Covering the period from 200 BCE to 600 CE, this book describes important aspects of identity formation processes within early Judaism and Christianity, and shows how negotiations involving issues of ethnicity, stereotyping, purity, commensality, and institution building contributed to the forming of group identities. Over time, some of these Jewish group identities evolved into non-Jewish Christian identities, others into a rabbinic Jewish identity, while yet others remained somewhere in between. The contributors to this volume trace these developments in archaeological remains as well as in texts from the Qumran movement, the New Testament and the reception of Paul’s writings, rabbinic literature, and apocryphal and pseudepigraphical writings, such as the Book of Dreams and the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies. The long timespan covered in the volume together with the combined expertise of scholars from various fields make this book a unique contribution to research on group identity, Jewish and Christian identity formation, the Partings-of-the-ways between Judaism and Christianity, and interactions between Jews and Christians.
Karin Hedner Zetterholm is associate professor of Jewish Studies at Lund University.
Anders Runesson is professor of New Testament at the University of Oslo.
Cecilia Wassén is associate professor of New Testament Exegesis at Uppsala University.
Magnus Zetterholm is associate professor of New Testament Studies at Lund University.
Introduction: Exploring the Intersection Between Judaism and Christianity in their Formative Phases
Karin Hedner Zetterholm, Anders Runesson, Cecilia Wassén, and Magnus Zetterholm
1. Setting the Stage: The Variety of Judaism and the Origin of Christianity
John J. Collins
Part I. Polemics and Sectarian Identities (2nd Century BCE – 1st Century CE)
2. Competition rather than Conflict: Identity Discourse in the Qumran Rule Scrolls
3. Meals, Identity, and Purity in the Qumran Movement
4. Was Gentile Reclamation an Apocalyptic Apologetic? Ethnic Identities in the Book of Dreams as Precedent for Ethnic Reasoning in the Early Jesus Movement
5. Slip-Slidin’ Away: Rethinking the ‘Parting of the Ways’
6. Where Do We Go from Here? Polemics and Sectarian Identities
Adela Yarbro Collins
Part II. Intra-Jewish Interaction and the Role of Non-Jews Within the Jesus Movement (2nd Century BCE – 1st Century CE)
7. Gentile Alterity and Ethnic Solidarity: The Role of Group Categorization in Understanding Mark as Jewish Literature
John Van Maaren
8. Gentile Sinners: A Brief History of an Ancient Stereotype
Matthew V. Novenson
9. Hypodescent in Two Ancient Jewish Writers: Jubilees and Paul on Mixed Marriages
10. Circumcision in Early Christian Sources: Identifying Difference After Paul
11. Where Do We Go from Here? Intra-Jewish Interaction and the Role of Non-Jews Within the Jesus Movement
Mark D. Nanos
Part III. Conflict and Co-Existence in Institutional Contexts: Seeking a Place of One’s Own (1st – 6th Centuries CE)
12. Space and Ritual in the Ancient Synagogue and Early Church in the Levant
13. Jewish Christ-Followers in Capernaum before the 4th Century? Reconsidering the Texts and Archaeology
Wally V. Cirafesi
14. Christ Assemblies within a Jewish Context: Reconstructing a Social Setting for the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies
Karin Hedner Zetterholm
15. Beyond the Parting of the Ways: Institutional Contexts as Matrices for the Formation of Judaism and Christianity
16. Where Do We Go from Here? Conflict and Co-existence in Institutional Contexts
Part IV. Ritual Purity and Rabbinic Ideas of the Christian Other: Generating and Consolidating Difference (1st –7th Centuries CE)
17. Along Ethnic Lines: The Case for Stepped Pools and Chalk Vessels as Markers of Jewish Purity Observance
18. Scriptural Hermeneutics and Purity Laws in the Clementine Homilies: Mainstream or Marginal?
19. Nazarenes [נוצרים] in Rabbinic Sources: What Does a Study of the Term Reveal about Rabbinic Attitudes to Christians?
Michal Bar-Asher Siegal
20. “It is Better to Cleave to Esau”: Rabbinic Perceptions of Esau as the “Other Within”
21. Where Do We Go from Here? Ritual Purity and Rabbinic Ideas of the Christian Other
Concluding Discussion and Evaluation: Negotiating Identities
This impressive collection of contributions by leading international experts provides comprehensive, thorough, and methodically innovative insights into the intersections and complex relationships between Judaism and Christianity in their historical, social, cultural, and religious contexts. This remarkable book is indispensable for anyone interested in the multifaceted identity formation and early interaction of both world religions from the Hellenistic-Roman period to Late Antiquity.
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Additional Information: Figure 15.2 Schematic depiction of the early history of what became Judaism and Christianity as seen from the perspective of their institutional Contexts. Credit: Anders Runesson. Originally published in Jews and Christians—Parting Ways in the First Two Centuries C.E? (DeGruyter, 2021).