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

By Adiel Schremer

The emergence of formative Judaism has generally been tested in mild of a theological preoccupation with the 2 competing non secular activities, '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, as a substitute privileging the rabbinic perspective towards Rome, the destroyer of the temple in 70 C.E., over their difficulty with the nascent Christian circulation. 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. counting on the overdue 20th-century scholarly depiction of the gradual and measured progress of Christianity within the empire up till or even after Constantine's conversion, Schremer minimizes the level to which the rabbis paid realization to the Christian presence. He is going on, although, to pinpoint the parting of the methods among the rabbis and the Christians within the first 3rd of the second one century, whilst Christians have been eventually assigned to the class of heretics.

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

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For this reason, a reading of rabbinic sources on the backdrop of Christian materials is called for. It is so necessary, in fact, that even where there is no explicit allusion to Christianity in the rabbinic source under discussion, we, however, must posit such a background. This results in a polemical reading of the rabbinic text, which in turn is taken to be an ample proof for the presumption regarding the pivotal place that Christianity occupies in rabbinic sources. Even if we were to ignore the circularity of the argument, the question of why we should accept these assumptions remains.

99 The attempt to relate ideological developments in rabbinic literature to specific historical circumstances rests on the methodological assumption that it is indeed possible to assign, even if roughly, rabbinic dicta to the relevant period. , one might find this assumption quite problematic if applied to the world of Palestinian rabbis of the second century. ). Although the assumption that the former preserve second-century rabbinic traditions in a manner fairly close to their original form may be questioned, employing this assumption with respect to Tannaitic literature is much more tenable.

This, I suggest, provides a framework for a better understanding of the social-historical process of the emergence of Christianity as a distinct, nonJewish religious entity in late ancient rabbinic discourse. 87 This indicates that it was not these stances, as such, that caused those who expressed them to be ousted from the Jewish community but, rather, the specific historical circumstances, which gave rise to a frantic sensitivity to identity and differences, that motivated that social reaction of exclusion.

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