Portrayal of Jews in the New Testament

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From reading the New Testament it is easy to believe that Jews are the villains and Christians the heroes. However, Jesus and his disciples were Jews, and the discussions recorded in the New Testament are Jewish discussions. Such discussions continue today amongst Jews, as they argue about the best interpretations of Jewish teachings.

The four main gospels were written from around 60 to 110 years after Jesus’ death. During that time there was much animosity between the Jews and the followers of Jesus.

The idea developed that Jesus was the saviour of mankind. He had come into this world to save it from its sins. Some of his followers believed he was the physical son of God. To believe in Jesus you no longer had to follow the Jewish commandments or the rules that Jesus himself would have followed. What mattered was faith in Jesus, not deeds.

The Romans, who were responsible for killing Jesus, were not blamed for this even though they controlled the entire country. According to the gospels, Jesus was tried for treason, sentenced to death and crucified (the Roman method of execution). The later gospels painted the Jews as the villains of the story, responsible for Jesus’ murder. The New Testament has since been used to demonstrate that the Jews were the enemies of Jesus, and therefore the enemies of God.