A History of the Christian People (A.D.70-136)

Professor Lawrence H. Schiffman

 

The rise of Christianity has occupied such a prominent place in the study of the history of religions that it has dwarfed an interrelated and perhaps more important question: the manner in which Judaism and Christianity separated from each other and came to conceive of each other as "the other." How did it come to be that Christians saw the Jews and Judaism as alien and different, and then as a religion to be superseded and a people to be blamed for the sin of deicide? How did it happen that Judaism came to see Christianity, which had originated as a Jewish sectarian movement, as another religion and its adherents as non-Jews – members of another ethos? To be sure, this process was closely connected to historical developments and evolutions in both Judaism and Christianity. But it was fateful in setting the stage for Christian anti-Judaism and our understanding of it as crucial for Jewish-Christian relations in the modern world. This complex process can only be properly understood by beginning to sketch aspects of the background of the Jewish-Christian schism, examining the evidence we have for the separation and then observing its results in Late Antiquity.

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Understanding the Impact of Hellenization on the Land of Israel

Into the Light:

The Festival of Hanukkah

 

"Now upon the same day that the strangers profaned the Temple, on the very same day it was cleansed again, even the five and twentieth day of the same month, which is Casleu. And they kept eight days with gladness, as in the Feast of the Tabernacles, remembering that not long before they had held the Feast of Tabernacles, when as they wondered in the mountains and dens like beasts. Therefore they bare branches and fair boughs, and palms also, and sang songs unto Him that had given them good success in cleansing His Place. They ordained also by a common statute and decree, That every year those days should be kept of the whole nation of the Jews" (2 Maccabees 10:5-8).

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The Christians as the Romans Saw Them

 Book Review

Robert Louis Wilken

 I see I'm hardly in the minority rating this book five stars; as much as I like to be different, there IS no other rating this one can deserve. Wilken makes his subject, which is rather esoteric, accessible and interesting -- I would call it absolutely fascinating -- to the lay reader. I read this book with virtually no prior knowledge of the very early history of the Christian Church, and it quickly became the catalyst for a million new paths of thought and things to research.

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