Barbara Brown Taylor 's Intentions Here Are Admirable Essay

Barbara Brown Taylor 's Intentions Here Are Admirable Essay

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Although I wish to assume Barbara Brown Taylor’s intentions here are admirable, I find A Tale of Two Heretics adds to the anti-Jewish negativity rather than detracts from it. Throughout the rest of her sermon, she seemingly presents the Pharisees as legalizers who are incapable of witnessing God’s covenantal plan. Firstly, she does so by presenting the Pharisees as callous individuals who are less concerned with the healing of the blind man and more concerned with the blind man’s potential sin. Taylor juxtaposes the Pharisees inquisition with the blind man’s miraculous healings with the result being the blind man’s expulsion from the community. Taylor represents the Pharisees as arrogant, blind leaders who deem the former blind man to be a heretic. Taylor even plays into a common euphemism concerning the Jewish people: “A nobody from nowhere who was blind until about forty-five minutes ago has just told the board of elders that they could not see God if God bit them on the nose…They rise to their full height in front of him, look down their ‘unbitten noses’ and declare him to be a heretic.” After committing this egregious trope, Barbara Brown Taylor introduces Jesus as another heretic who the legalistic Pharisees despise. According to our author, the former blind man recognizes Jesus as not only his healer, but also the Son of Man who comes from God. By this admonition, Taylor represents the blind man as defying the system for the sake of conversion. “It happens, instead, outside the bounds of religious society, in complete defiance of its rules, as one heretic confesses faith in another.”
My second critique of Taylor revolves around her attempt to separate the Pharisees from the rest of the Jewish community. Taylor suggests ...


... middle of paper ...


...raging all to recognize Israel’s purpose to be a light to all other nations. Jesus believes he is the Good Shepherd who represents a Gospel for the salvation of the Gentiles. Jesus, as a Jew, does not encourage an us-versus-them mentality with his own people. Instead, Jesus upholds the Law and is partaking in a rabbinic normative conversation surrounding the interpretation of the Law. We recognize based on John 9 that God is actively working to include both Jews and Gentiles into God’s kingdom so that all may see the light and avoid blindness. This being the case, Barbara Brown Taylor should reconsider her sermon title to be A Tale of Two Shepherds: The Pharisees and Jesus collectively working towards God’s redemptive plan. But for this to take place, she must acknowledge the context of the passage and work against an already assumed Johannine anti-Jewish theology.

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