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Harvard students apologize for essay on Jews, Jesus in journal

An apology was posted Saturday by a Christian journal that had published and republished an anonymous essay on its blog saying that Jews killed Jesus and deserve God’s punishment.

“Firstly, we apologize for inadequate editorial oversight in the publishing and re-publishing of this blog post,” wrote Aaron Gyde, editor-in-chief of the Harvard Ichthus, which is run by Harvard College undergraduates.

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The publication’s apology took the place of the essay “Why Us?” which was written by an anonymous Jewish convert to Christianity and posted on the Ichthus website Wednesday. The author, who remained anonymous due to concern of personal attacks, wrote, “We, the Jews, collectively rejected God and hung Him up on a cross to die, and thus we deserved the punishments that were heaped on our heads over the last 2000 years.”

Gyde wrote the apology on behalf of the Ichthus editorial board, adding in thoughts from the author of the controversial essay.

“While this does not excuse the post of responsibility, it was not the intent of the writer, nor the Ichthus, to present a piece that is anti-Semitic in nature or in interpretation,” the apology stated. “The writer holds nothing but love for his heritage and feels very deeply for the welfare of the Jewish people. The blog was not intended to communicate animosity, but concern and a sincere desire to communicate the necessity of salvation through Jesus Christ alone.”

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The essay was originally removed from the website, edited, and reposted Friday morning, when the author wrote that he or she was looking “to warn my beloved Jewish friends and family of the judgment that lies ahead.”

The essay was removed again Friday, this time permanently.

“The piece is not online because we believe that the piece is not conducive to the goals of the Ichthus,” Gyde wrote in the apology. “This particular piece has led to increasing misunderstanding and disinformation about the author’s views, the Ichthus, and Christianity. We do acknowledge that many of the claims of Christianity are offensive to those who do not believe it, but we think that much of the offense that has resulted from this article is not the offense of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And for that we apologize.”

Gyde could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Harvard reiterated Saturday that the college does not endorse the views of any of its organizations. A Harvard spokesman also said the organization’s decision to post an apology was its own.

Marcella Bombardieri of Globe staff contributed to this report. Derek J. Anderson can be reached at derek.anderson @globe.com.
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