Jewish Law in Gentile Churches: Halakhah and the Beginning of Christian Public Ethics

Overview

Why did the early Christian church, with its many Gentile members, keep Old Testament commandments about sex and idolatry but disregard many others, like those about food or ritual purity? Did Christianity inherit its norms of moral reasoning from Judaism or invent them afresh?

In Jewish Law in Gentile Churches, Markus Bockmuehl approaches such questions by examining the halakhic (Jewish legal) rationale behind the ethics of Jesus, Paul, and the early Christians. Bockmuehl ...

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Overview

Why did the early Christian church, with its many Gentile members, keep Old Testament commandments about sex and idolatry but disregard many others, like those about food or ritual purity? Did Christianity inherit its norms of moral reasoning from Judaism or invent them afresh?

In Jewish Law in Gentile Churches, Markus Bockmuehl approaches such questions by examining the halakhic (Jewish legal) rationale behind the ethics of Jesus, Paul, and the early Christians. Bockmuehl offers an alternative to the prevailing attitude that "law-free" Christianity arose in response to Jewish "legalism." Drawing heavily upon primary sources, he suggests that early Christian ethics were more solidly based in Jewish legal teaching than has generally been thought.

This important study has far-reaching implications not only for the study of the New Testament, but more broadly for the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. First published by T & T Clark, Jewish Law in Gentile Churches is now available to a North American audience in this affordable paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801027581
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/1/2003
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,217,164
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Markus Bockmuehl (PhD, University of Cambridge) is the Dean Ireland's Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture at the University of Oxford and is a Fellow of Keble College. His books include Jewish Law in Gentile Churches, Philippians in Black's New Testament Commentary series, and Seeing the Word: Refocusing New Testament Study.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii
Abbreviations xvii
Part 1 Christianity in the Land of Israel 1
1. Halakhah and Ethics in the Jesus Tradition 3
The Precedence of Written Torah 4
'The Weightier Things of the Torah' 6
Act and Motive 8
Purity and Integrity 10
Antinomian Eschatology? 12
Conclusion 14
2. Matthew's Divorce Texts in the Light of Pre-Rabbinic Jewish Law 17
3. 'Let the Dead Bury their Dead': Jesus and the Law Revisited 23
The Prevailing Consensus 23
Assessment of the Case for the Prevailing Consensus 26
Possible Ways Forward 34
Nazirite Halakhah 36
Conclusion 46
4. James, Israel and Antioch 49
First-Century Antioch 51
Antioch from the Perspective of the Land of Israel 61
Four Theses on James the Just and Antioch 70
Conclusion 82
Part 2 Jewish and Christian Ethics for Gentiles 85
5. Natural Law in Second Temple Judaism 87
The Old Testament 88
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha 97
The Dead Sea Scrolls and Early Rabbinic Literature 103
Philo and Josephus 107
Conclusions 110
6. Natural Law in the New Testament? 113
'Nature' and other Conundrums 113
Jesus and the Gospels 117
The Acts of the Apostles 126
Paul 127
Conclusion 140
7. The Noachide Commandments and New Testament Ethics 145
Methodological Concerns 146
Form and Substance in New Testament Ethics 148
The Noachide Commandments 150
Noachide Law and the New Testament 162
Conclusion 172
Part 3 The Development of Public Ethics 175
8. The Beginning of Christian Public Ethics: From Luke to Aristides and Diognetus 177
Three Beginnings 177
New Testament Antecedents 186
Public Ethics in the Second Century 194
The Earliest Apologists 201
Aristides of Athens 202
The Epistle to Diognetus 215
Conclusion 222
9. Jewish and Christian Public Ethics in the Early Roman Empire 229
The Problem of Halakhah in Jewish and Christian Ethics 230
Jewish Public Ethics 233
Characteristics of the Christian Approach 236
Conclusion 238
Bibliography 241
List of First Publications 281
Index of Ancient Sources 283
Index of Modern Authors 303
Index of Subjects 309
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