Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Magnus Zetterholm

Thanks to Magnus Zetterholm for pointing out his new web page to me; it's now added to my Scholars pages under "Z" and that's not very common. Dr Zetterholm also points out to me that he has a new book out from Routledge that may be of interest:

The Formation of Christianity in Antioch: A Social-Scientific Approach to the Separation Between Judaism and Christianity. London: Routledge, 2003. ISBN: 0415298962

This book deals with the question of how Christianity in the beginning of the second century became a non-Jewish, Gentile religion. Since Christianity was originally one of many Jewish factions within the diversified Judaism of the period, the problem of its separation from Judaism is a major puzzle in the history of Western civilization. While previous attempts to solve this problem have focused mainly on ideological aspects, this study emphasizes the interplay between sociological and ideological elements.

It is argued that the separation between Judaism and Christianity in Antioch was a result of the socio-political situation in the Roman Empire and ideological elements within the Jewish faction of the Jesus movement that primarily concerned the status of Gentiles within the movement. The separation was mainly a separation between Jews and Gentiles within the Jesus movement. The Gentile adherents to the movement strove to become a legally recognised voluntary association completely separated from Judaism. The anti-Judaism of early Christianity was used as a resource in this struggle of independence, as part of the programme of convincing the civic authorities about the reasonableness of allowing Christianity to become a legally-recognised collegium.

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