Jewish Dopers: How do you view Jesus?

Years ago a minister at my (Episcopalian) church told me that Jew regarded Jesus as a great prophet, but not divine. I was suspicious, now confirmed.

Yeah, I was told as kid that he had some good ideas as a teacher (rabbi), but not the messiah (mashiach, who wouldn’t be divine anyway) and not someone to be followed.

As a Jew, I find the historical Jesus (as best we know him) much more compelling than the Pauline Christ.

Care to expand on this?

I’m going to chime in and agree that we don’t think about him much at all. He has nothing to do with our culture or day to day existence.

I think maybe I didn’t phrase my question well, since several people seem to be bringing this up quite a bit.

I didn’t mean to ask if you think about him in your day-to-day dealings. I meant, whenever the subject comes up, e.g. during debates on the SDMB or during the holidays when a movie mentions him, etc, what thoughts pop into your head?

As an example, take L. Ron Hubbard (that someone mentioned above). I don’t expect Americans to think about him every day, but when the subject of L. Ron Hubbard comes up, I’m sure people have a predetermined/personal response to the mention of his name, which reflects what they think of the man.

Similarly, I don’t expect Jews to think about Jesus every day, but when the subject of Jesus comes up, however rarely, I assume people have a predetermined/personal response to the mention of his name, which reflects what they think of the man.

As an aside, if Scientology takes over 1/3 of the Earth’s population in 2,000 years, but spreads mostly to countries other than the US, I wonder what Americans will think of him (assuming of course Americans will exist in 2,000 years)

Most Americans don’t have an opinion one way or the other about Hubbard either.

As for Jesus, if I were pressed, I’d say that he was a historical figure who spawned a major religion. Historically we know very little about the real man though.

As a Christian, I found myself nodding in agreement with the last paragraph of post 5, and all of post 6, about how Jesus (if there really is an afterlife) must really be upset by all the things done in His name, and how a significant number of His followers are lunatics. (Only difference from those posts being, obviously, that I do believe in Him).

Every new and then (used to happen with coworkers) I would get asked, “You’re a Christian. What’s your opinion on [controversial topic]?”. I was quick to add, usually, that “I’m a Christian but not THAT type of Christian,” (which is a little sad, really), and I sometimes added a further caveat at the end that, “I doubt that’s what a lot of churches will tell you, but that’s what I believe.”

(Apologies if this is a minor hijack.)

This list makes no sense. A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of the most explicitly Christian Christmas shows. And if you have a “no Santa” rule, how do you watch The Year Without a Santa Claus? Santa Claus not only appears in that show but the whole point is how terrible the absence of Santa can be - hardly a message to be showing the kids if you’re planning on otherwise denying them any Christmas iconography. And the message of How the Grinch Stole Christmas is about how only bad people hate Christmas iconography - another dubious message if you plan on forbidding the same.

Like the joke goes, I’m fine with Jesus himself. It’s his fan club that I don’t like.

I never got the great prophet idea. Just another of many fake Messiahs with a swelled head.
The good stuff a lot of other people said also.
Basically I thought of Jesus the same way as I think of God today - a folk figure with supposed special powers but without a lot of evidence - something other people believe in, like ghosts and yetis.l

Meh. When I think of Yeshua Ben Yoseph, I think was a self taught Rabbi who went around talking about a form of Reformed Judaism. And he had bad timing*.

I don’t blame Jesus for centuries of anti-semitism. He didn’t do that. It was his followers. And I’m not offended by the existence of Christianity or Christian holidays. Heck, the best Christmas songs were written by Jews. I’m not thrilled if my tax dollars are spent on Christmas decorations and I wince when public prayers I’m subjected to include phrases like “In Jesus’ name” but American Jews learn to accept that. I didn’t much like it when I was 7 years old and got beaten up by a bunch of 10 year olds who were on their way home from Easter services featuring a pastor who gave a real stemwinder of a sermon about how the Jews killed Jesus. And I’m against pogroms, deportations, Einsatzgruppen, and death camps.

  • That part leads to a huge digression. I’ll spoiler it here so you don’t have to read through it if you don’t want to.

[spoiler]Oh yeah, this belongs in Great Debates.

In Yeshua’s time, Judea was under Roman occupation. And the Romans had this thing called Pax Romana. Which meant, in practical terms, if you do anything that the Romans consider to threaten Roman rule, they’ll flog you, nail you to a cross, and leave you hanging there to die. Jerusalem was the religious and political capitol. Except for the Roman’s administrative center of government in Caesarea.

So there’s a Roman garrison in Jerusalem for police and general security stuff. Maybe think of a couple of companies of troops commanded by a Major. He and the local powers that be (the priests, Herod’s troops) have come to an accommodation that generally works. Now, then, here comes Passover. It’s a religious festival celebrating the Hebrews escape from slavery. And traditionally, Jews from all over Judea would go to Jerusalem to celebrate the week long festival. It’s a joyous time. BUT, there are some people who aren’t all that happy about being under Roman occupation. And it’s not much of a stretch for them note that Passover is a celebration of freedom yet they’re not free, they’re occupied.

Okay, think of Ft Lauderdale. It’s a fairly quiet beach town most of the time. Then, for a couple of weeks every year, it’s inundated with college students who come to town to party and party HARD. And that’s more than the local police can handle. So they call in reserve police, the sheriff’s department, maybe even the state troopers to help handle stuff.

Well, back in Judea, neither the Roman Governor or the Jerusalem garrison commander are idiots. They know there’s going to be a flood of tourists come to town to celebrate. So they beef up the local garrison with a couple more companies of troops. And maybe a Colonel to command the whole thing. A Colonel who really doesn’t care about any pre-existing accommodations. He just wants things quiet.

So, in addition to all the tourists there for the festival and going agog at the big city (imagine someone from a small midwestern town visiting New York City for the first time), there’s one of a seemingly endless series of itinerant Galilean rabbis coming to town. And this one seems to have a multitude of followers. And some of them are calling him their King, which is a big no-no during a Pax Romana. And if that doesn’t draw enough attention to him, one of the first things he does is trash the money changers at the Temple.

Now, the money changers had a legitimate purpose there. Look, one of the reasons you’d want to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem is to go to the temple and ask a priest for a blessing. Maybe you have a new child you want God to look fondly on, maybe you want to get married, maybe you want to ask God for a favor. Something like that. Well, sure, priests help with that, but they expect a donation and you’d be glad to make one. There wasn’t paper money then; there were coins made of precious metals. Issued by different mints, countries, honoring different events and rulers. Generally, it didn’t matter what a coin looked like as an ounce of silver is an ounce of silver and an ounce of gold is an ounce of gold. But there’s that pesky 2nd commandment: No graven images. And the priests can be sort of hard headed about obeying commandments. So no one is going to offer a priest a coin with Caesar’s image on it. Or any person or animal. So they’re going to have to go to a money changer to buy “Temple Shekels”, coinage with an appropriate image stamped on it (a menorah, a star of David, the 2 tablets of the 10 commandments, maybe the ark of the covenant). So this guy who’s been lauded as being the King just committed a major act of mayhem. And that earned him a death sentence from the Romans. The Pharisees weren’t consulted. And I don’t see why Pilate or Herod would be consulted either, I’m sure the garrison commander had the authority. It was Pax Romana in Occupied Jerusalem and it wasn’t not like this Yeshua guy was a Roman Citizen or anyone important or connected. [/spoiler]

For me, it’s pretty simple, actually:
Jesus was a social activist.
Paul was a messianic fanatic.

Jesus was a young rabbi , and an outsider who had no access to the halls of power among the elite. He was idealistic enough to think that religion is about morals, not about supporting the clerical bureaucracy. And he said so, and he lived his life that way. Then the crowds got bigger than he expected, he lost control, and let himself be led by events. So he started to think, “hey, maybe I’m more important than I thought”— But he never intended to start a new religion. His focus was on the local community in Palestine.He would have been happy to change the society he lived in --but he didn’t try to change the world.

Paul took things to a much bigger scale.
And he succeeded-- for better and worse.

What got me was the “no resurrections” rule. Steven Spielberg must have forgotten that when he made E.T.

The article was an attempt at humour. Jews like the Grinch, because he’s like a grumpy old miserly Jew? That is not intended seriously. :smiley:

No Jews I personally know of actually had a “no Christmas entertainment” rule of any sort.

I agree, although the article’s attempt at humor is pretty scattered. I think the author is trying to make some semi-serious points but it seems mostly tongue-in-cheek to me.

The only thing we weren’t permitted to watch growing up was Hogan’s Heroes of all things. My dad was adamant about that, about how he didn’t like how the Germans were portrayed and how it never referenced the realities of Jews in the camps. He admitted it wasn’t a completely logical argument but we went along with it. The Christmas specials were never an issue. But we did go to movies and eat Chinese food for dinner - that was required.

The main semi-serious point is that it is sometimes tough being a religious minority immersed in a sea of stuff aimed squarely at the majority, particularly in the context of a much-loved children’s holiday that has become mostly secular (but still retains religious overtones).

In our household, growing up, this wasn’t a problem, as we quite unashamedly had Christmas complete with tree, stockings, feasting and presents - but minus religion. We knew of course there was a religious background and that Christians viewed the holiday as celebrating the birth of Jesus, but as it turns out, most of the Christmas iconography really has nothing to do with that - trees, decorations, Santa Claus, etc. It is pretty easy to ignore the connection to Jesus, as practically everyone else does, anyway.

Initially, Hannukah made much less impression on me - only when I grew up did I start thinking it was kinda cool, a holiday basically celebrating the overthrow of an insane tyrant. “The Hammer” crushing Antiochus “the god made manifest” is not exactly as heartwarming as Santa Claus, though. :smiley:

The irony of this is that all of the major German characters in Hogan’s Heroes were–I suspect deliberately on the part of the shows creators–played by Jewish actors, and Werner Klemperer only agreed to do the show if Klink’s plans were always foiled. Also, Robert Clary, who played LeBeau, was a French Jew liberated from Buchenwald at the end of the war.

I don’t know if my dad knew that at the time, but I don’t think it was as common knowledge as it is now. Maybe I’ll ask him when we next talk.

That’s Muslims, not Jews, who view Jesus as a prophet.