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Jesus, The Syrophoenician Woman, and Racism

August 11th, 2020 | 1 min read

By Caleb Wait

Matt, Derek, and Alastair discuss the passage in the gospels that depict Jesus’s encounter with the Syrophoenician woman. At first, and perhaps even at a second, glance, this complicated passage appears to incriminate Jesus of some sort of racial prejudice. But is this the right reading of the text?


Introduction and reading of the passage [0:00 – 3:50]

The problem of the passage; does this passage prove that Jesus had racial prejudices? [3:50 – 7:35]

The context and situation of the passage [7:35 – 12:48]

Problems with the “Jesus had racial prejudices” arguments [12:48 – 15:15]

The exclusivity of Israel [15:15 – 22:25]

Alastair’s take on Jesus’s use of “dog” in reference to the Syrophoenician woman [22:25 – 25:50]

The test and veneer that leads to blessing [25:50 – 27:15]

The holes in the reading that says “Jesus wasn’t sinful, but he was racially prejudiced” [27:15 – 30:00]

The obstacles that our faith can overcome [34:00 – 38:30]

Resources mentioned:

Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation, by Miroslav Volf

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Finally, as always, follow DerekAndrew, and Alastair for more tweet-sized brilliance. Thanks to Timothy Motte for his sound editing work. And thanks to The Joy Eternal for lending us their music, which everybody should download out of gratitude for their kindness.