Brothers Estranged: Heresy, Christianity and Jewish Identity by Adiel Schremer

By Adiel Schremer

The emergence of formative Judaism has ordinarily been tested in mild of a theological preoccupation with the 2 competing spiritual routine, 'Christianity' and 'Judaism' within the first centuries of the typical period. during this publication Ariel Schremer makes an attempt to shift the scholarly consensus clear of this paradigm, in its place privileging the rabbinic perspective towards Rome, the destroyer of the temple in 70 C.E., over their hindrance with the nascent Christian stream. The palpable rabbinic political enmity towards Rome, says Schremer, was once determinative within the rising building of Jewish self-identity. He asserts that the class of heresy took on a brand new urgency within the wake of the trauma of the Temple's destruction, which demanded the development of a brand new self-identity. hoping on the overdue 20th-century scholarly depiction of the gradual and measured development of Christianity within the empire up until eventually or even after Constantine's conversion, Schremer minimizes the level to which the rabbis paid cognizance to the Christian presence. He is going on, notwithstanding, to pinpoint the parting of the methods among the rabbis and the Christians within the first 3rd of the second one century, while Christians have been ultimately assigned to the class of heretics.

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Extra info for Brothers Estranged: Heresy, Christianity and Jewish Identity in Late Antiquity

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When a society’s identity is questioned and consequently becomes unstable, that society may need to reestablish its identity. This is frequently done by creating boundaries—social, religious, cultural, or ideological—to clearly demarcate the lines of belonging. ” As noted by the cognitive sociologist Eviatar Zerubavel, this happens “especially during periods of great instability”: As they go through a major identity crisis, for example, groups, just like individuals, become much more protective of their boundaries.

Furthermore, as we shall see, the rabbis established actual rules that govern social relations with minim in a manner that, if followed, indeed excluded them from the community. ” Midrash, Literature, and History This book is a historical project. Its sources, however, are mostly literary, not “historical” in the strict sense of the word. My use of these sources for historical purposes necessitates, therefore, some elaboration. ”88 Apparently, these historians maintain a relatively sharp dichotomy between “historical” sources and literary ones.

Daniel Lasker and Sarah Stroumsa’s opening sentence to their co-study, The Polemic of Nestor the Priest, may serve as a useful example: “The Jewish-Christian debate is as old as Christianity,” they write. ”53 In order to speak of “Christian missionaries [who] became active among Jews and Pagans,” with respect to the period “soon after Jesus’ death,” one needs to entirely ignore the Jewishness of Jesus’ followers and to view Christianity as a distinct socioreligious entity already from the days of Jesus.

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