To What Extent Is Jesus’s Attitudes Towards Outcasts a Departure from Judaism? Essay

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To what extent was Jesus’ attitude towards outcasts a departure from Judaism? From reading Luke (bible) we can see that some of Jesus’ attitudes towards outcasts demonstrated a departure from Judaism. In Judaism in particularly in that time period it was wrong for a person deemed “unclean” which implies diseased or not of a Jewish background to make contact with a chosen one (Jew).

Gentiles in this time were seen as unclean therefore one of Jesus’; messages towards outcasts the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37) in which Jesus tells his audience that a person probably a Jew was left and deserted by prominent people in the Jewish society, a priest and a Levite (a member of the tribe of Levi), partly due to the fact that if he was dead, diseased or a gentile it was seen as wrong. But Jesus then goes on to say that it was in fact a Samaritan, which was seen as a direct insult to the Jews, as at this time the Jews and Samaritans were being very hostile to each other.

He then continued to ask the prompting question, “Which of these three men proved to be a neighbour to the man? ” implying it was in fact the Samaritan a race the Jews disliked. Messages like this show how in fact Jesus’ attitude towards outcasts was a departure from Judaism. In the same way Jesus’ healing of the leper in Luke (5:12-16) was also seen as a departure from Judaism as lepers were outcasts and also seen as unclean due to the relatively contagious disease known as leprosy which caused boils in the skin and the dismembering of body parts hence the lepers plea for cleanliness “you can make me clean”.

However in the healing of the leper Jesus sent the leper after being cleansed to the Pharisee to reaffirm and confirm his healing. Proving that in fact Jesus did respect the hierarchy of the Jewish community. On the other hand another interpretation of Jesus sending the healed man to the leper could be that of a way of rubbing it in and demonstrating God’s power to the sceptical Pharisee’s. Tuckett’s interpretation of the Jesus’ parable the Great Banquet (Luke 14:16-24) is one of the gentiles replacing the Jews as God’s chosen race, possible emphasising another example of Jesus departing from Judaism.

However history would beg to differ as it teaches us Jesus by descent was in fact a Jew as his mother Mary was a Jew and if your mother was a Jew you by descent were an accepted Jew. Throughout Jesus’s life he still kept hold of his fundamental Jewish beliefs such as reading from the Torah and preaching in the Synagogue, which we gather from the Inaugural Sermon (Luke 4:14-30). This in addition to his sending of the leper to the Pharisee proves he was still respectful and abided by the majority of Jewish laws.

As Tuckett writes “Jesus was teaching daily in the temple, presence in the temple is a regular pattern for the Luken Jesus” proving that it was not just one occurrence but in fact it was a regular practice much like any other Jewish male of his time. In conclusion I am of the personal belief that Jesus’s messages and attitudes towards outcasts was in fact a departure from Judaism as first and foremost speaking with outcasts and hanging around with them alone was seen as wrong; much more dining with them in their home such as Jesus did with Zaccheus in Luke 19:1.

So Jesus really could not stay a devout Jew and still teach a message of hope to outcasts. Despite his attempts which I believe were in vain of going to the temple and preaching in the synagogue I think that his attitudes towards outcast was in fact a departure from Judaism as they believed they were the “chosen race” and a Tuckett writes “Disciples are to go out in Jesus’ name and proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nation” not just Jerusalem as the Jews believe. By Alex Quayson

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