“How Jesus the Faithful Jew became the Christ of the Christian Faith”

Well, here we are: a new post on the SCE blog. Hell may indeed be freezing over in this chilliest of Melbourne winters, but the time has come for me to put something up.

On the weekend I had the great pleasure of attending a Council of Christians and Jews (Victoria) meeting at which Prof. Paul Forgasz of Monash University presented on the topic “How Jesus the Faithful Jew became the Christ of the Christian Faith”. It was a very well attended event – I would estimate about 100 people, an even number of both Christians and Jews, at the Toorak Uniting Church hall for the event.

Paul’s presentation was a short prolegomena to his his full eight week course that he gave at the Jewish Museum of Australia last year. I enrolled in that course, and was very surprised to see about forty members of the Jewish community (and a couple of Christians) had also enrolled. I believe a similar number had turned up for his repeat sessions in the evening. Paul did a very good job of summarising the Christian origins and historical Jesus studies of recent times, including an excursus on Paul. Especially he showed both in their Jewish context, which I think was very helpful for the Jewish students of the course (many of whom had understandably had little connection with the texts of the New Testament) to enable them to approach both characters with rather more sympathy than they might previously have felt.

In any case, Paul was kind enough before the event to grant me a ‘right of reply’ at the end of the event yesterday, and I prepared a little paper giving a Christian perspective on ‘how Jesus the faithful Jew became the Christ of Christian faith’. If you click here, you can read what I had to say. You can also click here for an email question that came from a secular Jewish friend who attended the event, and my response to him.

On August 2nd, a local Christian scholar, Dr Sean Winter, will give his own presentation on the historical Jesus and Paul. Sean did his doctorate under N.T. Wright, so you should know what to expect if you are, like me, a Wright fan! Here are the details:

Council of Christians and Jews ( Victoria)

‘To the Jew First’?: New Perspectives on Paul and Judaism

Revd. Associate Professor Sean Winter

Sean Winter teaches New Testament Studies at Pilgrim Theological College (Uniting Church), where he is also Academic Dean. His teaching and research focus on the letters and theology of the apostle Paul with a focus on 2 Corinthians and Philippians. He has studied at the Universities of Bristol and Oxford, and completed his DPhil under the supervision of N. T. Wright. Before coming to Melbourne, Sean taught at the Northern Baptist College in Manchester in the UK.

The period from the 1970s-2000 saw a fundamental shift take place in the discipline of Pauline Studies. The ‘New Perspective on Paul’ has succeeded, in many ways, in placing Paul back firmly into a plausible Jewish context and articulating the ways in which his theology constitutes a reworking of basic Jewish convictions. Since 2000, however, new emphases in Pauline studies challenge the view that Paul’s theology was intended ‘for the Jew first’ in ways suggested by the New Perspective. In this presentation I will give an overview of three such developments: Paul and apocalyptic; Paul and empire; Paul and contemporary philosophy, and argue that in each case Paul’s theology remains firmly Jewish, even as it extends the covenant promises made to Israel to the whole of humanity.

Sunday August 2nd  3.00pm

Shira Hadasha Synagogue 222 Balaclava Rd Caulfield North 3161

$10.00 members $12.00 non-members

If possible please advise attendance by ringing the CCJ office  326 Church Street Richmond 3121 Tel 9429 5212 Email ccjvic@bigpond.net.au

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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One Response to “How Jesus the Faithful Jew became the Christ of the Christian Faith”

  1. Matthias says:

    Thanks David for this and for your thoughtful comments on this topic. A jewish friend of my parents ,member of the Progressive synagogue in Bentleigh,told me that when Jews become Christians ,they often do so in the Catholic churchs as that is the Church with services like the synagogue

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