2017-11-14 ◆Review：The baptism of the Holy Spirit (The teaching of contempt)
After the Second World War, Jules Isaac (1877–1963), the French Jewish historian, who survived the Holocaust, but lost his wife and daughter in Auschwitz, set himself to discover the roots of anti-Semitism, tracing it back to the early history of the Church. Isaac charted the tendency of early Christian texts to blame Jews collectively for the death of Jesus and to see Judaism as a failed relationship between God and humanity. He called this "the teaching of contempt."
○Jerusalem Church was established as an umbrella organization of Orthodox Judaism
The Jerusalem Church, which had been established at the meeting place of the Essenes adjacent to the residence of the High Priest Caiaphas on the day of Pentecost, barely one and half month after the Crucifixion, under the guidance of James the Less, who had been the legitimate lineage of the High Priest representing both the Davidic royal family as well as a priestly Aaronic Lineage, served as the high priest for the Nazirites entering into the holy areas of the Temple and had performed all the practices enjoined by that rule of life with rigorous exactness and had won the high honor of the Righteous among the clergy, seems to have been expected to play the role of a new umbrella organization of Orthodox Judaism supervising the church movement by about four million overseas gentile believers and about eight hundred thousand followers of different Jewish factions in the country. At least high priest Caiaphas must have thought so, who had testified at a meeting of the Sanhedrin; "You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish. He will die for the Jewish nation, and not only for the nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one." The Gospel of John adds, "So from that day on they plotted to take his life." (John 11:49-57)
○Martyrdom of Stephen
Gentile believers joined Jerusalem church one after another and increased rapidly as expected by Caiaphas. As a result, the overwhelming majority of the church followers were occupied by Hellenists, who used Greek as intermediate language among them, but Hebraists, who spoke Hebrew and Aramaic fluently, became minority. Thus, seven Hellenic leaders, including Stephen, Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism were chosen and entrusted day-to-day management of the Jerusalem church. Then the Twelve Disciples was only committed to prayer and the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:1-7)
However, members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)-Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia accused Stephen blaspheming against Moses and against God. He was sentenced to stoning after being subjected to a religious trial before the Sanhedrin (Supreme council). (Acts 6:8-7:60) On that day a great persecution broke out against the Hellenic believers in Jerusalem Church and these believers were expelled outside of Jerusalem city. The one who commanded the persecution against the Hellenic believers and expelled them outside of the city was a man called Saul, that is, Apostle Paul himself. (Acts 8:1-4)
Paul, who had got a charter from the High Priest after completion of expelling the Hellenic believers outside of Jerusalem city, immediately went to Damascus and contacted a group of Hellenists. He went to Arabia once and after the affair had blown over, returned to Damascus again and started to his missionary work in Syria and Cilicia. Paul preached, "If one acknowledges Jesus as Savior, he can revive with eternal life on the last day." And he refused to put any condition, including the law of Moses, on this gospel.
He focused on the theme of the failed relationship between God and humanity in Old Testament and introduced the story saying 'Jesus was crucified to restore this relationship' in his epistles. And the story became the main theme of all the gospels afterwards. However, from the description of the Apostolic Acts, such faith seems to have been fostered long ago among Hellenic believers such as Stephen (perhaps from before the birth of Jesus). However, without Paul, it would not have been fruited.
○The conflict between Hellenists and Hebraists and selection of the First Pope
In the Epistle to the Galatians, Paul says, "I went away into Arabia, and later I returned to the city of Damascus. Then three years later I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. The only other apostle I met at that time was James, the Lord's brother." (Ga 1:17-19) And Paul argues, "The gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ. (Ga 1:11-12) Even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. (Ga 1:15-16)" In other words, Paul aimed to establish his own Christianity different from the one of Jerusalem Church led by the disciples of Jesus.
As the result, a fierce controversy occurred between Paul and the missionaries dispatched by the Jerusalem Church, over Jewish customs including Moses' law and circumcision. Paul calls these missionaries enemies or fake teachers in his letters.
After the Jewish War, because the followers of the primitive church, who had escaped from Jerusalem city just before siege by Roman army, were boycotted from the Jewish community as traitors, the honeymoon between the primitive church and Judaism was over. This too seems to have fostered the tendency of the Gospels compiled after the War to blame Jews collectively for the death of Jesus.
On the other hand, the conflict between Hellenists (non-circumcision believers) and Hebraists (circumcision believers) in the Gentile Church persisted after the death of Paul and disappearance of the Jerusalem Church. Perhaps as a result of this, neither James nor Paul, but Peter was canonized as the first Pope of Roman Church.
○A Rabbinic delegation presents Pope with Jewish response to Nostra Aetate
A Rabbinic delegation visited the Vatican on August 31, 2017, and presented Pope Francis with Jewish response to 1965 'the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate).'
The 9-page response, titled "Between Jerusalem and Rome: Reflections on 50 Years of Nostra Aetate," which is signed by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the Conference of European Rabbis and the Rabbinical Council of America, was made to commemorate Decree among other things exonerating Jews as a whole for Christ's death, however, it took two years for them to complete the response.
○The teaching of contempt and Vatican II
According to Mr. Jonathan Henry Sacks, Professor of Law, Ethics and the Bible at King's College London, who served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013, 'Nostra Aetate' transformed relations between the two faiths, so that today, after centuries of estrangement and hostility, Jews and Catholics meet not as enemies but as cherished and respected friends. It was the result of the meeting of two remarkable men. One was the French Jewish historian Jules Isaac, who survived the Holocaust, but lost his wife and daughter in Auschwitz. And another was Pope John XXIII, a man of courage who during the war had saved thousands of Jewish lives.
After the Second World War, Isaac set himself to discover the roots of anti-Semitism, tracing it back to the early history of the Church. Isaac charted the tendency of early Christian texts to blame Jews collectively for the death of Jesus and to see Judaism as a failed relationship between God and humanity. He called this "the teaching of contempt."
Isaac's work was read by Pope John XXIII. In June 1960 the two men met, and the Pope resolved to re-examine the Church's attitude to other faiths, Judaism in particular. He convened The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) in 1962. Thus began the process that led to Nostra Aetate, though John, who died in 1963, didn't live to see its completion.
○The history of the dialogue between Christianity and Judaism
According to a report titled "The history of the dialogue between Christianity and Judaism: From The Second Vatican Council to the end of the 20th century" written by Mr. Mikio Wada, Chief Priest of Church of the Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan (Sekime Church) of Archdiocese of Osaka, The Nostra Aetate declaration was largely responsible for the efforts of three prominent people, Pope John XXIII who convened the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI who closed the Vatican Council and Cardinal Augustin Bea who worked hard to prepare the Judaism clause, the chapter 4 of Nostra Aetate.
The dialogue efforts between the Catholic Church and Judaism continued even after the Second Vatican Council and was further promoted especially by the appearance of Pope John Paul II from Poland who had experienced the terror of Nazi. At a press conference on March 16, 1998, 'the Holy See's Commission For Religious Relations With the Jews' presented for publication the document, 'We Remember: A Reflection On The Shoah,' under the approval of Pope John Paul II. This is called The Shoah document. Pope John Paul II also admitted the past crimes committed by Church, confessed especially the crimes committed against Judaism and delivered a sweeping apology during a public Mass of Pardons on the 12th of March 2000.
○Advice of Professor Sacks
Professor Sacks says, "Rarely has this been more important than now, when religiously-motivated violence is bringing chaos and destruction to great swathes of the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Christians are suffering; so are Muslims; and so are Jews. What we need now is a new and broader Nostra Aetate, bringing together all the great faiths in a covenant of mutual respect and responsibility. We need leaders from every religion publicly to declare that much of what's being done today in the name of faith is in fact a desecration of faith and a violation of its most sacred principles. It took the Holocaust to bring about Nostra Aetate. Let's not wait for another crime against humanity and God to bring us to our senses. For though we are different, we are each in God's image. (Gen 1:26) We honour Him by honouring all humankind."
"For though we are different, we are each in God’s image. We honour Him by honouring all humankind." Rabbi Lord Sacks
○What is "Baptism with The Holy Spirit"?
According to the dialectic of the Gospel of John,
【Thesis】"A man can possess eternal life through accepting testimony of the Son of man and being baptized by him." (John 5:24)
【Anti-thesis】But "The one who comes from the earth cannot accept the testimony by one from heaven."(John 3:32)
How then can a man possess eternal life?
【Synthesis】"If you want to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, you can just go back to the word which was with God in the beginning (John 1:1) and certify that God is truthful. (John 3:33)"
When he said, "You are Huichao," Zen Master Fayan thrusted vivid Self in Huichao in front of his eyes.