By Miriam S. Taylor
Opposed to the scholarly consensus that assumes early Christians have been concerned in a contention for converts with modern Jews, this e-book exhibits that the goal of patristic writers was once really a symbolic Judaism, and their target was once to outline theologically the younger church's identification. In choosing and categorizing the hypotheses recommend through smooth students to safeguard their view of a Jewish-Christian "conflict", this publication demonstrates how present theories have generated defective notions concerning the perceptions and motivations of old Christians and Jews. past its relevance to scholars of the early church, this ebook addresses the broader query of Christian accountability for contemporary anti-Semitism. It exhibits how the focal point on a supposedly social competition, obscures the intensity and disquieting nature of the connections among early anti-Judaism and Christian identification.
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Extra resources for Anti-Judaism and Early Christian Identity: A Critique of the Scholarly Consensus (Studia Post-Biblica)
Re-Constantinian period has forced scholars to framulate their thewies on die basis of die later evidence which is then read back and presumed to apply in the earlier period as well. Simon, for instance, assumes the existence of an "uninterrupted tradition", whose persistance "defied all the anathemas of die Church authorities" (Simon 1986: 330). Gager also presumes diat "judaizing Christians were a common feature of die Christian landscape from die very beginning" (Gager 1983:132). Gaston, too, generalizes on the basis of die writings of the latCT Christian fadiers, claiming diat their polemic reveals that "many Christians were very attracted to Judaism and Jewish practices and presumably also to Jewish persons" (Gaston 1986b: 166).
If the ctxitwit of these writings is traditional and their form is abstract and oblique, then before theorizing about how diis might reflect some clever polemical strategy to defeat die Jews down the road, we must first determine die level on which the entire discourse is taking place. 2. For now what has already become clear is that the conflict theorists have missed a few important milestones on the hermeneutical journey. 2 DEFENSIVE ANTI-JUDAISM There is evidence diat the borrowing of certain Jewish practices and the involvement in some forms of Jewish worship, as well as in Jewish festivals and ceremoiues, was popular among certain Christian groups.
This was, according to Neusner, "the point of intersection between the historians of the two reUgions" (Neusner 1987: x). The implications of tiiis for the judaizing evidence and for die conflict model as a whole are major, though Neusner doesn't address these issues specifically. If Neusner is right, then it is entirely possible that judaizing posed a problem for fourth century Christians. Perhaps the increased contact between the thinkers in the two communities awakened a movement in some circles to return to the roots of die faith, and to reintroduce some Jewish practices.