Ancient Judaism And Christian Origins

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Overview

In the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century, Christian scholars portrayed Judaism as the dark religious backdrop to the liberating events of Jesus' life and the rise of the early church. Since the 1950s, however, a dramatic shift has occurred in the study of Judaism, driven by new manuscript and archaeological discoveries and new methods and tools for analyzing sources. George Nickelsburg here provides a broad and synthesizing picture of the results of the past fifty years of scholarship on early Judaism and Christianity. He organizes his discussion around a number of traditional topics: scripture and tradition, Torah and the righteous life, God's activity on humanity's behalf, agents of God's activity, eschatology, historical circumstances, and social settings. Each of the chapters discusses the findings of contemporary research on early Judaism, and then sketches the implications of this research for a possible reinter-pretation of Christianity. Still, in the author's view, there remains a major Jewish-Christian agenda yet to be developed and implemented.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780800636128
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Abbreviations
Introduction 1
The Renewed Study of Early Judaism 1
Implications for the Study of Christian Origins 3
The Task and Scope of This Book 6
1 Scripture and Tradition 9
The Situation in Early Judaism 9
Scripture in the Early Church 21
Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church 24
Jewish Precedents for the Rise and Development of the Jesus Tradition 26
2 Torah and the Righteous Life 29
A Theological Problem for the Church 29
Torah in the Hebrew Scriptures 31
Torah and the Righteous Life in Early Judaism 36
The Development of Halakah and the Rise of Sectarianism 44
Torah and Grace in Judaism 50
Torah and the Righteous Life in Early Christianity 51
Summary 58
3 God's Activity in Behalf of Humanity 61
Models in Jewish Texts 61
Two Major Developments 62
Salvation from Sin and Its Consequences 64
Salvation from One's Enemies 69
The Scope of Divine Blessing and Salvation 75
God's Interaction with Humanity according to Early Christianity 79
Summary 87
4 Agents of God's Activity 89
God's Agents in Early Judaism 90
Early Christian Speculation about Jesus 108
Summary 116
5 Eschatology 119
The Bible's Developing Eschatological Tendency 120
Jewish Writings of the Greco-Roman Period 123
The Eschatological Orientation of Early Christianity 135
Resurrection, Immortality, and Eternal Life 141
The Locus of Final Salvation 144
Jewish Responses to the Gospel: A Noneschatological Horizon 144
Summary 145
6 Contexts and Settings 147
Ancient Texts as Historical Artifacts 147
Responses to Troubled Times 149
Geographic Location 150
Judaism and Hellenism 150
Temple, Cult, and Priesthood 153
The Synagogue 154
Religious Groups 160
Summary 181
7 Conclusions and Implications 185
Diversity within Early Judaism and Early Christianity: A Comparison 185
Judaism and Early Christianity: Where They Differed and Why They Parted 193
The Consequences of These Events 195
Looking to the Future: Some Possibilities 197
Notes 201
Index of Passages Cited 245
Index of Authors 259
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