NOTE: This question is asking about anti-semitic claim, not endorsing it

By necessity, it must include the quote. The point is not to be anti-semitic, but rather to understand the basis of the anti-semitic notion that Judaism should be understood as a Christian heresy, even though Judaism clearly predates Christianity by at least a millennia**

I read the below comment a while back. John Struggnell, the lead researcher for the Dead Sea Scrolls in Israel, said:

In 1990, Strugnell gave an interview to Ha'aretz in which he said that Judaism was a "horrible religion" which "should not exist". He also said that Judaism was "a Christian heresy, and we deal with our heretics in different ways. You are a phenomenon that we haven't managed to convert — and we should have managed." (Wikipedia)

The person above is an expert in history, theology, and archaeology. Someone so high placed to make such a comment.

Is there an historical basis for his comment? If not, what is the root? Are Jews and Christians related in some fashion? Did today's Judaism start somehow as a Christian heresy?

  • 2
    You should seriously read about the history of Judaism and the Jewish diaspora. This is most ill-researched question I've seen. -1 for lack of research effort.
    – Double U
    Feb 5, 2015 at 22:52
  • 5
    You may be seriously asking but seriously, did you do any research from other sources before you asked this? Like, for example, from the Bible? If the Bible claims Christianity to be the fulfillment of pre-Messiah Judaism, how could Judaism be a Christian heresy?
    – Caleb
    Feb 5, 2015 at 22:52
  • 1
    As for questions that this community on this site is interested in, this question holds far too much opinion, and will likely be closed from receiving answers for that reason. If you want to be more specific about the history of Judaism, there is a site for Judaism and a site for History. History is on-topic here, but it must directly relate to Christianity, so something like Christian interactions with Judaism would be on-topic.
    – fredsbend
    Feb 5, 2015 at 23:35
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    @bruisedreed is there a definable group here? I see claims from one person who does not appear to argue dispassionately from facts (not with that opening line). If responding to derogatory claims from one person, denomination unstated, is on-topic here, then carry on -- I thought it wasn't. Feb 6, 2015 at 1:27
  • 1
    @curiousdannii That's a dumb reason to close. What was wrong with it being primarily opinion based?
    – fredsbend
    Feb 6, 2015 at 1:33

2 Answers 2


Strange as it may seem, there are people who hold this view currently, and in fact it was actually the doctrine of the Catholic church in the past (I hasten to add, they would not express their doctrine in those terms currently).

Proponents of such a view assume (without sufficient evidence imho) two things:

  1. Christians are the covenant people of God - the true inheritors of the Old Testament religion that was necessarily 'perfected' with the advent of Christ. This doctrine is known as Supersessionism or Replacement Theology and was more widely held in the past than Dual-covenant theologies or Dispensationalism. This essay on the differences between Israel and the Church introduces some of the relevant issues.

  2. Modern Judaism, is not merely a failure to follow the 'perfected' version of the religion of the Old Testament, but a departure from the original. This latter case is built on an association with the Pharisaism that Jesus opposed and modern Judaism, and argues that even further divergence has ensued since. Such arguments point to the destruction of the temple as marking a significant discontinuity in terms of orthopraxis, and highlight things like 'the council of Jamnia' and the collation of the Talmud as being significant further divergences from the will of God.

  • FYI, The Council of Jamnia is a highly discredited idea nowadays. Very little evidence that it ever existed Feb 6, 2015 at 1:44
  • @AffableGeek Thanks for making that point explicitly - the scare quotes I used had that very point in mind and perhaps I should have just come out and said it. The fact is that holders of the view do claim that it was a real event and that it was significant. Feb 6, 2015 at 1:59
  • The question has changed. You might want to edit your answer. There's also two reopen votes.
    – fredsbend
    Feb 6, 2015 at 2:41
  • Well in that case AffableGreek, I guess we can discredit the the exile from Egypt, Moses speaking to God, the red sea parting, and pretty much the majority of the OT since we have no clue where any of that came from. I mean.. those can easily be discredited and have been by many archaeologists and researchers.
    – Cackles
    Feb 6, 2015 at 3:44

In fairness, it is probably best understood in the opposite direction. Technically, "the Way" - those Jewish followers of Jesus the Christ, were Jewish heretics.

The story is better explained here: At what point did Judaism and Christianity diverge?

For the continuing saga, you may find this useful: Was Catholicism the first denomination?

It should be understood that despite the historical link, non-Jewish Gentiles came to predominate fairly early, explaining the 'millions upon millions with no DNA links.' Most of the New Testament, for example, was written to Gentiles in what is today the country of Turkey.

The Anti-Semitic sentiment that he evinces, however, unfortunately has a fairly lengthy pedigree, as this answer shows.

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