Anti-Semitism History: How EO, CC and Prot Compare

I struggled to title this, because my main question revolves around Eastern Orthodoxy, I’ve read a fair bit about church history and Judaism lately. And it really reminded me how long and sad this history has been. I won’t go into listing all the acts of persecution but both the Catholic and Protestants have an “elephant in the room” and that is the history of Anti-Semitism. What I haven’t really read much about(maybe I missed it) is what has the relationship been like over time between Judaism and Eastern Orthodoxy, Does it have a similar intellectual/theological point of view towards the Jewish people and has that perspective led to behavior that resulted in the persecution of the Jewish people. Thoughts?

ps: by elephant in the room I mean Its not discussed or owned within the church. I know there is a cursory mention every now and then but considering the gravity of such sins it seems overlooked too often

What I say, I say as a woman who converted from Orthodox Judaism to Traditional Catholicism when I was 18.

Please don’t misunderstand me when I say this, but one way I know the Catholic Church is the true Church is because of their history (1st-4th century, especially) of being critical of the Jews. Ditto for the EO who broke away from the Catholic Church in 1054 AD.

Protestants (esp, today) tend to have a love affair going with anything Jewish, and this is how I know they don’t truly understand the situation, because they were not around in the 1st-4th centuries when there was so much dissension and tension going on between Christians and Jews.

Catholic saints like St John Chrysostom and St Ambrose wrote heavily against the Jews, but this was because of all the hostilities and fighting between the Church and the Jews, whowere always trying to harm the new Church and Faith.

Protestants, being unaware of this early history, think Jews are the best thing after sliced bread, proving they were not around in the early days (even if we didn’t know history enough to know the prots began in 1517 AD).

I don’t that that good. The Eastern Orthodox Russian Empire limited Jews to the “Pale of Settlement” in the western empire and pogroms-anti-Jewish riots- were a recurring problem.

Your right Protestants, mainly evangelicals, do have a love affair with Israel and the Jewish people right now. Thankfully both Catholic and Protestants have a much better relationship with Judaism/Jewish people now.
I do think part of the love affair between Evangelicals and all things Jewish, specifically Israel, is unlike Catholics or Orthodox, there is a history vacuum within Evangelicalism, there is no Rome or church fathers to look to so they’ve embraced the roots of Israel. Of course there is biblical/theological reasons for standing by the Jewish People and they’re homeland.

ps: even though Protestants history is much shorter than CC or EO, they do have a history (500 years worth) and have wondered why they don’t celebrate some of the more important figures in that tradition, ie Luther, Calvin, Simons etc

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Because they don’t believe the things those guys taught anymore.

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The Church’s position about the Jews when it held political sway was always more or less that their religion should be tolerated, but that they must not be allowed to openly mock the faith, nor to exercise power over Christians. This was perfectly reasonable.

I’m pretty sure that the Orthodox have historically been just as Judeo-critical as we have.

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ps: even though Protestants history is much shorter than CC or EO, they do have a history (500 years worth) and have wondered why they don’t celebrate some of the more important figures in that tradition, ie Luther, Calvin, Simons etc

I can’t speak for Reformed because they are not Lutheran and come from their own reformation.

But Lutherans do commemorate Christians like Polycarp, Augustine, Luther, Melanchthon, Chemnitz, Bach, Loehe, Walther and other saints triumphant. We even have a liturgical calendar that sets aside special days in the church year. https://www.lcms.org/worship/church-year/commemorations

Protestants (esp, today) tend to have a love affair going with anything Jewish, and this is how I know they don’t truly understand the situation, because they were not around in the 1st-4th centuries when there was so much dissension and tension going on between Christians and Jews.

Careful not to confuse “Protestants” with “Modern American Evangelicals.” Classical Protestants, like Lutherans and actual Reformed folks, have never had a “love affair” with modern Judaism. It was after the horrors of the Holocaust that American Evangelicals (not to be confused with mainline or confessional Protestants) began to overcorrect in favor of a rigid sort of Zionism.

Catholic saints like St John Chrysostom and St Ambrose wrote heavily against the Jews, but this was because of all the hostilities and fighting between the Church and the Jews, whowere always trying to harm the new Church and Faith.

As did Reformers like Luther, though with all three it should be understood that these writings were not “antisemitic” in the racist sense that we understand today. Rather, their views might be called “anti-Judaic,” in that they objected to the religion that had developed after the sacking of Jerusalem and fall of the Temple in 70 AD. Rabbinic Judaism is simply not the same religion that was practiced and fulfilled in Jesus.

Entirely correct.

One historical factor causing anti-Semitic feelings that is likely underappreciated is the Jewish involvement in the slave trade in the late Roman and early middle ages- in fact, they dominated it. Jewish traders dealt in many other “goods” in routes that spanned the northern countries down to the Middle East. The Jewish envlaves in most major cities were always welcoming to these traders.

One of the biggest points against Protestants on Anti-Semitism, especially Lutherans, is Martin Luther’s work “On the Jews and Their Lies”, which was also very unfortunately used as propaganda under the Nazi regime.

The actual content of the book itself is mainly completely plagiarizing Chrysostom, though, and it’s not so much condemning Jewish people as much as the Judaic religion–a false one that preaches wretchedly against Jesus Christ. It’s notable that the Talmud says such vile things about Jesus and Mary, Muslim opinions on them don’t even come close to the same ball park. Within the book, Luther appears to promote violence against Jews, including killing their rabbis and burning down their synagogues and regarding them as second class citizens until they convert to Christianity.

It’s also notable that throughout Luther’s lifetime, he was extremely sympathetic towards the Jews. It was only towards the end of his life, after being repulsed by the Jewish leaders who hardened the people’s hearts against Christ that he became so incredibly hostile to them–as he had tendency to do later in life, tired of decades of arguing not only with the Catholic Church, but also with Protestant extremists like Zwingli. His charges mainly involve 1) Eliminating the Jewish ability to teach against Christ anymore (by removing those who teach as well as the places where they would gather to teach), and 2) Creating outside incentive to convert.

The book has been condemned by Lutheran churches at large, but it remains the largest stain there is on Protestant Christianity on that front.

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