Thursday, February 18, 2010

When Christians celebrate “Biblical Feasts”: My Jewish Perspective

Other posts you may or may not want to read:

festivals2 When Christians celebrate “Biblical Feasts” – ie, appropriate Jewish holidays and give them all kinds of marvellous messianic meanings. Ugh.

As a homeschooler, it was inevitable that I’d come across homeschool materials offering information about “Biblical feasts” – which is what Christians call our holidays. (despite the fact that at least one – Chanukah – isn’t mentioned in the Bible) (okay, except the Catholic Bible, which did canonize the book of Maccabees)

festivals

There are also all kinds of homeschool materials purporting to teach Hebrew and other information about Shabbat and holidays, always with the helpful Christian perspective.

I read a post recently on a homeschool list mentioning a book which would be useful for sharing these “Biblical feasts” with Christian homeschooled kids. Even though I mostly lurk, I felt I had to jump in:

Many Jews don't appreciate the way Jewish holidays have been
appropriated by Christians, with Christian meanings superimposed on them.
Most Christian websites and books promote an inauthentic (ie non-Jewish)
perspective on these holidays - akin to finding Jesus in Divali, Eid, or any
other non-Christian festival.
It is true that Jesus was Jewish and did observe many of these holidays.
However, he did not follow them with any "Christian" intent, for obvious
reasons. Additionally, Jewish holiday celebrations have changed a great deal in the
last 2000 years.
Jesus himself, if he were here today, might not recognize the modern form of
many Jewish observances, all of which were instituted by rabbis who did not
accept Jesus as a Jewish messiah.
If the Biblical holidays lend depth to your study of the Jewish Bible, that's
wonderful, but it is important to maintain a perspective on just how authentic
they are (or are not).

Though I still find this kind of study (especially with kids) really distasteful – particularly in the many “Christ in the Passover” observances that have sprung up in even the most well-meaning Christian churches, I have begun to differentiate slightly between the active-proselytization brand of Hebrew Christianity and the sincere-Christian-seeking-knowledge type.

In one case, they’re sharks… and I completely believe they will not stop until they have absorbed every single Jewish soul. On the other hand, maybe just innocent dupes, or miseducated -slash- bigoted clergy…? I don’t know. I really don’t know enough.

Either way, these are not really friends I am comfortable snuggling up in bed with, so to speak. Speaking of which: almost 12:30! Gack! I have done my part to destroy years of interfaith relations, at least enough for one day… on this cheery note, goodnight!

I welcome your comments and questions.  Moderation is on to block spam, but I will post all legitimate comments, even if I do not agree with your views.