Apr 15, 2022
Wes Howard-Brook is a retiring instructor of New Testament at Seattle University. He is an author of several books, including Come Out My People, John’s Gospel & The Renewal of the Church, and his most recent book Empire Baptized: How the Church Embraced What Jesus Rejected (2nd - 5th centuries). He co-leads Abide with Me with his life partner Sue Ferguson Johnson. They have led a weekly Bible study for 11 years.
We invited Wes on the podcast as a follow up to our previous talk with Amy-Jill Levine, who encourages Christians to stop using the Passion of John as part of the Good Friday liturgy and who discourages Christians from using “Judeans” instead of “the Jews” in trying to correct anti-semitisim in the text. Wes is a proponent of using “Judeans.” Since Katie brought his name up in her talk with AJ, it seemed like giving him space to speak for himself would be the right thing to do.
This is a difficult topic - Christians addressing anti-semitism in tradition, teaching, and text. Scholars will not agree on how to accomplish this, but pastors and Christians in the pews all need to take the necessary time to think about the language we use and consider how it has been utilized to harm people through history and how antisemitism continues to worm its way into language, thinking, and practice. To be good Christians we cannot rest on denigrating other people and their identities.