Tuesday, June 17, 2014

is it a curse for Jews to live by the Law?

From Strangers and Neighbors: What I Have Learned About Christianity by Living Among Orthodox Jews, by Maria Poggi Johnson:

...Paul says that "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Cor 3:6) He says that to live by the Law is slavery and to live by the Spirit is to live freely as loving children.  He even says that those that rely on  the works of the law are under a curse, and that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law.  These phrases are deep in the Christian consciousness ansd have probably been the principal sources for the Church's ideas about Judaism.

But what Christians, even those who ought to know better, have too often forgotten is that when Paul said these things, he wasn't writing to Jews or about Jews.  He was writing to and about Gentile Christians who had been argued or bullied into thinking that they had to keep the law; that before they could be Christians, they had to be Jews.

For these Gentile followers of Jesus to submit themselves to the stringent demands of a covenant not their own would have indeed been slavery.  But for the Jews, living a Torah life is, well, something else--something that I don't really understand...p. 88, see context

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