Authorcast #110: Bradley J. Kramer, author of Gathered in One: How the Book of Mormon Counters Anti-Semitism in the New Testament September 24 2019
Show description: For devotees of Christian scripture, the suggestion that the New Testament contains anti-Semitic rhetoric is challenging. After all, how could the New Testament, largely written by Jewish authors about the Jewish Messiah contain any trace of disdain towards its own people? However, centuries of Christian hatred towards Jews demonstrates its roots in the New Testament portrayals of the Jews as a corrupt, conspiring, and murderous people. Take for example the near absolution of Pontius Pilate regarding the crucifixion of Jesus. The Gospels make clear that the blame for Jesus’s death rests upon the corrupt Jewish leaders and people who handed the Savior over to Roman authorities and, when given the chance to redeem him, shouted: “crucify him!” This New Testament depiction has led to the labeling of Jews as “Christ-killers.” Horrifically, this attitude has inspired pogroms against the Jewish people, the killing of Jews during the Crusades, and, in more recent times, the Jewish Holocaust. We are still dealing today with negative stereotypes of Jews that stem from early Christian attitudes.
For author Bradley Kramer, a scholar dedicated to interfaith studies and relations between Jews and Latter-day Saints, the Book of Mormon offers a different, decidedly pro-Jewish take while not undermining the authority of the New Testament. In his book, Gathered in One: How the Book of Mormon Counters Anti-Semitism in the New Testament, Bradley demonstrates how The Book of Mormon contains an intentionally pro-Judaic stance. For example, Bradley argues that the Book of Mormon minimizes Jewish involvement in the crucifixion of Jesus and rejects supersessionist claims by portraying the Jewish people as still being God’s covenant people. Taken together with the New Testament, the Book of Mormon smooths out the sharp edges of anti-Semitic imagery, settings, and language.
“His thesis is fresh, provocative, and rigorously argued. A signal contribution to Book of Mormon studies.” — Terryl Givens