Original Research - Special Collection: UP Faculty of Theology Centenary Volume One

Jewish fish (ΙΧΘΥΣ) in post-supersessionist water: Messianic Judaism within a post-supersessionistic paradigm

Joel Willitts
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3331 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3331 | © 2016 Joel Willitts | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 January 2016 | Published: 19 August 2016

About the author(s)

Joel Willitts, Department of Biblical and Theological Studies, North Park University, Chicago, IL, USA; Department of New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa, United States

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This article defines, explains and argues for the necessity of a post-supersessionistic hermeneutical posture towards the New Testament. The post-supersessionistic reading of the New Testament takes the Jewish nature of the apostolic documents seriously, and has as its goal the correction of the sin of supersessionism. While supersessionism theologically is repudiated in most corners of the contemporary church through official church documents, the practise of reading the New Testament continues to exhibit supersessionistic tendencies and outcomes. The consequence of this predominant reading of the New Testament is the continued exclusion of Jewish ethnic identity in the church. In light of the growing recognition of multiculturalism and contextualisation on the one hand, and the recent presence of a movement within the body of Messiah of Jewish believers in Jesus on the other, the church’s established approach to reading Scripture that leads to the elimination of ethnic identity must be repudiated alongside its post-supersessionist doctrinal statements. This article defines terms, explains consequences and argues for a renewed perspective on the New Testament as an ethnic document; such a perspective will promote the church’s cultivation of real embodied ethnic particularity rather than either a pseudo-interculturalism or the eraser full ethnicity.


Jewish fish; ΙΧΘΥΣ; Messianic Judaism; Post-supersessionistic; Post-supersessionism


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