Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Raging Battle or Last?

George Hunsinger is currently a professor of theology at Princeton Theological Seminary in the United States. In 1987 he published an article entitled “Where the Battle Rages: Confessing Christ in America Today.” That essay was republished in 2000 as chapter 4 in his book Disruptive Grace: Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth. The points he made then continue to remain important to those of us seeking to live as prophetic witnesses to Jesus today.
He begins his essay with a stirring quote from Martin Luther (1483-1546): “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing him. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Catastrophe (1933-1945)

The impact of the Catastrophe on the number of Jews worldwide: in 1914, there were about 12 million; in 1939, that number had grown to 18 million; in 1945, it had been murdered back down to about 12 million. Jewish societies in Lusatia and Germania had been completely destroyed. Those in Gallia, eastern Alpinia, Latinia, and Hellenia had been severely damaged. Then, following the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, Jewish societies which had lived in Muslim lands for centuries were forced to abandon everything and resettle in Israel.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Jewish Advances, Archaism, and Activism (1880-1930)

Emancipated and Enlightened, Germanian Jews rapidly advanced to leadership in three areas: banking, industry, and academia. Their triumph in academia represented a far greater intellectual achievement than what Jews had been able to do even at their best in Muslim Iberia.

Still, three significant challenges persisted. By 1910 Prussian Protestant Berlin came to be seen by Germanians living outside of it as a “Jewish” city. Bavarian Catholic Munich, in contrast, definitely was not.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Jewish Enlightenment and Emancipation (1750-1880)

Northern Olympia
In the 1700s, a major movement of cultural transformation took place in northern Olympia. It came to be called the Enlightenment.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Jewish Movements of Reform (800-1800)

Jewish movements of reform were creative responses to fresh challenges. Sometimes these challenges were external as the broader Christian or Muslim context improved or declined. Sometimes they were internal as Jewish society itself stratified, hardened, and lost its cultural vitality. Between 800 and 1800, Jewish movements were always a reform of the dominant and normative Talmudic tradition and the organized social groups which embodied it.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Decline of Jewish Society in Latin Christendom (1100-1750)

By 1100 the long decline of Ashkenazi Jews had begun.

In 1096 French knights on the First Crusade traveled down the Rhine River on their way to Jerusalem. As they did, they inflicted terrible destruction and death on Jewish communities. The chivalric ideal of the Crusades demanded victory over perceived enemies of the Church: Muslims abroad and heretics and Jews at home.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Jewish Society in Latin Christendom (800-1100)

Jews living in the Roman Empire faced increasing state hostility after 386 when Christianity was made the sole legal religion. Physical punishment for being Jewish began with the emperor Heraclius in 610.

Relief came to Jews in Levantia, Egypt, Carthaginia, and Iberia with advancing Muslim armies between 635 and 720. Jews living under Muslim rule eventually became known as Sephardi.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Jews in Iberia (1150-1500)

During the golden age of Muslim rule in Iberia (900-1150), Jews experienced their greatest communal vitality since the destruction of the Jewish community in Alexandria in 117. Their vitality ended when Berber Muslims took control of the government. After that both Jewish society and its broader Islamic context began to steadily decline.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Iberian Jews under Muslim Rule (AD 700-1200)

Jews throughout the Roman empire did not do well following the defeat of their third and final rebellion against the Roman state in 135.

Their condition across the empire worsened once Christianity became the sole legal religion in 386.

Heraclius, ruler of the eastern Roman state beginning in 608, even started physically punishing people for being Jewish. Jews were only saved from his persecution by Muslim conquerors in the late 630s and early 640s.