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Jewish Christians (Hebrew: יהודים נוצרים) were the followers of a Jewish religious sect that emerged in Judea during the late Second Temple period (first-century). The sect integrated the belief of Jesus as the prophesied Messiah and his teachings into the Jewish faith, including the observance of the Jewish law. Jewish Christianity is the foundation of Early Christianity, which later developed into Christianity. Christianity started with Jewish eschatological expectations, and it developed into the veneration of a deified Jesus after his earthly ministry, his crucifixion, and the post-crucifixion experiences of his followers.
The inclusion of gentiles led to a growing split between Jewish Christians and gentile Christianity. From the latter "orthodox" Christianity eventually arose, while mainstream Judaism developed into Rabbinic Judaism. Jewish Christians drifted apart from mainstream Judaism, eventually becoming a minority strand which had mostly disappeared by the fifth century.
The split of Christianity and Judaism took place during the first centuries CE. While the First Jewish–Roman War and the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE were main events, the separation was a long-term process, in which the boundaries were not clear-cut.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Origins
- 3 Early Jewish Christianity
- 4 Paul and the inclusion of gentiles
- 5 Split of early Christianity and Judaism
- 6 Later Jewish Christianity
- 7 Contemporary movements
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 Sources
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as 'The Way' (ἡ ὁδός - hė odós), probably coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord."[note 1] According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" (Greek: Χριστιανός) was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ", by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" (Greek: Χριστιανισμός) was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD.
The term "Jewish Christian" appears in historical texts contrasting Christians of Jewish origin with gentile Christians, both in discussion of the New Testament church and the second and following centuries. It is also a term used for Jews who converted to Christianity but kept their Jewish heritage and traditions.
Christianity arose in the syncretistic Hellenistic world of the first century CE, which was dominated by Roman law and Greek culture. Hellenistic culture had a profound impact on the customs and practices of Jews, both in the Land of Israel and in the Diaspora. The inroads into Judaism gave rise to Hellenistic Judaism in the Jewish diaspora which sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism.
Hellenistic Judaism spread to Ptolemaic Egypt from the 3rd century BCE, and became a notable religio licita after the Roman conquest of Greece, Anatolia, Syria, Judea, and Egypt, until its decline in the 3rd century parallel to the rise of Gnosticism and Early Christianity.
During the early first century CE there were many competing Jewish sects in the Holy Land, and those that became Rabbinic Judaism and Proto-orthodox Christianity were but two of these. There were Pharisees, Sadducees, and Zealots, but also other less influential sects, including the Essenes. The first century BCE and first century CE saw a growing number of charismatic religious leaders contributing to what would become the Mishnah of Rabbinic Judaism; and the ministry of Jesus, which would lead to the emergence of the first Jewish Christian community.
Although the gospels contain strong condemnations of the Pharisees, Paul the Apostle claimed to be a Pharisee, and there is a clear influence of Hillel's interpretation of the Torah in the Gospel-sayings. Belief in the resurrection of the dead in the messianic age was a core Pharisaic doctrine.
Jewish and Christian messianism
Most of Jesus's teachings were intelligible and acceptable in terms of Second Temple Judaism; what set Christians apart from Jews was their faith in Christ as the resurrected messiah. While Christianity acknowledges only one ultimate Messiah, Judaism can be said to hold to a concept of multiple messiahs. The two most relevant are the Messiah ben Joseph and the traditional Messiah ben David. Some scholars have argued that the idea of two messiahs, one suffering and the second fulfilling the traditional messianic role, was normative to ancient Judaism, predating Jesus. Jesus would have been viewed by many as one or both.
Jewish messianism has its root in the apocalyptic literature of the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE, promising a future "anointed" leader or Messiah to resurrect the Israelite "Kingdom of God", in place of the foreign rulers of the time. According to Shaye J.D. Cohen, Jesus's failure to establish an independent Israel, and his death at the hands of the Romans, caused many Jews to reject him as the Messiah.[note 3] Jews at that time were expecting a military leader as a Messiah, such as Bar Kokhba.
This section may stray from the topic of the article. (June 2019)
According to Christian denominations the bodily resurrection of Jesus after his death is the pivotal event of Jesus' life and death, as described in the gospels and the epistles. According to the gospels, written decades after the events of his life, Jesus preached for a period of one to three years in the early 1st century. His ministry of teaching, healing the sick and disabled and performing various miracles culminated in his crucifixion at the hands of the Roman authorities in Jerusalem. After his death, he appeared to his followers, resurrected from death. After forty days he ascended to Heaven, but his followers believed he would soon return to usher in the Kingdom of God and fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy such as the resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment.
There is widespread disagreement among scholars on the details of the life of Jesus mentioned in the gospel narratives, and on the meaning of his teachings. Scholars often draw a distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, and two different accounts can be found in this regard.
Critical scholarship has stripped away most narratives about Jesus as legendary, and the mainstream historical view is that while the gospels include many legendary elements, these are religious elaborations added to the accounts of a historical Jesus who was crucified under the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate in the 1st-century Roman province of Judea. His remaining disciples later believed that he was resurrected.
Five portraits of the historical Jesus are supported by mainstream scholars, namely the apocalyptic prophet,[note 4] the charismatic healer, the Cynic philosopher, the Jewish Messiah, and the prophet of social change.
Early Jewish Christianity
Most historians agree that Jesus or his followers established a new Jewish sect, one that attracted both Jewish and gentile converts. According to New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman, a number of early Christianities existed in the first century CE, from which developed various Christian traditions and denominations, including proto-orthodoxy. According to theologian James D. G. Dunn, four types of early Christianity can be discerned: Jewish Christianity, Hellenistic Christianity, Apocalyptic Christianity, and early Catholicism.
The first followers of Jesus were essentially all ethnically Jewish or Jewish proselytes. Jesus was Jewish, preached to the Jewish people, and called from them his first followers. According to McGrath, Jewish Christians, as faithful religious Jews, "regarded their movement as an affirmation of every aspect of contemporary Judaism, with the addition of one extra belief-that Jesus was the Messiah."
Jewish Christians were the original members of the Jewish movement that later became Christianity. In the earliest stage the community was made up of all those Jews who believed that Jesus was the Jewish messiah. As Christianity grew and developed, Jewish Christians became only one strand of the early Christian community, characterised by combining the confession of Jesus as Christ with continued observance of the Torah and adherence to Jewish traditions such as Sabbath observance, Jewish calendar, Jewish laws and customs, circumcision, kosher diet and synagogue attendance, and by a direct genetic relationship to the earliest followers of Jesus.
The Jerusalem Church was an early Christian community located in Jerusalem, of which James the Just, the brother of Jesus, and Peter were leaders. Paul was in contact with this community. Legitimised by Jesus' appearance, Peter was the first leader of the Jerusalem ekklēsia. He was soon eclipsed in this leadership by James the Just, "the Brother of the Lord," which may explain why the early texts contain scarce information about Peter. According to Lüdemann, in the discussions about the strictness of adherence to the Jewish Law, the more conservative faction of James the Just took the overhand over the more liberal position of Peter, who soon lost influence. According to Dunn, this was not an "usurpation of power," but a consequence of Peter's involvement in missionary activities.
According to Eusebius' Church History 4.5.3–4: the first 15 Christian Bishops of Jerusalem were "of the circumcision". The Romans destroyed the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem in year 135 during the Bar Kokhba revolt, but it is traditionally believed the Jerusalem Christians waited out the Jewish–Roman wars in Pella in the Decapolis.
The Pauline epistles incorporate creeds, or confessions of faith, of a belief in an exalted Christ that predate Paul, and give essential information on the faith of the early Jerusalem Church around James, 'the brother of Jesus'. This group venerated the risen Christ, who had appeared to several persons, as in Philippians 2:6–11, the Christ hymn, which portrays Jesus as an incarnated and subsequently exalted heavenly being.
Early Christians regarded Jesus to be the Messiah, the promised king who would restore the Jewish kingdom and independence. Jewish messianism has its root in the apocalyptic literature of the 2nd century BCE to 1st century BCE, promising a future "anointed" leader or messiah to restore the Israelite "Kingdom of God", in place of the foreign rulers of the time. This corresponded with the Maccabean Revolt directed against the Seleucid Empire. Following the fall of the Hasmonean kingdom, it was directed against the Roman administration of Judea Province, which, according to Josephus, began with the formation of the Zealots and Sicarii during the Census of Quirinius (6 CE), although full-scale open revolt did not occur until the First Jewish–Roman War in 66 CE.
According to the New Testament, some Christians reported that they encountered Jesus after his crucifixion. They argued that he had been resurrected (belief in the resurrection of the dead in the Messianic Age was a core Pharisaic doctrine), and would soon return to usher in the Kingdom of God and fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy such as the resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment.
1 Corinthians 15:3-9 gives an early testimony, which was delivered to Paul, of the atonement of Jesus and the appearances of the risen Christ to "Cephas and the twelve", and to "James [...] and all the apostles", possibly reflecting a fusion of two early Christian groups:
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures;
5 and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve;
6 then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep;
7 then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles;
8 and last of all, as to the [child] untimely born, he appeared to me also.
According to Geza Vermes, the concept of resurrection formed "the initial stage of the belief in his exaltation", which is "the apogee of the triumphant Christ". The focal concern of the early communities is the expected return of Jesus, and the entry of the believers into the kingdom of God with a transformed body.
According to Ehrman, the resurrection experiences were a denial response to his disciples' sudden disillusionment following Jesus' death. According to Ehrman, some of his followers claimed to have seen him alive again, resulting in a multitude of stories which convinced others that Jesus had risen from death and was exalted to Heaven.[note 5]
According to Paula Fredriksen, Jesus's impact on his followers was so great that they could not accept the failure implicit in his death. According to Fredricksen, before his death Jesus created amongst his believers such certainty that the Kingdom of God and the resurrection of the dead was at hand, that with few exceptions (John 20: 24-29) when they saw him shortly after his execution, they had no doubt that he had been resurrected, and the general resurrection of the dead was at hand. These specific beliefs were compatible with Second Temple Judaism.
According to Johan Leman, the resurrection must be understood as a sense of presence of Jesus even after his death, especially during the ritual meals which were continued after his death. His early followers regarded him as a righteous man and prophet, who was therefore resurrected and exalted. In time, Messianistic, Isaiahic, apocalyptic and eschatological expectations were blended in the experience and understanding of Jesus, who came to be expected to return to earth.
A point of debate is how Christians came to believe in a bodily resurrection, which was "a comparatively recent development within Judaism." According to Dag Øistein Endsjø, "The notion of the resurrection of the flesh was, as we have seen, not unknown to certain parts of Judaism in antiquity", but Paul rejected the idea of bodily resurrection, and it also can't be found within the strands of Jewish thought in which he was formed. According to Porter, Hayes and Tombs, the Jewish tradition emphasizes a continued spiritual existence rather than a bodily resurrection.
Nevertheless, the origin of this idea is commonly traced to Jewish beliefs, a view against which Stanley E. Porter objected. According to Porter, Jewish and subsequent Christian thought were influenced by Greek thoughts, where "assumptions regarding resurrection" can be found, which were probably adopted by Paul.[note 6] According to Ehrman, most of the alleged parallels between Jesus and the pagan savior-gods only exist in the modern imagination, and there are no "accounts of others who were born to virgin mothers and who died as an atonement for sin and then were raised from the dead."
Exaltation and deification
According to Ehrman, a central question in the research on Jesus and early Christianity is how a human came to be deified in a relatively short time. Jewish Christians like the Ebionites had an Adoptionist Christology and regarded Jesus as the Messiah while rejecting his divinity, while other strands of Christian thought regard Jesus to be a "fully divine figure", a "high Christology". How soon the earthly Jesus was regarded to be the incarnation of God is a matter of scholarly debate.
5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;
8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient [even] unto death, yea, the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name;
10 that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven and [things] on earth and [things] under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
According to Dunn, the background of this hymn has been strongly debated. Some see it as influenced by a Greek worldview.[note 7] while others have argued for Jewish influences. According to Dunn, the hymn contains a contrast with the sins of Adam and his disobedience. Dunn further notes that the hymn may be seen as a three-stage Christology, starting with "an earlier stage of mythic pre-history or pre-existence," but regards the humility-exaltation contrast to be the main theme.
This belief in the incarnated and exalted Christ was part of Christian tradition a few years after his death and over a decade before the writing of the Pauline epistles. According to Dunn, the background of this hymn has been strongly debated. Some see it as influenced by a Greek worldview,[note 8]
According to Burton L. Mack the early Christian communities started with "Jesus movements" new religious movements centering on a human teacher called Jesus. A number of these "Jesus movements" can be discerned in early Christian writings. According to Mack, within these Jesus-movements developed within 25 years the belief that Jesus was the Messiah, and had risen from death.
According to Erhman, the gospels show a development from a "low Christology" towards a "high Christology". Yet, a "high Christology" seems to have been part of Christian traditions a few years after his death, and over a decade before the writing of the Pauline epistles, which are the oldest Christian writings. According to Martin Hengel, as summarized by Jeremy Bouma, the letters of Paul already contain a fully developed Christology, shortly after the death of Jesus, including references to his pre-existence According to Hengel, the Gospel of John shows a development which builds on this early high Christology, fusing it with Jewish wisdom traditions, in which Wisdom was personified an descended into the world. While this "Logos Christology" is recognizable for Greek metaphysics, it is nevertheless not derived from pagan sources, and Hengel rejects the idea of influence from "Hellenistic mystery cults or a Gnostic redeemer myth".
Jewish practices and identity
The Book of Acts reports that the early followers continued daily Temple attendance and traditional Jewish home prayer. Other passages in the New Testament gospels reflect a similar observance of traditional Jewish piety such as fasting, reverence for the Torah and observance of Jewish holy days.
Paul and the inclusion of gentiles
Paul of Tarsus
According to Larry Hurtado, "the christology and devotional stance that Paul affirmed (and shared with others in the early Jesus-movement) was [...] a distinctive expression within a variegated body of Jewish messianic hopes."[web 1] According to Dunn, Paul presents, in his epistles, a Hellenised Christianity.[note 9] According to Ehrman, "Paul's message, in a nutshell, was a Jewish apocalyptic proclamation with a seriously Christian twist."
Paul was in contact with the early Christian community in Jerusalem, led by James the Just.[note 10] Fragments of their beliefs in an exalted and deified Jesus, what Mack called the "Christ cult," can be found in the writings of Paul.[note 11] According to the New Testament, Saul of Tarsus first persecuted the early Jewish Christians, but then converted. He adopted the name Paul and started proselytizing among the gentiles, adopting the title "Apostle to the Gentiles". He persuaded the leaders of the Jerusalem Church to allow gentile converts exemption from most Jewish commandments at the Council of Jerusalem, which opened the way for a much larger Christian Church, extending far beyond the Jewish community.
While Paul was inspired by the early Christian apostles, his writings elaborate on their teachings, and also give interpretations which are different from other teachings as documented in the canonical gospels, early Acts and the rest of the New Testament, such as the Epistle of James.
Inclusion of gentiles
Some early Jewish Christians believed that non-Jews must convert to Judaism and adopt Jewish customs in order to be saved. Paul criticized Peter for himself abandoning these customs, and therefore presenting a poor example to non-Jews joining the Christians. Paul's close coworker Barnabas sided with Peter in this dispute. Those that taught that gentile converts to Christianity ought to adopt more Jewish practices to be saved, however, were called "Judaizers". Though the Apostle Peter was initially sympathetic, the Apostle Paul opposed the teaching at the Incident at Antioch (Gal. 2:11-21) and at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:6-35). Nevertheless, Judaizing continued to be encouraged for several centuries, particularly by Jewish Christians.
Paul opposed the strict applications of Jewish customs for gentile converts, and argued with the leaders of the Jerusalem Church to allow gentile converts exemption from most Jewish commandments at the Council of Jerusalem, where Paul met with the "pillars of Jerusalem Church" over whether gentile Christians need to keep the Jewish Law and be circumcised. According to Acts, James played a prominent role in the formulation of the council's decision (Acts 15:19 NRSV) that circumcision was not a requirement. In Galatians, Paul says that James, Peter and John will minister to the "circumcised" (in general Jews and Jewish proselytes) in Jerusalem, while Paul and his fellows will minister to the "uncircumcised" (in general gentiles) (Galatians 2:9).[note 13]
The Catholic Encyclopedia claims: "St. Paul's account of the incident leaves no doubt that St. Peter saw the justice of the rebuke." however, L. Michael White's From Jesus to Christianity claims: "The blowup with Peter was a total failure of political bravado, and Paul soon left Antioch as persona non grata, never again to return." Scholar James D. G. Dunn, who coined the phrase "New Perspective on Paul", has proposed that Peter was the "bridge-man" (i.e., the pontifex maximus) between the two other "prominent leading figures" of early Christianity: Paul and James, the brother of Jesus.
Talmud scholar Daniel Boyarin has argued that Paul's theology of the spirit is more deeply rooted in Hellenistic Judaism than generally believed. In A Radical Jew, Boyarin argues that the Apostle Paul combined the life of Jesus with Greek philosophy to reinterpret the Hebrew Bible in terms of the Platonic opposition between the ideal (which is real) and the material (which is false). Judaism is a material religion, in which membership is based not on belief but rather descent from Abraham, physically marked by circumcision, and focusing on how to live this life properly. Paul saw in the symbol of a resurrected Jesus the possibility of a spiritual rather than corporeal Messiah. He used this notion of Messiah to argue for a religion through which all people — not just descendants of Abraham — could worship the God of Abraham. Unlike Judaism, which holds that it is the proper religion only of the Jews, Pauline Christianity claimed to be the proper religion for all people.
By appealing to the Platonic distinction between the material and the ideal, Paul showed how the spirit of Christ could provide all people a way to worship the God who had previously been worshipped only by Jews, Jewish proselytes and God-fearers, although Jews claimed that he was the one and only God of all. Boyarin roots Paul's work in Hellenistic Judaism and insists that Paul was thoroughly Jewish, but argues that Pauline theology made his version of Christianity appealing to gentiles. Boyarin also sees this Platonic reworking of both Jesus's teachings and Pharisaic Judaism as essential to the emergence of Christianity as a distinct religion, because it justified a Judaism without Jewish law.
Split of early Christianity and Judaism
Emergence as separate religious communities
As Christianity grew throughout the gentile world, the developing Christian tradition diverged from its Jewish and Jerusalem roots. Historians continue to debate the precise moment when early Christianity established itself as a new religion, apart and distinct from Judaism. It is difficult to trace the process by which the two separated or to know exactly when this began. Jewish Christians continued to worship in synagogues together with contemporary Jews for centuries. Some scholars have found evidence of continuous interactions between Jewish-Christian and Rabbinic movements from the mid-to late second century CE to the fourth century CE. Philip S. Alexander characterizes the question of when Christianity and Judaism parted company and went their separate ways as "one of those deceptively simple questions which should be approached with great care".
Both Early Christianity and Early Rabbinical Judaism were far less "orthodox" and less theologically homogeneous than they are today; and both were significantly influenced by Hellenistic religion and borrowed allegories and concepts from Classical Hellenistic philosophy and the works of Greek-speaking Jewish authors of the end of the Second Temple period before the two schools of thought eventually firmed up their respective "norms" and doctrines, notably by diverging increasingly on key issues such as the status of "purity laws", the validity of Judeo-Christian messianic beliefs, and, more importantly, the use of Koine Greek and Latin as sacerdotal languages replacing Biblical Hebrew.
Heinrich Graetz postulated a Council of Jamnia in 90 that excluded Christians from the synagogues, but this is disputed. Jewish Christians continued to worship in synagogues for centuries.
According to historian Shaye J. D. Cohen, "the separation of Christianity from Judaism was a process, not an event", in which the church became "more and more gentile, and less and less Jewish".[note 14] According to Cohen, early Christianity ceased to be a Jewish sect when it ceased to observe Jewish practices, such as circumcision. According to Cohen, this process ended in 70 CE, after the great revolt, when various Jewish sects disappeared and Pharisaic Judaism evolved into Rabbinic Judaism, and Christianity emerged as a distinct religion.
Talmudist and professor of Jewish studies Daniel Boyarin proposes a revised understanding of the interactions between nascent Christianity and Judaism in late antiquity, viewing the two "new" religions as intensely and complexly intertwined throughout this period. According to Boyarin, Judaism and Christianity "were part of one complex religious family, twins in a womb", for at least three centuries.[note 15] Alan Segal also states that "one can speak of a 'twin birth' of two new Judaisms, both markedly different from the religious systems that preceded them".[note 16]
According to Robert Goldenberg, it is increasingly accepted among scholars that "at the end of the 1st century CE there were not yet two separate religions called 'Judaism' and 'Christianity'".[note 17]
Jewish Christianity fell into decline during the Jewish–Roman wars (66–135) and the growing anti-Judaism perhaps best personified by Marcion of Sinope (c. 150). With persecution by the Nicene Christians from the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, Jewish Christians sought refuge outside the boundaries of the Empire, in Arabia and further afield. Within the Empire and later elsewhere it was dominated by the gentile based Christianity which became the State church of the Roman Empire and which took control of sites in the Holy Land such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Cenacle and appointed subsequent Bishops of Jerusalem.
First Jewish–Roman War and the destruction of the Temple
Full scale open revolt against the Romans occurred with the First Jewish–Roman War in 66 CE. In 70 CE the Temple was destroyed. The destruction of the Second Temple was a profoundly traumatic experience for the Jews, who were now confronted with difficult and far-reaching questions.[note 18] After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, sectarianism largely came to an end. The Zealots, Sadducees, and Essenes disappeared, while the Early Christians and the Pharisees survived, the latter transforming into Rabbinic Judaism, today known simply as "Judaism". The term "Pharisee" was no longer used, perhaps because it was a term more often used by non-Pharisees, but also because the term was explicitly sectarian, and the rabbis claimed leadership over all Jews.
Many historians argue that the gospels took their final form after the Great Revolt and the destruction of the Temple, although some scholars put the authorship of Mark in the 60s; this could help one understand their context. Strack theorizes that the growth of a Christian canon (the New Testament) was a factor that influenced the rabbis to record the oral law in writing.[note 19]
A significant contributing factor to the split was the two groups' differing theological interpretations of the Temple's destruction. Rabbinic Judaism saw the destruction as a chastisement for neglecting the Torah. The early Christians however saw it as God's punishment for the Jewish rejection of Jesus, leading to the claim that the 'true' Israel was now the Church. Jews believed this claim was scandalous. According to Fredriksen, since early Christians believed that Jesus had already replaced the Temple as the expression of a new covenant, they were relatively unconcerned with the destruction of the Temple during the First Jewish-Roman War.
Rejection of Jewish Christianity
In Christian circles, "Nazarene" later came to be used as a label for those faithful to Jewish law, in particular for a certain sect. These Jewish Christians, originally the central group in Christianity, were not at first declared to be unorthodox but were later excluded and denounced. Some Jewish Christian groups, such as the Ebionites, were considered to have unorthodox beliefs, particularly in relation to their views of Christ and gentile converts. The Nazarenes, holding to orthodoxy except in their adherence to Jewish law, were not deemed heretical until the dominance of orthodoxy in the 4th century. The Ebionites may have been a splinter group of Nazarenes, with disagreements over Christology and leadership. After the condemnation of the Nazarenes, "Ebionite" was often used as a general pejorative for all related "heresies".
Jewish Christians constituted a separate community from the Pauline Christians but maintained a similar faith, differing only in practice. There was a post-Nicene "double rejection" of the Jewish Christians by both gentile Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. It is believed that there was no direct confrontation or persecution between gentile and Judaic Christianity. However, by this time the practice of Judeo-Christianity was diluted both by internal schisms and external pressures. Gentile Christianity remained the sole strand of orthodoxy and imposed itself on the previously Jewish Christian sanctuaries, taking full control of those houses of worship by the end of the 5th century.
Growing anti-Jewish sentiment in Christian writings
Growing anti-Jewish sentiment among early Christians is evidenced by the Epistle of Barnabas, a late-1st/early-2nd century letter attributed to Barnabas, the companion of Paul mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, although it could be by Barnabas of Alexandria, or an anonymous author using the name Barnabas. In no other writing of that early time is the separation of the gentile Christians from observant Jews so clearly insisted upon. Christians, according to Barnabas, are the only true covenant people, and the Jewish people are no longer in covenant with God. Circumcision and the entire Jewish sacrificial and ceremonial system have been abolished in favor of "the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ". Barnabas claims that Jewish scriptures, rightly understood, serve as a foretelling of Christ and its laws often contain allegorical meanings.
While 2nd-century Marcionism rejected all Jewish influence on Christianity, Proto-orthodox Christianity instead retained some of the doctrines and practices of 1st-century Judaism while rejecting others.[note 20] They held the Jewish scriptures to be authoritative and sacred, employing mostly the Septuagint or Targum translations, and adding other texts as the New Testament canon developed. Christian baptism was another continuation of a Judaic practice.
Later Jewish Christianity
The Ebionites were a Jewish Christian movement that existed during the early centuries of the Christian Era. They show strong similarities with the earliest form of Jewish Christianity, and their specific theology may have been a "reaction to the law-free Gentile mission." They regarded Jesus as the Messiah while rejecting his divinity and his virgin birth, and insisted on the necessity of following Jewish law and rites. They used the Gospel of the Ebionites, one of the Jewish–Christian gospels; the Hebrew Book of Matthew starting at chapter 3; revered James the brother of Jesus (James the Just); and rejected Paul the Apostle as an apostate from the Law. Their name (Greek: Ἐβιωναῖοι Ebionaioi, derived from Hebrew אביונים ebyonim, ebionim, meaning "the poor" or "poor ones") suggests that they placed a special value on voluntary poverty.
Distinctive features of the Gospel of the Ebionites include the absence of the virgin birth and of the genealogy of Jesus; an Adoptionist Christology,[note 21] in which Jesus is chosen to be God's Son at the time of his Baptism; the abolition of the Jewish sacrifices by Jesus; and an advocacy of vegetarianism.[note 22]
The Nazarenes originated as a sect of first-century Judaism. The first use of the term "sect of the Nazarenes" is in the Book of Acts in the New Testament, where Paul is accused of being a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes ("πρωτοστάτην τε τῆς τῶν Ναζωραίων αἱρέσεως").[note 23] The term then simply designated followers of "Yeshua Natzri" (Jesus the Nazarene),[note 24] but in the first to fourth centuries the term was used for a sect of followers of Jesus who were closer to Judaism than most Christians. They are described by Epiphanius of Salamis and are mentioned later by Jerome and Augustine of Hippo, who made a distinction between the Nazarenes of their time and the "Nazarenes" mentioned in Acts 24:5.[note 25]
The Nazarenes were similar to the Ebionites, in that they considered themselves Jews, maintained an adherence to the Law of Moses, and used only the Aramaic Gospel of the Hebrews, rejecting all the Canonical gospels. However, unlike half of the Ebionites, they accepted the Virgin Birth.
The Gospel of the Hebrews was a syncretic Jewish–Christian gospel, the text of which is lost; only fragments of it survive as brief quotations by the early Church Fathers and in apocryphal writings. The fragments contain traditions of Jesus' pre-existence, incarnation, baptism, and probable temptation, along with some of his sayings. Distinctive features include a Christology characterized by the belief that the Holy Spirit is Jesus' Divine Mother; and a first resurrection appearance to James, the brother of Jesus, showing a high regard for James as the leader of the Jewish Christian church in Jerusalem. It was probably composed in Greek in the first decades of the 2nd century, and is believed to have been used by Greek-speaking Jewish Christians in Egypt during that century.
Surviving Byzantine and 'Syriac' communities in the Middle East
Some typically Grecian "Ancient Synagogal" priestly rites have survived partially to the present, notably in the distinct church service of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, Syriac Orthodox Church and the Melkite Greek Catholic communities of the Hatay Province of Southern Turkey, Syria and Lebanon.
The unique combination of ethnocultural traits inhered from the fusion of a Greek-Macedonian cultural base, Hellenistic Judaism and Roman civilization gave birth to the distinctly Antiochian "Middle Eastern-Roman" Christian traditions of Cilicia (Southeastern Turkey) and Syria/Lebanon:
The mixture of Roman, Greek, and Jewish elements admirably adapted Antioch for the great part it played in the early history of Christianity. The city was the cradle of the church.
Members of these communities still call themselves Rûm which literally means "Eastern Roman", "Byzantine" or "Asian Greek" in Turkish, Persian and Arabic. The term "Rûm" is used in preference to "Ionani" or "Yāvāni" which means "European Greek" or "Ionian" in Classical Arabic and Ancient Hebrew.
Most Middle-Eastern "Melkites" or "Rûms", can trace their ethnocultural heritage to the Southern Anatolian ('Cilician') and Syrian Hellenized Greek-speaking Jewish communities of the past and Greek and Macedonian settlers ('Greco-Syrians'), founders of the original "Antiochian Greek" communities of Cilicia, Northwestern Syria and Lebanon. Counting members of the surviving minorities in the Hatay Province of Turkey, in Syria, Lebanon, Northern Israel and their relatives in the diaspora, there are more than 1.8 million Greco-Melkite Christians residing in the Northern-MENA, the US, Canada and Latin America today i.e. Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic Christians under the ancient jurisdictional authority of the patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem ("Orthodox" in the narrow sense) or their Uniat offshoots ("Catholic" or "united" with Rome).
Today, certain families are associated with descent from the early Jewish Christians of Antioch, Damascus, Judea, and Galilee. Some of those families carry surnames such as Youhanna (John), Hanania (Ananias), Sahyoun (Zion), Eliyya/Elias (Elijah), Chamoun/Shamoun (Simeon/Simon), Semaan/Simaan (Simeon/Simon), Menassa (Manasseh), Salamoun/Suleiman (Solomon), Youwakim (Joachim), Zakariya (Zacharias) and others.
In modern days, the term "Jewish Christian" generally refers to ethnic Jews who have converted to or have been raised in Christianity. They are mostly members of Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christian congregations, and are generally assimilated into the Christian mainstream, although they retain a strong sense of their Jewish identity. Some Jewish Christians also refer to themselves as "Hebrew Christians".
The Hebrew Christian movement of the 19th century was a largely Anglican-led and largely integrated initiative, led by figures such as Michael Solomon Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem 1842–1845; some figures, such as Joseph Frey, founder of the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews, were more assertive of Jewish identity and independence.
The 19th century saw at least 250,000 Jews convert to Christianity according to existing records of various societies. Data from the Pew Research Center has it that, as of 2013, about 1.6 million adult American Jews identify themselves as Christians, most as Protestants. According to the same data, most of the Jews who identify themselves as some sort of Christian (1.6 million) were raised as Jews or are Jews by ancestry. According to a 2012 study, 17% of Jews in Russia identify themselves as Christians.
Messianic Judaism is a religious movement that incorporates elements of Judaism with the tenets of Christianity. Adherents, many of whom are ethnically Jewish, worship in congregations that include Hebrew prayers. They baptize messianic believers who are of the age of accountability (able to accept Jesus as the Messiah), often observe kosher dietary laws and Saturday as the Sabbath. Although they do recognize the Christian New Testament as holy scripture, most do not use the label "Christian" to describe themselves.
The two groups are not completely distinct; some adherents, for example, favor Messianic congregations but freely live in both worlds, such as theologian Arnold Fruchtenbaum, the founder of Ariel Ministries.
- Hebrew Christian movement – a 19th-century movement of Jewish converts to Christianity acting semi-autonomously within the Anglican and other established churches. though it is also used in some texts concerning the early church, and Arnold Fruchtenbaum applied the term to Jewish Christians standing aside from the Messianic Judaism movement.
- Hebrew Roots – A religious movement that embraces both Old and New Testaments but without the observance of the Jewish Talmud and many Jewish traditions not supported by Scripture.
- Judaizers – Early Christians who maintained or adopted Jewish religious practices, from the period of the inception of Christianity until approximately the fifth century.
- Christianity and Hellenistic philosophy
- Christianity and Judaism
- Christian–Jewish reconciliation
- Christian Torah-submission
- Church's Ministry Among Jewish People
- Conversion of the Jews
- Hebrew Catholics
- Higher criticism
- History of early Christianity
- History of Judaism
- Jesus in the Talmud
- Jews For Jesus
- Timeline of Christianity
- Timeline of Christian missions
- Timeline of the Roman Catholic Church
- It appears in the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 9:2, Acts 19:9 and Acts 19:23). Some English translations of the New Testament capitalize 'the Way' (e.g. the New King James Version and the English Standard Version), indicating that this was how 'the new religion seemed then to be designated' whereas others treat the phrase as indicative—'the way', 'that way' or 'the way of the Lord'. The Syriac version reads, "the way of God" and the Vulgate Latin version, "the way of the Lord".
See also Sect of “The Way”, “The Nazarenes” & “Christians” : Names given to the Early Church.
- Eddy & Boyd (2007), p. 136: "Burton Mack argues that Paul’s view of Jesus as a divine figure who gives his life for the salvation of others had to originate in a Hellenistic rather than a Jewish environment. Mack writes, "Such a notion [of vicarious human suffering] cannot be traced to old Jewish and/ or Israelite traditions, for the very notion of a vicarious human sacrifice was anathema in these cultures. But it can be traced to a Strong Greek tradition of extolling a noble death." More specifically, Mack argues that a Greek "myth of martyrdom" and the "noble death" tradition are ultimately responsible for influencing the hellenized Jews of the Christ cults to develop a divinized Jesus."
Eddy & Boyd (2007), p. 93further note that "The most sophisticated and influential version of the hellenization thesis was forged within the German Religionsgeschichtliche Schule of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—now often referred to as the “old history of religions school.” Here, the crowning literary achievement in several ways is Wilhelm Bousset’s 1913 work Kyrios Christos. Bousset envisions two forms of pre-Pauline Christianity: [1. In the early Palestinian community, and 2. In the Hellenistic communities.]"
- See for comparison: prophet and false prophet.
- The notion of Apocalyptic prophet is shared by E. P. Sanders, a main proponent of the New Perspective on Paul, and Bart Ehrman.
- Ehrman: "What started Christianity was the Belief in the Resurrection. It was nothing else. Followers of Jesus came to believe he had been raised. They did not believe it because of “proof” such as the empty tomb. They believed it because some of them said they saw Jesus alive afterward. Others who believed these stories told others who also came to believe them. These others told others who told others – for days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, and now millennia. Christianity is all about believing what others have said. It has always been that way and always will be.
Easter is the celebration of the first proclamation that Jesus did not remain dead. It is not that his body was resuscitated after a Near Death Experience. God had exalted Jesus to heaven never to die again; he will (soon) return from heaven to rule the earth. This is a statement of faith, not a matter of empirical proof. Christians themselves believe it. Non-Christians recognize it as the very heart of the Christian message. It is a message based on faith in what other people claimed and testified based on what others claimed and testified based on what others claimed and testified – all the way back to the first followers of Jesus who said they saw Jesus alive afterward.
- Porter, Hayes and Tombs: "Stanley Porter's paper brings together a body of literature, hitherto largely neglected, which highlights the fact that the Greeks, contrary to much scholarly opinion, did have a significant tradition of bodily resurrection, and that the Jewish tradition emphasizes a continued spiritual existence rather than a bodily resurrection. Thus, Paul in the New Testament probably adopted Graeco-Roman assumptions regarding the resurrection, although he was not blindly derivative in developing his conceptual framework."
- Several authors have even argued for influences from a "pre-Christian Gnostic redeemer myth". According to Dunn, this interpretation is dated, and based on "a most questionable historical foundation.
- Several authors have even argued for influences from a "pre-Christian Gnostic redeemer myth". According to Dunn, this interpretation is dated, and based on "a most questionable historical foundation. while others have argued for Jewish influences. According to Dunn, the hymn contains a contrast with the sins of Adam and his disobedience. Dunn further notes that the hymn may be seen as a three-stage Christology, starting with "an earlier stage of mythic pre-history or pre-existence," but regards the humility-exaltation contrast to be the main theme.
- The term "Pauline Christianity" is generally considered a pejorative by mainstream Christianity, as it carries the implication that Christianity is a corruption of the original teachings of Jesus, as for example in the belief of a Great Apostasy as found in Restorationism. Most of orthodox Christianity relies heavily on these teachings and considers them to be amplifications and explanations of the teachings of Jesus.
- According to Mack, he may have been converted to another early strand of Christianity, with a High Christology.
- According to Mack, "Paul was converted to a Hellenized form of some Jesus movement that had already developed into a Christ cult. [...] Thus his letters serve as documentation for the Christ cult as well." Price (2000), p. 75, §. The Christ Cults comments: "By choosing the terminology “Christ cults,” Burton Mack means to differentiate those early movements that revered Jesus as the Christ from those that did not. [...] Mack is perhaps not quite clear about what would constitute a Christ cult. Or at least he seems to me to obscure some important distinctions between what would appear to be significantly different subtypes of Christ movements."
- Galatians 1:13. According to Dunn, Paul persecuted the "Hellenists" of Acts 6. According to Larry Hurtado, there was no theological divide between "Hellenists" (greek speaking Jews from the diaspora who had returned to Jerusalem) and their fellow Jesus-followers; Paul's persecution was directed against the Jesus-movement in general, because it offended his Pharisaic convictions.
- These terms (circumcised/uncircumcised) are generally interpreted to mean Jews and Greeks, who were predominant; however, this is an oversimplification, as 1st-century Judaea Province also had some Jews who no longer circumcised and some Greeks and others such as Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Arabs who did.
- Cohen: "The separation of Christianity from Judaism was a process, not an event. The essential part of this process was that the church was becoming more and more gentile, and less and less Jewish, but the separation manifested itself in different ways in each local community where Jews and Christians dwelt together. In some places, the Jews expelled the Christians; in other, the Christians left of their own accord."
- Boyarin: "for at least the first three centuries of their common lives, Judaism in all of its forms and Christianity in all of its forms were part of one complex religious family, twins in a womb, contending with each other for identity and precedence, but sharing with each other the same spiritual food."
- Segal: "one can speak of a 'twin birth' of two new Judaisms, both markedly different from the religious systems that preceded them. Not only were Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity religious twins, but, like Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Isaac and Rebecca, they fought in the womb, setting the stage for life after the womb."
- Boyarin adds that "Without the power of the orthodox Church and the rabbis to declare people heretics and outside the system it remained impossible to declare phenomenologically who was a Jew and who was a Christian. At least as interesting and significant, it seems more and more clear that it is frequently impossible to tell a Jewish text from a Christian text. The borders are fuzzy, and this has consequences. Religious ideas and innovations can cross borders in both directions.
- Such as:
- How to achieve atonement without the Temple?
- How to explain the disastrous outcome of the rebellion?
- How to live in the post-Temple, Romanized world?
- How to connect present and past traditions?
- The theory that the destruction of the Temple and subsequent upheaval led to the committing of Oral Law into writing was first explained in the Epistle of Sherira Gaon and often repeated. See, for example, Grayzel, A History of the Jews, Penguin Books, 1984, p. 193.
- See the Historical background to the issue of Biblical law in Christianity and Early Christianity.
- Kloppenborg 1994, pp. 435–9; p. 435 – "This belief, known as "adoptionism", held that Jesus was not divine by nature or by birth, but that God chose him to become his son, i.e., adopted him."
- Vielhauer & Strecker 1991, pp. 166–71; p. 168 – "Jesus' task is to do away with the 'sacrifices'. In this saying (16.4–5), the hostility of the Ebionites against the Temple cult is documented."
- Acts 24:5 "For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes."
- As the Hebrew term נוֹצְרִי (nôṣrî) still does
- Edward Hare The principal doctrines of Christianity defended 1837 p318: "The Nazarenes of ecclesiastical history adhered to the law of their fathers; whereas when Tertullus accused Paul as 'a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes', he accused him as one who despised the law, and 'had gone about to the temple', Acts xxiv, 5, 6. "
- Larry Hurtado, Paul’s Messianic Christology
- Shiffman, Lawrence H. (2018). "How Jewish Christians Became Christians". My Jewish Learning.
- "Christianity: Severance from Judaism". Jewish Virtual Library. AICE. 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
A major difficulty in tracing the growth of Christianity from its beginnings as a Jewish messianic sect, and its relations to the various other normative-Jewish, sectarian-Jewish, and Christian-Jewish groups is presented by the fact that what ultimately became normative Christianity was originally but one among various contending Christian trends. Once the "gentile Christian" trend won out, and the teaching of Paul became accepted as expressing the doctrine of the Church, the Jewish Christian groups were pushed to the margin and ultimately excluded as heretical. Being rejected both by normative Judaism and the Church, they ultimately disappeared. Nevertheless, several Jewish Christian sects (such as the Nazarenes, Ebionites, Elchasaites, and others) existed for some time, and a few of them seem to have endured for several centuries. Some sects saw in Jesus mainly a prophet and not the "Christ," others seem to have believed in him as the Messiah, but did not draw the christological and other conclusions that subsequently became fundamental in the teaching of the Church (the divinity of the Christ, trinitarian conception of the Godhead, abrogation of the Law). After the disappearance of the early Jewish Christian sects and the triumph of gentile Christianity, to become a Christian meant, for a Jew, to apostatize and to leave the Jewish community.
- Cwiekowski 1988, p. 79-80.
- Pao 2016, p. 65.
- Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Acts 19, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/jfb//acts/19.htm accessed 8 October 2015
- Jubilee Bible 2000
- American King James Version
- Douai-Rheims Bible
- Gill, J., Gill's Exposition of the Bible, commentary on Acts 19:23 http://biblehub.com/commentaries/gill/acts/19.htm accessed 8 October 2015
- E. Peterson (1959), "Christianus." In: Frühkirche, Judentum und Gnosis, publisher: Herder, Freiburg, pp. 353–72
- Elwell & Comfort 2001, pp. 266, 828.
- Tomson, Peter J.; Lambers-Petry, Doris, eds. (2003). The Image of the Judaeo-Christians in Ancient Jewish and Christian Literature. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament. 158. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. p. 162. ISBN 3-16-148094-5.
Though every definition of Jewish Christians has problems, the most useful is probably that they were believers in Jesus, of ethnic Jewish origin, who observed the Torah and so retained their Jewish identity.
- Tabor, James D. (2013). Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-4391-3498-6.
[...] the original apostolic Christianity that came before Paul, and developed independently of him, by those who had known and spent time with Jesus, was in sharp contrast to Paul's version of the new faith. This lost Christianity held sway during Paul's lifetime, and only with the death of James in A.D. 62, followed by the brutal destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70, did it begin to lose its influence as the center of Jesus movement. Ironically, it was the production and final editing of the New Testament itself [...] supporting Paul's version of Christianity, that ensured first the marginalization, and subsequently the death of this original form of Christianity.
- Theological dictionary of the New Testament (1972), p. 568. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey William Bromiley, Gerhard Friedrich: "When the Jewish Christians whom James sent from Jerusalem arrived at Antioch, Cephas withdrew from table-fellowship with the Gentile Christians".
- Cynthia White, The emergence of Christianity (2007), p. 36: "In these early days of the church in Jerusalem there was a growing antagonism between the Greek-speaking Hellenized Jewish Christians and the Aramaic-speaking Jewish Christians".
- Michele Murray, Playing a Jewish game: Gentile Christian Judaizing in the first and Second Centuries CE, Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion (2004), p. 97: "Justin is obviously frustrated by continued law observance by Gentile Christians; to impede the spread of the phenomenon, he declares that he does not approve of Jewish Christians who attempt to influence Gentile Christians".
- Mack 1995.
- Leman 2015, p. 145-146.
- Cohen 1987, p. 167–168.
- Daniel Boyarin (2012). The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ. New Press. ISBN 9781595584687. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- Israel Knohl (2000). The Messiah Before Jesus: The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520928749. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- Alan J. Avery-Peck, ed. (2005). The Review of Rabbinic Judaism: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 91–112. ISBN 9004144846. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- Peter Schäfer (2012). The Jewish Jesus: How Judaism and Christianity Shaped Each Other. Princeton University Press. pp. 235–238. ISBN 9781400842285. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- Cohen 1987, p. 168.
- White (2004). pp. 127–128.
- Ehrman (2005). p. 187.
- Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0-664-25703-8 page 181
- Graham Stanton, The Gospels and Jesus (2nd ed.), (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) p. xxiii
- Ehrman (2012)
- Stanton (2002), pp. 143ff.
- Porter 1999.
- Ehrman, The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden religion swept the World
- E.P. Sanders (1993). The Historical Figure of Jesus
- Bart Ehrman (1 April 2018), An Easter Reflection 2018
- Bouma, Jeremy (27 March 2014). "The Early High Christology Club and Bart Ehrman — An Excerpt from "How God Became Jesus"". Zondervan Academic Blog. HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 pages 124-125
- The Cambridge History of Christianity, Volume 1 by Margaret M. Mitchell and Frances M. Young (Feb 20, 2006) ISBN 0521812399 page 23
- Ehrman 2005.
- Dunn 2006, p. 253-255.
- McGrath, Alister E., Christianity: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing (2006). ISBN 1-4051-0899-1. Page 174: "In effect, they [Jewish Christians] seemed to regard Christianity as an affirmation of every aspect of contemporary Judaism, with the addition of one extra belief—that Jesus was the Messiah. Unless males were circumcised, they could not be saved (Acts 15:1)."
- Freedman, David Noel; Myers, Allen C., eds. (2000). Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans. p. 709. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
- McGrath, Alister E., Christianity: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing (2006). ISBN 1-4051-0899-1. Page 174: "In effect, they [Jewish Christians] seemed to regard Christianity as an affirmation of every aspect of contemporary Judaism, with the addition of one extra belief — that Jesus was the Messiah. Unless males were circumcised, they could not be saved (Acts 15:1)."
- Cross, F.L., ed. (2005). The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd rev. ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 862. ISBN 9780192802903. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- Pagels 2005, p. 45.
- Lüdemann & Özen 1996, p. 116.
- Pagels 2005, p. 45-46.
- Lüdemann & Özen 1996, p. 116-117.
- Bockmuehl 2010, p. 52.
- On the Jerusalem Church between the Jewish revolts see: Jonathan Bourgel, From One Identity to Another: The Mother Church of Jerusalem Between the Two Jewish Revolts Against Rome (66-135/6 EC). Paris: Éditions du Cerf, collection Judaïsme ancien et Christianisme primitive, 2015 (in French).
- Eusebius, Church History 3, 5, 3; Epiphanius, Panarion 29,7,7-8; 30, 2, 7; On Weights and Measures 15. On the flight to Pella see: Bourgel, Jonathan, "The Jewish Christians' Move from Jerusalem as a pragmatic choice", in: Dan Jaffe (ed), Studies in Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity, (Leyden: Brill, 2010), p. 107-138 (); P. H. R. van Houwelingen, "Fleeing forward: The departure of Christians from Jerusalem to Pella," Westminster Theological Journal 65 (2003), 181-200
- Colin G. Kruse (2012), Paul's Letter to the Romans ISBN 0802837433 pp. 41–42
- David E. Aune (ed.)(2010), The Blackwell Companion to The New Testament ISBN 1405108258 p. 424
- Ralph P. Martin (1975), Worship in the Early Church, ISBN 0802816134, pp. 57–58
- Price (2003), pp. 351–355, §. Conclusion: The Name of the Lord – The Name Above All Names
- Creeds of the Churches, Third Edition by John H. Leith (1982) ISBN 0804205264 p. 12.
- 1 Corinthians 15:3-9
- Vermes 2008, p. 138-139.
- Vermes 2008, p. 139.
- Paula Fredriksen, From Jesus to Christ
- Paula Fredricksen, From Jesus to Christ Yale university Press. pp. 133–134
- Leman 2015, p. 167-183.
- Leman 2015, p. 173-174.
- Stanley E. Porter, The Pagan Christ, p.91
- Dag Øistein Endsjø, Greek Resurrection Beliefs and the Success of Christianity, p.169
- Stanley E. Porter, Michael A. Hayes and David Tombs (1999), Foreword, p.18. In: Resurrection, edited by Stanley E. Porter, Michael A. Hayes and David Tombs, Sheffield Academic Press
- Dag Øistein Endsjø, Greek Resurrection Beliefs and the Success of Christianity, p.12
- Stephen J. Bedard, Hellenistic Influence on the Idea of Resurrection in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature, responds to Porter's thesis, referencing Porter as stating such.
- Bart Ehrman (2012), Did Jesus Exist?, Huffington Post
- Ehrman 2014.
- Kloppenborg 1994, pp. 435–9.
- "Ebionites". Encyclopædia Britannica.
- Dunn 2006, p. 146-147.
- Mack 1997.
- Dunn 2006.
- Mack 1997, p. 109.
- Mack 1988, p. 98.
- Mack 1995.
- Maccoby 1986.
- Dunn 2006, p. 294.
- Dunn 2006, p. 289.
- Larry Hurtado's blog (November 11, 2014) Paul’s “Persecution” of Jewish Jesus-Followers: Nature & Cause(s)
- Larry Hurtado's blog (November 12, 2014) The “Hellenists” of Acts: Dubious Assumptions and an Important Publication
- Gal 2:14
- Gal 2:13
- Acts 15:39-40
- Damick, Fr. Andrew Stephen (2011), Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy, Chesterton, IN: Ancient Faith Publishing, p. 20, ISBN 978-1-936270-13-2
- Bisschops, Ralph (January 2017). "Metaphor in Religious Transformation: 'Circumcision of the Heart' in Paul of Tarsus" (PDF). In Chilton, Paul; Kopytowska, Monika (eds.). Language, Religion and the Human Mind. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 1–30. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190636647.003.0012. ISBN 978-0-19-063664-7. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "Footnote on 2:9", Galatians 2 from New American Bible, USCCB
- "Footnote on 2:12", Galatians 2 from New American Bible, USCCB
- "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Judaizers". www.newadvent.org.
- L. Michael White (2004). From Jesus to Christianity. Harper San Francisco. p. 170. ISBN 0-06-052655-6.
- The Canon Debate, McDonald & Sanders editors, 2002, chapter 32, page 577, by James D. G. Dunn: "For Peter was probably in fact and effect the bridge-man (pontifex maximus!) who did more than any other to hold together the diversity of first-century Christianity. James the brother of Jesus and Paul, the two other most prominent leading figures in first-century Christianity, were too much identified with their respective "brands" of Christianity, at least in the eyes of Christians at the opposite ends of this particular spectrum. But Peter, as shown particularly by the Antioch episode in Gal 2, had both a care to hold firm to his Jewish heritage, which Paul lacked, and an openness to the demands of developing Christianity, which James lacked. John might have served as such a figure of the center holding together the extremes, but if the writings linked with his name are at all indicative of his own stance he was too much of an individualist to provide such a rallying point. Others could link the developing new religion more firmly to its founding events and to Jesus himself. But none of them, including the rest of the twelve, seem to have played any role of continuing significance for the whole sweep of Christianity—though James the brother of John might have proved an exception had he been spared." [Italics original]
- Boyarin 1999 (?)
- Kraabel, A. T. (1981). "The Disappearance of the 'God-Fearers'". Numen. Leiden: Brill Publishers. 28 (2): 113–126. JSTOR 3270014.
- Feldman, Louis H. (1992). ""Sympathizers" with Judaism". In Attridge, Harold W.; Hata, Gohei (eds.). Eusebius, Christianity, and Judaism. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. pp. 389–395. ISBN 0-8143-2361-8.
- Feldman, Louis H.; Reinhold, Meyer, eds. (1996). ""Sympathizers" (God-fearers)". Jewish Life and Thought among Greeks and Romans. Edinburgh: T&T Clark. pp. 137–145. ISBN 0-567-08525-2.
- Keith Akers, The lost religion of Jesus: simple living and nonviolence in early Christianity, Lantern Books, 2000 p. 21
- Wylen, Stephen M., The Jews in the Time of Jesus: An Introduction, Paulist Press (1995), ISBN 0-8091-3610-4, Pp. 190-192.; Dunn, James D.G., Jews and Christians: The Parting of the Ways, A.D. 70 to 135, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (1999), ISBN 0-8028-4498-7, Pp. 33–34.; Boatwright, Mary Taliaferro & Gargola, Daniel J & Talbert, Richard John Alexander, The Romans: From Village to Empire, Oxford University Press (2004), ISBN 0-19-511875-8, p. 426.
- Stephen Wylen, The Jews in the Time of Jesus: An Introduction, Mahwah, Paulit Press, (1995), page 190.
- Wayne-Daniel Berard, When Christians Were Jews That Is, Now: Recovering the Lost Jewishness of Christianity With the Gospel of Mark, Cambridge, Cowley Publications, (2006), pp. 112–113.
- N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, Minneapoli, Fortress Press, (1992), pp. 164–165.
- See for instance: Lily C. Vuong, Gender and Purity in the Protevangelium of James, WissenschaftlicheUntersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2.358 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck,2013), 210–213; Jonathan Bourgel, "The Holders of the 'Word of Truth': The Pharisees in Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions 1.27–71", Journal of Early Christian Studies 25.2 (2017) 171–200.
- Alexander, Philip S. "'The Parting of the Ways' from the Perspective of Rabbinic Judaism". James D. G. Dunn, ed. Jews and Christians: The Parting of the Ways, Durham-Tübingen Research Symposium on Earliest Christianity and Judaism 1992 (2nd: 1999: Wm. B. Eerdmans). p1 in the 1992 edition.
- Daniel Boyarin. "Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism". Stanford University Press, 1999, p. 15.
- Wylen (1995). p. 190.
- Berard (2006). pp. 112–113.
- Wright (1992). pp. 164–165.
- Cohen 1987, p. 228.
- Cohen, Shaye J. D. (1988). From the Maccabees to the Mishnah. ISBN 0-664-25017-3 pp. 224–225
- Daniel Boyarin, Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999
- Alan F. Segal, Rebecca's Children: Judaism and Christianity in the Roman World, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986.
- Robert Goldenberg. Review of Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism by Daniel Boyarin. In: The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, Vol. 92, No. 3/4 (Jan.–Apr., 2002), pp. 586–588
- Küng, Hans (2008). "Islam: Past, Present and Future". One World Publications.
- Jacob Neusner 1984 Toah From our Sages Rossell Books. p. 175
- Cook, Michael J. (2008). Modern Jews Engage the New Testament. Jewish Lights Press ISBN 978-1-58023-313-2 p. 19
- Fredriksen, Paula (1988). From Jesus to Christ ISBN 0-300-04864-5 p.5
- Meier, John (1991). A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historial Jesus, Volume I: "The Roots of the Problem and the Person". Doubleday Press. pp. 43–44
- Sanders, E. P. (1987). Jesus and Judaism, Fortress Press ISBN 0-8006-2061-5 p.60
- Raymond Apple, "Jewish attitudes to Gentiles in the First Century"
- Tabor (1998).
- Esler (2004), pp.157–159.
- Dauphin (1993), pp.235, 240–242.
- Jewish Encyclopedia: Baptism: "According to rabbinical teachings, which dominated even during the existence of the Temple (Pes. viii. 8), Baptism, next to circumcision and sacrifice, was an absolutely necessary condition to be fulfilled by a proselyte to Judaism (Yeb. 46b, 47b; Ker. 9a; 'Ab. Zarah 57a; Shab. 135a; Yer. Kid. iii. 14, 64d). Circumcision, however, was much more important, and, like baptism, was called a "seal" (Schlatter, Die Kirche Jerusalems, 1898, p. 70).
- Cross, EA; Livingston, FL, eds. (1989). "Ebionites". The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press.
- Dunn 2006, p. 282.
- Kohler, Kaufmann (1901–1906). "Ebionites". In Singer, Isidore; Alder, Cyrus (eds.). Jewish Encyclopedia.
- Hyam Maccoby (1987). The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity. HarperCollins. pp. 172–183. ISBN 0-06-250585-8., an abridgement
- David C. Sim The Gospel of Matthew and Christian Judaism 1998 p182 "The Nazarenes are first mentioned by Epiphanius who records that they upheld the Torah, including the practice of circumcision and sabbath observance (Panarion 29:5.4; 7:2, 5; 8:1-7), read the Hebrew scriptures in the original Hebrew"
- Petri Luomanen "Nazarenes" in A companion to second-century Christian "heretics" pp279
- Memoirs of Dr. Joseph Priestley - Page 670 The term Ebionites occurs in Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, and Eusebius but none makes any mention of Nazarenes. They must have been even more considerable in the time of these writers,
- Krauss, Samuel. "Nazarenes". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-08-23. Cite journal requires
- Hegg, Tim (2007). "The Virgin Birth – An Inquiry into the Biblical Doctrine" (PDF). TorahResource. Retrieved 2007-08-13. Cite journal requires
- Cameron 1992, pp. 105–6.
- Koch 1990, p. 364.
- Lapham 2003, pp. 159,163.
- "Antioch", Encyclopaedia Biblica, Vol. I, p. 186 (p. 125 of 612 in online .pdf file. Warning: Takes several minutes to download).
- Bar Ilan, Y. Judaic Christianity: Extinct or Evolved?. pp. 297–315.
- Gundry, Stanley N; Goldberg, Louis, How Jewish is Christianity?: 2 views on the Messianic movement (Books), Google, p. 24
- "How many Jews are there in the United States?". Pew Research Center.
- "A PORTRAIT OF JEWISH AMERICANS: Chapter 1: Population Estimates". Pew Research Center.
- "American-Jewish Population Rises to 6.8 Million". haaretz.
- Arena – Atlas of Religions and Nationalities in Russia. Sreda.org
- 2012 Survey Maps. "Ogonek", No. 34 (5243), 27/08/2012. Retrieved 24-09-2012.
- "About us – Brief history". Ariel Ministries.
- Kessler, Edward and Neil Wenborn, ed. A Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations, 2005, p. 180. "Hebrew Christians – Hebrew Christians emerged as a group of Jewish converts to Christianity in the early nineteenth. .. Edward Kessler"
- Hurtado, Larry W. Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity, 2005, p. 211. "Also, if we itemize the instances of Jewish opposition / persecution in the Acts narratives of the Jerusalem church, the leaders of the Hebrew Christians are more frequently on the receiving end (e.g., Peter and John in 4:1–22)"
- Gallagher, Eugene V. and W. Michael Ashcraft, ed. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America, 2006, p213. "In the 1970s, Fruchtenbaum defined himself as a Hebrew Christian and was skeptical about the more assertive forms of Messianic Judaism."
- Joan Taylor, Christians and the Holy Places: the Myth of Jewish-Christian Origins, Oxford University Press, 1993, p. 18
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- Cameron, Ron (1982), The Other Gospels: Non-Canonical Gospel Texts, Westminster John Knox
- Cameron, Ron (1992), "Hebrews, Gospel of the", in Freedman, David Noel (ed.), The Anchor Bible Dictionary, 3 (1 ed.), Doubleday, pp. 105–6, ISBN 978-0-385-42583-4
- Cwiekowski, Frederick J. (1988), The Beginnings of the Church, Paulist Press
- Cohen, Shaye J.D. (1987), From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, The Westminster Press, ISBN 0-664-25017-3
- Duling, Dennis C. (2010). "The Gospel of Matthew". In Aune, David E. (ed.). Blackwell companion to the New Testament. Wiley-Blackwell.
- Dunn, James D.G. (2006) , Unity and diversity in the New Testament, Scm Press
- Eddy, Paul Rhodes; Boyd, Gregory A. (2007), The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition, Baker Academic, ISBN 978-0-8010-3114-4
- Ehrman, Bart D. (2003), Lost Scriptures, OUP
- Ehrman, Bart (2005), Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-518249-1
- Ehrman, Bart D. (2012), Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, HarperOne, ISBN 9780062206442
- Ehrman, Bart (2014), How Jesus became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, Harper Collins
- Elwell, Walter; Comfort, Philip Wesley (2001), Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Tyndale House Publishers, ISBN 0-8423-7089-7
- Fredriksen, Paula (1988), From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-30-008457-3
- Freedman, David Noel; Myers, Allen C, eds. (2000). "Jewish Christians". Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Eerdmans.
- Hastings, James (2004). A Dictionary Of The Bible: Supplement -- Articles. Minerva Group.
- Howard, George (2000). "Hebrews, Gospel According to the". In Freedman, David Noel; Myers, Allen C (eds.). Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Eerdmans.
- Kloppenborg, John S. (1994) , "The Gospel of the Ebionites", in Miller, Robert J. (ed.), The Complete Gospels, Polebridge Press, pp. 435–40, ISBN 0-06-065587-9
- Koch, Glenn Alan (1990), "Hebrews, Gospel of the", in Mills, Watson E.; Bullard, Roger Aubrey (eds.), Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, Mercer University Press, p. 364, ISBN 978-0-86554-373-7
- Lapham, Fred (2003). An Introduction to the New Testament Apocrypha. Continuum.
- Leman, Johan (2015) , Van totem tot verrezen Heer. Een historisch-antropologisch verhaal (second ed.), Pelckmans
- Lüdemann, Gerd; Özen, Alf, De opstanding van Jezus. Een historische benadering (Was mit Jesus wirklich geschah. Die Auferstehung historisch betrachtet), The Have/Averbode
- Maccoby, Hyam (1986), The Mythmaker. Paul and the Invention of Christianity, Barnes & Noble
- Mack, Burton L. (1988), "The Congregations of the Christ", A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins, Fortress Press, ISBN 978-0-8006-2549-8
- Mack, Burton L. (1995), Who wrote the New Testament? The making of the Christian myth, HarperSan Francisco, ISBN 978-0-06-065517-4
- Mack, Burton L. (1997) , Wie schreven het Nieuwe Testament werkelijk? Feiten, mythen en motieven, Uitgeverij Ankh-Hermes
- Pagels, Elaine (2005), De Gnostische Evangelien (The Gnostic Gospels), Servire
- Pao, David W. (2016), Acts and the Isaianic New Exodus, Wipf and Stock Publishers
- Porter, Stanley E. (1999), "Resurrection, the Greeks and the New Testament", in Porter, Stanley E.; Hayes, Michael A.; Tombs, David (eds.), Resurrection, Sheffield Academic Press
- Schneemelcher, Wilhelm (1991). New Testament Apocrypha: Gospels and Related Writings. Translated by Robert McLachlan Wilson. Westminster John Knox.
- Stanton, Graham (1989), The Gospels and Jesus, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0192132415
- Tabor, James D. "Ancient Judaism: Nazarenes and Ebionites", The Jewish Roman World of Jesus. Department of Religious Studies; University of North Carolina at Charlotte (1998)
- Vielhauer, Philipp; Strecker, Georg (1991), "Jewish–Christian gospels", in Schneemelcher, Wilhelm; Wilson, Robert McLachlan (eds.), New Testament Apocrypha: Gospels and Related Writings Volume 1 (2 ed.), John Knox Press, pp. 134–78, ISBN 0-664-22721-X (6th German edition, translated by George Ogg)
- Van Voorst, Robert E. (2003). "Nonexistence Hypothesis". In Holden, James Leslie (ed.). Jesus in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia. 2: K–Z. ABC-CLIO. pp. 658–660. ISBN 978-1-57607-856-3.
- Vermes, Geza (2008), The Resurrection, Penguin Books
- Mack, Burton L. (1995), Who wrote the New Testament? The making of the Christian myth, HarperSan Francisco, ISBN 978-0-06-065517-4
- Ehrman, Bart (2014), How Jesus became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, Harper Collins
Origins of Christianity:
- Encyclopaedia Britannica: The History of Christianity
- Patheos.com: The Beginnings and Origins of Christianity
- Originsofchristianity.net: The Origins of Christianity