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June 4, 2013 12:21 am

Both Jesus and Paul Lived and Died Dedicated Jews

avatar by Bernard Starr

Email a copy of "Both Jesus and Paul Lived and Died Dedicated Jews" to a friend

Max Liebermann's 'The 12-Year-Old Jesus in the Temple with the Scholars'.

It’s widely acknowledged that Jesus was a thoroughly practicing Jew throughout his life. Anglican Priest Bruce Chilton expressed that conclusion explicitly and concisely in his book Rabbi Jesus: “It became clear to me that everything Jesus did was as a Jew, for Jews, and about Jews.”

But what about Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles? It’s generally accepted that Paul was the true founder of a new religion called Christianity. Biblical scholar Gerd Ludemann, author of several books about Jesus and Paul including Paul: Founder of Christianity, affirms that “Without Paul there would be no church and no Christianity.” Ludemann adds, “He’s the most decisive person that shaped Christianity as it developed. Without Paul we would have had reformed Judaism… but no Christianity.”

Paul converted Jews and then Gentiles to Jewish Christianity, basing these conversions on his belief in the teachings, resurrection, and divinity of Jesus. But powerful evidence within “Acts of the Apostles,” the book of the New Testament that chronicles Paul’s mission, reveals that Paul, like Jesus, remained a dedicated Jew until his execution. In fact, if Paul had simply stated that he was no longer a Jew but the leader of a new religion, he would not have been imprisoned or executed.

During Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem, his appearance and teachings in the Temple in Jerusalem set off a disturbance in which some Jews rioted against him (Acts 21:26-28). He was then charged with blasphemy by the Sanhedrin and would have to stand trial before the Jewish authorities–and face a possible death sentence. The Sanhedrin was able to indict Paul and put him on trial by the special privilege that the Romans gave the Jews. Judaism was a protected religion under the Roman Empire in the time of Jesus and Paul. Jews had their own King (Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, and Herod Agrippa). But more important, the Jewish leadership was invested with the right to rule over Jewish affairs. They could bring charges against Jews who violated Jewish laws or who were deemed blasphemous or heretical. That power is why the Sanhedrin was able to indict Jesus. It also explains why the Sanhedrin was able to authorize Paul’s persecutory frenzy to chain and drag back to Jerusalem Jewish followers of Jesus in synagogues as distant as Damascus (Acts 8:3; Acts 9: 1, 2). Although the Sanhedrin could bring charges against Jews and even set the punishment, only the Romans could execute (although that’s not entirely clear since some violators of Jewish law were stoned to death by Jews).

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The special status of Jews was first stated in an edict by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus in 1 BCE and reaffirmed by Emperor Claudius Augustus in 41 CE:

Edict of Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus on Jewish Rights, 1 BCE

Caesar Augustus, pontifex maximus, holding the tribunician power, proclaims: Since the nation of the Jews and Hyrcanus, their high priest, have been found grateful to the people of the Romans, not only in the present but also in the past, and particularly in the time of my father, Caesar, imperator, it seems good to me and to my advisory council, according to the oaths, by the will of the people of the Romans, that the Jews shall use their own customs in accordance with their ancestral law, just as they used to use them in the time of Hyrcanus, the high priest of their highest god; and that their sacred offerings shall be inviolable and shall be sent to Jerusalem and shall be paid to the financial officials of Jerusalem; and that they shall not give sureties for appearance in court on the Sabbath or on the day of preparation before it after the ninth hour. But if anyone is detected stealing their sacred books or their sacred monies, either from a synagogue or from a mens’ apartment, he shall be considered sacrilegious and his property shall be brought into the public treasury of the Romans.

Later, during the ministry of Paul, the Emperor Claudius reconfirmed the special status of Jews:


Edict of Roman Emperor Claudius Augustus on Jewish Rights, 41 CE

Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, pontifex maximus, holding the tribunician power, proclaims: …Therefore it is right that also the Jews, who are in all the world under us, shall maintain their ancestral customs without hindrance and to them I now also command to use this my kindness rather reasonably and not to despise the religious rites of the other nations, but to observe their own laws.

The Romans were tolerant of all religions under their rule as long as adherents obeyed Roman law and paid taxes. While Jews could rule over Jewish matters, they had no jurisdiction over people of other religions. In principle, Roman paganism was an affront to Judaism. But they could do nothing about that other than negotiate with the Romans to mitigate pagan practices in the Temple area and in some public Roman ceremonies.

After his arrest, Paul faced charges of blasphemy: “And after five days Ananias, the high priest, descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the Governor against Paul” (Acts 24:1).

Paul could only be charged if he were a Jew. After being detained for two years he was brought before the new Roman governor Porcius Festus. The Sanhedrin repeated the charge of blasphemy: “Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him [Festus] against Paul, and besought him” (Acts 25:2). Fearing a trial before the Sanhedrin, Paul invoked his right as a Roman citizen to be tried in Rome. Festus granted Paul his choice: “Hast thou appealed unto Cæsar? Unto Cæsar shalt thou go” (Acts 25:12)

At no time during Paul’s lengthy ordeal did he repudiate Judaism or declare that he represented a new religion. Had he done so, he would have been immediately released–especially since he was a privileged Roman citizen. The Sanhedrin wouldn’t have had any authority over Paul.

After a long treacherous trip that included a shipwreck that almost killed him, Paul arrived in Rome and was put under house arrest. He promptly invited the Jewish leadership of Rome to his residence to explain why he was imprisoned:

“Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Cæsar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” (Acts 28: 17-20)

Still, Paul said nothing about a new religion. On the contrary, he presented himself to the Roman Jewish community as a loyal Jew who was being persecuted for his revisionist views. Since the Romans had no quarrel with him, as a Roman citizen, and with the Sanhedrin a continent away, there would be no viable case against Paul–if he had denounced his affiliation to Judaism and declared a new religion. At this point in his life, facing trial and execution for blasphemy against Judaism, didn’t Paul have every reason to sever his tie to Judaism? The Sanhedrin, representing traditional Judaism, sent a clear message by their action against Paul: “We will not accept your beliefs and teachings about Jesus.” Despite this definitive rejection, Paul didn’t choose the obvious way out of the clutches of the Sanhedrin–declaration of a new religion; this strategy never even showed up for discussion. Paul chose to go to his death as a Jew. Why?

Paul’s vision was to make his brand of Judaism–with the recognition of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah–a world religion easily accessible to everyone. He never surrendered that passion. But after his death the accelerating conversion of Gentiles to a movement that began as Jewish Christianity became increasingly distanced from Judaism–and a new religion was launched.

Nevertheless, an understanding of the deep connection to Judaism held by the founders of Christianity should highlight the common ground of Judaism and Christianity and pave the way to reconciliation between the two faiths.

Bernard Starr is a psychologist, college professor, and journalist. He is author of Jesus Uncensored: Restoring the Authentic Jew, which is available at Amazon (grayscale and color edition), Barnes and Noble, and other major outlets.

It’s widely acknowledged that Jesus was a thoroughly practicing Jew throughout his life.

Anglican Priest Bruce Chilton expressed that conclusion explicitly and concisely in his book

Rabbi Jesus: “It became clear to me that everything Jesus did was as a Jew, for Jews, and about

Jews.”

But what about Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles? It’s generally accepted that Paul was the true

founder of a new religion called Christianity. Biblical scholar Gerd Ludemann, author of several

books about Jesus and Paul including Paul: Founder of Christianity, affirms that “Without Paul

there would be no church and no Christianity.” Ludemann adds, “He’s the most decisive person

that shaped Christianity as it developed. Without Paul we would have had reformed Judaism…

but no Christianity.”

Paul converted Jews and then Gentiles to Jewish Christianity, basing these conversions on his

belief in the teachings, resurrection, and divinity of Jesus. But powerful evidence within “Acts of

the Apostles,” the book of the New Testament that chronicles Paul’s mission, reveals that Paul,

like Jesus, remained a dedicated Jew until his execution. In fact, if Paul had simply stated that

he was no longer a Jew but the leader of a new religion, he would not have been imprisoned or

executed.

During Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem, his appearance and teachings in the Temple in Jerusalem set

off a disturbance in which some Jews rioted against him (Acts 21:26-28). He was then charged

with blasphemy by the Sanhedrin and would have to stand trial before the Jewish authorities–

and face a possible death sentence. The Sanhedrin was able to indict Paul and put him on trial by

the special privilege that the Romans gave the Jews. Judaism was a protected religion under the

Roman Empire in the time of Jesus and Paul. Jews had their own King (Herod the Great, Herod

Antipas, and Herod Agrippa). But more important, the Jewish leadership was invested with the

right to rule over Jewish affairs. They could bring charges against Jews who violated Jewish

laws or who were deemed blasphemous or heretical. That power is why the Sanhedrin was

able to indict Jesus. It also explains why the Sanhedrin was able to authorize Paul’s persecutory

frenzy to chain and drag back to Jerusalem Jewish followers of Jesus in synagogues as distant as

Damascus (Acts 8:3; Acts 9: 1, 2). Although the Sanhedrin could bring charges against Jews and

even set the punishment, only the Romans could execute (although that’s not entirely clear since

some violators of Jewish law were stoned to death by Jews).

The special status of Jews was first stated in an edict by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus in

1 BCE and reaffirmed by Emperor Claudius Augustus in 41 CE:

Edict of Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus on Jewish Rights, 1 BCE

Caesar Augustus, pontifex maximus, holding the tribunician power, proclaims: Since the

nation of the Jews and Hyrcanus, their high priest, have been found grateful to the people

of the Romans, not only in the present but also in the past, and particularly in the time of

my father, Caesar, imperator, it seems good to me and to my advisory council, according

to the oaths, by the will of the people of the Romans, that the Jews shall use their own

customs in accordance with their ancestral law, just as they used to use them in the time

of Hyrcanus, the high priest of their highest god; and that their sacred offerings shall be

inviolable and shall be sent to Jerusalem and shall be paid to the financial officials of

Jerusalem; and that they shall not give sureties for appearance in court on the Sabbath or

on the day of preparation before it after the ninth hour. But if anyone is detected stealing

their sacred books or their sacred monies, either from a synagogue or from a mens’

apartment, he shall be considered sacrilegious and his property shall be brought into the

public treasury of the Romans.

Later, during the ministry of Paul, the Emperor Claudius reconfirmed the special status of Jews:

Edict of Roman Emperor Claudius Augustus on Jewish Rights, 41 CE

Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, pontifex maximus, holding the

tribunician power, proclaims: …Therefore it is right that also the Jews, who are in all the

world under us, shall maintain their ancestral customs without hindrance and to them

I now also command to use this my kindness rather reasonably and not to despise the

religious rites of the other nations, but to observe their own laws.

The Romans were tolerant of all religions under their rule as long as adherents obeyed Roman

law and paid taxes. While Jews could rule over Jewish matters, they had no jurisdiction over

people of other religions. In principle, Roman paganism was an affront to Judaism. But they

could do nothing about that other than negotiate with the Romans to mitigate pagan practices in

the Temple area and in some public Roman ceremonies.

After his arrest, Paul faced charges of blasphemy: “And after five days Ananias, the high

priest, descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the

Governor against Paul” (Acts 24:1).

Paul could only be charged if he were a Jew. After being detained for two years he was

brought before the new Roman governor Porcius Festus. The Sanhedrin repeated the charge of

blasphemy: “Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him [Festus] against Paul,

and besought him” (Acts 25:2). Fearing a trial before the Sanhedrin, Paul invoked his right as

a Roman citizen to be tried in Rome. Festus granted Paul his choice: “Hast thou appealed unto

Cæsar? Unto Cæsar shalt thou go” (Acts 25:12)

At no time during Paul’s lengthy ordeal did he repudiate Judaism or declare that he represented a

new religion. Had he done so, he would have been immediately released–especially since he was

a privileged Roman citizen. The Sanhedrin wouldn’t have had any authority over Paul.

After a long treacherous trip that included a shipwreck that almost killed him, Paul arrived in

Rome and was put under house arrest. He promptly invited the Jewish leadership of Rome to his

residence to explain why he was imprisoned:

“Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our

fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when

they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But

when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Cæsar; not that I had ought to

accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with

you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” (Acts 28: 17-20)

Still, Paul said nothing about a new religion. On the contrary, he presented himself to the Roman

Jewish community as a loyal Jew who was being persecuted for his revisionist views. Since the

Romans had no quarrel with him, as a Roman citizen, and with the Sanhedrin a continent away,

there would be no viable case against Paul–if he had denounced his affiliation to Judaism and

declared a new religion. At this point in his life, facing trial and execution for blasphemy against

Judaism, didn’t Paul have every reason to sever his tie to Judaism? The Sanhedrin, representing

traditional Judaism, sent a clear message by their action against Paul: “We will not accept your

beliefs and teachings about Jesus.” Despite this definitive rejection, Paul didn’t choose the

obvious way out of the clutches of the Sanhedrin–declaration of a new religion; this strategy

never even showed up for discussion. Paul chose to go to his death as a Jew. Why?

Paul’s vision was to make his brand of Judaism–with the recognition of Jesus as the Jewish

Messiah–a world religion easily accessible to everyone. He never surrendered that passion.

But after his death the accelerating conversion of Gentiles to a movement that began as Jewish

Christianity became increasingly distanced from Judaism–and a new religion was launched.

Nevertheless, an understanding of the deep connection to Judaism held by the founders of

Christianity should highlight the common ground of Judaism and Christianity and pave the way

to reconciliation between the two faiths.

Bernard Starr is a psychologist, college professor, and journalist. He is author of Jesus

Uncensored: Restoring the Authentic Jew, which is available at Amazon (grayscale and color

edition), Barnes and Noble, and other major outlets.

It’s widely acknowledged that Jesus was a thoroughly practicing Jew throughout his life. Anglican Priest Bruce Chilton expressed that conclusion explicitly and concisely in his book Rabbi Jesus: “It became clear to me that everything Jesus did was as a Jew, for Jews, and about Jews.”

But what about Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles? It’s generally accepted that Paul was the true founder of a new religion called Christianity. Biblical scholar Gerd Ludemann, author of several books about Jesus and Paul including Paul: Founder of Christianity, affirms that “Without Paul there would be no church and no Christianity.” Ludemann adds, “He’s the most decisive person that shaped Christianity as it developed. Without Paul we would have had reformed Judaism… but no Christianity.”

Paul converted Jews and then Gentiles to Jewish Christianity, basing these conversions on his belief in the teachings, resurrection, and divinity of Jesus. But powerful evidence within “Acts of the Apostles,” the book of the New Testament that chronicles Paul’s mission, reveals that Paul, like Jesus, remained a dedicated Jew until his execution. In fact, if Paul had simply stated that he was no longer a Jew but the leader of a new religion, he would not have been imprisoned or executed.

During Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem, his appearance and teachings in the Temple in Jerusalem set off a disturbance in which some Jews rioted against him (Acts 21:26-28). He was then charged with blasphemy by the Sanhedrin and would have to stand trial before the Jewish authorities–and face a possible death sentence. The Sanhedrin was able to indict Paul and put him on trial by the special privilege that the Romans gave the Jews. Judaism was a protected religion under the Roman Empire in the time of Jesus and Paul. Jews had their own King (Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, and Herod Agrippa). But more important, the Jewish leadership was invested with the right to rule over Jewish affairs. They could bring charges against Jews who violated Jewish laws or who were deemed blasphemous or heretical. That power is why the Sanhedrin was able to indict Jesus. It also explains why the Sanhedrin was able to authorize Paul’s persecutory frenzy to chain and drag back to Jerusalem Jewish followers of Jesus in synagogues as distant as Damascus (Acts 8:3; Acts 9: 1, 2). Although the Sanhedrin could bring charges against Jews and even set the punishment, only the Romans could execute (although that’s not entirely clear since some violators of Jewish law were stoned to death by Jews).

The special status of Jews was first stated in an edict by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus in 1 BCE and reaffirmed by Emperor Claudius Augustus in 41 CE:

Edict of Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus on Jewish Rights, 1 BCE

Caesar Augustus, pontifex maximus, holding the tribunician power, proclaims: Since the nation of the Jews and Hyrcanus, their high priest, have been found grateful to the people of the Romans, not only in the present but also in the past, and particularly in the time of my father, Caesar, imperator, it seems good to me and to my advisory council, according to the oaths, by the will of the people of the Romans, that the Jews shall use their own customs in accordance with their ancestral law, just as they used to use them in the time of Hyrcanus, the high priest of their highest god; and that their sacred offerings shall be inviolable and shall be sent to Jerusalem and shall be paid to the financial officials of Jerusalem; and that they shall not give sureties for appearance in court on the Sabbath or on the day of preparation before it after the ninth hour. But if anyone is detected stealing their sacred books or their sacred monies, either from a synagogue or from a mens’ apartment, he shall be considered sacrilegious and his property shall be brought into the public treasury of the Romans.

Later, during the ministry of Paul, the Emperor Claudius reconfirmed the special status of Jews:

Edict of Roman Emperor Claudius Augustus on Jewish Rights, 41 CE

Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, pontifex maximus, holding the tribunician power, proclaims: …Therefore it is right that also the Jews, who are in all the world under us, shall maintain their ancestral customs without hindrance and to them I now also command to use this my kindness rather reasonably and not to despise the religious rites of the other nations, but to observe their own laws.

The Romans were tolerant of all religions under their rule as long as adherents obeyed Roman law and paid taxes. While Jews could rule over Jewish matters, they had no jurisdiction over people of other religions. In principle, Roman paganism was an affront to Judaism. But they could do nothing about that other than negotiate with the Romans to mitigate pagan practices in the Temple area and in some public Roman ceremonies.

After his arrest, Paul faced charges of blasphemy: “And after five days Ananias, the high priest, descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the Governor against Paul” (Acts 24:1).

Paul could only be charged if he were a Jew. After being detained for two years he was brought before the new Roman governor Porcius Festus. The Sanhedrin repeated the charge of blasphemy: “Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him [Festus] against Paul, and besought him” (Acts 25:2). Fearing a trial before the Sanhedrin, Paul invoked his right as a Roman citizen to be tried in Rome. Festus granted Paul his choice: “Hast thou appealed unto Cæsar? Unto Cæsar shalt thou go” (Acts 25:12)

At no time during Paul’s lengthy ordeal did he repudiate Judaism or declare that he represented a new religion. Had he done so, he would have been immediately released–especially since he was a privileged Roman citizen. The Sanhedrin wouldn’t have had any authority over Paul.

After a long treacherous trip that included a shipwreck that almost killed him, Paul arrived in Rome and was put under house arrest. He promptly invited the Jewish leadership of Rome to his residence to explain why he was imprisoned:

“Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Cæsar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” (Acts 28: 17-20)

Still, Paul said nothing about a new religion. On the contrary, he presented himself to the Roman Jewish community as a loyal Jew who was being persecuted for his revisionist views. Since the Romans had no quarrel with him, as a Roman citizen, and with the Sanhedrin a continent away, there would be no viable case against Paul–if he had denounced his affiliation to Judaism and declared a new religion. At this point in his life, facing trial and execution for blasphemy against Judaism, didn’t Paul have every reason to sever his tie to Judaism? The Sanhedrin, representing traditional Judaism, sent a clear message by their action against Paul: “We will not accept your beliefs and teachings about Jesus.” Despite this definitive rejection, Paul didn’t choose the obvious way out of the clutches of the Sanhedrin–declaration of a new religion; this strategy never even showed up for discussion. Paul chose to go to his death as a Jew. Why?

Paul’s vision was to make his brand of Judaism–with the recognition of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah–a world religion easily accessible to everyone. He never surrendered that passion. But after his death the accelerating conversion of Gentiles to a movement that began as Jewish Christianity became increasingly distanced from Judaism–and a new religion was launched.

Nevertheless, an understanding of the deep connection to Judaism held by the founders of Christianity should highlight the common ground of Judaism and Christianity and pave the way to reconciliation between the two faiths.

Bernard Starr is a psychologist, college professor, and journalist. He is author of Jesus Uncensored: Restoring the Authentic Jew, which is available at Amazon (grayscale and color edition), Barnes and Noble, and other major outlets.

It’s widely acknowledged that Jesus was a thoroughly practicing Jew throughout his life. Anglican Priest Bruce Chilton expressed that conclusion explicitly and concisely in his book Rabbi Jesus: “It became clear to me that everything Jesus did was as a Jew, for Jews, and about Jews.”

But what about Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles? It’s generally accepted that Paul was the true founder of a new religion called Christianity. Biblical scholar Gerd Ludemann, author of several books about Jesus and Paul including Paul: Founder of Christianity, affirms that “Without Paul there would be no church and no Christianity.” Ludemann adds, “He’s the most decisive person that shaped Christianity as it developed. Without Paul we would have had reformed Judaism… but no Christianity.”

Paul converted Jews and then Gentiles to Jewish Christianity, basing these conversions on his belief in the teachings, resurrection, and divinity of Jesus. But powerful evidence within “Acts of the Apostles,” the book of the New Testament that chronicles Paul’s mission, reveals that Paul, like Jesus, remained a dedicated Jew until his execution. In fact, if Paul had simply stated that he was no longer a Jew but the leader of a new religion, he would not have been imprisoned or executed.

During Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem, his appearance and teachings in the Temple in Jerusalem set off a disturbance in which some Jews rioted against him (Acts 21:26-28). He was then charged with blasphemy by the Sanhedrin and would have to stand trial before the Jewish authorities–and face a possible death sentence. The Sanhedrin was able to indict Paul and put him on trial by the special privilege that the Romans gave the Jews. Judaism was a protected religion under the Roman Empire in the time of Jesus and Paul. Jews had their own King (Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, and Herod Agrippa). But more important, the Jewish leadership was invested with the right to rule over Jewish affairs. They could bring charges against Jews who violated Jewish laws or who were deemed blasphemous or heretical. That power is why the Sanhedrin was able to indict Jesus. It also explains why the Sanhedrin was able to authorize Paul’s persecutory frenzy to chain and drag back to Jerusalem Jewish followers of Jesus in synagogues as distant as Damascus (Acts 8:3; Acts 9: 1, 2). Although the Sanhedrin could bring charges against Jews and even set the punishment, only the Romans could execute (although that’s not entirely clear since some violators of Jewish law were stoned to death by Jews).

The special status of Jews was first stated in an edict by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus in 1 BCE and reaffirmed by Emperor Claudius Augustus in 41 CE:

Edict of Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus on Jewish Rights, 1 BCE

Caesar Augustus, pontifex maximus, holding the tribunician power, proclaims: Since the nation of the Jews and Hyrcanus, their high priest, have been found grateful to the people of the Romans, not only in the present but also in the past, and particularly in the time of my father, Caesar, imperator, it seems good to me and to my advisory council, according to the oaths, by the will of the people of the Romans, that the Jews shall use their own customs in accordance with their ancestral law, just as they used to use them in the time of Hyrcanus, the high priest of their highest god; and that their sacred offerings shall be inviolable and shall be sent to Jerusalem and shall be paid to the financial officials of Jerusalem; and that they shall not give sureties for appearance in court on the Sabbath or on the day of preparation before it after the ninth hour. But if anyone is detected stealing their sacred books or their sacred monies, either from a synagogue or from a mens’ apartment, he shall be considered sacrilegious and his property shall be brought into the public treasury of the Romans.

Later, during the ministry of Paul, the Emperor Claudius reconfirmed the special status of Jews:

Edict of Roman Emperor Claudius Augustus on Jewish Rights, 41 CE

Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, pontifex maximus, holding the tribunician power, proclaims: …Therefore it is right that also the Jews, who are in all the world under us, shall maintain their ancestral customs without hindrance and to them I now also command to use this my kindness rather reasonably and not to despise the religious rites of the other nations, but to observe their own laws.

The Romans were tolerant of all religions under their rule as long as adherents obeyed Roman law and paid taxes. While Jews could rule over Jewish matters, they had no jurisdiction over people of other religions. In principle, Roman paganism was an affront to Judaism. But they could do nothing about that other than negotiate with the Romans to mitigate pagan practices in the Temple area and in some public Roman ceremonies.

After his arrest, Paul faced charges of blasphemy: “And after five days Ananias, the high priest, descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the Governor against Paul” (Acts 24:1).

Paul could only be charged if he were a Jew. After being detained for two years he was brought before the new Roman governor Porcius Festus. The Sanhedrin repeated the charge of blasphemy: “Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him [Festus] against Paul, and besought him” (Acts 25:2). Fearing a trial before the Sanhedrin, Paul invoked his right as a Roman citizen to be tried in Rome. Festus granted Paul his choice: “Hast thou appealed unto Cæsar? Unto Cæsar shalt thou go” (Acts 25:12)

At no time during Paul’s lengthy ordeal did he repudiate Judaism or declare that he represented a new religion. Had he done so, he would have been immediately released–especially since he was a privileged Roman citizen. The Sanhedrin wouldn’t have had any authority over Paul.

After a long treacherous trip that included a shipwreck that almost killed him, Paul arrived in Rome and was put under house arrest. He promptly invited the Jewish leadership of Rome to his residence to explain why he was imprisoned:

“Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Cæsar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” (Acts 28: 17-20)

Still, Paul said nothing about a new religion. On the contrary, he presented himself to the Roman Jewish community as a loyal Jew who was being persecuted for his revisionist views. Since the Romans had no quarrel with him, as a Roman citizen, and with the Sanhedrin a continent away, there would be no viable case against Paul–if he had denounced his affiliation to Judaism and declared a new religion. At this point in his life, facing trial and execution for blasphemy against Judaism, didn’t Paul have every reason to sever his tie to Judaism? The Sanhedrin, representing traditional Judaism, sent a clear message by their action against Paul: “We will not accept your beliefs and teachings about Jesus.” Despite this definitive rejection, Paul didn’t choose the obvious way out of the clutches of the Sanhedrin–declaration of a new religion; this strategy never even showed up for discussion. Paul chose to go to his death as a Jew. Why?

Paul’s vision was to make his brand of Judaism–with the recognition of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah–a world religion easily accessible to everyone. He never surrendered that passion. But after his death the accelerating conversion of Gentiles to a movement that began as Jewish Christianity became increasingly distanced from Judaism–and a new religion was launched.

Nevertheless, an understanding of the deep connection to Judaism held by the founders of Christianity should highlight the common ground of Judaism and Christianity and pave the way to reconciliation between the two faiths.

Bernard Starr is a psychologist, college professor, and journalist. He is author of Jesus Uncensored: Restoring the Authentic Jew, which is available at Amazon (grayscale and color edition), Barnes and Noble, and other major outlets.

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  • LUIGI, WHAT **YOU NEED TO DO IS STUDY WHAT THE ‘ONE G-D OF ISRAEL’ WANTS FROM YOU THE NON JEW.

    You cannot teach anything to Jews.Jews in scriture are the ‘light to YOU’. *YOU have to learn from JEWS.
    You are the man made religion 1700 years after Mt Sinai.
    You should go to the original and only faith which as stated above repeating the 1st and 2nd commandments where
    G-D said.
    ‘I AM HOLY’, I AM ALONE AND NONE OTHER IS WITH ME,
    I AM NOT FLESH’.HAVE NO IDOLS’HAVE NO IMAGES’.

    ISRAEL IS MY FAVORITE, THE BIG BROTHER OF THE NATIONS,

    YOU RESPONDERS TO THIS ARTICLE NEED TO REMOVE THE INDOCTRINATION. THE BLINDERS YOUR CHURCHES PUT ON YOUR EYES AND MIND for almost 2000 years.

    Think about it,
    G-D SPOKE TO 3 MILLION JEWS AT SINAI
    3 MILLION WITNESSES.

    almost 2000 years later GD secretly spoke to paul?
    why not all of rome? why was it a secret?

    Then approx 600 years later secretly G-D spoke to mohamed?. Cant G-D make ‘HIS’ mind up? Does G-D forget?Did G-D forget he has a son? or a arab prophet in a cave?…
    At Mt Sinai when “HE” proclaimed MOSES IS YOUR PROPHET, LISTEN TO MOSES.

    What did you xtians say?
    G-d gave you Jews up for us xtians ?
    Therefore you are saying that G-D lies because “HE” said “HE” will never forget ISRAEL who will ALWAYS BE ‘HIS’ FAVORITE SPECIAL NATION.

    THANKS,
    DACON9
    jewswithview.com

  • Gus

    I, a Catholic, commend you on your article. The faith traditions we share of G-d, Yahweh, who called Abraham out of Ur to the land that G-d would show him and who believed that G-d was able to do all the things promised him, and who called Moses, a Jew raised in the house of Pharaoh, to lead the Hebrews out of bondage and into freedom, are the foundation on which sincere understanding and respect should be built. After all, without the Jewish people we Christians would have no Jesus to call Lord. I wish that we Christians would have carried on the traditions that Jesus himself followed as a Jew. But that didn’t happen. Let’s pray to G-d that real healing and trust can continue and grow. I believe that’s G-d’s will

  • From MT SINAI where the world recognized that something concerning the JEWS was happening ,something earth shattering,THE WORLD STOOD STILL,NOT A BIRD CHIRPED,NOT A WAVE ON THE SHORES,NOT A FLY MOVED.
    A cloud covered the SINAI
    A MAN NAMED MOSES was receiving THE LAWS FROM GD.
    THE ‘ONE G-D’ proclaimed to 3 million Jews at the time that’MOSES IS THE PROPHET OF PROPHETS AND MOSES IS YOUR TEACHER,LISTEN TO MOSES.”I” am your GD WHO TOOK YOU OUT OF EGYPT.There is none other then ‘ME’ none along side me,’I’ am not of flesh,’I’ ALONE’ HAVE NONE OTHER THEN ME BEFORE YOU AND LISTEN TO MOSES.

    Then comes along a meaningless irrelevent man 1700 years later, along with countless other irrelevent men hung on a cross who called themselves messiahs and gods.

    First this jesux is a messiah, then he is a son of a god then he is a god and still failing in all 3 positions some people said ”well he has to come back a second time to finish the job”.

    By believing this story,
    you the believer is stating blatantly that
    ‘THE ONE G-D AT MT SINAI LIED AND MADE A MISTAKE FORGETTING HE HAD A SON? EMBARRASING HIS SON BY DECLARING MOSES AS THE TEACHER OF ISRAEL?

    LISTEN TO ME….
    Jews survived 1700 years before jesux.
    Since jesus the world has been in constant turmoil and wars.Jews have nevcer survived as cruel a death as from the hands of the jesux followers of the churches.

    G-D DOES NOT LIE NOR CHANGE HIS MIND NOT MAKE MISTAKES.
    ‘THE ONE G-D’ SAID ”I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU NOR GIVE YOU UP AS A MOTHER MAY GIVE UP HER CHILD. YOU ISRAEL IS MY SPECIAL NATION.

    AND SO ISRAEL REMAINS AND ALL THE HATERS OF ISRAEL HAVE BECOME IMPOTENT, EMPTY OR DISSAPPEARED ENTIRELY.

    • Bernard Starr

      But Jesus had nothing to do with atrocites that were committed in his name. I cover this topic extensively in my book, “Jesus Uncensored: Restoring the Auhentic Jew.” I included a chapter in which Jesus testifies against Church officals, monarcdhs and others throughout history who instigated violence and anti-Semitism. Jesus asks them: “Where in my teachings have you found justification for your murderous acts?”

      • Mr Starr you are grossly misinformed based on your reply to me.first before I address this ,I hope you read some of the jesux quotes following and then I will show you YOUR ERRORS
        JESUX SAID: bring my enemies before me who dont accept me as their messiah and kill them in front of me so i may see them die.(luke 19:27)

        Ihave not come in peace but come with the sword

        I will curse that fig tree for not giving me fruit (it was out of season and the fig tree died.A SIMILAR INCIDENT with a Rabbi who wanted to feed his laborers prayed to ”the ONE G-D” TO BLESS THE TREE AND BRING FRUIT OUT OF SEASON AND THE FIG TREE GAVE FORTH FRUIT.)

        JESUX ALSO SAID
        do not follow the rabbis and harvest your wheat on shabbat

        PLUS MANY MANY MANY OTHER STATEMENTS BY HIM AGAINST TORAH.

        THERE ARE STORIES WHERE HE was not permitted to marry a jewish girl because he lacked jewish lineage, in the gemarah.He was a mamzer, His father was a roman.

        NOW TO ADDRESS YOUR REPLY TO ME.

        THERE WERE MANY AUTHENTIC JEWS AT THAT TIME SUCH AS RABBI RABBI GAMLIEL that did not teach paul or jesux. in addittion to a rabbi yishmael who was a kohain gadol. There were many Rabbis that did not have questionable lineage.

        NEXT: JEUSX DID NOT, I REPEAT COULD NOT have testified against a church as no church existed until approx 90 to 100 years later from his birth.

        Mr Starr
        You are on the wrong path of Judaism.
        ”I AM NOT OF FLESH”
        ‘ I CANNOT BE QUANTIFIED (MEASURED)
        THERE IS NONE WITH ME, I AM ALONE’

        WE PRAY DAILY..G-D IS ONE.
        jesux brought the sword and taught hate through telling people not to listen to the rabbis.
        MR Starr there was no xtian history during jeusx life time so he could not rebuke anyone.
        The guy was dead !

        I CANNOT WISH YOU LUCK WITH YOUR BOOK
        BUT I WISH YOU TO REPENT

  • Beverly Griffin

    Professor Starr,
    Thank you for this enlightening article. I am a ‘Christian’, but very concerned at our migration away from Judaism and the study of the Torah. Volunteering and living in Jerusalem has opened up my spiritual eyes to how desperately we need to humbly look to the authentic model, which has always existed; not Christianity, but ‘The House of Jacob’. Over the centuries. Christianity has evolved into a ‘World Religion’ which would be unrecognizable today to the Founders And the Foundation, Jesus and Paul.

  • Luigi Rosolin

    Jesus was a descendant of King Dave family by human and fulfill the prophesy as the Christ, Son of God. Jews are the first Christian’s joying by the gentile as God creator had planned. Paul a persecutor of Jesus had been personally transformed by Jesus-God intervention that had change is life. Roman’s at the time of Jesus had oppressed with the Jewish leadership the poor braking the alliance they had with them after the Maccabees for what I know.
    Roman certainly had good politic but still had subjected and oppress the conquer one.
    What Jews need to study is history and scripture that are clearly pointing out as Jesus the Christ and embrace his message and help.

  • Bede Amarasekara

    Great insight to origins of Christian faith or rather, the beginning of the division. It is a pity, that many religious institutions choose to look at and emphasize on the differences in order to create division rather than look at the similarities and common grounds to unite the believes of people.

  • Nadene van Staden

    MR Starr ,I enjoyed your article,I have been studying the Old and New Testament for 40yrs and my understanding of the teaching of Jesus and Paul was to expand on the Old Testament but to bring also new teaching as well by saying God desires mercy not sacrifices .To do away with the traditons of washing of pots and pans and all the laws which could not give eternal life.As Christ said you can not put new wine into old wineskins as it would burst but old wine is always prefered than the new wine .Paul was the most powerful deciple and was taught at the feet of Gamilel on Judaism The mindset had to be changed which the people could not seem to understand.

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