Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity / Edition 1

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"The historical separation between Judaism and Christianity is often figured as a clearly defined break of a single entity into two separate religions. Following this model, there would have been one religion known as Judaism before the birth of Christ, which then took on a hybrid identity. Even before its subsequent division, certain beliefs and practices of this composite would have been identifiable as Christian or Jewish. In Border Lines, however, Daniel Boyarin makes a case for a very different way of thinking about the historical development that is the partition of Judaeo-Christianity." "There were no characteristics or features that could be described as uniquely Jewish or Christian in late antiquity, Boyarin argues. Rather, Jesus-following Jews and Jews who did not follow Jesus lived on a cultural map in which beliefs, such as that in a second divine being, and practices, such as keeping kosher or maintaining the Sabbath, were widely and variably distributed. The ultimate distinctions between Judaism and Christianity were imposed from above by "border-makers," heresiologists anxious to construct a discrete identity for Christianity. By defining some beliefs and practices as Christian and others as Jewish or heretical, they moved ideas, behaviors, and people to one side or another of an artificial border - and, Boyarin contends, invented the very notion of religion." Boyarin demonstrates that it was early Christian writers who first imagined religion as a realm of practice and belief that could be separated from the broader cultural network of language, genealogy, or geography, and that they did so precisely to give Christians an identity. In the end, he suggests, the Rabbis refused the option offered by the Christian empire of converting Judaism into such a religion. Christianity, a religion, and Judaism, something that was not a religion, stood on opposite sides of a border line drawn more or less successfully across their respective populations. As a
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Encourages us to see historic Christianity as but one expression of a universalistic potential in Jewish monotheism. . . . In a fruitful career not yet nearly over, Border Lines, the culmination of many years of work, may well remain Daniel Boyarin's masterpiece."—Jack Miles, Commonweal

"Boyarin's book challenges the ordinary usage of the terms 'Judaism' and 'Christianity' and juxtaposes the formation of orthodoxy as it is formulated within rabbinic tradition and among Christians of the patristic period. His bold thesis will no doubt prove controversial and important."—Elaine Pagels, author of Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas

"Boyarin proposes that by constructing the categories of religious orthodoxy and heresy, second-century Gentile Christians created the concept of religion which pervades the Western world to this day. The work is intensely provocative and innovative and is destined to take its proper place as a modern classic among Boyarin's previous works."—Shofar

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812237641
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2004
  • Series: Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Boyarin is the Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture in the Departments of Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity, Judaism and A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity, and other books.

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Table of Contents

Preface : interrogate my love
1 Introduction 1
Pt. I Making a difference : the heresiological beginnings of Christianity and Judaism
2 Justin's dialogue with the Jews : the beginnings of orthodoxy 37
3 Naturalizing the border : apostolic succession in the Mishna 74
Pt. II The crucifixion of the Logos : how Logos theology became Christian
4 The intertextual birth of the Logos : the prologue to John as a Jewish Midrash 89
5 The Jewish life of the Logos : Logos theology in pre- and pararabbinic Judaism 112
6 The crucifixion of the Memra : how the Logos became Christian 128
Pt. III Sparks of the Logos : historicizing rabbinic religion
7 The Yavneh legend of the Stammaim : on the invention of the rabbis in the sixth century 151
8 "When the kingdom turned to Minut" : the Christian empire and the rabbinic refusal of religion 202
Concluding political postscript : a fragment 227
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