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By Miriam S. Taylor

Opposed to the scholarly consensus that assumes early Christians have been concerned in a competition for converts with modern Jews, this e-book indicates that the objective of patristic writers was once relatively a symbolic Judaism, and their goal used to be to outline theologically the younger church's id. In picking and categorizing the hypotheses recommend by means of glossy students to guard their view of a Jewish-Christian "conflict", this ebook demonstrates how present theories have generated defective notions concerning the perceptions and motivations of historical Christians and Jews. past its relevance to scholars of the early church, this e-book addresses the broader query of Christian accountability for contemporary anti-Semitism. It exhibits how the focal point on a supposedly social contention, obscures the intensity and disquieting nature of the connections among early anti-Judaism and Christian id.

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Example text

He estimated that the adversaries depicted in the texts were purely "conventional" figures, whose arguments were rendered in a standardized form, and whose oudook tied in all too neady with Christian refutations and justificaticMis. Speaking of Justin, Hamack stated his certainty that the church father "took liberties in the creation of his Dialogue, and he almost always makes his opponent say just what seems to him useful for the development of his own thought and die carrying through of his own p r o o f (Hamack 1883: 77-78).

In fact they assume that if Judaism still managed to exert its influence over Christianity, through the intermediary of judaizers in the fourth century, then the problem must have seemed all the more acute in the earlier period when the church was in a weaker position and the synagogue in a relatively stronger one. I would argue that, to die contrary, such a progressive, uninterrupted development in Jewish-Christian relations cannot be assumed unless it is proven and backed by solid evideiKe. Such evidence is lacking.

Chrysostom sometimes is carried away by his own metaphcffs" (Meeks & Wilken 1978: 32). He admits himself that he has come to lust for combat against the Jews. The real concem of the homilies, conclude Meeks and Wilken, is not with the Jews as aggressors, but with die strange Christian attraction to Judaism, which die church father seeks to curb. "The remedies which Chrysostom prescribes also support the impression that he feared Christian fascination with Judaism more than active Jewish recmitment of Christians" (Meeks & Wilken 1978: 33).

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