So, as my mid-way post, I think that it’s appropriate to finally talk about the Jesus Question. Obviously, this was the center of our conversation. Everything else stemmed from this question. My questions about the mashiach and my questions about Jewish-Christian relations all stem from this question:
Who was Jesus?
This is what I said in my Blog Post on Prothero’s chapter “Rabbi:”
I found this chapter really interesting. Jewish-Christian relations are something that I have always been interested in. Learning about it from the Jewish perspective was something new for me. I didn’t realize that many Jewish people would completely shun the idea of Jesus all together. I mean, I haven’t had much contact with people who practice Orthodox Judaism. The way Prothero explains it, it seems like those who practice Orthodox Judaism were most averse to idea of accepting Jesus as a Jew. The Reformed Jewish perspective was really interesting though. I can however, see how it would rub some people the wrong way…The reformed rabbis took up the position that Jesus was a Jew. He was a Jew. Not only that, but he was the ideal Jew. He was actually practicing Judaism in the way it was supposed to be practiced. I think that any well-informed Christian would agree with the reformed rabbis new ideology. I find it really interesting the way that this came about and the way that it affected the dialogue between Christians and Jews.
I wasn’t expecting to get the type of answer that we read about in Prothero. And I didn’t. Rabbi Lyle was very concise and made his answer very simple for me. Although he is a reform Rabbi, he did not align his beliefs with the rabbi’s that Prothero writes about.
Rabbi Lyle told me that for him and most other Jews, it’s not theology (like it is for me,) it’s history. Just like Abraham Lincoln was a historical person, Jesus was a historical person. We didn’t go into detail on whether or not Jesus was a false prophet. To be honest, I think we both wanted to stay away from that path. Rather we talked about whether or not Jesus would have performed the miracles attributed to him in the Gospels. The short answer for Rabbi Lyle was no.
Then we began to talk about Jewish-Christian Relations, which I won’t go into too much detail here, but will begin to explain:
For many Jews, for many years, images of Jesus would have instilled fear. As a Christian living in the modern era, this is hard to comprehend. This is where we began to talk about anti-semitism and how our culture has changed since World War II. I’ll go into more detail in my next post about what we spoke about and how Rabbi Lyle was able to relate all of this to me.