Ran across this piece the other day –
There’s a punchy piece by Giles Fraser in last week’s Church Times. He is talking about Yom Kippur, the Jewish festival of penitence (Fraser’s family background is Jewish).
The still-dominant stereotype among many Christians is that Judaism presents a theology of salvation by works and law-keeping, in contrast to Christianity, which is all about salvation by faith. Quite frankly, this is a piece of crass racist ideology left over from the late Middle Ages. Martin Luther’s anger with his own Church for selling indulgences as a fast track to heaven was projected back on to first-century Judaism, for which this would have made no sense whatsoever. Notorious anti-Semite that he was, Luther would readily blame “the Jews” for a wayward theology that was much more about his own time and his own Church.
Protestantism twisted Paul’s theology, he says, but thankfully recent New Testament scholars have shown the illegitimacy of this. He concludes: “In setting Christianity and Judaism against each other, Christians cut themselves off from the very source of their own faith.”
So, do you think that the Reformation saddled us with an erroneous take on Paul’s take on Judaism? If so, do you think that the New Perspective on Paul will help to ease the tensions? And if not, is a relationship with Judaism something we have to consider?