, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
So, if you mean as Empire, I'm with you.

But I see a lot of replies using the word "Pharisees," which a) weren't Jesus' opponent, he *was* a Pharisee having intra-communal debates w/his own people and b) if that's what was meant, it's an antisemitic dog whistle!

1/x thread
The Pharisees were the ancestors to Rabbinic Judaism-what we do now. Jesus was a Jew arguing with his fellow Jews about the future of Judaism and that word has been used to murder & expel us for centuries--Inquisitions, pogroms, expulsions, the Holocaust, you name it.
Can you hear the diff bw me (a Conservative rabbi) critiquing something in the Conservative movement & an Orthodox Jew saying that Conservative Jews aren't valid? Or of a Christian person saying that all Jews, are bad?
Jesus re: Pharisees was most analogous to the 1st of those.
And in addition to being inaccurate, when you use it as an insult you reinforce antisemitism. Like how kids saying “that’s so gay” is a problem viz homophobia even if they don’t directly intend it that way.
Also, when people use "Pharisee" to describe what someone horrible is doing, it implies that Jewish law somehow condones that thing (since Rabbinic Judaism came from the Pharisaic tradition historically). And I will tell you, in the cases I've see it used? Jewish law does NOT.
Also ironically a Christian telling someone they suck because they are being a Pharisee has the added bonus of potentially insulting a Pharisee they hope to emulate.
Now, if you can't see how Jews throughout history have been painted by Christians as being "polluted, sick, predatory, power-hungry, hypocritical" then you need to learn something more about history. Which is why the original tweet concerns me.
Here's the antisemitism explainer, which I probably should put here.
Hate crimes against Jews are up. By 37%, according to the FBI in November. They're up across the board, yes, but only by 17%. There is a disproportionate rise in antisemitism. We make up only 1.4% of the US population.
Our synagogues and even offices are being covered with swastikas. People are beating us up in the street. Our graveyards are being desecrated. There was a massacre in synagogue. Inflammatory rhetoric and dog whistles contribute to this climate.
So, you really really really really have to learn a lot about halakha before you make this tired old misleading point that, yes, has been also used to bolster antisemitism.
OK, and here's a thread about Jewish law to address all of you who want to use the word "legalistic" to talk about the Pharisees. Please know that the q in the first tweet is rhetorical. Don't answer it. Read the damn thread.
For those of you asking what Jesus was critiquing and how that might have landed in that time and place, this might help:

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