We looked at a Jewish Jesus in the previous article; not let us look at a non-Jewish Jesus as also depicted in the New Testament.
Alongside the numerous examples of Jesus' Jewish identity there are strong non-Jewish elements in the Gospels and Acts. These are to be distinguished from anti-Jewish aspects of the books which will be dealt with in subsequent articles.
In several passages Jesus is presented as considering himself more important than the parents and children of his followers. Mt. 4:21-22 and Mk. 1:20 relate that among Jesus' earliest disciples were James and John, sons of Zebedee, whom Jesus summoned as they were in the midst of working with and helping their father. "Jesus called them and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him." Such abandonment of a father, while in the very midst of earning a livelihood, runs contrary to the Jewish principle of filial duty. From the point of view of the Fifth Commandment the sons would hardly earn a commendation. According to Jewish ethics a son's obligation to his elderly parents takes precedence over almost any other responsibility. It certainly has priority over disseminating a new ideology, especially one which ignores such a basic tenet.
Jesus' indifference, and even opposition, to family harmony, as expressed in Mt. 10:34, is another non-Jewish position. According to Matthew's rendition, Jesus did not speak with the voice of the turtledove. There was little love in his words. He claimed that he came to bring dissension and strife to families rather than peace and harmony. This declaration was followed in the next verse in Matthew with Jesus' demand that he come first and foremost before the families of his adherents. This thought is stated in Matthew and Luke as follows:
Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me (Mt. 10:37-38).
If anyone come to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own ljfe--he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple (Lk. 14:26-27).
The reference to the cross, is, of course, an anachronism. The cross became the symbol of Christianity years after Jesus' death. In his time the cross was a symbol of Roman persecution. No Jew in the first century of the Common Era in Judea would have transformed it into an idealized emblem any more than a twentieth century Jew would raise the swastika as a sign around which to rally. This and other appeals to follow the cross were incorporated into the Gospels by Gentiles. They had not the foggiest notion of the significance of the cross to the people of Judea during Jesus' life, and consequently, had even less sensitivity to their feelings.
The call to follow Jesus, even at the cost of undermining the family and rejecting parents, children, and spouses, has a ring of fanaticism. Zealots demand that their followers give priority to their goals above those of anyone else regardless of how near and dear. The evangelists devoted their lives to the new religious movement, forgoing, in many cases, marriage, children, and family ties to parents and siblings. They imposed the same single-minded dedication and sacrifice on others. Like political and religious ideologues before and after them, they put their ambitions and values above personal relations and moral obligations. Their ideology meant more than ideals. Devotion to family, responsibilities to old and young or helpless and dependent, instincts for self-preservation--all had to go by the board. They were small sacrifices when compared to the greater glory of the religion.
To what extent the evangelists attributed their very non-Jewish beliefs about family relationships and duties to Jesus is difficult to assess. As a Jew immersed in the values of his people, he could not subscribe, in principle, to the expectations expressed in the above quotations. Jesus would have been keenly aware of the importance which the Torah placed on obligations to parents and to family integrity.
As a man,, however, he was subject to the contradictions and emotional ambivalences to which all people are. There are several passages in the Gospels which allude to the strained relations between Jesus and his family. A number of verses picture a less than loving or solicitous son and brother.
All synopticists tell a very similar story in almost identical words of the visit to Jesus by his mother and brothers. Let us read the verses in Mt. 12:46-49 although they are virtually the same in Mk. 3:31-35 and Lk. 8:19-21.
While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you." He replied, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
It is hard to find an instance of greater rejection of a person's family. No doubt that Jesus' mother and brothers had taken great pains to visit him. Travel was by donkey or on foot over hilly terrain in the Galilee. Jesus' words implied that his family either did not accept his beliefs or opposed his becoming a political and religious leader. He rebuffed them because of their opposition to him, whether because of his beliefs or activities, and claimed greater affinity for his followers. Jn. 2:4 also provided us with an example of a son who showed neither warmth nor affection. Mary and Jesus attended the same wedding in Cana in Galilee. When the wine was all consumed, Mary mentioned this fact to Jesus, probably hoping that he would come up with a solution to the problem. Eventually he did by performing a miracle. John tells us that Jesus turned water into wine. But initially Jesus' reaction to his mother's request was, "Woman what have I to do with you?" This is a curt, if not unfriendly, way for a person to speak to anyone, let alone his mother. The identical question was asked in 1 Kings 17:18 of Elijah by a widow who was bitter and angry at the prophet. Jesus seemed no less irritated with his mother. Family differences in religion and politics are perhaps even more ubiquitous today than in Jesus' time. Parents and siblings can only hope that their adult children and brethren will be more tolerant and accepting of them when disparate points of view develop.
Not surprisingly, non-Jewish practices abound in the Gospels. They are particularly striking to Jewish readers because they are so contrary to their customs and laws. One such practice, which is prohibited by the Second Commandment, is kneeling before a graven image or a person as if he were a deity. Mark (1:40, 10:17), Matthew (8:2, 17:14), and Luke (5:12-14) record several incidents of people kneeling before Jesus. It can be presumed that many, if not most, of the supplicants were Jews inasmuch as Jesus preferred to preach among them, according to the synopticists. Mt. 9:18 states: "A ruler of the synagogue came and knelt before him and said, 'My daughter is at the point of death. Come and put your hand on her and she will live.'" Kneeling is unlikely behavior in Jews and especially improbable in a synagogue leader. Jews have a strong resistance to it and tradition against it going back to Mordecai in the Book of Esther and beyond that, to the Pentateuch. As a Jew, Jesus would have realized that genuflection before a man was both inappropriate and forbidden. If it occurred at all, he would have been obliged to discourage it, even in Gentiles. Again, the Gospel writers were describing behavior current in their religious world and projecting it onto a culture and religion with which they did not have intimate knowledge!
Another practice which Jewish law strictly forbids is sorcery in which the practitioner evokes spirits and demons (Lev. 20:27, Dt. 18:10-12). In the first three Gospels there are repeated stories of Jesus speaking to spirits and ordering them out of people (Mt. 8:16,31; Mk. 1:25, 7:29, 9:25; Lk. 9:42, to mention only some examples). In some cases he not only commanded the demons to leave (their victims) but even told them where to go. In Mk. 5:7-13 and in Lk. 8:28-33 he guided the demons into a herd of pigs which was conveniently feeding on a nearby hillside. The evil spirits caused epileptic fits, psychotic episodes, and other manifestations of disturbed behavior. While Jesus may have had a gift for soothing and curing people, the kind of activity ascribed to him was witchcraft and clearly pagan in nature. Belief in, and communicating with, spirits constituted another non-Jewish ingredient injected into the picture of Jesus by Gentile authors.
The scene of two thousand pigs grazing on the hills of Galilee or Bashan (the Golan Heights) could only be evoked by Gentile writers who were unacquainted with the topography and the mores of the region that raising pigs who were unclean animals and forbidden food to Jews would be a sin. Raising hogs in that area two millennia ago was about as practical as opening a slaughterhouse for cows today in a Hindu city in India. Besides the absence of a pork-consuming population, Galilee and Bashan would present great difficulties for the short-legged, ungainly animals to negotiate its steep, mountainous terrain.
Events and scenes in synagogues, as portrayed by Matthew and Mark are so bizarre that the more familiar a Jew is with synagogues and religious services, the less likely he is to recognize them in the Gospels. The evangelists had strange ideas about what constituted Sabbath synagogue services as seen by their description of demon expulsion and miracle cures taking place there. Mk. 1:39 is similar to verses found elsewhere (Mk. 1:23-25, Mt. 4:23): "So he travelled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons." In fact, Matthew even had Jesus curing the blind and lame at the Temple (21:14). The synagogue on Saturday was neither the place nor time for curing chronic ailments or driving out demons. The houses of prayer- synagogue and Temple--did not serve as the local infirmary. Mark and Matthew revealed their unfamiliarity with the nature of synagogues (and the Temple) or with the composition of their religious worship and ceremonies. Perhaps this explains, or is the foundation of, the belief of the medieval Church that the synagogue was a house of demons and the Sabbath, a celebration of witches.
Besides their ignorance of synagogue services and religious practices, the synopticists displayed their separation from Judaism by constantly referring to Jesus as teaching in "their" synagogues. Notice the difference between "their" and "our" as applied to these synagogues. Again these are not Jewish writers. To these Gentile evangelists who wrote these documents in Jewish names of Jesus' apostles the synagogues were alien places, no longer part of Jesus' milieu. Of course, if Jesus had distanced himself from Judaism as portrayed in these passages, he would not have gone to the synagogues to pray and would not have been welcome to speak there. John carried the picture of detachment one step further by speaking of "your law" (Jn. 8:17, 10:34, 18:31) or "their law" (15:25). Again, and most importantly because the writer of the Gospel of John is the only Gospel that makes Jesus into God, the author of this Gospel betrays his Gentile heritage by not only the theology he espouses that is so foreign to Moses, the Prophets, and what Jesus believed, but by the distancing of himself from the faith of Judaism. Yet we are expected to believe this was written by a Jew! In the final edition of John, which is the current canonized one, the Torah had ceased to be the Law Jesus observed.
The non-Jewish characterization of Jesus culminated in the later strata of John's Gospel. By the time it was being written, Jesus had been dead about sixty to seventy years or even longer. In the Fourth Gospel Jesus was divested of his Jewish surroundings; he no longer prayed in synagogues or walked freely among his people. He lived isolated in a village bordering a desert where he saw only his disciples (11:54). According to John, Jesus had become so remote from his fellow Jews that he said, "If my kingdom were of this world, my disciples would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews" (18:36). In the Gospel of John the non-Jewishness of Jesus merged into anti-Jewishness. The Jews became his enemies. Jesus no longer spoke in parables but in abstractions, like a Greek philosopher, about spirit and will. His language became obscure and mystical as it took on a Hellenistic tone and heathen symbolism. The Gnostic dualism tinges this Gospel; and we saw before in a prior article Paul's unique religious synthesis of Gnosticism, Mystery Religions, and Judaism. The Gnostic influence was strong both in Judaism and Gentile religions in the earliest centuries of the church. It is evident in the contrasts that John made between light and darkness (l:5);16 the children of God and the devil (1:13, 8:44); spirit and flesh (3:6); and the Church and the world (17:16). Paul likewise, a Gnostic, used such imagery a lot. John also frequently used metaphors reminiscent of paganism, as in the following passage:
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. (Jn. 6:53).
This concept of eating the flesh or body of gods and drinking their blood is pagan to the core..it's origin is Osiris in Egypt...but again not knowing that such liturgy lines the religions of Gentile sun-worshipping nations unsuspecting Christians read it as if such statements are Divine....they are not and no Jew would say such things let alone the eve of the Passover no less which is celebration of deliverance from the paganism of Egypt (THINK)
Jesus sounded more like a Greek oracle from a pagan god than a Galilean Jew, which, indeed, he had ceased to be in John's Gospel (himself a Gentile writer)
The synopticists all record Jesus' practice of forgiving sins. He cured a paralytic who was brought to him and then cryptically told him that his sins were forgiven (Mt. 9:2, Mk. 2:5, Lk. 5:20). It seems that the evangelists attributed the paralytic's disablement to his sins and Jesus' removal of the latter brought about his physical recovery. Mark and Matthew both expressed the Pharisees' disapproval of Jesus for appropriating to himself the authority to forgive sins. In Judaism one individual does not pardon a second for a wrong done to a third. It is incumbent on the wrongdoer to seek forgiveness from the victim and to make amends to him. Even God's absolution must not be sought until the sinner first seeks pardon from the aggrieved. This ascription to Jesus of forgiving sins is non-Jewish and indeed, alien to Judaism. The negative reaction of the Pharisees is, therefore, quite understandable since only God can forgive sin; yet the projection backward of later Christology where Jesus is made God by the Gentile Church is used again for artificial separation of Jesus from the Pharisees and the Pharisees from Jesus when historically Jesus was of the School of Hillel...itself a school of Pharisees.
Similarly foreign to Judaism were Jesus' pronouncements in his own name. When he stated a precept, he did not appeal to the authority of God but said, "I tell you." This was a break with the prophetic tradition in which the prophets spoke in the name of God. (In all the Gospels Jesus is called a prophet at some point.) The prophets always preceded exhortations with the thunderous announcement, "Ko amar Adonai "--"So spoke God." They never claimed to be the origin of the commands or rebukes they gave to Israel. They were careful to specify that the admonitions came from a Higher Power. The sages also-- before, during, and after Jesus--were meticulous in presenting their decisions as coming from their understanding of God's will and in conformity with His laws. They merely tried to interpret and transmit His wishes. By portraying Jesus as changing the rules on his own say-so, these Gentile writers and evangelists once more cast him in a non-Jewish role.
They kept on doing this as they repeated Paul's views about divorce. The evangelists proscribed divorce except in cases of adultery and then, forbade remarriage while the divorced spouse still lived. This prohibition was attributed to Jesus although it flies in the face of his assertion that he had not come to change the Law and the fact that the Law permits divorce. Dt. 24:1 is the Biblical source for allowing divorce. In the generation before Jesus and about a century before the Synoptics were written there was a cleavage between the philosophies or schools of Hillel and Shammai. The latter wanted to permit divorce only for adultery; Hillel insisted that divorce may occur for other reasons such as incompatibility. Hillel's views prevailed in Judaism as they did in Protestantism. Shammai's interpretation never became part of Judaism; interestingly it has been incorporated into Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Judaism considers the marriage bond important but not indissoluble. In their laws pertaining to marriage and divorce the Gospels are far stricter than the Torah. Nevertheless, the New Testament criticizes the laws of the Torah as unduly severe and, therefore, impossible to observe. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, along with Paul, claimed that marriage to a divorced person constituted adultery. Here are the words of Luke which are typical of the thoughts expressed by the others evangelists (Mt. 5:32, 19:9; Mk. 10:11-12):
Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Lk. 16:18)
The doctrine that divorce is forbidden, except for the wife's unchastity, and that remarriage is sinful are concepts which never entered the Jewish mainstream. Although attributed to Jesus this view of divorce was originally articulated (in Rom. 7:1-3) by Paul and developed by his successors.
Rom 7:1-3 1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. (KJV)
Interestingly, the synoptic evangelists had Jesus condemn marriage to a divorced woman as an act of adultery and yet John (8:1-11) portrayed him as protecting a woman caught in the act of adultery and refusing to condemn her. This attitude imposes a contradiction on an inconsistency. Jesus' alleged tolerance of adultery flies in the face of Jewish and Christian tenets. The Mosaic Law demands the removal of evil from one's midst. The fact is, the Torah implicitly recognized the threat which adultery posed to family integrity and society at large. The distrust which this kind of behavior can cause affects relations between spouses and between parents and children. Weakened family bonds have a destabilizing effect on society while strong family ties enable its members to withstand incredible difficulties. The protection of an adulteress may have been a commendable act of compassion, but exonerating her behavior with the excuse that no one is without sin is incorrect and devoid of common sense. There are levels of wrongdoing. Occasional surliness in a spouse may be considered a transgression, but it isn't in the same category as occasional adultery.
While the Johannine Jesus forgave adultery, the synopticists found divorce unpardonable. Matthew and Mark gave a strange explanation for the Torah's consent to divorce. When asked why Moses permitted divorce if it were forbidden, Jesus was quoted as saying, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard but it was not this way from the beginning" (Mt. 19:8, Mk. 10:5-6). It is not explained why God rewarded Jews with such an indulgence if they were bad. Since divorce is seen as an alternative to a difficult situation or a way out of a mistake, it would be more likely that God would withhold such a benefit from a people meriting chastisement.
Matthew went even further in his definition of adultery which has become the basis for many fundamentalist Christian principles. In 5:28 he expressed this view:
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Together, Matthew and Paul imposed on Christianity a prudish, negative opinion of sex as something unspiritual and unlovely. It was to be avoided if one were "strong enough" or had Paul's "gift." Mt. 19:12 advised those who could accept it to become eunuchs or renounce marriage for the kingdom of heaven. This is as far from Judaism as one can get. Lifelong celibacy and virginity, to the followers of the Mosaic faith, are considered abnormal. Just look at the fruit of such disobedience to God as seen in history as well as the current condition in the Roman Catholic Church. The unmarried state is regarded with compassion at best, never with admiration. Sex is viewed as a natural, desirable, and necessary part of life. A Biblical book like Song of Songs, whose canonization was insisted upon by no less a personage than Rabbi Akiva, is frank in its sensuality and gives no quarter to prudery.
The Gospels' portrayal of Jesus as single and sexless evokes a sense of disharmony with a Jewish life-style in which he grew up and by which he was surrounded. Marriage and parenthood are considered mitzvot--duties and good deeds--incumbent on men. The Mishna, whose origins, if not all its precepts, precede Jesus' ministry, contains many maxims about marriage. One of the best known relates to the age of eighteen as the appropriate time for a man to take a wife. At a period in history when longevity was rare and a prolonged apprenticeship for professional training was unknown, this custom was fairly common.
The tradition of early marriage continued through the Middle Ages. There is a dichotomy between the picture of Jesus which emerges regarding his personal life and the Jewish world in which he lived. The least that can be said is that it was unusual for a Jewish man to reach the age of thirty unwed in a society with such a strong emphasis on marriage and the establishment of families. The depiction of Jesus may be more characteristic of the evangelists' values than of Jesus' ideals.
Matthew and Mark appeared to go so far as to recommend self-mutilation if that is what it takes to remain chaste. In a remarkable passage Matthew wrote:
If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell (18:8-9).
A similar thought is found in Mt. 5:29-30 and in Mk. 9:47. This type of hyperbole has an unmistakable sound of fanaticism. Matthew's advice is both contrary to sound judgment and in opposition to Pentateuchal laws which enjoin self-injury (LEV 19:28, 21:5). The Torah considers the body sacred; damage to the body would defile its purity. The Gospel writers were indifferent to the consequences of the draconian measures they so cavalierly suggested.
Still another non-Jewish element in the Gospels is apparent in the way Matthew portrayed Jesus when he was asked to cure a Phoenician child. There was neither Jewish love nor Christian charity in Jesus' reluctance to treat the child and in the ignoble words he used. He referred to non-Hebrews as "dogs" and only effected the cure when the desperate mother expressed the proper faith in him and not God (Mt. 15:24-28). There is nothing in Hebrew Scriptures which could justify or serve as a precedent for this attitude or manner of speaking. According to 2 Kings 5, Elisha cured Naaman, a Syrian general, of leprosy. Jewish law and tradition from the Bible and the Talmud onward mandate the care of the sick regardless of nationality or faith. Jews have not reserved their remedies exclusively for coreligionists by denying them to others. Matthew referred to the child's mother as a Canaanite woman from the area of Tyre and Sidon. That region is Phoenicia and again shows the writer is unfamiliar with the geography of Israel; no Jew would make that error let alone God is He were behind the writing of this document.
The Gospels' treatment of parables infused this very Jewish mode of expression with sentiments which were alien to Jewish thinking. The Pharisees and rabbis after them told the parables in order to illustrate or clarify a moral lesson. They were meant for everyone to understand just as the Law was for all people to know and not just a select few. The writer of the Gospel of Matthew obviously did not understand the reason for the parables and had Jesus deliberately cloud the messages and bewilder the people....just the opposite of using parables so that all could understand. In Mt. 13 Jesus addressed a large crowd relating several parables whose meanings were obscure. When his disciples asked why he spoke in parables, Jesus was quoted thus:
Unto you is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven but to them it is not given (12:11).
Elsewhere he said: Not all men can receive this saying but they to whom it is given (19:11).
Matthew transformed the purpose of telling clear, simple tales for the edification of the general public into confusing, cryptic messages limited to the theologically elect.
The evangelists also infused the parables with ideas that were foreign to Jewish teachings. An example of this, which all the Synoptics related, (Mt. 19:23-24, Mk. 10:23-25, Lk. 18:24-25), was the story of the difficulties which a rich man would have to enter heaven. This is a concept at variance with the Torah. The Law was to be applied equally to rich and poor with no favoritism to either (Lev. 19:15, Dt. 16:19). A rich man was not judged a priori sinful before a civil court or before God's judgment seat. His wealth would neither gain him entrance to paradise nor bar the gates before him. Of course, the evangelists may have been reacting to the advantages the wealthy enjoyed under the Romans. In Hellenism wealth would often be an asset in court.
The non-Jewish element in the Gospels extends to translations from Hebrew as well. For a Hebrew speaker there is something almost comical in the way the common Hebrew word, ben-adam is misconstrued in the Gospels. It simply means a person. Literally translated, it is "son of man," which is a human being. Ben-adam was used all through the Hebrew Bible---from the Pentateuch (Num. 23:19) and Prophets (Isaiah 51:12, Ezekiel) to Job (25:6) and Psalms (146:3). In the book of Ezekiel the expression was used 94 times to designate the prophet. The phrase emphasized that, although Ezekiel was privileged to witness the heavenly vision of the Merkava, the divine throne chariot, and to be addressed by God, he was still just a mere mortal. The term was used to contrast the majesty of God, and the humanness of the prophet. This same meaning--a human being--still exists today in modern Hebrew. It is used regularly and frequently in common Hebrew parlance. "Son of man" does not mean "son of God." In the New Testament English translation the expression is rendered in capitals, viz., Son of Man as though it were a term specific to only one individual. It is entirely reasonable to assume that Jesus, like his fellow Jews, was called, or was referred to as a ben-adam. His Gentile "biographers" were unacquainted with the idiom of the language in which their leader spoke or was addressed.
Like so many words and concepts taken from the Hebrew Bible or contemporary Judean society, ben-adam took on a meaning far from the one it had and still has for Hebrew- speaking Jews. Here again the New Testament kept the form but changed the content. In the lexicon of the evangelists the word became imbued with divine meaning. It was a logical progression to the next step which was to use the phrase, "Son of God." Eventually, Jesus was referred to directly as a deity; the words "Son of God" and "Son of Man" alternated with divine titles of God and Lord. The attribution of divinity to Jesus, which is found in all four Gospels, was the ultimate non-Jewish element in the books. As the French Jewish historian, Jules Isaac pointed out, "The idea of divine biological sonship not only did not have currency in Jewish theology at the time of Jesus but was not even conceivable to him, so sharply did the concept clash with Judaism's rigidly monotheistic faith." The Jewish mind, steeped in the precepts of the Tanakh, cannot accept the concept of a human, born of a woman, being a deity. This is beyond Hebrew Scriptural teachings. It violates the fundamental first principle that God is purely spiritual (non-corporeal), infinite, and immortal. This doctrine created a faith different from and contrary to Judaism. This is the ultimate non-Jewish element in the first five books of the Christian Scriptures.
The many statements and actions attributed to Jesus in the Gospels which are foreign to Judaism sprang from the perception that Jesus was a deity. From this belief came non-Jewish elements, such as picturing Jesus as forgiving sins, proclaiming laws in his own name, communicating with evil spirits, demanding precedence over family and loved ones, and expecting obeisance by kneeling. Opposition to divorce and negative attitudes to sex and marriage were also products of the authors' Gentile philosophy which drew a non-Jewish picture of Jesus. The isolation and withdrawal of Jesus from his people were creations of the Gospels no less than the misuse of the parables. If Jesus knew the Law well enough to preach to his fellow Jews in synagogues throughout the land, he could not have subscribed to the non-Jewish practices and beliefs attributed to him.
Although many Jewish ideas formed the foundation of Christianity, an equal or larger number of Hellenistic, pagan concepts infiltrated it such as the virgin birth, vicarious atonement, and a divine messiah...sadly this is what you and I learned about growing up in the Christian Church...a counterfeit Jesus!