The life of Jesus as interpreted from a Jewish viewpoint was the theme of the sermon by Dr. Nathan Krass, Rabbi of Temple Emanuel, which he called “A Jewish Christmas Sermon, with Special Reference to Some Recent Biographies of Jesus”. The rabbi said that the general Jewish attitude toward Jesus was that was a great moral and religious teacher and that he was the “most popular Jew that ever lived”. He would be more at home today at Temple Emanu-El, said Dr, Krass, than in any of the Fifth Avenue churches.
Dr. Krass pointed out that the recent biographies of Jesus, some by Christians and some by Jews, with many different views of his personality, showed the great interest being taken today in the question of the value of Jesus for our own time. Answering this question from his own viewpoint, Dr. Krass argued that the fourth Gospel, by John, which pictures Jesus as divine, was written at least 100 years after the death of Jesus and is not accepted by Christian scholars today as an authentic story.
“For a biography of Jesus, therefore, we must go to the first three Gospels-by Matthew, Mark and Luke,” Dr. Krass went on. “Then purpose of these three Gospels is to prove that Jesus was the Messiah, but inadvertently they reveal in addition what Jesus thought of himself. This of course is very interesting to us today, particularly in view of the fact that this is the Christmas season, when the atmosphere is redolent with Christmas spirit and when Jews as well as Christians ought to know something that is authentic with regard to the celebration of this restival”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.