I became especially interested in the topic of Jewish Christianity in my doctoral work on Matthew’s Gospel and aspects of his theology that seemed to me to be much more relevant to Jewish believers in Jesus than to Gentiles. For example, it seems quite obvious that Gentiles would not be concerned or interested in the continuing relevance of the Land promise contained in the Abrahamic, Mosaic and Davidic covenants. Furthermore, it strikes me as reasonable to assume on the contrary that to Jewish believers in Jesus the promises of the Land would still have relevance for them. I wonder than if within the theological outlook of Jewish Christianity in the first few centuries after the New Testament period a lingering expectation of territorial restoration is discernable. I have made the argument that this type of expectation is present in the clearly Jewish Gospel of Matthew (see my recent book Matthew’s Messianic Shepherd-King: In Search of the “Lost Sheep of the House of Israel”), albeit not in an overt manner. In other words, it is not the central concern of the First gospel. What would solidify my thesis even more would be the discovery in later Jewish Christian texts of a similar expectation. I have reason to be optimistic in my search given Skarsaune’s brief summary of Jewish believers’ eschatology:
In eschatological material we have studied there is one common trait—a very concrete understanding of the eschatological blessings portrayed in the biblical prophecies . . . For Jewish believers with whom this eschatology originated . . . this was the supreme expression of the biblical heritage and the hope of the Jewish people. Therefore, it is also no surprise that in their eschatological scenarios, the salvation of the Jewish nation had a secure place.
So I begin a series of posts which focus the general topic of Jewish Christianity in close conversation with the recent publication of Jewish Believers in Jesus. Here is an outline of future posts:
2. Brief Histocial Sketch of Jewish Christianity in Palestine and the Diaspora
3. Jewish Christian Sects
4. Jewish Christian Texts
5. Jewish Christian Non-Canonical Gospels
6. Jewish Christianity in Jewish Sources
7. Summary of Jewish Christian Beliefs
The first question that must be asked when beginning to address the topic of Jewish Christianity is the “who” of this designation. Who is represented by such a term? While our ancient sources do not use the term Jewish Christian nor envisage such an entity in some abstract form, they do make reference to believers in Jesus who are ethnically distinct: Jews who believe in Jesus and Gentiles who believe in Jesus. I'll pick this discussion up one the next post.
 Skarsaune and Hvalvik 2006.
 See Craig Evan’s (2006) essay in Jewish Believers in Jesus where he affirms this scholarly consensus. Furthermore he observes the significant influence Matthew’s Gospel had on the early Jewish church. He states, “Not only did a form of this Gospel circulate in Hebrew, but it seems to have served as the foundational text out of which emerged the Aramaic Jewish Gospel (usually identified as the Gospel of the Nazoraeans) and the Greek Gospel (usually identified as the Gospel of the Ebionites. Thus, two of the three best known and most often mentioned Jewish Gospels are heavily dependent upon Matthew” (2006:245).
 Willitts 2007.
 Skarsaune 2006b, emphasis added.
 Skarsaune 2006a.
Evans, Craig A. 2006. The Jewish Christian Gospel Tradition. In A History of Jewish Believers in Jesus: The First Five Centuries, ed. Oskar Skarsaune and Reidar Hvalvik:241-77. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
Skarsaune, Oskar. 2006a. Jewish Believers in Jesus in Antiquity—Problem of Definition, Method, and Sources. In A History of Jewish Believers in Jesus: The First Five Centuries, ed. Oskar Skarsaune and Reidar Hvalvik:3-21. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
________. 2006b. Jewish Christian Sources Used by Justin Martyr and Some Other Greek and Latin Fathers. In A History of Jewish Believers in Jesus: The First Five Centuries, ed. Oskar Skarsaune and Reidar Hvalvik:379-416. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
Skarsaune, Oskar and Reidar Hvalvik, eds. 2006. A History of Jewish Believers in Jesus: The First Five Centuries. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
Willitts, Joel. 2007. Matthew's Messianic Shepherd-King: In Search of the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel. BNZW. Berlin; New York: Walter de Gruyter.