More on our Jewish roots

With Year 1 of Catholic Biblical School behind us, we have a far greater appreciation of Christianity’s Jewish heritage. I’ve particularly enjoyed reading Old Testament-based fiction. Fellow CBS scholar Kim Long introduced me to Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent and I introduced her to the commentary I found, Sandra Hack Polaski’s Inside the Red Tent.

Here’s a fascinating multimedia discussion, The Jewish Roots of the Christian Story, which ran on American Public Media radio at Easter 2005. It focuses on New Testament writings. It’s an hour-long program. With my slow satellite connection, I’ve never been able to hear it all the way through, but what I’ve heard is fascinating.

Try out all the “pages.” There are links to several interesting resources – art (Marc Chagall’s White Crucifixion), music, and thoughtful articles. One is a reprint of a 1995 America article, “The Narratives of Jesus’ Passion and Anti-Judaism,” by New Testament scholar Raymond E. Brown ( You may have studied Brown’s writings in other Bible courses. Time Magazine called him “probably the premier Catholic Scripture scholar in the U.S.” Father Brown, who died in 1998, was a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. We’ll be using his The Gospel and Epistles of John later in Year 2.

Brown’s article outlines the gradual development of anti-Judaism after the time of Christ. It did not spring full-blown from the writings of the gospels, he explains. It appeared with the advent of bad relations between believers in Jesus and those who did not believe in him. “The effect of the hostile feelings became one-sided after the conversion of Constantine to Christ and the gaining of political power by Christians.” I found this very helpful in understanding how anti-Semitism developed.


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