By Michele Murray
Is it attainable that early Christian anti-Judaism was once directed towards humans except Jews? Michele Murray proposes that major strands of early Christian anti-Judaism have been directed opposed to Gentile Christians. extra in particular, it was once directed towards Gentile Christian judaizers. those have been Christians who mixed a dedication to Christianity with adherence in various levels to Jewish practices, with out viewing such behaviour as contradictory. a number of Christian leaders idea that those neighborhood contributors dangerously blurred the bounds among Christianity and Judaism. As such, Gentile Christian judaizers grew to become the objective of a lot anti-Jewish rhetoric in quite a few early Christian writings. proof of Gentile Christian judaizers are available in canonical resources, similar to Pauls Letter to the Galatians and the e-book of Revelation, in addition to non-canonical resources, reminiscent of the Epistle of Barnabas, the Didache, and Justin Martyr’s discussion with Trypho. with a view to examine the phenomenon of judaizing and the response to it of ecclesiastical professionals, Murray organizes the proof via possible geographical situation, utilizing Asia Minor and Syria because the major loci. The phenomenon of Gentile Christian judaizing is tested in the broader context of Jewish-Christian family members within the early centuries, and is the 1st try and draw all attainable references to Gentile Christian judaizers jointly into one examine to contemplate them as a complete. This dialogue invitations readers to mirror at the lifestyles of Gentile Christian judaizers as one other aspect at the continuum of Jewish-Christian kin within the Greco-Roman international — a space, Murray concludes, that should be extra rigorously outlined.
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Additional info for Playing a Jewish Game: Gentile Christian Judaizing in the First and Second Centuries CE (Studies in Christianity and Judaism 13)
According to Tacitus, in 57 CE this "distinguished lady ... was accused of some foreign superstition (externae superstitionis rea) and handed over to her husband's judicial decision" (Tacitus, Ann. 32). The most that can be said about this piece of evidence, however, is that involvement in Judaism may be meant (Leon 1995: 252). The example of Fulvia is more secure evidence for direct association of a person of elevated social status with Judaism. She is described as "a woman of high rank who had become a Jewish proselyte" (TroV ev W;lOlllaTl YUVCllKroV Kai VOlllIlOl<; 1tpOcreA11Au9uiav Toi<; 'IouoalKoi<;), who was swindled by a group of Jewish thieves out of gold and purple that she had intended for the temple authorities in Jerusalem (Josephus, Ant.
45). The statement implies that the Gentiles were attracted by the lifestyle maintained by the Jews living in their midst, not by proselytizing efforts made by Jews to draw them in. As Goodman has observed, " [o]ne would expect a great deal to be said about such a mission in the works of Philo and Josephus if Jews wished all Gentiles to take so momentous a step. But in fact these authors have little about proselytes and nothing about a mission to win them" (1992: 70-71). Regarding (d), Wolfgang Wiefel states that the Jewish "tendency toward proselytism, still active in the second half of the [first] century, is described in these words by Juvenal" (1999: 99).
Wealthy Roman aristocrat Fulvia (Josephus, Ant. 8I-82) underwent conversion to Judaism. The God-fearers mentioned in the Aphrodisias inscription, and Julia Severa from Acmonia, stopped short of full conversion and, perhaps in addition to other Jewish observances, were attached to the synagogue. 96-I06. 559-60) and Nero's mistress and wife Poppaea furthermore expressed their respect for Judaism by siding with the Jews and supporting their causes. How Did Attraction to Judaism Occur? 1 6 Such scholars as McKnight (I99I) and Goodman (I992, I994) have argued persuasively that a distinction ought to be made between the passive reception of converts or interested pagans, and the desire to convert the non-Jewish world to JudaismP Indeed, the presence of pagan attraction or association with Judaism in antiquity does not imply a strong missionary effort toward Gentiles by Jews.