February 22, 2017

Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins: Diversity, by George W. E. Nickelsburg

By George W. E. Nickelsburg

Within the 19th and primary half the 20 th century, Christian students portrayed Judaism because the darkish spiritual backdrop to the freeing occasions of Jesus' lifestyles and the increase of the early church. because the Nineteen Fifties, in spite of the fact that, a dramatic shift has happened within the research of Judaism, pushed by means of new manuscript and archaeological discoveries and new tools and instruments for interpreting assets. George Nickelsburg right here offers a extensive and synthesizing photo of the result of the earlier fifty years of scholarship on early Judaism and Christianity. He organizes his dialogue round a few conventional themes: scripture and culture, Torah and the righteous existence, God's job on humanity's behalf, brokers of God's task, eschatology, old situations, and social settings. all of the chapters discusses the findings of up to date learn on early Judaism, after which sketches the results of this examine for a potential reinter-pretation of Christianity. nonetheless, within the author's view, there continues to be an immense Jewish-Christian schedule but to be constructed and carried out.

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Abram's speculation about God also led him to recognize the folly of astrology (for which Chaldea was famous). Taken together, these stories recount how the conversion of an idolater led to the foundation of the chosen nation of Israel, which Jubilees repeatedly contrasts with idola­ 25 trous and impure Gentiles. The writings of Philo and Josephus and the Apocalypse of Abraham attest similar stories about Abraham in the first cen­ 26 tury C . E . While we cannot be certain how old the stories in Jubilees are, the analogy of the Enoch materials suggests that the author of Jubilees made use of traditional material.

In the second century and beyond, the situation becomes more complex as some authors begin to cite or treat 22 /\ n c , e n t Judaism and (Christian Origins New Testament texts as authoritative Scripture, and the church, in response to what it considers to be its heretical opponents, develops a sec­ ond part to its scriptural canon. Nonetheless, especially in response to Marcion, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible continues to play a major role in the argumentation, theologizing, and preaching of Chris­ tian authors.

Scholars long noted significant differences between the Hebrew and Greek versions of 1 and 2 Samuel and of Jere­ miah; some ascribed these to scribal carelessness. The Scrolls, however, attest diversity in the Hebrew texts of a larger number of biblical books. As in the case of the canon, the history of the biblical text has yet to be writ­ ten; but some facts are clear. A long and a short Hebrew text of Jeremiah existed side by side at Qumran. 14 The longer text of Samuel, previously known only in Greek, is the form of the text in the Hebrew Qumran 15 manuscripts.

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