For the Last Time: The Bible is Not Anti-Semitic

I thought this has been made abundantly clear over the past 50+ years, especially with the renewed interest in the Jewish roots of Christianity (renewed with Sanders and continued by mainstream pastors such as Bell). However, I recently heard an accusation that the Bible should not be taken seriously because it has anti-Semitic statements, such as the time that Jesus calls some Jewish leaders a brood of vipers.

So just in case there is any doubt, ambiguity, or accusation remaining here, let me address this head-on: the Bible is not anti-Semitic.

Keep in mind that the Bible records stuff, lots of stuff that it does not necessarily endorse as something we should do. Solomon had many wives, Ezekiel walked around half-naked, and then there’s Jesus and John the Baptist. Both called a very select group of Jewish leaders a “Brood of vipers.” Jesus and John were Jews as well, so it isn’t that they were being racist against the Jewish people. Also, the simple fact that they are recorded insulting these leaders who were essentially oppressing, misleading, and exploiting the people, not to mention who eventually arranged to have Jesus killed, does not mean that the Bible now tells us to use these choice words for any old Jew we meet.

There was a very clear conflict between the Pharisees/Sadducees and Jesus/John. Jesus and John were calling them out for their oppression of the Jewish people, challenging their sin in public. It’s not pretty. It’s not something they did  lightly. However, it is preposterous to assert that this event shows us what the writers of the Bible thought of Jews. The writers of the Bible were Jews for crying out loud!

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