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Talk:Supersessionism/Archive 1
Talk:Supersessionism/Archive 2

Archiving two sub-sections[edit]

I've had excellent feedback from an expert on the subject. As a result I'm archiving two sections to this page. These two sections were important for me in understanding why people were saying different things about supersessionism, however, I can see that for people more familiar with the topic they are somewhat peripheral to the main issues.


Clarifying terms[edit]

A complexity is added to the debate because the description Christian is sometimes applied very broadly (for example, the claim that Nazi Germany was a Christian nation) or very narrowly (for example, some groups consider people who believe the teachings of their church and who have been baptized in it to be the only true Christians). Hence, whether or not particular 19th century German theologians with unorthodox or idiosyncratic views believed in Jewish exclusion is of great significance from a Jewish perspective, but irrelevant to a typical Christian understanding of the New Testament. Jewish writers are often happier to use the description Christian more broadly than Christians themselves would. For example, many conservative Christians have considered Rudolf Bultmann a heretic, however he is considered (among others) as representative of Christian scholars in A Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations (Kessler & Wenborn, 2005 ISBN 978-0521826921).

Likewise, the description Jewish may be applied broadly on the basis of heredity, or narrowly on the basis of orthodoxy. Hence the term Jewish Christian is used by Christians for the New Testament apostles, for example, and also for modern day Messianic groups. Jewish writers, however, are unlikely to use this expression at all. This is very clear even in popular culture. Jackie Mason, quoted in USA Today, summarized the point clearly and concisely. "There's no such thing as a Jew for Jesus. It's like saying a black man is for the KKK. You can't be a table and a chair. You're either a Jew or a gentile."[1]

Finally, Jewish exclusion refers to a class of people rather than to individuals. Given that Jesus and the twelve apostles were all of Jewish ancestry, it is an unlikely interpretation of the New Testament that it would exclude Jewish individuals from adopting Christianity. The Church Fathers condemned Jews that did not join the Christian movement, they did not forbid them from doing so, or there would be no basis for the condemnation. Hence the Judaism condemned in Christian writing is specifically the Judaism that does not accept Jesus as Messiah (Hebrew term) or Christ (Greek term).

Contemporary debate[edit]

Discussion of supercessionism appears to arise in two contrasting settings.

Perhaps most commonly it arises in the analysis of scholars concerned to maximize Jewish-Christian co-operation on issues of mutual concern, like archaeology, historical linguistics, theology and ethics. When scholars discuss supercessionism in this kind of setting, they suggest that supercessionist views provide a significant obstacle in dialogue and mark a boundary in establishing common ground.

On the other hand, supercessionism sometimes arises in the internal dialogues of the two faiths. In the case of Christianity, supercessionism is viewed positively by some, the doctrine presents Christianity favourably over Judaism. In the case of Judaism, the doctrine is viewed negatively, yet another example of systematically negative views of Judaism from outside the culture, and a particularly ancient and influential view.

Conflict between the positive and negative views arises in some Christian writing. "Progressive" writers express disapproval of modern "perpetuation" of supercessionist views; whereas "conservative" writers express concern that the progressive approach discounts essential, non-negotiable doctrines.

Differences of opinion between Christian writers are not limited to progressive opposed to conservative views. There are scholars from conservative denominations that argue against supercessionism as an accurate understanding of the New Testament. In other words, they see the progressive-conservative distinction as moot, since there is no point in defending doctrines that are not in fact reflections of what the New Testament taught in the first place.

Christian debate of this final kind occurs between theologians who generally describe themselves as either holding to dispensationalism or to covenant theology, and is based on determining precisely how the New Testament writers intended themselves to be understood.

Jewish Views?[edit]

Why is it that the section marked "Jewish Views" is finished off with a brief explanation of the Christian view? The paragraph basically reads like a short little "Why the Jewish view is wrong" speech. More than a little off-putting, I would say and smells a little biased. If we're out to show the Jewish view, it would be best to erase that paragraph. ( (talk) 22:51, 5 July 2009 (UTC))


Please comment on whether or not these sections or elements of them are helpful for clarification of issues or terminology. Alastair Haines 02:51, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

I find this section spurious at best and offensive at worst. If the Supersessionist approach is "antisemitic" what about the approach it refutes, i.e. that Jews, as an ethnoreligious group, are especially chosen by God. For goodness sake, this is supposed to be an objective description of a theological worldview, which you can take or leave. What it looks like is somebody Jewish, offended by the idea some Christians (like most Jews or Muslims, say) view themselves as "Chosen" - sought to smuggle in the old 'antisemite' card, expecting us to overlook the doctrine Supersessionism overcomes, i.e. the myth {or dogma} of Jewish "chosenness" which, if we're being objective, ought to be deemed as potentially offensive/racist to many as well.
Lest we forget–
‘You are a holy people unto the LORD thy God and He has chosen you above all others upon the face of the earth…Therefore when the LORD your God brings you into the land you are to possess and casts out the many peoples living there, you shall slaughter them all and utterly destroy them…You shall make no agreements with them nor show them any mercy. You shall destroy their altars, break down their images, cut down their groves and burn their graven images with fire…
–Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 14, ironically very near excerpts this article uses to explain the Jewish belief that Supersessionism is wrong, and/or "antisemitic" because, you see, only Jews are the 'elect' - and the indisputable proof of this are words written by Jews themselves.
My point is that if you read, say, Deuteronomy, which this section cites, you'll find that it is incredibly ethnocentric, violent, and racist.
Regardless of your beliefs, it is both offensive and idiotic to try to smuggle in an accusation of anti-Jewish hate while citing to Jewish-originated text which is replete with hate and disdain for non-Jews.
It's entirely valid to present Jewish theological views. It is absurd to let someone tack on charges of antisemitism regarding doctrine, I'll bet, they haven't actually studied, and to have them do so based on their own racist/ethnocentric beliefs about Jewish chosenness. I'm agnostic myself, but attended religious schools. To call this doctrine racist because it offends the racist doctrinal myth of Jewish "chosenness" is both bewilderingly absurd and frankly, wholly inappropriate for an objective, encyclopedic article on the dogma.
This isn't a discussion of the Jewish view, it's a smear, written ostensibly by a Jewish person who holds mirror opposite beliefs which are just as subject to criticism! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:18, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
Well it is sourced content, but perhaps it could be reworded? — Confession0791 talk 12:28, 6 June 2013 (UTC)


The rewrite/merge(?) here came out quite good. I'm thoroughly impressed! -- 00:33, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Why, thank you! :) We seek to serve. Some more work needs to be done, according to the excellent feedback received so far. In due course, expect additional improvements. Cheers. Alastair Haines 02:06, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree. It is vastly superior to the previous version. I would suggest along the lines of WP:GTL that the bullets in "History of interpretation" should be transformed into prose and that the list of verses at the end seems like it would be more appropriate in a shortened form as part of this same section. As it stands, they're just verses in isolation that aren't referenced. --Flex (talk/contribs) 02:56, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

I like this article a lot because it puts explains all the different perspectives in one place. I have a request for an additional perspective though- what perspective is held by Messianic Jews? I'm friends with a couple of them, and this article will help with clarity when I talk to them about it. I was wondering, if there was any official position held to by some unifying group like Jews for Jesus. The most I can figure out is that they say Israel continues to exist as a "covenant people," but that doesn't tell me much about intercovenental details. This is what it say in their statement of faith.

"We believe that Israel exists as a covenant people through whom God continues to accomplish His purposes and that the Church is an elect people in accordance with the New Covenant, comprising both Jews and Gentiles who acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and Redeemer. We believe that Jesus the Messiah will return personally in order to consummate the prophesied purposes concerning His kingdom."

I know Jews for Jesus is not theologically different from Protestantism in any major ways, but I'd still like to know if they fit best with Law and Gospel, Covenant Theology, or Dispensationalism. I can imagine Orthodox Jews characterizing them as Law and Gospel types, and I can also imagine Jews for Jesus distancing themselves from that type of assertion. I don't know where they'd land after that, though, and it might be at a conclusion that's entirely different from any of the options given under the Protestant views. If something besides Jews for Jesus better represents the Messianic Jew group of people, please let me know that too. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:45, 19 February 2009 (UTC)


Alastair and I seem to have some relatively minor disagreement about how this article should be structured. He has twice reverted some of my edits in this regard, so I thought I'd bring it here to hash things out. This is of course a friendly challenge to improve a few things because I think Alastair has done a bang-up job on the article overall.

My suggestions follow:

  • Under Supersessionism#History of interpretation:
    • Secondary sources are needed. As it stands, it is a mining of primary sources to synthesize a claim (see WP:OR, esp. WP:PSTS). I don't dispute the accuracy of the claims made, just that they are not properly sourced.
    • The bulleted points should either (1) be formatted as prose paragraphs since the quotes aren't long enough to justify blockquotes, or (2) made into a bullet list proper without the intervening editorial statements. Compare WP:GTL#Headers_and_paragraphs.
  • Under Supersessionism#Social context:
    • The same point should be made about the bullet points being used to set off quotations. I think these citations and quotes should be moved into the footnotes. Then more passages could be listed, including ones that are clearer in import. (For instance, without more context Acts 21:27–28 doesn't necessarily imply that all Greeks would defile the Temple, and we're writing for the uninitiated here, not the Christian/Jew who is familiar with the Temple structure and regulations. State the obvious.)
    • Moreover, the Bible is considered a primary source, so see again WP:PSTS about citing it.
    • In short, I think my version of this section should be used (and perhaps expanded).
  • Under Supersessionism#Types of supersessionism, the three paragraphs starting at "He observes..." are three long quotations that should be summarized in prose. If there is something particularly well-put, it could be quoted.
  • The verses under Supersessionism#New_Testament are completely unconnected to the rest of the article. As it stands now, the reader must wonder, Are these passages that support supersessionism or that oppose it or are they related to it at all? There is no text to explain why they are there. The proper course of action is to incorporate them as references where applicable (but beware using them as the sole source for establishing some controversial point, per WP:PSTS).

But again, overall the revised article is much much better than the old. These are minor concerns, but ones that we should address. --Flex (talk/contribs) 15:11, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Actually Flex, I don't think there's much disagreement, except over matters tangential to the topic of the article. Thanks for your kind comment. Btw, though, I myself am not satisfied the article is adequate. I still wish to address feedback I sought from a Messianic Jewish pastor. Although a very small group, MJ more than anyone face this issue head-on, being both Jewish and Christian in their own view of things, which angers many Jews and is something of a difficulty for Catholic theology. They feel equally persecuted by Jews and Christians, while committed to, but excluded by, both groups! But turning to your comments.

Regarding sources. Primary sources are a problem either when people interpret them differently, or when editors treat them with special authority which is inconsistant with professional criticism. Wiki policy exists to protect from situations like:

  • George Bush claiming Iran and North Korea are part of an "axis of evil." — Primary source needing secondary comment, because primary source expresses a POV.
  • John 1:1 in the Bible is interpreted by Jehovah's Witnesses as saying Jesus is a god, but by everyone else as saying Jesus is God. — Primary source that is potentially ambiguous needing expert interpretation.

Firstly, quoting church fathers is not actually quoting primary sources, they are secondary. The New Testament is the primary source. What do the church fathers talk about? They discuss interpretation and application of the NT. Why do people read them? To learn how Christians understood the NT at that point in history. Culture and language were much closer to the NT and sometimes give insights modern scholars cannot hope to recover any other way. The whole point of quoting the fathers is to protect Wikipedia from a reading of the New Testament (the primary source), based on modern Western biases (and believe me they are real). It has the additional advantage, in this case, of showing why supersessionism, historically, is a real issue, not just a nasty way of oversimplifying Christianity.

But, for the sake of argument, let's treat the church fathers as primary sources anyway. Quoting the early church fathers is still no problem in this particular case, because they are not ambiguous. All are quoted in translation, and the translators are cited. They were not translated by a Wiki editor. In other words, there already is a reliable secondary source cited. Additionally, what anyone says today about the views of the early church fathers is less reliable than what they themselves actually said. If someone told me Augustine believed in free will, I would not ask, "have you published that?", nor would I ask, "who has published that?", I would ask, "where does Augustine say that?" If you have to verify a person's opinion (rather than some other kind of fact), you ask them, or check what they've published.

This is very important, because in exactly the same way the church fathers are less reliable than the New Testament that they give an expert opinion on, regarding the New Testament's own opinion. In fact, it is pretty much the universal consensus of Atheist, Jewish and Protestant scholars that the church fathers were actually mistaken in their understanding. Even the Catholics struggle with this, because some don't like what the church fathers say, but traditional Catholic doctrine holds some of the fathers to be infallible, authoritative interpreters of the Bible. It is a primary Catholic doctrine held all the more precious because Protestants specifically condemned it.

Anyway, what that first section aims to achieve is like a series of "snapshots" representative of Christian views over 1,500 years. I deliberately chose the most famous Christian commentators who are most generally and highly regarded. I was personally surprised, and disappointed, to discover that supersessionism is, in fact, representative of the vast majority of Christianity throughout history. My study of modern Christian commentaries on the NT had biased me to expect better of the church fathers.

Now, the question for you is, is Alastair trying to make it look like Christians have always been supersessionist? Is he a Catholic biasing everything by concentrating on the great saints of the Church? Well, actually, nothing could be further from the truth. If I have a bias, it is the opposite to those. However, I was not attempting anything but to accurately reflect, as concisely and verifiably as possible 1,500 years of expert commentary ... and I think I did it in less that 250 words! Actually, it was easy for four reasons: 1. They all said the same thing! 2. They said it often. 3. They said it very clearly. 4. No modern interpreters of the church fathers dispute what they said on this subject. Most importantly it was easy because I found several dozen quotes in excellent sources that I cite in the External sources or Literature section.

To conclude this section. I hope you can now see how many levels of sources are involved (all of which are documented in the article) -- New Testament > Church Fathers > Translators > Modern Commentators. Augustine is interpreted, and secondary sources for that are cited. It's important (a Jewish friend told me) because persecution was (and is) real. Now you suggest the quotes be laid out without intermediate text, while suggesting the quotes might be a synthesis. But that's the whole point. Provide no connection and people can form whatever synthesis they like, that doesn't seem responsible. Especially when I've sourced appropriate little comments to help put the comments in perspective. Augustine is extremely important, not only is he the greatest theologian of the first millenium (common to Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant tradition), he is specifically considered restraining of anti-semitism. Anti-semitism is the sub-text of this article. In common usage, supersessionism is a euphemism for Christian anti-Semitism.

I'll stop there for now. The issues in this article are extremely deep and complex, and not all can be made explicit in the final text. General and special relativity would be similar in a science article. Perhaps its a deceptively simple topic, it actually requires a framework of understanding religious conflict that doesn't come by doing comparative religion 101. That's why some do whole degrees in the subject (and some do postgrad;).

I hope you enjoyed this essay. I'll get back to more of the copy-edit type issues a little later. I think you're a great copy-editor, I can see your reasoning, don't always agree, and only change where I feel subtleties of the theological issues are being obscured by the changes. Cheers. Alastair Haines 08:22, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

saving comment so far Alastair Haines 07:33, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

I forgot to get back to you on this. Will do ASAP. --Flex (talk/contribs) 18:56, 19 November 2007 (UTC)


Hi! I noticed the Dispensationalism section of this article has a lot of content, some of which overlaps and some of which doesn't overlap the Dispensationalism article. Suggest moving most of the Dispensationalism content to the Dispensationalism article and leave a relatively brief summary paragraph here. I don't feel competent to make such a move myself. Best, --Shirahadasha 01:48, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Hmm, I'll certainly think about trimming it. There was a lot of text under this section before I revamped the article. I don't like culling generally, but since you prompt, I'll give it a go.
Essentially the difficulty with this article is that modern conservative Protestants are not supersessionist, but they are only recent comers to Christianity, everyone else pretty much is or was supersessionist. One approach to the article would be to leave Protestant views out altogether, simply mentioning early on that Supersessionism is the name given by critics to a traditional Christian interpretation of the New Testament still (officially) held by the Roman Catholic Church.
This is an accurate but rather unpleasant way of dealing with the topic. It would be far from the truth to acuse modern Roman Catholics of anti-Semitism, yet that impression could be wrongly inferred from the shorter, sweeter definition.
The current structure of the article still reflects the methodology of the research I did to find reliable sources and cover the various POVs. In a month or two I expect to be back to rework some things on the basis of feedback I've had in personal communications.
Anyway, I suppose the questions to ask of each sentence in the dispensationalism section are:
  1. can a reader be expected to know this already?
  2. does it have a logical bearing on supersessionism?
Hence, details of millenial views are not relevant in this article, except to help the reader realise that some dispensationalists expect a literal 1,000 year period that involves a literal 144,000 Jews and that more metaphorical readings still involve a nation of Israel and/or the Jewish people.
So, yes, the dispensationalism section here is not an excuse for editors to flesh out the whole of that system. Alastair Haines 09:58, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Great job & suggestion[edit]

Hi, I just wanted to express my appreciation for the great job that has been done on this article, which is not an easy topic to write about.

One major area that still seems to be missing is the medieval Christian-Jewish debate, which has been preserved in dozens of primary texts, and on which there is a huge amount of scholarship. Though they did not use the actual term "supersessionism," the ideas reflected in these debates show clearly that the ideas discussed in this article were central both to the medieval church and to its relationship with the Jews.

In the future I may find time to add some of this, but if anyone else wants to go ahead in the meantime that would also be great. Dovi (talk) 07:05, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I got feedback from an expert on Messianic Judaism, and one suggestion that stood out was similar -- include something about anti-Semitism. I know medieval Spain in particular has some awful tales to tell.
I think the issue here is that to modern Protestants, supersessionism is an apt theological term for pretty much all Christian commentary on the New Testament view of itself up until the Protestant Reformation c. 1500. It is something explicitly denied as a valid reading of the NT by Protestants. Protestants are actually willing to use the word because they are against supersessionism. But even when they use it, it refers strictly to a theological conception, not pogroms that may have appealed to it as a quasi justification.
Modern Catholics, on the other hand, do not seem to use the term. Probably because they would be self-consciously against anti-Semitism, however, they are, strictly speaking, bound to upholding the theology of supersessionism -- the Catholic church is the only valid representation of the community of God's people in their thinking. And good for them! Especially if this is not held as a doctrine of superiority or a license to persecute, which in modern Catholicism is certainly not the case.
Hence, in Christian usage, supersessionism is a negative way of describing a view of what the NT may imply. It is used where people disagree with that interpretation, and avoided where people theoretically accept it.
Now, on the other hand, Jews, practical people as always, do not separate theory from practice, and also have complete freedom to criticise Christianity. Irrespective of anti-Semitic practices, Christianity is based on arguments from 1st century Judaism (or a corruption of it), which means Jews, absolutely must be the first point of contact in a historical criticism of Christian theology. As supersessionism is all about a view of this transition of Chty out of Jism, this Jewish perspective is all the more important.
But the point is, in Jewish usage, not surprisingly, there is great freedom to use the term supersessionism to refer quite broadly to "any and all Christian views that express their self-perception of replacing Judaism and Jews and so making them redundant; and to any and all historical activity (especially genocidal) that has been justified by the aforementioned views."
So, the question is, which definition of supersessionism should the article take as primary? Or are they equal in weight? Which is more notable? Do we need a disambiguation approach and a content fork -- Supersessionism (theology), Supersessionism (anti-Semitism)?
Personally, I'm inclined (and may be biased) to think of supersessionism theologically. Anti-semitism is a historical reality and needs additional treatment in the abstract, regarding motivations and justifications. Sadly, Christians are not the only people who have persecuted Jews, the Tanakh itself contains records of anti-Semitism, and the Seleucids and Romans were pretty anti-Semitic when they had the opportunity. However, Christians have co-existed with Jews for 2,000 years in Europe and, with the excuse or prompting of misunderstandings of the NT have persecuted their Jewish neighbours. Is there a name for this specifically "Christian" persecution of Jews? Well, in Jewish terminology, supersessionism is a very powerful and accurate catch-all for this phenomenon.
I'm torn, Dovi, I want the (as I believe) wrong-headed theology dealt with separately to the abomnable practices and their pathetic attempt at self-justification. Don't get me wrong, I want us to document the link I'm sure writers have made between them, but I don't think we can make that link definitive of Wiki presentation.
Two separate things exist in history -- a certain view of NT teaching, and social persecution of Jews -- the two are connected, but here's the point, they are more loosely connected in fact, and in Christian academic writing, than the use of the same word supersessionism for each entity would lead the casual reader to suppose.
Anyway, that's a long answer, I know you to be a patient person Dovi. Please, please, please teach me more about the horrors of anti-Semitism perpetrated in the name of Christianity. Document it at this article. That way not only I, but many can learn. And yes, let's accept that such things are called, in Jewish writing especially, supersessionism, by association with the presumed or explicit use of the theological concept to justify them. I just hope you can see my point, that a 12th century Spaniard, Frenchman or Englishman who persecuted his Jewish neighbour, probably did so out of classic racist/cultural/superstitious fear, or social/moral/financial jealousy. From a Christian perspective, I feel the need to be a little protective, because Christianity is abused when misinterpreted and used as an excuse for attrocities. It's a version of the "religion only leads to wars" argument. Saddam Hussein used the rhetoric of Islam to justify and promote his own anti-Semitism, while persecuting Islamic minorities in his own country!
I'll stop. Please go ahead, I trust you absolutely. I've seen your wisdom in many edits and comments. And I want to see more writing from you! Alastair Haines (talk) 10:16, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Wow... Actually, I don't think this article should be about anti-Semitism, and I suppose there are already probably plenty of WP articles about that. But the article already states, and you seem to agree (actually you probably wrote it yourself in the article) that whatever may be the case today, these ideas were very central in the middle ages. What I do think would be fascinating, and also directly relevant to the article, is how these ideas were stated in the middle ages, in what contexts, and what arguments or prooftexts were used both by those who believed them and those who denied them. Dovi (talk) 13:09, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for reading it all Dovi. Sorry to hit you with a wall of text. I'm not surprised you understand the point easily. I'm kind of surprised by my own sensitivity here.
Anyway, I did write a lot of the current revision, and although I'm convinced that the sources are clear that supersessionism is unambiguously articulated for 15 hundred years of Christianity, they don't suggest it is "central". Christianity centrally defines itself in relation to God, Jesus, the world and scriptures, not in relation to Judaism. It is only when it encounters Judaism that it has to consider what approach to take regarding it.
I do expect we may be able to find middle ages theologians who expressed a supersessionist view coupled with anti-Semitism. I'd love to know what Thomas Aquinas might have said. Sadly, Vatican archives are most likely to prove most fruitful, both Christianity and Judaism being strong in Italy well into the Renaissance.
As a general rule, I'd be looking for political documents to research this question. State sanctioned persecution justified by rudimentary theology is probably what we can find. Theologians, I imagine, would not typically feel the need to recommend persecution.
It's a funny thing Dovi, I've come to share a concern that anti-Semitism be identified for what it is and documented. My understanding of Christianity leads me to identify with Jews, to celebrate the depth of character and brilliance of their enduring family, and to mourn with them the unthinkable tragedies perpetrated on them. I do not presume to be accepted as an adopted member by this family, but I desire to act as though I were.
I'm a tad busy atm, but if you don't beat me to it, I want to track down some sources to share with you. My heart is in this project. I guess that's what your "wow" was responding to. ;) Alastair Haines (talk) 14:31, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Main Players Left Out[edit]

Shouldn't the article include something about Mike Bloomfied and Al Kooper? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:01, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

I take it this is some cryptic joke related to Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper? Alastair Haines (talk) 09:57, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Is there a record in the Guiness Book of Records for the person who was slowest to get a joke. 'Cause perhaps I should be documented there. Just now I worked out this is a reference to the Super Session album. ROFL! Alastair Haines (talk) 05:41, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Eastern Orthodox perspective[edit]

Does anyone have the Eastern Orthodox and/or Oriental Orthodox perspective on this matter? Would someone be able to add a section discussing this to the article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Deusveritasest (talkcontribs) 07:10, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

I did attempt to explain why Eastern Orthodox views were not treated in detail under Other views.
Eastern Orthodoxy has a high view of the Church on Earth, like Catholicism, and a high view of the role of the Spirit in the life of the believer, (rather than the letter of the law) like Pentacostalism.
A high view of the Spirit means less concern over one law replacing another, but a deep concern over personal response to Jesus' himself. I'm not sure the question of replacement comes into this area of Orthodox thinking.
On the other hand, a high view of the Church on Earth will mean, like Catholicism, Orthodoxy is fairly committed to viewing itself as a replacement for Israel.
It is precisely the fact that Protestants view church as co-operating local gatherings, rather than a monolithic institution, that makes it possible for them to view relationship with God in non-institutional terms. Protestantism can assert Jewish relationship with God, without asserting the nation of Israel to have such a relationship, and without compromising the relationship they understand their many own local gatherings (churches) to have with God.
I think I alluded vaguely to this feature of Protestantism, but didn't go into details, because it's not the topic of the article. Also, there is so little literature on supercessionism I couldn't back this comment with sources.
I'm sorry, I think I could explain things more, but it's not worth it, if I can't back it with sources, it will slowly (or quickly) get edited away. But, for the talk page, I'm happy to say: "the higher the view of a denomination on the theological place of the institution of the Church, the more likely it is that they will also assume (perhaps without knowing) that the Church replaces ancient Israel in God's plans." Alastair Haines (talk) 10:21, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

French and German[edit]

Replacement or Subsititution theology are important synonyms for Supercessionism. Arguably they are actually better terms. Since they are the normal term in French and German, I think it is worth noting other language use as part of Etymology, or retitling the section to incorporate other language usage. Readers will not necessarily know or think to check the other languages section of the page.

Spanish and Slovene both use the same words, either Replacement or Substitution. My guess would be that there is no equivalent to supercessionism in any other language, it is completely idiosyncratic to English, based on an English mistaken use of Latin now long accepted in the language.

Both from a world-wide and from a historical perspective, Supercessionism is a problematic term. It is an exclusively English, recent term for an old idea, never used in modern English by any group to describe their own POV. The generic idea of Replacement Theology seems much more amenable to NPOV encyclopedic treatment imo.

Moving the page would be ideal, however, at the very least, some reference to teh consistency of other language terminology should be restored to the article, unless the existence of the other language Wiki articles is not considered sufficient verification of the point. Alastair Haines (talk) 12:42, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

I deleted that bit because, as you note, plenty of other languages use the term too and listing just French and German seems arbitrary. My vote is for renaming the page and replacing "supersessionism" with "replacement theology" throughout. Then the etymology section could almost go away since "supersessionism" would merely be a synonym at the top, not be the focus of the article, and the foreign language links would be naturally represented. --Flex (talk/contribs) 13:27, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

I'll be back[edit]

I unwatched this page a long time ago and notice now that discussion wasn't really complete. Regarding the discussion above, the point of including French and German is not to provide an exhaustive listing of comparable terms in other languages, but rather a representative one. Representative examples are arbitrary, but they are still representative.

E.g.: "He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language." — William Shakespeare

French and German are not entirely arbitrary, though anyway, they are languages that: (a) are written in a script that English readers can understand without transliteration and (b) use forms of the words substitution and theology that are also recognisable. Other languages also calque "substitution theology", but not so obviously (like Spanish).

Finally, regarding the above, supersessionism does appear to be the most common form of the term, in English. It also has the advantage of being more precise—suggesting that the grounds for replacement involve "something better". "Snail mail" has been superseded, not merely replaced by email. On the other hand, the NPOV says that Obama has replaced Bush as president, not superseded him.

I am currently starting a Wiki break so I'll come back to this later. Despite there being some changes I'd consider to be worthwhile at the article, there are key clarifying concepts that have been removed, and there is some labouring of PsOV under certain headings. The former need restoring and the latter need pruning. Additionally, I never completed research on the topic, since key questions remains unanswered: when did the word enter the literature, who was using it for what purpose, does that usage have a history of debate associated with it.

At the moment, the article suffers dreadfully from being a "name calling" exercise. It's all very well to have an article on Industrialisation, for example, and say these countries are industrialised and these other ones aren't; however, that sort of thing is worse than a bad etymology, it suits a list rather than a prose article—list of industrialised societies. What is needed, especially the more abstract an idea, is clear definition and literature review. Often etymology and usage are helpful in clarifying definition, and examples can be helpful too.

But the bottom line is it needs to be clearly presented whether supersessionism is mainly a name Christians use for forms of their own theology positively, or whether it is a name used by critics of a certain feature of Christian theology. These are two quite different usages. Is this article supposed to be a presentation of an essential part of Christian theology (according to several denominations within it) as some editors believed who placed it on a Christian nav template? Or is it an article outlining a notable line of criticism of Christianity? It can be both, and imo needs to be, but the distinction needs clear articulation to make it possible.

Ultimately this article is likely to remain in incomplete form until some important information is researched in libraries, but in the interim, the article needs to be structured so as to make it clear where that information is absent. That encourages readers to join in the work.

There may be some other questions readers could be seeking answers to in visiting an article with this title. Anticipating and addressing these without compromising systematic presentation could lead to some interesting and clarifying discussion. But such discussion is necessary, before removing verified or verifiable text and steps in the logical structure of revisions of the article. Alastair Haines (talk) 02:36, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Hi, Alastair. Your comments here on the term supersessionism seem at odds with your comments above where you say it "is a problematic term. It is an exclusively English, recent term for an old idea, never used in modern English by any group to describe their own POV." etc. Here you advocate keeping it. Have you had a change of heart?
I still think giving the terms from other languages are superfluous. Better would be to add a simple note in English that substitution theology is what it is called in other languages.
As for my recent reversion, I did that because the material you copy-and-pasted from an old version of the article had been retained but developed and rearranged since your last contribution. In Wiki-fashion, you should start from this new baseline that I and others have worked on rather than reverting to a rather old version of the same text that we sought to improve. --Flex (talk/contribs) 14:49, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
It is always worth separating concepts from words when looking at what the topic of an article actually is. Generally, encyclopedias index concepts utilizing words, whereas dictionaries disambiguate words utilizing definitions of concepts.
In the case at hand, I think we agree that the article needs to address the concept of one way of looking at the fundamental relationship between Mosaic and New Testament Covenants. I think we also agree that the name/label/title we use to index this ought to be whatever is most common in English language publication addressing the concept. We even agree that this name is probably "Supercessionism".
There are two important problems, neither of which is fatal. Firstly, publication on the topic goes back to the New Testament itself and involves sources that do not use any of the labels "Supercessionism", "Substitution" or "Replacement". This is not a problem because secondary sources connect the dots for us. However, there is a caveat. These secondary sources interpret the primary sources to greater or lesser extents according to particular PsOV. That's OK too, so long as it is noted appropriately.
But the POV factor raises the second problem. The concept behind Supercessionism (or whatever we call it) is actually, at heart, exclusively a Christian issue. It is one way of viewing the relationship between the New Testament Covenant and those which preceded it. This is a question for Christians, but not for Hindus (to choose an extreme example). In fact, there are probably four main perspectives on the "Supercession" view of the covenants: a third-party (neutral) view—available to atheists, agnostics, Buddhists and any non-Christian or non-Jewish party; a second-party view—available to Jewish believers faithful to the Mosaic covenant; and two first-party views—Christians that accept and those that reject the "Supercession" description of the relationship between the covenants.
The problem here is that first party perspectives do not generally present the relationship between the covenants as though this is a key "axiom" of Christianity. Rather, when they speak of it, it is an implication of more fundamental systematic theology. Calvin's covenant theology and dispensationalism were designed to address a "bigger picture" than the place of the Mosaic covenant, and were certainly not designed to address the question of the current status of those committed to the Mosaic covenant to the exclusion of the NT.
On the other hand, supercessionism is a pretty accurate description of an element of some Christian views that Jewish people note correctly leaves no room for harmonisation. But the point here is that I could accurately describe Flex as a Wikipedian, because that is what is important about him from my perspective; however, there are at least two other, both probably more important descriptions of Flex—his own perspective of his full self and his full set of responsibilities, passions and priorities; and the perspective of a third party familiar with the full range of Flex' social interactions.
To draw everything back together again. This article (not every article at Wiki) has a special difficulty of competing principles. This is because proper treatment requires contextualisation, so the relevant aspects of Jewish-Christian relations are clear to the reader. Supercessionism is a word that implies a Jewish microscope being brought to bear on a Christian theory arising from NT texts. And there's nothing wrong with that! It's just that NPOV requires we recognize it and privelege neither side, nor try to harmonize their differences.
Do Christians believe the New Covenant provides an additional way to God, or that it is the only way to God, or that it's somewhat more complicated than that? That question is interesting from first, second and third person perspectives.
Back to practicalities. I saw that the Church Fathers had been incorporated lower in the article so didn't revert you. But once I'm back after a month's break, I'll rework the whole text so previous sourced text and logic are restored. I'll retain all changes I think are improvements or merely matters of taste. However, since there is no documentation at this page showing revisions away from previous text have been discussed to consensus, I'll continue to "flag" past revisions until we do achieve consensus regarding a new one.
On a topic as complex and deep as the current one, I think we need to be very realistic that a "final form" is likely to require a lot of discussion; and that on a topic somewhat "off the beaten track" participation levels are likely to be low and so progress slow. At the moment, there is the real possibility of progress, because there are only two parties to discussion—you and I. If we can agree, we move forward, if we can't, we don't. That seems like an incentive for agreeing as far as I can see. :) Alastair Haines (talk) 05:30, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Reformation and Enlightenment[edit]

There was a tendency during the Reformation to view Protestantism as a kind of replacement to medieval Catholicism. Protestants call themselves Reformed, which in some ways implies that Catholics are Un-reformed. And too, as a consequence of the Enlightenment, some advocates of secularism tend to view irreligion as a definitive substitute for religion, in a methodology that was summed up in Comte's positivism. ADM (talk) 06:47, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

"Fulfillment theology" circa 1899-1930[edit]

I found this reference to fulfillment theology as a view that all religions (other than Christianity) are preparation for Christianity. In this meaning it is to contrast the Christian presence approach. This concept doesn't seem to be part of this article and I can't find the concept on Wikipedia. Have I missed something? Comments please. Alatari (talk) 05:06, 17 November 2009 (UTC) Here is another usage which seems to have the same meaning. Alatari (talk) 05:08, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

What I've done with the Bible quotes[edit]

Looking at the Bible quotes section, I realized that although the links lead to the New International Version of the text, the text on the Wikipedia page itself is from some other unnamed source. Because it seems generally a bad idea to have quotes from an unnamed and possibly copyrighted version without proper citation, I thought it best to replace all such quotes with text from the World English Bible. I have not picked this text because I find it superior (indeed, it is in my opinion a mediocre translation), but because it's the only public domain translation out there to for quoting. If someone wants to replace this version with another, that's fine by me, as long as 1) the source is cited, and 2) it is posted in accordance with U.S. copyright law. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mitchell Powell (talkcontribs) 04:34, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Some possible problems with wording in this article[edit]

This paragraph reads: "In the view of Calvin, and those who follow him, the first is a covenant between God the Father and God the Son and states that the Son would be the ruler of a people he would personally redeem. Covenant Theology deliberately views the rescue of humanity as part of God's plan, prior even to creating the world. This idea is as objectionable to some Christians, as it is loved by others, its most common name being predestination. A key New Testament passage is Romans 9, which also deals with the place of Israel." As I read it, this passage seems to imply that a large majority of Christians object to the concept of God planning to rescue humanity. I think what they're really objecting to is the notion that God personally chooses people for heaven or hell on the basis of nothing they do, but only on his "good pleasure." So I think this paragraph needs to be rewritten some way or another, preferably by someone more familiar with Calvinist thought than myself.

A little later is this sentence: "A natural misunderstanding of Dispensationalism sees the covenant of Sinai (dispensation #5) to have been replaced by the gospel (dispensation #6)." There are two possibilities here. First, that no one believes that the covenant of Sinai has been thus replaced. If this is true, this statement and the accompanying verbage shouldn't be in the article. If, on the other hand, a significant group within Christianity do believe that this replacement ocurred, we shouldn't just brush off their belief as a "natural misunderstanding" any more than we should brush off the dispensational as a "natural misunderstanding" or "gross oversimplification" of how God works through the ages. Mitchell Powell (talk) 04:56, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Request to add "Mormon" theology[edit]

I would love it if someone could add the views of the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) to this article, I think they have a unique viewpoint on this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:25, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Roman Catholicism[edit]

I've removed the following from the start of the Roman Catholicism section; while it might have a place on the Roman Catholic Church page, it doesn't really belong in this article:

"In contrast to Protestantism, has an intricate formal system of checks and balances on biblical interpretation. In an effort to safeguard reliability, it provides a hierarchy of sources, stretching from the absolute authority of the Bible and ex cathedra papal declarations, through approved Church Fathers, right down to authorized, active theological researchers. In this way, Catholicism seeks to serve its members with trustworthy official positions on biblical issues."

Sir rupert orangepeel (talk) 11:41, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Interesting that all the links are "opposing supersessionism." Maybe pro voices could be found ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:33, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

I agree. All five of the external links lead to sites that oppose Supersessionism/Covenant theology. It really needs to be more balanced. — Confession0791 talk 01:18, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

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Isn't the word supersessionism just a pejorative that dispensationalists use to describe Covenantalism?
I know of no Covenant theologian or Reformed Christian who refers to themselves as a "Supersessionist" nor a "Replacement Theologian". --Confession0791 talk 19:01, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Got any wikipedia:reliable sources for this view point? (talk) 02:32, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Law and Gospel link[edit]

Should the Law and Gospel link point somewhere else? Possibly to Dual-covenant theology? I don't understand why it links where it does.

-- TimNelson (talk) 03:36, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Law and Gospel is the traditional Lutheran view on this subject, and has nothing to do with a dual-covenant. — Confession0791 talk 04:34, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

What does supersessionism say about Torah commandments?[edit]

The Torah includes, by Jewish count, 613 commandments. Christians consider some of them, e.g. "do not murder", to continue to be commandments, but others, e.g. "do not eat pig flesh", are dispensed with. Does supersessionism say that commandments such as "do not eat pig flesh" are superseded through Jesus Christ, and if so, does supersessionism tell Christians how to determine which of the 613 commandments have been superseded and which are still binding? Whether or not this is an element of supersessionism, I think this article should address this.

Also, under "Jewish View" I don't think it is correct to claim that from a Jewish perspective the Torah will never be added to. For example, there is a body of Jewish law on how to light the hanukiah (menorah) that obviously did not exist until the events of the 2nd century BCE. The Hagaddah has grown over the centuries and there have been numerous changes and additions to daily prayer requirements since the Torah. So some clarification, diversity of views, and citations would be helpful here. —Anomalocaris (talk) 02:16, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Which of the 613 laws still apply, if any, is discussed under Christian views on the Old Covenant. (talk) 19:07, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Suggestion to add settings for an archive bot to work[edit]

|archiveheader = {{aan}}
|maxarchivesize = 200K
|counter = 1
|minthreadsleft = 10
|minthreadstoarchive = 1
|algo = old(90d)
|archive = Talk:Supersessionism/Archive  %(counter)d

This might clear out dead discussions and improve accessibility.

Wikipedia provides some reasonably clear Talk page guidelines. One of the sections within the guidelines concerns: When to condense pages. It says: "It is recommended to archive or refactor a page either when it exceeds 75 KB, or has more than 10 main sections". At the point of this edit the page contained a no where near excessive 60 KB Gregkaye (talk) 14:27, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ The Associated Press, 'Mason drops lawsuit vs. Jews for Jesus', USA Today 5 December, 2006.