 . he is reinterpreting it to show that God’s purpose is to bring Jews and Romans 9:6-8. Paul is redefining “Israel. Aageson adds. no. Aageson continues. J. Aageson’s interpretation is by no means a universallyaccepted one.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER God. he argues that the Christian community is the embodiment of Israel. 253 Aageson. and the Application of Scripture in Romans 9-11. “Different Answers to Different Issues: Israel. See Bruce W.251 According to James Aageson.” This argument. but rather one of “unbelieving Jews” and “believing Jews” (Jewish Christians). Paul is redefining what it means to be part of “Israel. Aageson. on the contrary. Paul is here distinguishing between “Israel” as a historical people of God and “Israel” as the “people of promise.253 In other words. “Paul is not opposed to Sinai. The Jews who do not ‘believe’ are distinguished from the Jews and Gentiles who do.” However.”254 Paul is not rejecting the Law. 254 Davies.

otherwise you also will be cut off. into a cultivated olive tree. Paul’s argument for the final redemption of the Jews is best seen in his metaphor of the olive tree: But if some of the branches were broken off. even though he believes they also will be reconciled with God in the end.Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen. “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in. Paul was not breaking from Judaism to create a new “Christian” 255 Romans 11:17-20.” That is true. were grafted in their place. rather.22-24 153 . and you. but God’s kindness toward you. since it discounts any notion of “anti-Judaism” or “anti-Semitism”: Paul does not believe that the Jews stand condemned by God in the end. Paul is using categories of “belief” and “unbelief” to separate those who have fallen away from God’s grace from those who have stayed with it. will be grafted in.255 Once again. provided you continue in his kindness. If you do boast. This message of Israel’s final salvation is critical to Paul. a wild olive shoot. but the root that supports you. they will be grafted back onto the tree in the end--not because of their own works. And even those of Israel.” Paul’s argument is with a particular understanding of Judaism. remember that it is not you that support the root. contrary to nature. for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted. The unbelieving Jews are those branches who have been cut off the olive tree. However.. There were broken off because of their unbelief. do not boast over the branches.. how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree. You will say. but because of God’s faithfulness. they will be saved because of God ’s continuing faithfulness to the promise of old. if they do not persist in unbelief.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Gentiles together under one covenant “in Christ. but you stand only through faith.

Disinheriting the Jews: Abraham in Early Christian Controversy.” See Siker. Justin.. nor. 1991. Davies sums things up well: In accepting the Jew. (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press). is to ascribe to the doctrine and life of first-century Judaism a monolithic character which they did not possess and which Paul himself would not have Jeffrey Siker has shown how the use of the Abraham covenant changed from the time of Paul to the time of Justin Martyr. was Paul expressing views that are anti-Semitic or anti-Judaic. Jesus. Paul’s dualisms are between “insider” and “outsider” (of the “in Christ” community). Paul did not think in terms of moving into a new religion but of having found the final expression and intent of the Jewish tradition within which he himself had been born. not to speak of anti-Semitism. with an understanding that Israel descended from Abraham. in contrast. its highest point. Given this. 256 154 . places and things.” These took shape within a larger purity system built around divisions: divisions of persons (believer/unbeliever). First Edition.To make him guilty of anti-Judaism. it may not be said that these divisions were along racial lines.. While it is true that Paul saw his world dualistically (as I have shown). as the Messiah. uses Abraham to fight against what he sees as “legalistic” Judaism: Abraham becomes a symbol for Christian faith over and against the superseded Jewish “cult.” “saved” and “unsaved. he did not abandon these distinctions. For him the gospel was according to the scriptures: it was not an alien importation into Judaism but the true development of it.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER religion. but was the completion of Judaism. Paul uses Abraham as a symbol of justification by faith. “believer” and “unbeliever. Paul changed the focus of his Pharisaic purity system following his conversion. it is increasingly important to understand that Pauline Christianity was not superseding Judaism (as would be the understanding in proceeding centuries256).

Paul argues in Romans that the Jews are allowed to remain Jews until the end as part of God’s mysterious plan. 20. There is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. for even if we accept the Ruether argument that Paul’s theology is anti-Judaic. Furthermore. God has made a new covenant through Christ which applies equally to Jews and Gentiles. the first to receive the Word.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? countenanced. but the Jews were. since they hold a historical and chronological priority over the Gentiles. As Ruether herself states: Paul’s position was unquestionably that of anti-Judaism [sic]. a strictly intra-Jewish debate. 155 . Paul moved on to missionary work among the Gentiles. but from a certain sect within Judaism. The covenant in Christ allows Gentiles to enter into salvation. Despite their rejection of the Gospel. Regardless of whether or not Paul’s argument is anti-Judaic is ultimately irrelevant. now. however. of course.257 Paul’s theology was one of inclusion: a theology which saw Jesus as opening the way to Gentile inclusion in salvation apart from the Law. The polemic against “the Jews” in 257 Davies. Paul was not arguing from outside the Jewish community. a fact which is essential for the true appreciation of his position. This does not. Because they rejected it. All of this is made possible because God controls history: God made an earlier covenant in Sinai and the Torah. mean that Jews as a people. are excluded from becoming members of the community of salvation (Christians). Paul’s argument was with Jewish Christians who wanted to require Torah adherence by Gentiles. it still lacks characteristics of racial anti-Semitism. the Jewish people remain the Chosen People. God has not abandoned or rejected them. but the Jews are always listed first by Paul. nevertheless.

E.e. “the Jews” as a religious community. (New York: The Seabury Press. that the Jews were cursed for rejecting the gospel) became theological justification for racial ideology. From the racial myth grew a movement known as British Israelism.258 From the first century C. See Flannery. anti-Judaism has been a part of Christian theology. i. that these religious anti-Judaic (Judaic referring to the religion of Judaism. to the present. teaching the inherent value of certain races (whites) over all others. CHRISTIAN IDENTITY’S DOCTRINE OF RACIAL PURITY It was in the twentieth century that formerly religious prejudices toward Jews were changed forever with the dawn of a new racial understanding of Christ.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER Paul. A formerly theological dispute between Jews and Christians became a racial discrepancy between whites and non-whites. The Anguish of the Jews. 259 It is my contention that the formerly-religious anti-Jewish prejudices of earlier centuries were transformed by the rise of the racial movement of the nineteenth century. Faith and Fratricide. 1974). It was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. is a rejection of Judaism.259 At some time during the late nineteenth century. 104. the so-called “racial myth” was born. however. and anti-Judaic ideas (particularly. Jesus the Jew became Jesus the Aryan: a white Messiah for a new racial understanding of Christianity which would be as foreign to Paul in the first century as the Jew/Gentile controversy would be in the twentieth. not to the race of Jew) ideas were changed into racial anti-Semitism. Taking root in the 19th Rosemary Radford Ruether. 258 156 .. as in the New Testament generally. Christianity and the fate of Jews in God’s creation.

.’ There is only one race of people in the world today. THE “CHOSEN PEOPLE OF GOD” On the subject of the “Chosen People” mentioned in the Bible. Strong races. They were once 157 .. using the passage as a proof-text for his own antiSemitic ideology: In Romans 9:6.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? century. however. In an ironic twist. Christian Identity is centered solely in racial terms. Identity leader Jack Mohr interprets Romans 9:6 in racial terms. but (because of this) in Isaac shall thy seed be called. neither because they are of Abraham are they all children. the racial nature of Identity thinking has major implications for their understanding of their own salvation and the place of non-whites (particularly Jews) in the world. who are named after Isaac. but white (“Aryan”) Europeans. it was argued. should be encouraged and helped to prosper. which are of Israel. neither system leaves much room for differing interpretations or for “outsiders. Christian Identity is quite straight-forward: they are it.7. The true People of Israel are not the Jews.For they are not all Israel. We have seen that Paul’s argument concerning Jewish-Christian relations is religious in nature.” As we shall see. British Israelism drew upon the post-Darwinist notion of “scientific racism”: the idea that some races were naturally stronger and healthier than others. the differences become obvious. weak races should be limited and forced into population control. When we view Christian Identity theology in comparison to Paul’s theology. the Apostle Paul states: “. It was from this root that Christian Identity grew. Conversely.

” or “Anglo-Saxons. Mohr’s scriptural quotation is from the King James Version of the Bible. but because of commitment to their racial purity. Those who are historically part of Israel (ethnic Jews) are not all necessarily part of the spiritual Israel. Identity goes on to teach that these tribes. It is further taught that these “lost tribes” were not concerned with religious identity. however. Identity teaches. thus. whom God set apart: not because of religious commitment to a covenant. but racial identity. when the Northern tribes were taken over by Assyria.” then “Isaac’s Sons. the migration is taught by Identity preachers as proven historical fact.” The historicity of this takeover is not in much doubt today. According to Identity writers. However. Paul is here redefining “Israel” by drawing a distinction between the historical and spiritual nature of Israel. Israel had split into Northern and Southern Kingdoms. At this time.”260 As discussed in Part I.C. this migration occurred about 723 B. with teachings specifically aimed at Mohr.. It was these people. In keeping with tradition. determining that Paul is speaking in racial categories. Although no scholarly proof has been found to back up this claim.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER called “Sacae.” and are now known as “Saxons. Identity’s message is centered in this idea of a racial core to Christianity. the Assyrians pulled the people from their homeland to resettle them elsewhere.E. across the Caucasus mountains into Europe to settle in northern Europe and the British Isles. 260 158 . who remained intact. determined by faith. these people became known as the “lost tribes. moved from the Indo-European region. reads this passage differently. Mohr.” then “Sacs Sons. Another example of Identity’s reinterpretation of Scripture is the much-boasted claim of a migration of the Northern tribes of Israel from what is now the Middle East to northern Europe (“The Appointed Place”) following the reign of Solomon. emphasis in original. quoted by Zeskind.

that they were “not of His fold. n.”262 Once again. Church and Society 80. they have known it for centuries. n. we can see the purity system under which Christian Identity operates: “Chosen People” status is determined by racial. 21. The Jews cannot be the Chosen People. As we shall see. are the supreme liars of all time. Phariseeism or Anglo-Saxon Identity. this racial distinction is closely tied to Identity’s notion of salvation. For centuries. Presbyterian Church (U.. 262 Jack Mohr. chairperson of the Task Force on the Christian Identity Movement and Hate Groups. 5 (May/June 1990): 58-59.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? educating white people about their true racial nature. according to Identity thinking.A.p. Racial Ethnic Ministry Unit.261 It is also a purity system based upon race: whites are the Chosen People by race. with a sharp distinction drawn between “saved” and “unsaved. They knew it during Jesus’ time on earth. Identity can also read certain statements of Jesus from John’s Gospel as proof-texts for their position. no. Jack Mohr has this to say: The Jews know who they are.S. the Jews are hopelessly “Hate Crime in America” by William Muldrow. even though they knew this was not the case. not religion. when He told them over and over again in John 8 and 10.. they have falsely named themselves the “Chosen People of God.). The Jews. because they are not white.” the “People of Israel” who are special in God’s eyes. 261 159 . purity.” THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO CHRISTIAN IDENTITY: SALVATION BY RACE In the eyes of Christian Identity.d. as quoted by Muldrow. rather than religious.

” “Insider” and “outsider” is defined by race: white Christians are “inside”. rather. January. however. Christian Identity. Under different names. The Jews are not rejected by God (which would imply that they were at one time a part of God’s plan and could allow for their redemption). they managed to move in a series of migrations from their land of exile to a new land. issued this statement in 1941: When the people of the Northern Kingdom went into Assyrian captivity.. During the subsequent dissolution of the Assyrian power through its involvement in foreign wars. 160 . and for fighting against God’s will that the races be kept separate and pure. then into Europe and eventually into the Scandinavian countries and the British Isles. the Identity purity system can be seen. intermarriage is to be avoided at all costs. the people of Israel escaped in successive independent waves. Once again. Destiny magazine. they are cursed for breaking their racial identity. Identity argues. this time with reference to space and persons: purity concerns require the separation of the races. holds that the Chosen People are white Europeans. they have lied about their identity as the Chosen People of God and have tried to keep the truth of this identity from those who may rightfully claim it: whites. descendants of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. a publication of the Anglo-Saxon Federation. rather. across Asia Minor.” As discussed above. These tribes.they moved westward into the wilderness.” Destiny. they did not remain there. leaving the land of their captors when the opportunity came to do so. Space is also a concern.”263 But what of the Southern Kingdom? Identity teaches that the 263 “The Anglo-Saxon-Celtic Israel Belief.. For centuries. 1941. as Europe becomes the “Promised Land” which must be kept clear of the “mud races.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER doomed. did not stay in captivity and inter-marry with the surrounding peoples. everyone else is “outside.

(Second quarter. the question has changed to a racial one of White/non-White. For Paul.” Paul’s theology was one of inclusion. The Jews are rejected by God. arguing that Jews and Gentiles should be together in a single movement “in Christ. they are cursed by God for their disobedience to racial purity. Christian Identity’s gospel is based upon racial categories: whites are the true People 264 Destiny.defection from God’s will. Conversely. 196. religious devotion is irrelevant.. we begin to see just how incompatible these two systems (Pauline Christianity and Christian Identity) are in their understandings of Christianity. We have seen that Paul was concerned with Gentile inclusion into the Christian movement.. not because they rejected the Gospel (as religious anti-Judaism argued). Both systems claim Divine inspiration and Scriptural proof-texts to back up their arguments.264 The implication of this idea cannot be stressed enough.[which was a]. At that time a mutation of the blood stream occurred. but because they are not of pure Aryan stock. as quoted by Zeskind.. the question was a religious one of Jewish/Christian relations. “Racial history” and “scientific racism” have proven that characteristics of the racial type we recognize as that of the Jews today were the result of intermarriages in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. for Identity.. The purity system of Christian Identity is based solely upon race. 1969). Modern Jews are descendants of the tribe of Judah who inter-married with surrounding peoples to create a “mongrelized” race of people. and both would likely think the other illegitimate as a form of Christian understanding. The reason for this is simple: such a mixed-blood race is against God’s will... 161 . Thus.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Jews of today are a mixed-blood race which cannot be the true People of Israel mentioned in the Bible.

Identity apocalyptic is based upon a racial interpretation of the books of Daniel and Revelation. when Christ will return to create his new Kingdom on earth. they alone will inherit salvation in the end. however.” but the basis for distinction is totally different. while Jews and other non-whites are rejected by God for violating the racial purity (including separation of the races) intended from the beginning. Identity ideas fall within a division of Christian 162 .JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER of Israel. As we shall see. These Elect are the true People of Israel. Faith.e. THE END TIMES CHRISTIAN IDENTITY AND THE APOCALYPSE Christian Identity’s view of salvific history culminates with the Apocalypse. As we shall also see. The importance of Christian Identity apocalyptic for our purposes lies in Identity’s understanding of how salvation will be brought about. when the world as we know it will end. has no place in Identity theology. All other races (particularly the Jews) stand condemned before God on racial grounds. In order to understand the Identity view of the End Times. Both systems carry strong connotations of what is and is not “pure” or “holy.. Paul also places great significance upon the return of Christ. the white race) upon whom God has shown favor throughout the centuries. Paul’s and Identity’s understandings of how salvation will come about are radically different. as salvation is only for the “Elect” (i. According to Zeskind. Identity’s racial ideas have important implications for their notion of the End Times. as are their views of humanity’s role in this process. it would seem. it is necessary to understand something about Christian apocalyptic in general.

265 Identity’s pre-Millennialism also involves Dispensationalism. chosen to be “watchmen.” and to “occupy until He comes. Identity teaches that not only is this a time when prophecy is fulfilled. 266 265 163 . it is also a time when prophecies may be understood.” They are to look for the signs of the Second Coming. Christ will put an end to the Tribulation and establish the Millennial Kingdom. According to Identity. only Identity puts a racial twist upon this idea. Accordingly.” which teaches that the Second Coming of Christ will occur after a thousand-year period of “Tribulation.” of course. are the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic nations. Destiny.” “overcomers.becomes universally known. Identity interprets Scriptural prophecies (such as those found in the book of Daniel) as telling of a Battle of Armageddon in which Gog (the Soviet Union) is defeated by [white] Christians. It is not until this battle is over that “the identity of the people of the Kingdom--the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples--as the true Israel. until the coming of the Kingdom.” At his coming. 262. The “Elect. and fight here on earth against evil by occupying God’s Kingdom on Zeskind.”266 Paul believed that the end was quite near and that Jesus would soon be returning. to my knowledge.. Identity has the same idea about the modern age: they teach that humanity has already moved into the period of Tribulations. which will last for another 1000 years until eternity begins. The Tribulations are seen as a definite period of history. warn their fellow Christians of the impending danger. the idea of Divinely-ordered events in human history. of course. Each dispensation opens with a revelation and ends with a judgment by God. the timing of events is solely at God’s discretion.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? apocalyptic theology known as “pre-Millennialism. There are. since “Gog” is the creation of Jewish Communism according to Identity. the “Elect” have a special role to play in this period of Tribulations. however. others who associate the enemy in Daniel with the Soviet Union. 16-17..

23. As one Identity publication entitled “Thy Servant People” put it: The Lord is calling both the individual and the nation to repentance. the entire nation is in need of salvation and redemption.267 Salvation in Identity is not limited to the individual. “Thy Servant People. The preaching of the Gospel of Salvation is personal. 164 . This idea of salvation is best summarized by Jack Mohr: Do you want to ‘rule and reign’ with Him? Then you must become an ‘overcomer. Whites Christians are called upon to be what Posse Comitatus leader Jim Wickstrom refers to as “Yahweh Soldier-Saints. Identity further interprets the Tribulations as coming because of their “sin”: they have allowed “the strangers” (Jews and others) to live amongst them. 1946).The promise to rule does not come automatically because you are a ‘born again’ child of God. and the long-standing suffering of the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic people at the hands of their Jewish enemies will at last be ended.. It comes through active participation in the 267 268 Ibid.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER earth.” warriors who will fight in the final battle to usher in the thousand-year Kingdom.. The Elect will not have an easy task: they will have to fight overwhelming odds against the violation of God’s Law.” and will suffer many losses. sin and the “Anti-Christ forces. it is prophesied. and have stood by while society allowed inter-racial marriages and homosexuality to exist openly and freely.’.268 In the end.” (Destiny Publishers. while the call to righteous administration by the establishment of the perfection of Kingdom rule is national. the Elect will overcome.

) as quoted by Zeskind. Furthermore. Thus.d.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? spreading. “Redemption Draweth Nigh.” according to some. These “overcomers. 21. emphases added.” (pamphlet published by Mohr. not only the message of personal salvation.”270 The distinction between “believer” and “unbeliever” for Christian Identity is thus a distinction between those who have “discovered” the true destiny of the “elect” white race and have responded accordingly. acting as “the Divine agency through which the Lord will express his will. Mohr. 269 165 . faith is limited to one’s understanding of the necessary fight against Jewish conspiracy and cannot be tied theologically to the hope for salvation. whites will share with Christ in the Christian Republic to come. Jack. and those who have not. they have a part in God’s mysterious plan for the salvation of all humanity. n. 270 Zeskind. 21. When we turn to the Paul’s notion of the “End Times. Identity’s apocalyptic theology is the culmination of all that they believe: Christ’s return will bring about the long-awaited Kingdom to come. will also “rule and reign” with Christ in the Millennial Kingdom. “the new heaven and new earth” will truly be “perfect” because it will be racially pure.269 Identity teaches that whites constitute not only the “true Israel. rather.” however.” but the “Elect” who will fight in the final battle of the Armageddon to bring about the thousand-year reign of Christ. When all other races have been destroyed. destroying forever the sinfulness and impurity of this world. we find that the Jews are not rejected by God. but that of National Salvation and the Kingdom message. Identity teaches that by fighting in the Battle of Armageddon.

such a notion is to him simply inconceivable. As we have seen.. To see racial distinctions as criteria for “election” is not only to misread Paul. it is clear that this is not what he wishes to say. However. for it is finally God’s faithfulness and not their own which assures it. witnessed to by the Torah. to show that the true Israel was white. regardless of the present condition of their faith or faithlessness. 271 Romans 9:11. All of this is part of God’s mysterious plan: God called certain people “even before they had been born or had done anything good or bad” so that God’s mysterious plan of salvation might be carried out. when one reads the fuller context of Paul’s argument. came centuries after the election.271 Kaylor has this to say about Paul’s view of the election of Israel: Paul does not consider the people of Israel to be rejected by God. 166 . righteousness is reckoned to them on account of faith in accordance with a promise given before the Law of Sinai. it is to attribute to him ideas which were foreign to his time.” You will also remember that Jack Mohr interprets Paul’s language in Romans 9:6 (“not all Israelites truly belong to Israel”) in racial terms. for Paul. Even now their ultimate.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER PAUL AND THE END TIMES: RESURRECTION AND REDEMPTION As we have seen. and therefore can cease without abrogating election. Israel continues to be beloved for the sake of their ancestors. Aageson argues that Paul is drawing a distinction between the historical people of Israel and the “children of promise.The Torah. Israel’s election is contained in God’s promises to Abraham.” The “children of the promise” are the descendants of Abraham. Paul did not believe that God has rejected the people of Israel (Jews) as the “elect.. eschatological salvation is assured.

slave or free. it is important to see the centrality of such notions: Paul’s Christianity. Beker says. When we look at Paul’s apocalyptic theology.” Conversely. Faith operates in both systems. Faith for Paul allows him to place total trust in God’s redemptive grace. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 1980). 273 Ibid.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Again and again. but the way in which it operates is radically different.  Paul modified the traditional view of the escalation of evil forces in the end times. 145. Christian Identity’s notion of salvation is based upon the election of whites. Paul. saw himself as an “eschatological apostle who spans the time between the resurrection of Christ and the final resurrection of the dead. according to J. but this leads only to preparation for the impending Battle of Armageddon. is grounded in and centered around an apocalyptic theology of Christ as Messiah. Paul the Apostle: The Triumph of God in Life and Thought. with the belief that all those who come to believe in Christ will be saved. Paul reiterates his contention that salvation is available to all through Christ: there is no distinction between Jew or Greek. such that the present age and the age to come are placed in opposition. These two systems (one based upon grace and one upon grace) are radically different.  Paul rarely uses the terms “Kingdom of God” or “Day of J. Christiaan Beker. Christian Identity also contains a notion of faith. Christiaan Beker. 272 167 .”272 Beker further argues that Paul modified the “traditional” apocalyptic of his day (particularly the Jewish apocalyptic of his Pharisaic background) in three distinct ways273:  Paul does not employ “this age”/”next age” terminology. but all will be saved through faith in Jesus. Paul has changed the distinction from holy/unholy to “believer” and “unbeliever.

Secondly.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER the Lord. rather. the “next age” exists already in the “present age. with Christ’s resurrection standing in anticipation of the general resurrection when Christ returns. Paul’s thinking does not seem to contain the “nextworldliness” so common in other apocalyptic theology.” Christians do not simply suffer the tribulations of the End Times. is the basis for Paul’s faith: “Faith not only is hope but it has a hope: it cannot exist without the specific 274 Ibid. Paul modified terms “troubles of present age” and “the coming glory. “because God’s power manifests itself in the midst of suffering. Beker contends. First. Paul sees Christians as standing in constant anticipation of the return of Christ. As a result.” and the Christ-event is the link between the two. there is glory to be found in suffering. Unlike Christian Identity. the Christ-event is the first of a two-step process. they may glory in their sufferings. sitting around in anxious anticipation of the “glorious new age”. Paul sees the “next world” as already a part of this world. Christians may live already in the glory of God’s kingdom. Hope. and is present now. following from the revelation of Christ’s resurrection. which anxiously awaits the coming Millennial Kingdom. Thus. Finally. they need not wait. 168 .” and only in the traditional sense if at all. Paul refrains from “kingdom of God” or “end of all the ages” terminology precisely because he sees the end as having come in Christ: the kingdom of God has already come. This Christ-event changed Paul’s world-view from a this world/next world dualism to one which understood the “age to come” as already present in the here and now. 146.”274 The cross stands as a symbol of a redemptive power in suffering: in the light of Christ’s death and resurrection. For Paul.

the last of which is death. this will be the day of God’s final victory over his enemies. but always within the context of his anticipated return. Christ is described as “the first fruits of those who have died.” embedded in Paul’s apocalyptic understanding of resurrection: while suffering is not “good” for those “under the cross” (those who believe) in the sense that it is wanted. at which time all will be raised from the dead.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? object of hope. which Paul sees as the first “blow” to death. In Paul’s own words.” It is crucial in so far as it marks the beginning of the “new creation”. Paul’s understanding of resurrection is bifocal: the Christ-event has created an elliptical historical-view having two foci276:  The Christ-event. Christians may revel in the glory of suffering. 147.”278 Great emphasis is placed upon Christ’s death. a glory made possible by Christ’s own suffering. 277 Also known as the Messianic Advent. This is accomplished in the death and resurrection of Jesus. which is both “crucial” and “provisional. Ibid.  The Parousia (the Second Coming of Christ277). it is provisional in that it anticipates the consummation of this beginning. 160. Thus. 169 . As Paul says within his discussion of the Eucharist: 275 276 Ibid. Also contained in this is an inherent “theology of the cross. 278 I Corinthians 15:20. and anticipates the general resurrection to come.”275 Paul’s faith is centered in Christ’s death and resurrection.

279 I Corinthians 11:26. you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. it is helpful to note the following contrasts: Pauline Christianity Salvation is through belief in Christ. God has cursed Jews. White Europeans are the true Chosen People. since they argue from wholly different theological presuppositions toward wholly different objectives. Center of system in keeping racial purity. Center of system in remembrance of crucifixion of Christ: he suffered and died on our behalf.279 CONCLUSIONS As stated throughout this paper. which develop into a notion of inside/outside. In order to understand fully the differences between Pauline and Identity notions of Christianity. Jews are especially cursed. Entrance rite is baptism into the community of faith: conversion from all social levels or backgrounds. Christ was killed by the Jews. Israelites were white.JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup. believer/unbeliever. Paul’s Christian system is largely based upon his Pharisaic understandings of purity. Strict adherence to racial categories and separation. covenant of faith apart from works. saint/non-saint. as was Jesus. it is my contention that the Pauline and Identity systems or understandings of Christianity are ultimately at odds. Christian Identity Salvation is through keeping the racial purity proscribed by God from the beginning. no room in community for non-whites. 170 . No Jew/Gentile distinction: all are equally under sin and capable of salvation in Christ.

especially the Jews.). God’s mysterious plan and earlier promise are not revoked or changed by Christ. however. Jews are the result of a union of Satan with Eve. Christians should revel in the promise of Christ’s return. teach that Jews and other non-whites will be and must be destroyed in the end. etc.” 171 . the Final Battle of Armageddon will witness their total destruction on earth. white Christians will fight in the battle of Armageddon to initiate the “next world”. In the end. The dead will rise for judgment with those still alive. a white Christian Republic will be created. “The Jew first and also the Greek.” The Apocalypse will establish a new order: a racial war will be fought. “Theology of Sword”: the white race has suffered long and hard under the oppression of Jews. Converts actively sought among both Jews and Gentiles: spread the Gospel of salvation through faith in Christ to all the world. and their present faithlessness has no bearing on their salvation. pitting white Christian patriots against the enemies of Christ (Jews. as they experience the “next word” already a part of “this world. in the end. after the total destruction of all non-whites races. with the resulting “new creation” a White Christian Republic freed from “mud people.” Theology of the Cross: there is glory in suffering because of Christ’s death and resurrection.” Converts actively sought among whites: spread the gospel of racial purity and the true destiny of whites as the Chosen People. and are demonic.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? Jews have been and continue to be the Chosen People of God. Jews lie about their heritage. This notion of “salvation by grace” vs. only those who believe in Jesus Christ will be saved.” The Apocalypse will establish a new order. Christians anxiously await Christ’s return and the subsequent “new order. “salvation by race.

Many Identity believers teach that Pauline Christianity is a form “Judeo-Christianity.”280 which is against what Jesus had intended or desired. I suspect that Paul would have similar sentiments about much Identity’s theology. 280 172 .JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER renders these two systems of belief irreconcilable. Christian Identity thinkers make a distinction between (white) “Christianity” and “Judeo-Christianity.” which they see as a false Christianity heavily influenced by the Jewish conspiracy. he would be as puzzled about Identity beliefs as Identity is about Paul. and I suspect that if Paul were here today.

All of this is part of the unfortunate history that the sinful. is quite a bit. the Nazi propaganda machine. Yet above and beyond even the horrific details of the Holocaust. we might ask a different question: “What has Jerusalem to do with Auschwitz?” The answer. It was the city of Jerusalem. the third-century lawyer turned Christian theologian. This danger. even ironically. the history of Christian supersessionist thinking. “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” His question was posed in the face of the challenge that pagan philosophy and the “heresies” it had spawned held for orthodox Christianity.” And it was upon this very foundation.–7– FINAL THOUGHTS Tertullian. It is precisely this realization that makes the Church uneasy when approaching this topic: our theological heritage (in part) fueled hatred of Jews. once asked famously. that Christians “superseded” when they proclaimed themselves the “new Israel. I would suggest. fallen world has woven for itself. the ovens. Today. unfortunately. that contributed to the rise of Hitler. with God’s 173 . has to do with the question of Jewish and Christian identity before God. the center of religious devotion for Jews. there lies another danger—hidden and largely undisturbed—that threatens Christian tradition more than Hitler ever could.

I believe that Scripture itself provides a response to. for by claiming the legacy of the “historical argument. and with the hope based on faith in those promises—in short. translation mine. you yourselves will be judged.”281 Lutherans proclaim that salvation is by grace alone. How are we to understand that God’s covenant with Israel formed on Sinai was completed on the cross. and refutation of. 174 . and leave 281 Matthew 7:2. If we take seriously Paul’s argument in Romans 9-11. the historical argument gives rise to a question: If this interpretation is true. the Mormon claim to the restored remnant of a corrupted and fallen Church is not so extraordinary. the historical argument. In fact. but remains among the mysteries of God.” This is so not because in our modern politically correct climate it is unpopular to believe that the Jews are rejected by God. but because “with the judgment by which you judge others. When approached from a soteriological angle. for the sake of Jesus Christ alone. and if it is to proclaim salvation through his name. through faith alone. we must take seriously the faithfulness of God to God’s promises. without either condemning the people whom God chose (a judgment that is not ours to pass).JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER covenant promises. or being led into a syncretism that contradicts the heart of the Gospel’s message of salvation through Jesus Christ alone? If the Church is to continue to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified and risen. if the Jews may be superseded by God in favor of another group (the Church). Ultimately. it is ironic. with the hope that Jews and Christians share for God’s promised new creation. the fate of the Jews has not been revealed to us. what is to say that God will not have another change of mind in favor of a “third testament”? When approached in this way. then it must abandon the “historical argument. at what time in the future might Christians expect to be superseded? That is.” Christianity may only be foreshadowing its own replacement by whomever God elects next.

Lutherans should be particularly sensitive to this issue. For. rather than speculate about what has not been revealed. if trust in God and God’s faithfulness is lost. but how that occurs is beyond our comprehension. Scripture commands us to believe. the entire Christian message is for naught. so far as we know. If the same principle is applied to the question of the Jews’ relation to God. at least this side of the resurrection. 175 . and the Holy Spirit provides the means by which that faith can be implanted and grow. the conclusion is the same.DIALOGUE OR DIATRIBE? to God the task of reconciling the biblically-mandated covenants of Torah and cross. we would be better served to trust that God will see to it that the various promises made will be kept. given the emphasis in Lutheran theology upon God’s grace and our inability to act on behalf of our own salvation.

Luther. 1899.E.SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY THE “JEWISH CONSPIRACY” IN THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW Friedrich. R. Saldarini. 1985. The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Setzer. On the Jews and Their Lies. ed. Claudia. Dialogue With Trypho in Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. LW 47: 121-306. Matthew’s Christian-Jewish Community. Prophets and Messiahs. A. Minneapolis: Winston Press. Gerhard (ed. J. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Vol. 1. Hanson.). S. Horsley. Justin Martyr. 1994. Grand Rapids. MI: Wm. Vol. VI. B. Jewish Responses to Early Christians: History and Polemics. Anthony. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. and J. 30 -150 C. 176 . (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Martin. 1968. Eerdmans Publishing Company. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1994). Bandits.

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Barnard. Justin Martyr. Translated and edited by John Austin Baker. Demetrios. and the Idea of the Holy Land. Oberman.” Harvard Theological Review 79:1-3 (1986): 286-297. Nos. Jean. Porter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bath. L. Jewish Messianism. Barnard.” The Jewish Quarterly Review LXXXIII. 178 . “Logos”].JOHN AUGUST SCHUMACHER augmented edition. 1993): 369384. 1957. 1973. Robert L. The Roots of Anti-Semitism in the Age of Renaissance and Reformation. “Polemic Literary Units in the Classical Midrashim and Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho. “Justin Martyr’s Trypho. Justin Martyr. 1981. Osborn.” The Downside Review 89 (1971?): 132-141 [Barnard.B. A History of Early Christian Doctrine Before the Council of Nicea: Volume Two: Gospel Message and Hellenistic Culture. Wilken. Hirshman. 1967 [Barnard. Marc. Tübingen: J.” Harvard Theological Review 79:1-3 (1986): 298-307. Justin Martyr: His Life and Thought. Eric Francis. Beiträge zur Historischen Theologie [series]. “The Logos Theology of St. Vol. Great Britain: The Pitman Press. W. L. Philadelphia: Fortress Press. “Early Christian Chiliasm. The Biblical Exegesis of Justin Martyr. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). 1952. Justin]. Heiko A. Willis A. Daniélou. Shotwell.C. London: SPCK. Trakatellis. 1965. 3-4 (January-April. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 47. Translated by James I. 1973. W.

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