Was Abraham a Jew? – a question asked

It depends who you ask 😉

The term “Jew” is derived from either Judah or Judaea, I am not sure, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is how it was used. In the first century it was used of those who belonged to the religion of the covenant people. The race is referred to as Israelites, but the religion was Jewish. Thus, Paul can argue that those who were of the faith of Abraham were true Jews.

So being Israelite was race, but Jewishness is a religion, just like Christian. For this reason referring to an Israelite converted to Christianity as “Jewish Christian” is a contradiction, and is deeply offensive to Jews. The same way we don’t call those Muslims who converted to Christianity as “Muslim Christians”.

What you need to realise is that in the first century the Jesus movement was a reform branch of Judaism. Their Israelite members continued to attend synagogue meetings and participate in the Temple services. When Jacob (i.e. James) the Just was killed, four Pharisees died along his side, he was held in such a high respect.

Not long after the destruction of the Temple and the failure of the Bar-Kohba revolt the Gentile Church quickly departed from her Jewish roots and rapidly adopted Greek philosophical ideas during the very turbulent second century, which ideas later on became fixed. Ergo, Christian theology does not the slightest resemble the theology of Jesus and the apostles.

Christians read their bibles through the veil of tradition that is blocking their sight. If you try to remove it they get offended, for it feels secure to have the veil. The question is this: Does truth matter? Especially, when one’s destiny is horribly effected.

Today the term is often used of the race.

No, Abraham was not Jewish in the sense of the originality of the term. However, he was of the very same religion we are called to follow, and in the first century that religion was referred to as Jewish.

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