“Woe to You, Hypocrites! Murders of the Prophets!” – Rabbi Tovia Singer Responds
Many historians trace 2,000 years of anti-Jewish persecution directly back to certain pronouncements placed in the mouth of Jesus by the authors of the New Testament. Although the Church widely considers the Gospel of Matthew to be the “most Jewish” of the Gospels, it contains some of the most anti-Jewish passages found in the New Testament. As Matthew’s narrative marches toward the Passion, the anti-Jewish rhetoric increases. We are told in chapter 23 that Jesus launched a series of virulently hostile accusations against the Jews, which include the collective charge of despicable hypocrisy, as well as direct culpability for the murder of the Prophets and all the innocent victims found in Scripture. These serious indictments were not just charged against those in his audience. Rather, they were launched against all Jews collectively, of all generations.
Consequently, these and other passages in the New Testament stereotyped the Jewish people for all time as an icon of unredeemed humanity: the image of a blind, stubborn, carnal and perverse nation. This dehumanization, no doubt, is the vehicle that formed the psychological prerequisite to the Church’s unrelenting atrocities against Jewish communities centuries later.
In this eye-opening broadcast Rabbi Tovia Singer examines the most serious charges found in Matthew 23 in light of the evangelist’s troubling Passion Narrative.