26 June 2020 Passing of Jimmy Dunn, scholar of Jesus, Paul and Jewish Disciples of Yeshua #otdimjh

Does the 'New Perspective' muddy the waters?” James Dunn Responds ...

I well remember my first encounter with the work of Jimmy Dunn, on “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” (SCM Press, 1970). I was a young Jewish disciple of Yeshua, studying theology, and looking for a clear and detailed understanding of the Charismatic movement I was encountering amongst my Christian friends and how to interpret this in the light of the New Testament. As I read this sympathetic and deeply scholarly account of the teaching of Yeshua and practice of the early ekklesia I warmed to Dunn’s academic depth, encouraging tone, and general support for what was going on around me.

A Review of “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” by James D.G. Dunn ...

Later Dunn produced “The Parting of the Ways Between Christianity and Judaism and their Significance for the Character of Christianity” (1991, 2nd ed. 2006) in which he noted the significance of contemporary Messianic Jews:

The Partings of the Ways: Between Christianity and Judaism and ...

The parting of the ways was more between mainstream Christianity and Jewish Christianity than simply between Christianity as a single whole and rabbinic Judaism. Whether Jewish Christianity could or should have been retained within the spectrum of catholic Christianity is an important question which it may now be impossible to answer. Within two or three centuries it had ceased to be important anyway, once the Jewish Christian sects withered and died, presumably by absorption into rabbinic Judaism on the one side, and into catholic Christianity on the other, or just by the slow death of failure to regenerate. But it is a question which we need to address now with renewed seriousness in the light of the current phenomena of messianic Jews (Jews who believe in Jesus as Messiah) in north America and Israel.” (pp. 313-4)

Dunn’s scholarship over 50 years has stood the test of time. He pioneered, along with E P Sanders and N T Wright, what became known from his own original phrasing, the “New Perspective on Paul” (NPP), which gives a basis for contemporary Messianic Jewish faith and practice of Torah.

Jewish disciples of Yeshua and all who look to understand the Greek and Hebrew scripture are grateful for his life, learning and legacy, and will continue to study his work.

Prayer and Reflection.

Thank you, Lord, for the life and learning of this distinguished scholar, a man of intellect, integrity and deep humility. May we learn from his teaching, and grow in love and service for his Messiah, Yeshua. In his name we pray. Amen.

James Douglas Grant Dunn FBA (21 October 1939 – 26 June 2020), also known as Jimmy Dunn, was a British New Testament scholar, who was for many years the Lightfoot Professor of Divinity in the Department of Theology at the University of Durham. He worked broadly within the Protestant tradition.

Dunn was born on 21 October 1939 in Birmingham, England

He had the following degrees:

BSc Economics and Statistics at University of Glasgow class II Honours, 1961.
BD at University of Glasgow, 1964, with distinction.
PhD at University of Cambridge, 1968.
BD at University of Cambridge, 1976.
Dunn was licensed as a minister of the Church of Scotland in 1964. He was chaplain to overseas students at Edinburgh University in 1968-70.

In 1970, Dunn became a lecturer in divinity at the University of Nottingham and was promoted to reader (i.e. senior lecturer) in 1979. Whilst at Nottingham, he served as a Methodist local preacher.

He became professor of divinity at Durham University in 1982, and in 1990 became Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham. He retired in 2003, and was succeeded as Lightfoot Professor of Divinity by John M. G. Barclay.

For 2002, Dunn was the President of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, an international body for New Testament study. Only three other British scholars had been made President of the body in the preceding 25 years. In 2006 he became a Fellow of the British Academy.

In 2005 a festschrift was published dedicated to Dunn, comprising articles by 27 New Testament scholars, examining early Christian communities and their beliefs about the Holy Spirit in Christianity. In 2009 another festschrift was dedicated to Dunn for his 70th birthday, consisting of two forewords by N. T. Wright and Richard B. Hays and 17 articles all written by his former students who went on to have successful careers in either academic and ministerial fields around the world.

Dunn is especially associated with the New Perspective on Paul, along with N. T. Wright and E. P. Sanders.

Dunn took up Sanders’ project of redefining Palestinian Judaism in order to correct the Christian view of Judaism as a religion of works-righteousness. One of the most important differences to Sanders is that Dunn perceives a fundamental coherence and consistency to Paul’s thought. He furthermore criticizes Sanders’ understanding of the term justification, arguing that Sanders’ understanding suffers from an “individualizing exegesis”.




Dunn, James D. G. (1970). Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Studies in Biblical Theology Second Series. 15. London: SCM Press.
——— (1975). Jesus and the Spirit. London: SCM Press.
——— (1985). The Evidence for Jesus. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press. ISBN 978-0-664-24698-3.
——— (1980). Christology in the making: a New Testament inquiry into the origins of the doctrine of the incarnation. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press. ISBN 0-664-24356-8.
———, ed. (1986). The Kingdom of God and North East England. London: SCM Press. ISBN 0334008379.
——— (1988). Romans 1-8, 9-16. Waco, TX: Word Books. ISBN 0-8499-0252-5.
——— (1990). Jesus, Paul, and the Law: studies in Mark and Galatians. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 0-664-25095-5.
——— (1990). Unity and diversity in the New Testament: an inquiry into the character of earliest Christianity. London: SCM Press. ISBN 0-334-02436-6.
——— (1991). The Partings of the Ways between Christianity and Judaism and their Significance for the Character of Christianity. London: SCM Press. ISBN 0-334-02508-7.
——— (1993). The Epistle to Galatians. Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers. ISBN 1-56563-036-X.
——— (1993). Paul for Today. The Ethel M. Wood Lecture, 10 March 1993. London: University of London. ISBN 9780718711061. OCLC 877271473.
———; Suggate, Alan M. (1994). The justice of God: a fresh look at the old doctrine of justification by faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-0797-6.
——— (1996). The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: a commentary on the Greek text. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-2441-2.
——— (1996). The Acts of the Apostles. Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International. ISBN 9781563381928. OCLC 36519627.
——— (1998). The Theology of Paul the Apostle. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-3844-8.
———, ed. (2003). The Cambridge companion to St. Paul. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-78694-0.
———; Rogerson, John W., eds. (2003). Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-3711-5.
——— (2003). Christianity in the Making: Vol. 1, Jesus Remembered. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-3931-2.
——— (2005). A New Perspective On Jesus: What The Quest For The Historical Jesus Missed. Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. ISBN 0-8010-2710-1.
——— (2007). The New Perspective On Paul. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-4562-2.
——— (2008). Christianity in the Making: Vol. 2, Beginning from Jerusalem. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-3932-0.
——— (2009). The Living Word (second edition). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. ISBN 978-0-8006-6355-1.
——— (2010). Did the first Christians worship Jesus?. London – Louisville, KY: Society for promoting Christian knowledge. ISBN 978-0-281-05928-7.
——— (2011). Jesus, Paul, and the Gospels. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-6645-5.
——— (2013). The Oral Gospel Tradition. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-6782-7.
——— (2015). Christianity in the Making: Vol. 3, Neither Jew nor Greek: A Contested Identity. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-3933-6.

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21 May 2020 Passing of David Pawson, Bible Teacher and Friend of Israel #otdimjh

J. David Pawson (25 February 1930 – 21 May 2020) was an evangelical minister, writer and prominent Bible teacher based in the United Kingdom. I heard him speak and preach over many years, consistently encouraging Jewish disciples of Yeshua to affirm their Jewish identities in Yeshua, build Messianic congregations, and stand alongside their people. He was formative in the beginnings of the London Messianic Congregation in the UK, and was not afraid of taking the side of Israel in political debate and prophetic interpretation.


According to his autobiography, Pawson’s immediate ancestors were all farmers, Methodist preachers or both, dating back to John Pawson, a friend and follower of John Wesley. His father, Henry Cecil Pawson FRSE (1897–1978), was head of Agriculture at Durham University and Vice President of the Methodist conference. From his childhood in the north of England David Pawson had wanted to be a farmer, but by the time he had completed his studies for a BSc in Agriculture at Durham University, he felt God was calling him into full-time Christian ministry. He then studied for an M.A. in theology at Wesley House, Cambridge, and subsequently joined the Royal Air Force as a chaplain, serving in Aden.

After leaving the RAF he served as a Methodist minister, but became increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of infant baptism. After appearing before a doctrinal committee of the Methodist church, he volunteered to leave the denomination, and did so. Shortly thereafter he accepted an invitation to become the pastor of Gold Hill Baptist Church in Buckinghamshire.

Later, as pastor of Guildford Baptist Church (‘Millmead’, which he helped to design),he established a reputation among both evangelicals and charismatics as a Bible teacher. From here his teaching tapes – originally made for the church’s sick and elderly members – became popular worldwide. Under his ministry, Millmead became one of the largest Baptist churches in the United Kingdom.

Pawson left Millmead in 1979 and engaged in an itinerant worldwide Bible teaching ministry predominantly through seminars for church leaders in Asia, Australia, Africa, England, Europe, and the United States. Millions of copies of his teachings have been distributed in more than 120 countries. He was a writer and speaker with a reputation of urgency, clarity, and uncompromising faithfulness to the Scriptures. His extensive and very accessible overviews of the books of the Bible have been published and recorded in Unlocking the Bible, available on CDs, DVDs, and YouTube. He is widely considered to be one of the world’s finest biblical expositors. As of 2019, Pawson at 89 years of age had retired from public ministry. Pawson passed away on 21 May, 2020 at the age of 90.




In The Normal Christian Birth, Pawson argued that a biblical initiation into Christianity should involve more than the simple “Sinner’s Prayer”. Whilst accepting the fundamental basis of salvation by faith, he argued that the Biblical model of a person’s “birth” into God’s kingdom included aspects which are frequently ignored or forgotten today. He proposed four principal steps: repentance towards God; believing in Jesus, baptism in water and receiving the Holy Spirit. This, according to Pawson, is the biblical pattern for a “normal Christian birth”. According to the book itself, “David Pawson advocates a synthesis of the ‘liberal’ emphasis on repentance, the ‘evangelical’ on faith, the ‘sacramental’ on baptism and the ‘pentecostal’ on the Spirit.” This book has been influential and is taught at a number of theological seminaries and mission stations.

In “Leadership is Male”, he teaches that leadership is a role given by God to men. In so doing, he criticizes men for not taking proper responsibility in important aspects of family and church life. He argues that modern men too often neglect their social obligations and should return to the Biblical model of manhood. This book’s foreword was written by a woman, Elisabeth Elliot.

In “The Road to Hell”, Pawson is critical of Annihilationism, the teaching that the punishment of hell is not eternal. He teaches that people who go to hell experience eternal suffering. According to the book itself, by “challenging the modern alternatives of liberal ‘universalism’ and evangelical ‘annihilationism’, David Pawson presents the traditional concept of endless torment as soundly biblical.”

In “Unlocking the Bible”, Pawson presents a book by book study of the whole Bible. The book is based on his belief that the Bible should be studied, as it was written, “a book at a time” (certainly not a verse, or even a chapter at a time), and that each book is best understood by discovering why and for whom it was written. It is based on an arranged series of talks in which he set out the background, purpose, meaning and relevance of each book of the Bible, and was transcribed into written form by Andy Peck. The groundwork for this study was laid in the 1960s and 70s, when Pawson took his congregation through nearly half of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament line by line (recordings of those studies are still distributed).

In “When Jesus Returns”, he critically considers in the light of scripture the major views on eschatology popular in the church today, specifically the preterist, historicist, futurist and idealist schools of interpreting the Book of Revelation. He rejects postmillennialism in favour of a premillennial understanding of the Second Coming, so that Jesus will return bodily in power immediately before his reign over the world for a millennium from Jerusalem. He asserts that the supernatural taking up of believers alive at this time (following the ‘tribulation’ period of persecution), so as to join the returning Christ, fulfils the Rapture prophecies; he argues against a pre-tribulation timing of the rapture. He further argues that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land is a fulfilment of scriptural prophecy, and that prophecies spoken about Israel relate specifically to Israel (not to the church), so that the outstanding prophecies about Israel will be fulfilled before the end of the age.

In “Jesus Baptises in One Holy Spirit”, Pawson discusses the evidence for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as a separate event from believing, repentance and water baptism. He argues that a believer does not receive the indwelling Holy Spirit until s/he is baptized in the Spirit, a distinct experience evidenced by charismatic gifts such as prophecy or tongues. This differs from the evangelical view that the Spirit is automatically received when a person believes, and the Pentecostal view that receiving the indwelling Spirit (at conversion) and receiving the Baptism in the Spirit are two experiences with different purposes.

In “The Challenge of Islam to Christians”, Pawson documents the present rapid rise of Islam in the West. He explains what Islam is, arguing that its rejection of Jesus Christ’s divinity mean the two faiths cannot be reconciled, and he proposes a Christian response, based on the church purifying itself. The book details Pawson’s testing of his premonition that Britain would become Islamic. In comparing the situation to that portrayed by the Hebrew prophet Habakkuk, Pawson implies that the rise of Islam could be impending judgement for the immorality into which Western churches and secular humanist society has sunk.

In “Once Saved, Always Saved?”, Pawson uses scripture to question the frequent evangelical claim that someone who has once believed in Jesus Christ will end up with Christ in heaven whatever that person subsequently believes or does. (Twelve years earlier, another evangelical, RT Kendall, summed up this claim in a book having the same title without a question mark.) Pawson points to the need to persevere in faith, and to the repeated exhortations in scripture to do so.

In “Word and Spirit Together: Uniting Charismatics and Evangelicals” (a revision of “Fourth Wave”), Pawson calls for an end to the division between charismatic and Evangelical Christians over the issue of Spiritual Baptism and charismatic gifts. He argues that the charismatic gifts are for the church today but that their practice should be built on a solid scriptural basis. He therefore argues that the two groups should learn from each other, to the benefit of both.

In Defending Christian Zionism, Pawson puts the case that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land is a fulfilment of scriptural prophecy, and that Christians should support the existence of the Jewish State (although not unconditionally its actions) on theological grounds. He also argues that prophecies spoken about Israel relate specifically to Israel (not to the church, as in “replacement theology”). However he criticises Dispensationalism, a largely American movement holding similar views about Israel. Pawson’s book Israel in the New Testament continues the Christian Zionist theme.

Pawson wrote a number of Commentaries where he goes through an entire book of the Bible in detail. This series is based on the preaching of David Pawson to his congregation back in the 60s and 70s. This series, which includes almost all of the books of the New Testament Books and selected books of the Old Testament, is being added to on a regular basis.

Reflection and Prayer: My most recent meeting with David Pawson was at All Nations Christian College, where he had taught in the 1970s and I had invited him to speak to new generations of students. Always a compelling speaker, he challenged us all to be faithful to scripture and in ministry. His views on many subjects were controversial, especially on Israel and on Islam, but he was well-received and provided memorable encounters. At my last meeting, a year ago, we discussed his latest book, Defending Christian Zionism, and he was polite and firm on his position, a post-supersessionist reading of Scripture and a historic premillennial eschatology, which many British evangelicals have long since abandoned or failed to advocate so passionately and eloquently. His book is well worth reading!

Prayer: Thank you Lord for this faithful disciple of yours, and the lives he touched and changed through his leadership, exposition of scripture, and faithfulness to you. May you raise up many others through his legacy, to love and serve You and Your people. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.

Source – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Pawson

David Pawson Teaching Library website – available to listen, watch, or download free of charge via the Internet.


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4 June 1883 – Birth of Hans Ehrenberg – Pastor, Philosopher, Protester against Injustice and Anti-Semitism #otdimjh

Hans Philipp Ehrenberg (4 June 1883 – 21 March 1958) was a German Jewish philosopher and theologian. One of the co-founders of the Confessing Church, he was forced to emigrate to England because of his Jewish ancestry and his opposition to National Socialism.

Hans Ehrenberg was born into a liberal Jewish family, the eldest of three children. His parents were Emilie (née Fischel) and Otto Ehrenberg, brother of Victor Ehrenberg, a German jurist, and Richard Ehrenberg, a German economist. His younger brothers were Paul Ehrenberg and the historian Victor Ehrenberg, father of British historian Geoffrey and physicist Lewis Elton, and grandfather of comedian Ben Elton.

From 1898 to 1900, Hans attended the Christianeum in Altona. After his graduation exam at the Wilhelm Gymnasium in Hamburg in 1902, he studied economics, law and political studies (Rechtswissenschaften und Staatswissenschaften) in Göttingen, Berlin, Heidelberg and Munich. His supportive attitude towards workers was already clear by 1906, when he wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on the situation of steel workers (Hüttenarbeiter) in the Ruhr Valley. After his military service in 1907–1908, he continued his studies in philosophy and completed his doctorate in Heidelberg in 1909 and habilitation in 1910.

He first became a private teacher, then a professor of philosophy at the University of Heidelberg. His philosophical interests included the landscape of peace, truth, goodness and liberation. Ehrenberg was baptised as a Protestant Christian in Berlin in 1911. Around this time, he developed a close friendship with his cousin Franz Rosenzweig, and with Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Viktor von Weizsäcker, and Martin Buber. Rosenzweig, the author of “Star of Redemption” and seminal Jewish thinker on Jewish-Christian relations, later claimed that “Ehrenberg was my real teacher in philosophy”.  According to Rozenzweig’s wife, Ehrenberg understood Rosenzweig’s position on dialogue better than Rosenstock-Huessy, and helped Rosenzweig develop his own thinking that would emerge in “Star of Redemption” and become a major focus and structuring principle of Jewish-Christian relations since 1945.

Hans Ehrenberg’s marriage to Else Zimmerman, 1913. The wedding party included Franz Rosenzweig and Victor Ehrenberg.

In 1913, Ehrenberg married Else Anna Zimmermann (1890–1970), a linguist, teacher and descendant of Martin Luther. They had two children, Juliane and Andreas. One of his uncles was Victor Mordechai Goldschmidt. One of his cousins, Hedwig Ehrenberg, studied physics and mathematics at the University of Goettingen, where she met and later married Max Born. Hans Ehrenberg, with Franz Rosenzweig and Eugen Rosenstock, was in regular correspondence with Louis D Brandeis through the friendship of their maternal families. In view of Hans Ehrenberg’s father’s and uncles’ relatives, friends and acquaintances, and their travels over the lands and voyages across the seas and oceans, the reach of his communications extended to a world-wide network in many countries in all continents.


Ehrenberg volunteered for the First World War and served as a non-commissioned officer, then a lieutenant after late 1914. He won the Iron Cross, 2nd Class as well as the Badische Offiziersorden (Zähringer Löwe 2nd Klasse). He left the war and army early due to reasons of health, as did many philosophers, thinkers, musicians and writers, in all armies and on all fronts. He devoted more time to his philosophical and literary interests.

Ehrenberg had seen the war as a legitimate defensive war, but during this time and afterwards, his views changed completely. He spoke of war crimes and German guilt. He joined the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in 1918, and for 18 months, was a city councilman in Heidelberg, as well as a member of workers’ and soldiers’ committees. He began making Christian pacifist statements in 1919. In the same year, he received an associate professorship in Heidelberg. At this time, working with Christian socialists, he began to think about becoming a Protestant minister.

Ehrenberg began his theological studies in Münster, in 1922, completing his second theological exam in 1924. In 1923 and 1925, he and Nicolai von Bubnov published two volumes of German translations of Russian theological writings which were acquired and read by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and twice quoted from an essay that was in the second volume. He attended the World Conference of Life and Work in Stockholm, in 1925, and became friends with Nathan Soderblom and the English ecumenist George Bell. With Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy he was a co-founder, and also a prolific member of the philosophical discussion group and journal, “Die Kreatur”, during the time 1925 to 1930.

Abandoning a promising academic career, in 1925, he became the minister of Pauluskirche in Bochum, in a heavily working-class area. He got involved in the Kampfbund christlicher Arbeiter (The Fighting Christian Workers), though he left the SPD, feeling that parish work was incompatible with political party activism. In 1927, he made speeches on church and anti-semitism in opposition to riots organised by Nazi brownshirts. One lecture he gave in Hattingen, entitled “The Church and Anti-semitism” prompted a letter of complaint against him to the consistory in Münster:

“We cannot believe that a governing body of our Church approves of a race-conscious Jew who, as a Protestant clergyman, lectures German Protestant Christians about political anti-semitism based on racial attitudes.


Pauluskirche (St. Paul’s Church), where Ehrenberg began preaching in 1925, was completely destroyed in the war and was rebuilt in 1950.

After the Nazis seized power in 1933, more attacks followed and Ehrenberg’s moral and pedagogical integrity were put in question.

Bochum Confession

Ehrenberg became one of the founders of the Confessing Church. He and four other Westphalian ministers had already formulated the “Bochum Confession” in May 1933. The first of its kind, it contained a denial of Nazi ideology and a confession of Christianity’s Jewish origins.

In July 1933, he published 72 Leitsätze zur judenchristlichen Frage (Seventy-Two Theses to the Jewish-Christian Question), clearly stating his own opposition to anti-semitism and calling on the Protestant church to do the same. After he was the target of attacks in the Nazi propaganda journal Der Stürmer, and facing pressure from the German Christian church authorities, Ehrenberg asked for early retirement in 1937. He continued, however, to work for the Confessing Church, whose ministers in Bochum openly showed solidarity with him.

The “Bochum Confession” for which Hans Ehrenberg was responsible already testified in July 1933 to the “son of the living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”. According to Günter Brakelmann, in the years of church struggle “there is hardly a theologian who has worked so steadfastly on the church’s being as a counter-model to the neo-pagan NS temple like Ehrenberg”. At the same time, Hans Ehrenberg is one of the founders of the philosophy of dialogue and the prize named after him is committed to the Protestant principle of changing the world towards God in dialogue with people of different political, religious and scientific convictions.

In September 1938, he was barred from delivering any speech or sermon. His home was destroyed in the pogroms of Kristallnacht and a few days later, he was taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In 1939, he was able to emigrate to England, thanks to the intervention and pledges of George Bell, Anglican bishop of Chichester. He had had a correspondence with Bell and was perhaps more significant than Franz Hildebrandt or Bonhoeffer in convincing Bell of the growing crisis in German churches under the Nazi state. His family joined him shortly afterward. Ecumenism, religious unity, became increasingly important to him here.

Even though Ehrenberg was strictly anti-communist, his life was saved on several occasions by a communist trade union leader, in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

Ehrenberg spoke openly about the German confessional church in England in an effort to prevent the growing disaster in Germany. George Bell also spoke out about Nazi interference in the church. Ehrenberg and George Bell were of the same view that civilians and civilian infrastructure should not be affected by the ongoing war in central Europe.

His close friends included Pastor Dr. Werner Koch, a surviving member of the German resistance and the youngest brother of Hans Koch.

Ehrenberg’s home in Bochum looted and destroyed on Kristallnacht 1938

The Party of Philosophy: Studies Against Hegel and the Kantians

Return to Germany. Fragments from the Christian conversation between British and German Christians

Hans Ehrenberg: Autobiography of a German pastor, with self-testimonies and a documentary of his discharge from office

In September 1938, he was barred from delivering any speech or sermon. His home was destroyed in the pogroms of Kristallnacht and a few days later, he was taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In 1939, he was able to emigrate to England, thanks to the intervention and pledges of George Bell, Anglican bishop of Chichester. He had had a correspondence with Bell and was perhaps more significant than Franz Hildebrandt or Bonhoeffer in convincing Bell of the growing crisis in German churches under the Nazi state. His family joined him shortly afterward. Ecumenism, religious unity, became increasingly important to him here.

Even though Ehrenberg was strictly anti-communist, his life was saved on several occasions by a communist trade union leader, in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

Ehrenberg spoke openly about the German confessional church in England in an effort to prevent the growing disaster in Germany. George Bell also spoke out about Nazi interference in the church. Ehrenberg and George Bell were of the same view that civilians and civilian infrastructure should not be affected by the ongoing war in central Europe.

His close friends included Pastor Dr. Werner Koch, a surviving member of the German resistance and the youngest brother of Hans Koch.


Ehrenberg returned to Germany in 1947, after the war, working as a minister at the Bethel Institution in Bielefeld. In 1953, he returned to Heidelberg, where he died in 1958.His papers are archived at the Westphalian Protestant church archives in Bielefeld. Unlike his colleague and friend, Hermann Maas, he was unable to travel for personal health reasons to Israel after 1950 to visit friends and colleagues there, namely Martin Buber, Raphael Rosenzweig, among others.



Entrance to Hans Ehrenberg Schule in Bielefeld

Hans Ehrenberg was one of the few German Protestant theologians, even within the Confessing Church, to publicly express his vehement opposition to the anti-semitism of the Nazis and publicly declare his support of the Jewish people. He strongly urged the Protestant church to take the same stand. He criticised Christian anti-semitism and emphasized the similarities between Judaism and Christianity. Also, his special program, “World Peace without Weapons”, toward the problems and rights of workers’ (since 1905), and world peace (since 1903, also with Franz Rosenzweig and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy) was in advance of universities, municipal councils, judiciary, governments, parliaments, international organizations and churches of his times, In addition to his practical theological work, he wrote a number of philosophical and theological articles and treatises.

In Ehrenberg’s honor and memory, the secondary school administered by the Protestant church in the Bielefeld neighborhood of Sennestadt was renamed the Hans-Ehrenberg-Schule in 1963. There is also a square in Bochum named after him.

Hans Ehrenberg is one of the rather forgotten pioneers of a reorientation of Protestant theology – but also of philosophy – after the “long” 19th century, which came to an end with the First World War. Ehrenberg was and is often in the shadow of more powerful theologians and philosophers, such as Karl Barth, Franz Rosenzweig or Martin Buber, although they owe important impulses for their work to Hans Ehrenberg. The Hans Ehrenberg studies collected in this volume aim to contribute to the reappraisal of some of Ehrenberg’s still fundamental impulses and to incorporate them into current discourses.

Reflection and Prayer:

Hans Ehrenberg was gifted, connected and devoted – to God, to Israel, to Justice. His life reads like a “Who’s Who” of German intellectual and theological history, with friendships with Buber, Rosenzweig, Barth and Bonhoeffer. His voice was used to harness opposition to National Socialism, and he was fortunate that his friendship with Bishop Bell of Chichester provided a way of escape. After the war he was not warmly welcomed back, and others have noted how he was denied the prestigious pulpits and pastoral roles he had previously occupied. But I don’t think he was that bothered. What surprises me is how little he is known today, especially by Jewish disciples of Yeshua, who have much to learn from his character, faith and life of service. I would like to see a full biography or a republished version of his autobiography – we have much to learn from this man of his times and man of faith!

Lord, give us wisdom and integrity, passion and perseverance, as you gave to Hans Ehrenberg. Help us to challenge evil and injustice wherever we may be, and serve you and all humanity with love, respect and faith. In Yeshua’s name we pray – Amen.


Constancy and change. Hans Ehrenberg’s three-dimensional methodology and the ‘Jewish question’ (1932-1954). Ulrike Lange; University of Birmingham, 2004




antiquarisches Buch – Ehrenberg, Hans; Steck, Karl Gerhard (Hrsg.); Eichholz, Georg (Hrsg.) – Die Paradoxien des Evangeliums. [Theologische Existenz heute. Neue Folge. Heft Nr. 58.]

– The Nazi Religion and the Christian Mission, in: The International Review of Missions 30, 1941, S. 363-373, 440f

– The Church Militant, a Biblical Meditation, in: Churchman, April-June 1941. S. 1-14

– The Confessional Pastor and his Struggle. in: Churchman, January-March 1942. S. 1-14

– Concerning the Protestant Church in Germany. in: Blackfriars – a monthly review, July 1942, S. 265-270

– Autobiography of a German Pastor. SCM Press LTD., London 1943,160 S.

– The Rediscovery of the Jew in Christianity (with special reference to Pascal), in: The Internat. Rev. of Missions, 33,1944, S. 400-406

– Bossuet. in: The Internat. Rev. of Missions, 1944

– Is there an ecumenical theology? in: The Presbyter 1945

– Prayer for Christian Unity. in: The Internat. Rev. of Missions 35, 1946, S. 194-198

– After the Totalitarian World Revolution. Some Thoughts on Church and State in the World Church after the War. in: The Internat. Rev. of Missions January 1947, S. 81-87

– Luther speaks. (With other contributors) Lutterworthpress, London 1947 (Darin von Ehrenberg: Preface; Luther and private Prayer; Luther as Theologian; PostScript – At Luther’s Grave 1946


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1st June 1900 – Birth of Hermann Thür – Catholic, Protestant, Jew – Persecuted Pastor and Norfolk Clergyman #otdimjh

Hermann Alois Anton Thür was an Austrian, a Jew, a Catholic monk and priest, a Protestant Pastor, Anglican Vicar and Holocaust survivor. Today would have been his 120th birthday. He is one of a generation of “Jews in the Pew” whose lives and ministries were dramatically altered by the rise of National Socialism and the Second World War, many of whom are still unknown to the present generation of Jewish disciples of Yeshua, yet whose very existence and survival challenges us to learn from them and follow in their footsteps. What surprises me about Hermann Thür is how little we know about him, and how his life was lived without publicity or renown, but as a humble servant of God and others.

Matzleinsdorf, Vienna

Hermann Thür (old German – “door” ) was born in Matzleinsdorf near Melk (Lower Austria), in the region of Vienna. See below the video of a pageant in 1909, in which he may well have participated.


At the age of eighteen he took his final school examinations at the Schottengymnasium in Vienna.  After six month’s military service he became a novice in the Benedictine abbey which was part of the  attached to the to the Institutde in Vienna  where he studied from1919-1922 Catholic theology, and spent time in (1920/1921) in Rome. He was ordained in 1922 and was a cantoral priest (1922/1923). In 1924/1925 he undertook further studies in history, at the Faculty of Arts.

I would love to know more about his change from being a Catholic to Protestantism from  1926–1929 when he became a Protestant minister. He joined the  Lutheran Church and studied at the Faculty for Protestant Theology in Vienna. In 1929 he served as an assistant minister and from 1930 was pastor in Kapfenberg.[1] [2]

He was elected pastor on October 12, 1930 in Kapfenberg (by the congregation)[3] and officially appointed (by the church leadership) on January 28, 1931.[4]

Ordained on 1.3.1931 in Villach.[5]

When he was asked by the OKR[6] to prove his (purebred) Aryan ancestry, he was unable to do so.[7] He was one of two Styrian pastors could not provide an exclusively Aryan family tree.

Thür (Thur) in Kapfenberg and Dr. Wölfel (Woelfel) in Fürstenfeld. One of them had to leave the Austrian church and country, the other was permitted to remain under exceptional conditions.

Since January 1931 he had been a pastor in Kapfenberg.  After the invasion of German troops on March 12, 1938 and the “annexation” of Austria to the “Reich”, the Austrian Church also demanded “pastoral evidence” from its pastors.  Already on May 11, 1938, the responsible superintendent Heinzelmann asked Hermann Thür for the relevant evidence.

On July 4, 1938, the latter replied: “For my wife [Hilda Theodora] , proof is readily available;  I can provide proof on my mother’s side, but not on my father’s side.  It was immediately clear to me that this would no longer be enough for the Evangelical Church in Austria. 

“I was therefore on March 17th of the year at the church headquarters in Vienna and the Superintendent Dr.  Eder explained the situation to me personally.  He specifically instructed me to remain calm in office for the time being and from here to establish ties with foreign countries.  [..] I will of course resolve my relationship here as soon as possible to remain in office.” 

He was greatly pressured by the pastor, Karl Hubatschek, a fanatical National Socialist who had left the church in 1942.  Thür also did not expect any support from the senior church leader Spanuth. 

The latter wrote to Superintendent Heinzelmann: “May I allow myself the suggestion: ask not only about his [Thürs’] but especially about his wife’s ancestry;  she looks even more Jewish than he looks” So Hermann Thür only had to ask the church authorities for a grace period. 


On January 17, 1939, he wrote to Elder Spanuth: “Could you set it up so that I have a certain amount of leeway?  I would suggest, for example: I quit my position in the pastorate on March 1st.  If I should be ready to travel before this day, I would go on vacation for the rest of the time.  It goes without saying that I will not pay for this vacation.”

Hermann Thür resigned on January 31, 1939 and followed Bishop Bell’s invitation to England.   He was exempted from internment as an “enemy alien” and worked as assistant minister at St Saviour’s Brockley in South London. His details from the 1939 registration show him as “Assistant Priest, St Saviour’s” as his wife Hilda’s profession as “unpaid domestic duties”.

He became a member of the Church of England in 1939, was an assistant pastor in St Saviour’s Brockley Hill from 1940 to 1941, then in Wandsworth in London from 1941 to 1951.  He now called himself Hermann Thur. 

From 1951 to 1980, Hermann Thur was Vicar) was in the parish of Paston west of Knapton in the county of Norfolk.

His wife Hilda Theodora, was born on 25th September 1903, died at the age of 71, in 1974. I have not found any details of relatives or children.

Hilda Thur’s gravestone in Paston – photo Nicholas Bardswell
Hermann Thur’s gravestone in Paston – photo Nicholas Bardswell
Sun Court Nursing Home

Hermann died on 20th December 1984, in Sun Court Nursing Home in Sheringham, Norfolk, a few miles up the coast from his beloved church in Paston, at the age of 84.

Prayer and Reflection

Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Yet Hermann Thür does not fit these categories, except that he was born into a world of turbulent times, and was faithful to his calling as a minister of the Good News of the Messiah wherever he was. I am curious to know his inner life of faith, his reasons for the choices that he made, and the impact and legacy of his life and ministry.

Thanks be to God for his servants!

With special thanks to Rev. Heribert Binder in Austria for his help with research, and Nicholas Bardswell for photos and information from Paston, Norfolk

Main source: “Evangelisch Getauft – Als “Juden” Verfolgt – Baptised as Protestants: Persecuted as Jews”.

Quelle / Source: RAMPLER Herbert,

Evangelische Pfarrer und Pfarrerinnen der Steiermark seit dem Toleranzpatent

Hgg. von der Historischen Landeskommission für Steiermark, XL. Bd., im Selbstverlag,

Graz, 1998

Protestant Clergy in Styria since the Tolerance Patent (Declaration of Tolerance) (1998)

Ed. by the Commission for History of the Federal State Styria, vol. XL., Graz: Self-publishing

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16th May 1905 Birth of Werner Georg Kümmel, Giant of New Testament Scholarship, 3/8 Jewish #otdimjh

When I began studying Theology in the 1970s Werner Kümmel’s encyclopedic “Introduction to the New Testament” was a formidable tome to master when cutting one’s teeth in the standard first essay on the Synoptic Problem – the relationships, relative dating, and authorship of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

9780334007135: Introduction to the New Testament - AbeBooks ...

I little realised that Kümmel was a Jewish disciple of Yeshua, or at least, according to the Nurermberg Laws passed by the National Socialists, 3/8 Jewish. Whilst  he came from a German family famous for its learning in the arts and sciences, and his father before him was a pioneering  researcher in medicine, Kümmel’s paternal grandfather, historian Heinrich Ulmann, was fully Jewish, and his wife reckoned as “half-Jewish”. His mother was born before his grandparents ‘converted’ and was not baptised till later.

According to the National Socialists, his mother was 75% “non-Aryan” and he was  three-eighth’s Jewish.  He was therefore not a “half-Jew”, but stood according to the division of the Nuremberg breed laws from September 1935 somewhere between “first-degree hybrid” and the “second-degree hybrid” –  mixed race (mischling), permitted to have German citizenship – but  under suspicion and most likely unable to teach in a university.

All this was unknown and unimportant  to Kümmel until the Nuremberg  laws came into force in  1932.  It certainly did not play a role in his decision to accept the chair of New Testament Studies at Zurich University in Switzerland.  If Kümmel had stayed in Germany, he would have been a staunch supporter of the Weimar Republic and a supporter of the »German Democratic Party«. His appointment in Switzerland meant that he escaped persecution from the Nazis, but his academic colleagues and rivals in the German theological world saw to it that he was prevented from  receiving  the honours and recognition  his work rightly deserved.

THE THEOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT according to its major witnesses ...

Kümmel’s academic career was nurtured in the highest echelons of German scholarship, where it led the world in biblical studies. He studied Protestant Theology in Heidelberg, Berlin and Marburg from 1923 to 1928, graduating in Heidelberg.  In the winter semester of 1925/1926, he took part in Rudolf Bultmann’s New Testament seminar on the “Anthropology of Paul”.  In 1928 Martin Dibelius in Heidelberg  supervised his doctorate with a thesis that was published as a book a year later in expanded form under the title “Romans 7 and the Conversion of Paul”.  With this outstanding work, which is still valid today, an important career as a New Testament scholar began.  After the two theological exams and a subsequent study visit to England, Kümmel worked as an assistant to Prof. Hans von Soden in Marburg and in 1932 was appointed Professor for New Testament in Zurich, Swtizerland, avoiding possible later persecution by the Nazi state. 

New Testament by Werner G. Kummel, S.M. Gilmour, H.C. Kee ...

In the autumn of 1933 Kümmel intervened in the dispute over the introduction of the Aryan paragraph in the German churches which prevented Jewish Christians from employment.  He not only signed the New Testament declaration “New Testament and the Racial Question” formulated by the Marburg faculty, which rejected the Aryan paragraph, but at the request of Rudolf Bultmann circulated a letter and asked 70 New Testament students in Europe and America to sign the declaration.  He and his Zurich colleague G. Schrenk  thus risked that they would never again be appointed to a German professorship, and at the same time they endangered their German citizenship. 

Tübingen’s New Testament professor Gerhard Kittel ran the “Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas” (Society for New Testament Studies) in consultation with the Reich Education Ministry and excluded Kümmel from membership in 1938.  “I hope that it will be possible to drop out two particular New Testament scholars, one of whom is a half-Jew and the other a German emigrant and a dedicated Barthian,” wrote Kittel in a report to the Reich Ministry of Education in December 1938.  In February 1939 he then reported: “For Switzerland, the specialist representative of Basel (Marxist, emigrant) and one of the two Zurich specialist representatives (half-Jew) was eliminated” (Bormann, 436f.).  Professors Karl Ludwig Schmidt and Werner Georg Kümmel were meant.  Kittel’s attempt did not succeed, and Kümmel’s name nevertheless appeared on the final invitation list for the planned general assembly in England, which had to be postponed due to the war.  In a somewhat belated reaction Kümmel was elected president of the “Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas” in 1963/1964. 

kummel werner georg - man in the new testament - AbeBooks

With the beginning of the war, German emigrants became more worried that neutral Switzerland would also be occupied by Germany and exposed to the same persecution.  Kümmel had joined the exile working group “Das Demokratische Deutschland”, of which he was temporarily a member.  The German consulate general in Zurich put massive pressure on Kümmel and asked him to volunteer for the German Wehrmacht.  He then asked for his part to tell him what had happened to his mother’s sister, who was transported to Theresenstadt in September 1942, where she died after a few months.  He received no answer, but was not able to follow this up.  Kümmel returned to Germany in 1951. Kümmel died July 9, 1995 in Mainz.

Reflection and Prayer. No serious student of the New Testament can be unfamiliar with the contribution of Werner Kümmel to the academic discipline, but few would realise his Jewish background and the danger this posed for not  only his professional career but also his life  and safety. For me as a Jewish disciple of Yeshua illustrates how fragile life is, how often Jewish Christians life in the interstitial space between the two faith communities, and how much they contribute. Kümmel may never have chosen to identify as Jewish, even though it may have been held against him and lead to threats and opposition against him. But his work speaks for itself, leaves its own legacy, and sheds the light of faith and truth on his Messiah Yeshua.

Baruch Attah Adonai Eloheynu Melek Haolam… SheChalak MeChachmato LeYire’av

   העולם שחלק מחכמתו ליראיו ה’ אלקינו מלך ברוך אתה

Blessed are You, O LORD our God, who has imparted some of his wisdom to those who fear Him.

Sources – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werner_K%C3%BCmmel

Eberhard Röhm in

First of six pages of Kümmel’s writings

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15 May 1918 Birth of Hannelore Hansch – “Courage Proved” – theologian, freedom fighter, shielder of Jewish escapers: #otdimjh

RESISTANCE: Kauflein, Angela Borgstedt, Prof. Dr.  Reinhold Weber (head of the series, from left) at book presentation.  Photo.  Frankle

Hannelore Hansch (* 15. May 1918 in Cologne , † 17th November 2007 in Karlsruhe-Durlach ) was a German Protestant minister, Jewish victim of the Nazi regime and member of the Confessing Church .

As a “half-Jew”, Hannelore Hansch was subjected to harassment by the Nazi regime, could not finish her studies in Protestant theology, and had to marry her “Aryan” husband abroad in 1938 because of the Nazi racial laws.

Despite the reprisals, the Rittnerthof (country house), which she and her family ran, was a meeting point for members of the “Confessing Church” during the years of the tyranny and the Second World War and for an opposition discussion group, which mainly consisted of lawyers such as the Durlach judge Gerhard Caemmerer. The manor house on the Turmberg was also a refuge for the racially persecuted. In 1943, Hannelore and her husband Kurt Hansch hid two Jewish women who had fled from Berlin to Baden before being deported to the extermination camps of the East.

Book Launch of stories of Hannelore Hansch and others http://presse.karlsruhe.de/db/stadtzeitung/jahr2018/woche12/kultur_herz_und_mut_gezeigt.html

Her actions show the variety of resistance “and what was possible for ordinary people,” emphasized Prof. Dr. Angela Borgstedt at the presentation of the tape in the New Ständehaus. For the co-editor, the behaviour of the portrayed people belies those “who claimed after 1945 that nothing could be done”. 

Hannelore Hansch (born Gebhardt) was the daughter of the factory director Dr. Fritz Gebhardt and his Jewish wife Thea. Hannelore after elementary school , she attended the Margrave-Gymnasium in Karlsruhe-Durlach, where she was one of the first female graduates. She was deeply impressed by Karl Barth and Martin Niemöller and studied Protestant theology. After her father died and her mother emigrated to Switzerland, she lived on the Rittnerthof (country estate) with her husband, the farmer Kurt Hermann Hansch, during the Nazi era. Her father bought it in 1933. At the time, he had received financial compensation because in his managerial position his marriage to a “full Jew” was no longer tolerated.

Hannelore was a highly respected host for the environment of the Swiss theologian Karl Barth and the ” Badische Sozietät “, reported Gottfried Gerner-Wolfhard, who had been close friends with her since high school .

In the 1930s, she was one of the opposition circle , which met in the apartment of the Karlsruhe Judge Arthur Emsheimer who was also dismissed because of his Jewish origin. Her uncle Thomas Dehler also took part in this occasionally, the former Federal Minister of Justice.

After 1945, Hannelore Hansch continued to advocate for the positions and insights she had gained from the church struggle. In the political controversy over the plans for the atomic armament of the Bundeswehr , which, alongside the political left, was particularly attacked by circles of the BK brother councils , she sided with those calling for the ban on these means of mass destruction. Hansch forwarded the “Ten Theses” prepared by her friend Karl Barth – with the agreed concealment of Barth’s authorship – to the West German church councils, which they brought to the EKD Synod as an application, but which were not accepted by the latter.

Karl Barth had authored the 10 theses anonymously, but when challenged whether he agreed with them, replied that he was in as much agreement with them as if he were himself the author!

Hannelore was a founding member of the Christian Peace Conference. She volunteered in the Society for Evangelical Theology, of which she later became an honorary member. Supporting all activities for more peace and justice remained an important concern until the end of her life. In 2001 she was among the signatories of an appeal by church people against the war in Afghanistan . When the Baden “Peace Ethics Forum” addressed its fellow Christians a year later with the demand to protest against all further wars, this also found her support.

Reflection and Prayer:

Thank you Lord for this woman of courage and conviction, who despite concerns for her own safety as a Jewish disciple of Jesus sheltered others and voiced her prophetic and political views. Help us do good in season and out of season, whatever the costs and consequences. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.



Dr. Helmut Simon, Retired Supreme Court Justice of the Federal Republic of Germnay, and Hannelore Hansch, theologian & friend of Karl Barth’s – interviewed together in Karlsruhe, Germany, 2002.


Dr. Helmut Simon, Retired Supreme Court Justice of the Federal Republic of Germnay, and Hannelore Hansch, theologian & friend of Karl Barth’s – interviewed together in Karlsruhe, Germany, 2002.

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14 May 1909 Birth of Arnold Ehrhardt, Lawyer, Theologian, Pursuer of Justice #otdimjh

Arnold Anton Traugott Ehrhardt (14 May 1903 in Königsberg to 18 February 1965 in Manchester) was a German jurist and British theologian.

Arnold Ehrhardt

Arnold was the son of Oskar Ehrhardt, a professor of surgery, and Martha, née Rosenhain (?Rosenheim?), a school teacher from a Jewish family. The older sister llse was married to the theologian Hans Joachim Iwand.  His younger brother Rudolf (see blog to come shortly) was a also a theologian and emigrated.

Erhardt went to school in Königsberg and then studied law at Erlangen, Bonn, Berlin and Königsberg. After the First World War he served in the eastern border force and took part in the conflict with the Spartacists.

Soldiers the Brandenburger Tor during the Spartacist uprising Jan 7 1919.jpg
Soldiers on the Brandenburger Tor during the Spartacist uprising

The Spartacist uprising (German: Spartakusaufstand), also known as the January uprising (Januaraufstand), was a general strike (and the armed battles accompanying it) in Berlin from 5 to 12 January 1919. Germany was in the middle of a post-war revolution, and two of the perceived paths forward were social democracy and a council republic similar to the one which had been established by the Bolsheviks in Russia. The uprising was primarily a power struggle between the moderate Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) led by Friedrich Ebert and the radical communists of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, who had previously founded and led the Spartacist League (Spartakusbund).

Erhardt took his doctoral degree in 1926 in Königsberg and the following year became an assistant to Fritz Pringsheim in Göttingen and took his habilitation (further qualification for universty teaching) in civil and Roman law in 1929 in Freiburg. He lectured at the Goethe University of Frankfurt.

As a “half-Jew” he was threatened with dismissal; in the winter semester 1934/35 he taught at the University of Lausanne. When his lectures in Frankfurt were boycotted in the summer semester of 1935, he publicly declared his Jewish ancestry.

In autumn 1936 Ehrhardt decided to study Protestant theology with Karl Barth in Basel.  From now on he lived with his family, wife and four small children in Lörrach, the last German place before the Swiss border.  He co-wrote the lectures of Karl Barth in Latin, since he was able “to express what was said faster, more concisely and more precisely in this way” (Scherffig, Vol. 2, 136f.). When he learned of his impending arrest at the beginning of 1939, he went with his immediate family to Switzerland and then emigrated to England. With financial help from the Church of England, he continued his theological studies – after a brief interruption by internment as an “enemy alien” in May 1940 – at the University of Cambridge and was awarded a doctorate in 1944. He was assistant curate in a Manchester parish.

He also did research in ecclesiastical and legal history, publishing his findings mostly in German. From 1956 at the latest he was working as an Anglican priest in Heywood. In 1958 he was appointed Bishop Fraser Senior Lecturer in Church History at the Victoria University of Manchester.

The Ehrhardt Seminar at the Centre for Biblical Studies at the University of Manchester is named after him.

In 1951 and 1957 Ehrhardt declined offers of professorships in law at the Philipps University of Marburg and the Goethe University of Frankfurt.

Reflection and Prayer – Eberhard was a towering figure, as the respect given him in his lifetime shows. A man of dignity, integrity and scholarship, with a brilliant mind, a passion for justice, and a pride in his Prussian Jewish Christian identity. I have been delighted to research his life and work, make contact with some of his descendants, and read some of his work. I was also delighted to find I am distantly related to him!

Prayer: Thank you Lord for this man of faith, a Jewish disciple of Yeshua who lived in difficult and dangerous times, and not only survived by left a lasting legacy in his values, scholarship and mentoring. Help us to follow you in the same way that he did, with passion, energy, diligence and humility. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.

For an interview with his daughter-in-law Pat and grand-daughter Penny see here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fydlt-X10-E&t=5s

^ Hartmut Ludwig & Eberhard Röhm. Evangelisch getauft – als «Juden» verfolgt. Calver Verlag Stuttgart 2014 S. 88
^ Leonie Breunung, Manfred Walther: Die Emigration deutschsprachiger Rechtswissenschaftler ab 1933, Berlin/Boston 2012, p. 415
^ Heywood Thomas “Arnold Ehrhardt, A Memoir” (foreword to Arnold Ehrhardt: The Beginning, A Study in the Greek philosophical approach to the concept of Creation from Anaximander to St. John, Manchester, 1968)


AN EXCERPT FROM, THE ARTICLE THAT GIVES EVIDENCE OF HIS DEPTH OF SCHOLARSHIP AND WARMTH OF TONE – “It may not be sufficient as an interpretation when Karl Barth comments upon Rom 11. 36, “how could St. Paul close this chapter more significantly than by stating plainly, menacingly and in a hope provoking
fashion that which was known already to those outside”, but it isan important point. The ambiguous conception of the cosmos withits Divine law has, so Barth argues rightly, received its Divine sanctionthrough Christ’s resurrection.” In this respect it is essential to notice that 2. Pe. 3. 13 has the present tense: “wherein dwelleth righteousness”. The change from the future tense “the heavens shall pass away” etc. in w. 10 sq
to this one and only present in v 13 is highly significant, warning us
not to regard this new heaven and new earth as some future event,
in the same way as also the Revelation of St John insists upon the
eschaton being present already. In other words, Christ’s resurrection
is effective not only in the redemption of mankind, but in the true and
perpetual creation of the world. The new heaven and the new earth
are just as much a Divine reality as the new Jerusalem and the new
and redeemed nature of man. One thing only remains open to conjecture, whether human science is able to express the truth about the
redeemed universe. The question to which we are thus led is, whether
scientific truth can be related to Him who has said “I am the way
and the truth and the life”. To this there are two main answers:
first, that the truth about God’s creation must have life spelt over
it and not death, for He is “the God of the living and not of the
dead”. Unless we learn to understand and to use God’s creation as
living and life-giving, we shall still remain in the thrall of “the last
enemy which is death”. Secondly, “we walk by faith, not by sight”;
therefore, the axioms upon which natural science is built, must not
contradict God’s infinity. That means to say, that space and time
must be related to the basic facts of Christ’s incarnation and resurrection. If this demand is neglected, science will do no more than
add to the many deceptions of “this aeon”. (p31-32)

^ Leonie Breunung, Manfred Walther: Die Emigration deutschsprachiger Rechtswissenschaftler ab 1933, Berlin/Boston. 2012, p. 576
^ Centre for Biblical Studies; University of Manchester

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11 May 1665 Fernando Mendes, Jewish-Christian Doctor in time of Great Plague #otdimjh

Fernando Mendes (1647-1724)            



Fernando Mendes was a well-respected Jewish physician, who attended both Charles II and his wife, Catherine of Braganza. Catherine ( 25 November 1638 – 31 December 1705) was queen consort of England, of Scotland and of Ireland from 1662 to 1685, as the wife of King Charles II.

In 1662, he had been brought over as her doctor from Portugal to England, when she married. Mendes was a converso and actively a Roman Catholic, yet also a conflicted and a hidden Jew, throughout his life in England. An additional interesting insight was that the Queen’s marriage dowry had been arranged by Jewish financiers. This indicates how close the Portuguese Jewish conversos were to the heart of the royal families in both Portugal and England.

Mendes was a merchant, politician and doctor, who attended the royal family at the time of the outbreak of the Great Plague of London, which took hold in the beginning of May 1665, and forced the King and his court to flee to Oxford. Mendes was recently mentioned in the Jewish Chronicle on 6 May 2020. He attended Charles II during his final illness and his family lived at Somerset House in the Strand, the Queen’s palace. Even in 1706, he was still consulted about the health of Pedro IV in Lisbon. This study will also highlight how close the Mendes family was to Queen Catherine herself. As she was seriously missing her Portuguese homeland, she became very close to the Mendes family. She insisted that Fernando’s baby daughter should be baptised at Somerset House and also take her name; she further indicated that she wanted to be the godmother of Catherine (1679-1756) at the baptism. The Queen continued to take an active interest in her godchild, as she had no children, which continued to cause many problems in her relationship with Charles. This close and intimate, almost familial, Mendes connection has been missed from much of the earlier Anglo-Jewish histories.


Fernando Mendes is a good example of what a converso or a Crypto-Jew meant in practice. For most of his life in England, he maintained his Catholic tradition out of loyalty to the Queen, who had Priests in residence for her daily mass at Somerset House. This personal conflict within Protestant England fuelled deep suspicions about the negative influence of ‘Papists’ on the Queen, and by association also for Catherine Mendes. She was later recognised as a famous artist, and one of the few outstanding female Jews of the time. She married her cousin, Anthony Moses da Costa (c.1667—1747), a wealthy trader in diamonds, coral, and bullion. Her father later paid the cost for his continuing Catholic faith, when his membership of the College of Physicians was cancelled in 1689, because they described him as a Papist.

In 1688, he was also denied a family inheritance from his wife’s uncle, because he was not considered to be Jewish enough. He was never circumcised or took any part at Bevis Marks, in contrast to his wife Isabel, who was an observant Jew. However, all his children were married there. Yet, as he faced death, he requested permission along with a gift of £100, to be buried next to his wife in the Sephardic (Velho) cemetery at Mile End, because he could not face the prospect of a Christian burial. This unusual request was graciously granted by the synagogue. This presaged a similar plea by Samson Gideon (1699-1762), the most famous Jew in the eighteenth century, who had married a Christian wife. He was buried there too; he had been secretly making regular contributions to the synagogue under an assumed name. For so many of these conversos, who had vehemently chosen to reject any genuine religious commitment, at death they wanted to be part of the Jewish community. There were many others like Mendes and Gideon, who could not ultimately escape their Jewish heritage.

Reflection and Prayer:

I was surprised to discover my relationship to Mendes – see below – but could understand the pressures he lived under – born Jewish, raised Catholic, persecuted as a Catholic in Protestant England, and at the time of his death wanting both a Jewish and Catholic burial. So often Jewish disciples of Jesus, caught in the interface between the different faith communities and at the mercy of the asymetries of power, their own witness, wealth and willingness to serve led them to eke out a precarious survival amongst the leaders of their day. Today Jewish disciples of Yeshua face similar challenges, all the while processing their own identities and faith perspectives.

A prayer of Cardinal Newman: The Mission of My Life

God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.

With thanks to Rodney Curtis for his research and interview on Youtube – https://youtu.be/5G0uc7yZHpQ

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May 3, 1942 Death of Anton Urspruch – “Baptising” Pastor who helped his Jewish friends #otdimjh

Pastor Anton Ursprunguch was a pastor in Frankfurt-am-Main for more than three decades and was well-loved and popular throughout the region.  He was a pastor at the St. Paulsgemeinde (1899-1925) and then at the Dreikönigsgemeinde in Sachsenhausen (1925-1933). 

Pastor Urspruch’s wife Berta Grünebaum was Jewish, as were many of  his friends. During the rise of National Socialism they came to him for help, and he provided them with ways of escaping arrest – certificates of baptism. Of the 700 certificates of baptism given to Jewish people in the Frankfurt churches between 1900 and 1934, more than 50 were issued by him, more than by any other minister.

He was the nephew of the composer of the same name (1850-1907), whose Piano Concerto can be heard here.

The Frankfurt Jewish community, prestigious families such as the Katzenellenbogen, Schmidt-Fellner and Brodnitz families, all had close friendships with this ebullient and well-liked minister.  Almost all the members of these families, who were close with him and among themselves, were originally baptized as children or adults.  Urspruch maintained contact with numerous Jewish or mixed Jewish-Christian families, baptized their children and conducted church marriages for them.  Yet despite his earnest efforts members of all three families were arrested, taken to extermination and concentration camps and murdered. 

In 1933, under pressure of work, ill health and under scrutiny for his efforts to help his wife’s community, he took early retirement “due to illness.” He was a marked man, and crushed by the fate of the Jewish community that he was unable to prevent. He died on May 3, 1942.

His efforts at protecting them did not go unnoticed, and Ursprung’s legacy was misused by his long-time opponent Pastor Georg Struckmeier (1885–1974) as evidence of what happened during those years.  Struckmeier, who belonged to the German Christians and was a member of the Nazi party, tried to absolve himself and the church of any responsibility for their crimes.  In his “Memories of the Time of National Socialist Tyranny” spoken on tape for the Frankfurt City Archives in 1962, he explains on the topic of  “the Church and Judaism” that it was “a matter of course that the Christian churches had nothing to do with the persecution of Jews in the Third Reich, As evidence he cited the “baptizing” pastor of Frankfurt.

Prayer and reflection: I am shocked and horrified at the complex and tragic situation of my people during this period of history, and grateful for all who sought to  help them. Anton Urspruch was one such person. His efforts to be a support and blessing did not go unnoticed, but there is no memorial to him, as far as I know.  May his name and memory be for a blessing.

Lord, help us to do the best we can with what you give us, as you helped Anton Urspruch. May our lives be given in service to you and to all humanity, and may we leave a legacy for others of courage, faith and service. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.

Source: Evangelisch getauft – als »Juden« verfolgt – Hartmut Ludwig (Editor), Eberhard Röhm (Editor)

Anton and Berta Ursprung * November 23, 1869 in Frankfurt / Main, † May 3, 1942 in Bad Tölz: mated with Berta, born  Green tree.  1890–1894 studied Protestant Theology in Halle;  1894 First Thenological Exam, 1896 Second Theological Exam;  1899–1925 pastor at the St. Paul congregation in Frankfurt / Main, 1925–1933 pastor at the Dreikönias congregation in Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen;  1933 early retirement “due to illness”. \

Die Familie Urspruch in Frankfurt:
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1st May 1948 Passing of Johannes Lesser – Faithful Pastor, Prussian Nationalist, “Half-Jew” #otdimjh

Johannes was the son of Heinrich Lesser, a Jewish bookseller from Halle who converted to Christianity in 1864, three years before Johannes was born on 17 February 1867. For most of his life this did not affect his career or ministry, but when the Nazi Party came to power, he was forced to retire early, denied a pension, and died on May 1st,  1948.

Johannes studied theology in Halle and Berlin, and was ordained in 1894 in the Lutheran church. He was a pastor in Wegenstedt (1894-1899), Höhnstedt (1899-1908), Müchlein (1908-10), and from 1910-1933 in Luckenwalde, an industrial area near Berlin, until 1933, when he was forced to  retire as a “half-Jew”.

Luckenwalde was an industrial city.  In the Weimar Republic, more than 90 percent of the approximately 26,000 inhabitants were politically left-wing, and the majority of the workers were also unionized.  63% were Protestant and 26.2% were non-denominational.  In 1926, 5000 parishioners left the church.  That was astonishingly high at the time.  The anti-church free thinker movement had a considerable influence. 

Lesser was a conservative politically and a liberal theologically, but above all a faithful servant of church and nation, an archetypal Prussian nationalist. His manner and style were forceful, authoritative and commanding. Yet when the Nuremberg Laws were passed (1935) forbidding those with Jewish ancestry from serving  in the professions, his popularity waned and he became an embarrassment to  friends, colleagues and ecclesiastical authorities. Despite being the district superintendent for churches in the Luckenwalde region, the rise to power of the National Socialists and the accompanying growth in influence of the German Christians who supported Hitler meant that he could no longer  serve as a minister.

At first Lesser tried to keep the peace between the German Christians and those who would become the “Confessing Church”, following Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Niemoller and Karl Barth. The Barmen Declaration (1934) affirmed that no civil leader or authority could usurp the authority of God. He took the oath of loyalty to the State Commissioner August Jäger on 27 June 1933 adding in his own handwriting “I sign this declaration in the expectation that nothing will be expected from me that is contrary to my vow of ordination.”

Now at the age of sixty-six and having served nearly 40 years in ministry, he had been suffering from health problems for some time and was only able to carry out his office sporadically. He asked to retire early, and the fact that Lesser was “half-Jewish” contributed to this decision. On September 21, 1933, he took part in the meeting of the parish church council for the last time.  The chairman, Pastor Gleiniger, thanked him for his work.  Lesser declined later invitations in order to save the congregation from having to face difficulties.   He moved away from Luckenwalde where he had been known and respected, to live with one of his sons in Weinböhla near Dresden. In what became East Germany he received no pension after the war, and died on May 1, 1948.

Reflection and prayer.

A long and active life in ministry shortened by the rise to power of the National Socialists, Lesser escaped arrest and deportation – probably by going under the radar away from where he was well-known. We know little of this man’s inner soul, his faith perspective, and it seems he had little regard for his Jewish identity until it put him in danger. Yet his life and ministry bear witness to the faithfulness of God in the midst of the difficult times and circumstances in which he lived. May his name be  and memory be for a blessing!

Psalm 8 For the director of music. According to gittith. [1] A psalm of David.

1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

2 From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honour.

6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet:

7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Source: Evangelish Getauft – als “Juden” Verfolgt [Baptised as Protestants, Persecuted as “Jews”], Theologen jüdischer Herkunft in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus – Ein Gedenkbuch. Eds. Hartmut Ludwig/Eberhard RöhmCalwer, 2014

eds. Hartmut Ludwig/Eberhard Röhm

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