Tuesday, October 10, 2006

How effective was the birkat ha-minim

The birkat ha-minim was the curse on Christians added to the eighteen benedictions at Yavneh and was important in the expulsion of Christians from Jewish synagogues, e.g. John 9:22 (so the story goes), but how far ranging and how effective was such a curse:

"If the intent of the blessing was to exclude Christians from the synagogue, it failed. It failed in third-century Caesarea, where Origen preached on Sunday to Christians he knew were in synagogue the day before, and it failed in the late fourth-century Antioch where John Chrysostom condemned his flock for their visits to the synagogues at a time when the empire was already Christian."

Martha Himmelfarb, "The Parting of the Ways Reconsidered: Diversity in Judaism and Jewish Christian Relations in the Roman Empire: 'A Jewish Perspective'," in Interwoven Destines: Jews and Christians Through the Ages, ed. Eugene J. Fisher (New York: Paulist, 1993), p. 49.

1 comment:

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Now THIS is fascinating!