Jesus was a Jew: he was circumcised, attended synagogue, wore fringes on his garment. Today Judaism and Christianity are distinct religions, albeit in an unbalanced relationship: Judaism defines itself without any reference to Christianity, whereas Christianity’s self-perception inevitably involves Judaism, precisely because Jesus was Jewish. How did this separation arise? Come and discover the latest scholarship on the complexities of early Jewish-Christian relations.
The traditional assumption, made by both Jews and Christians, is of a parent-child relationship: Judaism came first, and gave birth (unwittingly!) to Christianity. But scholars no longer think in those terms. They see Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity as emerging at the same time, both claiming to be the rightful heirs of biblical Israel, and both reconceptualising divine immanence, given the destruction of the Jerusalem temple. We will explore the diversity in both Jewish and Christian traditions, their shared cultural context in the Graeco-Roman world, and the complex interactions between them as they developed distinct self-identities. We will examine their competing interpretations of scripture. And we will discuss the legacy of this early history for Jewish-Christian relations today.