Supersessionism refers to the concept that the [[New Testament]] supersedes the [[Old Testament]]. But it can also refer to vaguely related ideas that the [[Church]] supersedes ancient Israel, that the Church fulfills the missions Israel held, or simply that Christianity brings something new.
The term developed in Protestant scholarship in the
1970's-1980's, and its normal use is to portray traditional Church teachings on these questions, often in a negative light.
== "Supersession" as a simple concept ==
"Supersession" comes from the word "supersede", which means “to set above; to make void or inoperative by a superior authority; to stay, suspend or supplant” <ref> Kendrick Kinney: A Law Dictionary and Glossary, 1893, Callaghan and Company, p. 642</ref> It can also mean to overrule, override, or replace the function of something.
For example, an amendment to a law supersedes the original law, a governor's pardon overrules a sentence prescribed by law, and a remodeled home or car replaces the old one. Note that in each of these cases that which is superseded may remain in existence or operation fully or partially. Consequently, supersession may cause the new thing to remove, modify, or only add to the previous one.
==="Supersession" in Orthodoxy===
===Clarifying the Church's use of "Supersession"===
Despite the New Testament's precedence, and despite certain Old Testament ritual elements ceasing or changing, the Old Testament continues to have importance
: It remains an important source of learning, as St. Paul writes: ''“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine and for instruction in righteousness”.'' (II Tim 3:16)
[[Maximus the Confessor]] sees the two Testaments as complementary, writing: ''“The Old Testament provides to the knowledgeable man the modes of virtues. The New Testament gives the practical man the words of true knowledge.”''<ref>St Maximus the Confessor, Exegesis of Zechariah 4:1–3</ref>
While the term might describe certain Orthodox views, it is uncommon among Orthodox worldwide, since an exact translation does not exist in Slavic languages. It is also rare in patristic writings.
The term may cause confusion because supersession can refer to a new thing adding onto an older thing that still remains (eg. adding a new provision onto a law), or to an older thing being destroyed in every sense (eg. a law that has been canceled).
=="Supersessionism" as an ideology==
===Orthodox Criticism of Supersessionism===
In the "Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity", Prof. Eugene Pentiuc of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, called supersessionism a "danger" discernible in Biblical passages<ref>Cited are: Mat 21:33-46, Gal 3:24-5, Rom 10:4</ref>,
and that it was especially pronounced in writings about Old Testament [[Typology]]. He wrote that "many early Christian writings" portray the New Testament and the Church as superseding the Old Testament and what he calls the "old Israel".<ref>Prof. Eugene Pentiuc, “Judaism, Orthodoxy and”, cited in Fr. John McGuckin The Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, p. 356.</ref> The entry claims that supersessionism fueled "anti-Jewish sentiment" and devalued the Old Testament, but that ''"the church as a whole has [kept] the two Testaments in a dialectical unity, in the main avoiding... supersessionism as [a] danger."''<ref>Id. </ref>