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Introduction There are certain advantages in being Jewish when attempting to understand the Gospels especially if one has been brought up in close contact with the Jewish liturgy the ceremonials of the Jewish religious year the rabbinical literature and the general Jewish moral and cultural outlook Many aspects of the Gospels are for the Jew as familiar as the air he breathes When Jesus drank wine and broke bread at the Last Supper he was doing what a Jew does every time he performs the Kiddush ceremony before a Festival or Sabbath meal When Jesus began his prayer with Our Father that art in heaven he was following the pattern of Pharisee prayers which still form part of the Jewish Daily Prayer Book When he spoke in parables and used startling phrases such as swallow a camel or the beam in thine own eye he was using methods of expression familiar to any student of the Talmudic writings At the same time a Jew reading the Gospels is immediately aware of aspects which do not seem authentic for example the accounts of Pharisees wanting to kill Jesus because he healed on the Sabbath The Pharisees never included healing in their list of activities forbidden on the Sabbath and Jesuss methods of healing did not involve any of the activities that were forbidden It is unlikely that they would have disapproved even mildly of Jesuss Sabbath-healing Moreover the picture of bloodthirsty murderous Pharisees given in the Gospels contradicts everything known about them from Josephus from their own writings and from the Judaism still living today which they created So here we have a contradiction in the Gospels between those passages which seem authentic and those which do not To a Jew studying the Gospels the contradiction is manifest and the issue widens as he considers the religion based upon the Gospels Christianity itself with its mixture
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