Friday, April 04, 2014
The Story of the Jews
I watched several episodes of Simon Schama's thoughtful BBC/PBS series on the history of Judaism called The Story of the Jews. It was fascinating to be reminded of the rich legacy and contribution to human culture made by this always rather small but creative group of monotheists. Once again I was challenged to consider that Jesus was Yeshua, the Jew, and Paul was Saul, the rabbi.
I was also dismayed to see how virtually every time Jews have prospered and contributed to their culture they have been punished for it. Of course I already knew this, but it was a saddening reminder. The term ghetto refers to the enclave established in Venice after the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492. Ferdinand and Isabella commissioned Columbus and kicked out the Jews in the same year. The Inquisition, Russian pogroms, and then the horrors of the Holocaust or Shoah are all shameful marks on our supposed civilization, and Christians have often been at the forefront.
I feel somehow that every Christian should watch a series such as this one, both to ponder the extraordinary contribution to human development by Judaism and to consider the price Jews have paid over the past three thousand years for their identity.
Do you feel you know enough about Judaism? Do you make the positive connection between Judaism and Christianity? Would a series such as this one appeal to you as the basis for a study group or discussion?