The Gospel of John is not unique in representing Jesus as performing miracles, but the way that John uses signs to point to Jesus’s Christological identity stands out among the canonical gospels. In John, when Jesus is called χριστός—Christ, messiah—it is often in the context of a sign being performed. However, the relationship between Jesus’s signs in John and his depiction as messiah is curious, since most early Jewish texts that describe messiahs focus on other characteristics: their ability to defeat enemies, their royal lineage, or their priestly characteristics, for example. Nonetheless, there are brief references to other examples of ancient Jews considered to be messiahs who are likewise associated with miraculous events, for example, Theudas and “the Egyptian.” Given that signs are also used to point to false prophets and evil beings in other texts that depict Jesus as Christ, this paper explores the connection between the signs in John and the Gospel’s messianic Christology.
Rigorous scholarship relies on evidence. But in the case of Jews in antiquity, absence of evidence has often been taken to be evidence of absence. An abundance of caution has frequently meant the erasure of Jews from antiquity. Using the test case of a tombstone from Roman Britain, I suggest that a methodology of imagination can be helpful in making sure Jews in antiquity are not invisible.
The film Mary Magdalene (2018) has been praised for its focus on one of Jesus’ most overlooked followers. But the film includes subtly negative depictions of Jewishness as well as problematic depictions of Black characters. Despite the film’s stated attempts to reflect first-century contexts, cinematic decisions reinforce harmful stereotypes about Judaism and about Black men. Viewing the film in light of historical Christian-feminist anti-Judaism on the one hand, and on the other, the figure of the ‘Karen’, a white woman who polices the presence and behaviour of Black people, this article investigates the ways in which Mary Magdalene is characterized in line with white feminism, and as such, the ways in which this white Mary is weaponized against Jews and Black people.