Jesus as a Jewish Religious Bigot

The most harsh and racially charged position Jesus takes is in his love and protection of the faith of his nation Israel built on the exclusive covenant to the Jews have by its god Yahweh.

Although Jesus’ racial bigotry towards gentiles is often expressed elsewhere in the Gospels, its origins are based in and fueled by Jewish hatred of Hellenistic culture when the Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes sacrificed a hog on the Jerusalem Temple’s holy altar and rededicated it to the supreme Greek god Zeus in 167 BCE Antiochus IV then outlawed any observance of the Torah under penalty of death (2 Maccabbees 6: 1-11). This desecration of the most sacred place of the Jewish religion by pagan gentiles was no less abated by the time Jesus was born when the Greeks were driven out by yet another pagan gentile occupier: The Romans. Thus the Jesus as pictured in the most Jewish Gospel of them all – Matthew – avoid traveling into any gentile lands to preach and he also demand any =body who follows him does the same: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans” (Matt. 10:5). But it’s in the Gospel of Matthew that we see a dark side of Jesus in his cruel and venomous attack on a mother simply requesting his mercy for her possessed daughter (Matt. 15: 21-28). By comparison, the Gospel of Mark simply calls her “…a Gentile, of Syrophoenician race.” (Mark 7:26). However, when this verse is redacted in Matt. 15:22, she is call “…a Canaanite woman…” a term used in the time of Jesus equivalent today to an African American being called a “Nigger”. It is also in Matthew’s Gospel that Jesus is referenced to the “New Moses” (a theme used by the writer of Matthew) in confronting this non-Jew (Israelite) or pagan Canaanite woman. His disciples know Jesus’ position on Gentiles; his basic hatred of all of them, but they are unable to get rid of her and are forced to file their complaint with Jesus himself who has, up until now ignored her. Now the Jewish Jesus must confront someone his faith and history requires him to hate. Matthew’s Jesus now has some cruel fun with her and her sick daughter: Jesus sarcastically quips: “It is not proper to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” Dogs (κυναριοις) is Jesus’ Jewish hate term for Gentiles (Matt. 7:6 “κυσιν “). Yes, Jesus finally heals her sick daughter, but only after he extracts from her a verbal confirmation before his disciples and all the Jewish people watching that only the Jews have God’s blessing and she and her daughter are indeed dogs (notice the play on words here: θυγατηρ (young girl) with κυναριοις (small dog)). Although Jesus warns adults against harming any Jewish child’s faith (Matt. 18:1-6), he has (as expressed in the above pericope) no concern about Gentile children since any faith they may have is non-Jewish and pagan. In short, for Jesus, gentiles are simply dogs that have no true faith.

Harry McCall