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Segment 12: Was Paul Anti-Semitic?
According to Jennings, there are aspects of Paul's letters that seem anti-Semitic. He singles out the epistle to the Galatians in this regard. Paul criticizes the other apostles, issues harsh warnings against getting circumcised, and refers to his opponents as Judaizers. These elements of Paul have made him a favorite of anti-Semites, including Hitler. But Paul, Jennings and his scholars agree, doesn't deserve the blame. (Jennings has been accused of saying that Paul was anti-Semitic, but this accusation is false.) Paul was a Jew, after all, arguing with his fellow Jews, vigorously disagreeing with them about matters of religion, as Jews (and others) often did. Jennings then begins telling about Paul's last days. When Paul went to Jerusalem with a collection for the poor saints there (hoping with it to patch things up between him and the Jerusalem apostles), he was accused of taking an uncircumcised man into the temple. He was arrested and taken to Caesarea, where he asked to have his case brought before Caesar and was therefore sent to Rome.
Jennings gets some of the facts wrong in this segment. For example, Paul never used the word "Judaizers"; this is a term used by biblical scholars as a label for the unnamed false teachers whom Paul opposed in Galatians. While I am glad that Jennings clears Paul of the charge of being anti-Semitic, he treats the charge more seriously than it deserves. The impression is left that while Paul may not have been anti-Semitic himself, his writings are far too easily taken that way, so modern readers should be cautious in making use of them. Critics argued in much the same way with regard to Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ; almost no one said it was anti-Semitic, but a lot of critics worried about someone else thinking it was.
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