Was Jesus Jewish?

Yes, Jesus was a Jew.

There are many ways modern Jews have chosen to deal with the fact that Jesus was a Jew.

In the Guardian, columnist Jonathan Freedland wrote a personal, simplistic and reductionist account of his reaction to Jesus' Jewishness, "The story of Jesus is the ultimate political drama," explaining, "I shouldn't be interested in the life of Jesus, but I can't help it – his story makes for gripping entertainment." So Freedland side-steps all the theological questions and turns the issue into a review of political drama. He concludes,
The truth is, the Jesus story is the ultimate political drama. Imagine it: a radical firebrand, whom the powerful want to silence and shut down. But the threat is not only external. He also faces a hidden challenge from within his own inner circle, a traitor in his midst …

I admit that I brace myself when I come to hear the story told again, whether through radio drama, rock opera or, say, some BBC experimental production on the streets of Manchester. I worry: will this version blame the Romans or the Jews? Of course it's always best when Pilate, the Roman occupier who gave the order, is the bad guy; certainly better than any suggestion, coded or otherwise, that it is the Jews who should bear the weight of guilt.

I like to think Jesus himself would understand this nervousness on my part. After all, and this is remembered less often than it might be, he was Jewish too.

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