That Jews have issues in considering the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth should come as little surprise. Christ, as Jesus was later called, challenged the spiritual orthodoxy of his day, and remains a challenge to the faith of millions. The bottom line: If Jesus is the Messiah, then Jews (and everyone else) has to make a decision to accept or reject Him.
Nevertheless, it is a little surprising that at the very epicenter of news coverage of this issue in Jewish and Christian experience, there’s practically no discussion of, well, theology.
At the center of the Israel Museum’s newest art exhibit stands an imposing, life-size marble figure of Jesus. The sculpture, titled “Christ Before the People’s Court,” would not be out of place in a church in Rome.
Yet in this depiction, the Christian savior wears a Jewish skullcap.
The sculpture, created by Russian Jewish artist Mark Antokolsky in 1876, is part of a collection of more than 150 artworks by 40 Jewish and Israeli artists who have used Christian imagery to challenge long-held taboos in both communities. It showcases the evolving attitudes of Jewish, Zionist and Israeli artists toward a figure whose place in Jewish history has been negotiated and reinterpreted over more than two millennia.
It is a risky statement for an Israeli museum.
Throughout history, Jews have traditionally shunned Jesus and his gospel. And while the Holy Land might be his accepted birthplace, for Jews in the modern state of Israel there is often resistance to learning about or even acknowledging Christianity.
Again, that's no surprise: As the Post notes, the better part of the past two millennia have been occupied by those blaming Jews for the death of Christ, culminating in the Shoah, the attempt to exterminate the Jewish race undertaken by Germany's National Socialist, or Nazi, party.