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Dejudaising christianity

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Chapter Summary

The first Protestant writer to call for a dejudaising of Christian theology for theological reasons was Johann Salomo Semler. Semlers characterisation of Jews is full of negative stereotypes. Semlers historiography of the Jews in the New Testament is also idealistic; that is, his description does not build on empirical data but merely places Jews and Judaism within his own idealistic framework. Judaism lacks the moral element, being a merely ceremonial religion, Semler contends, and morally the Jews are minors in comparison with Christians, their Scriptures containing an insignificant and imperfect religion. Semler dichotomises universalism and particularism, where the negative, particularism, is characteristic of the Jews. In Semlers analysis of the canon, the questions of whether the Old Testament is useful from a moral point of view and whether it is in accordance with the universal character of religion are decisive.

Keywords: dejudaising Christianity; Jews; Johann Salomo Semler; Old Testament



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