Thursday, January 17, 2008

Important sources for Jewish Christianity

Joel Marcus (2006:90, n. 13.) usefully lists the important sources for Jewish Christianity.

I. Texts written by Jewish Christians

(a) Matthew
(b) John
(c) James
(d) Jude
(e) Revelation
(f) Didache 6 or the whole
(g) Pseudo-Clementines (Epistle of Peter, Kerygma of Peter & Ascension of James)
(h) Fragments of Jewish Christian gospels (Gospel of the Nazareans, Gospel of Naassenes, Gospel of the Ebionites, & Gospel of the Hebrews )

II. Historiographic accounts

(a) Acts (6—7; 15; 21:17 26)
(b) Josephus (Ant. 18.63; 20.197 203)
(c) Eusebius (HE 1.7.14; 2.23; 3.27.1— 6; 5.8.10, 5.17, etc)

III. Theological description and responses from opponents
(a) Christian

(1) Galatians
(2) Romans (esp. 14:1—15:13)
(3) Philippians 3:2-7
(4) Justin (Dial. 16, 46-47, 110, Apol. 31)
(5) Ireneus (Haer. 1.26.2; 3.11.7; 3.21.1; 5.1.3)
(6) Tertullian (Carn. Chr. 14, 18; Praescr. 32.3-5; 33.11; Virg. 6.1)
(7) Hippolytus (Haer. prol. 7.8; 7.34.1-2; 9.1-17.2; 10.22.1; 29.1-3
(8) Origen (Hom. Luc. 17; Hom. Gen. 3.5; Comm. Mt., sermon 79; C. Cels. 2.1, 3;5.61, 66)
(9) Eusebius (D.E. 3.5; 7.1)
(10) Epiphanius (Pan. esp. bks 19-31, 51)
(11) Jerome (Ep. 112.13, 16; 125.12.1; Comm. Gal. on 1.11-12; 3.13-14; 5.3; Onom. 112; Comm. Habac. on 3.10-13; Comm. Mt. on 12.2; Comm. Am. on 1.11-12; Comm. Isa. on 1.12; 5.18-19; 8.11-15, 19-22; 9.1; 31.6-9; 49.7; 52.4-6; Comm. Ezech on 44.6-8; Comm. Jer. on 3.14-16; Didasc. apost. and Apost. const. passim)

(b) Rabbinic
m. Sanh. 4.5
t. ‘Avot 13(14).5
t. Hul. 2.20-21
t. Yad. 2.13;
b. ‘Abod. Zar. 16b-17a, 26ab; 27b-28a
b. Ber. 28b-29a
t. Avot. 116ab
b. Sanh. 38b, 107ab
b. Sukk. 48b;
b. Git. 45b
b. Ta’an. 27b
Siphre Numbers 143
Genesis Rabbah 8.9; 25.1
Exodus Rabbah 19.4

Works Cited
Marcus, Joel. 2006. Jewish Christianity. In The Cambridge History of Christianity: Volume 1: Origins to Constantine ed. Margaret M. Mitchell and Frances M. Young:87-102. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Eric Rowe said...

The Epistle of Barnabas is conspicuously absent from category III.

Sean said...

And Hebrews? Surely that's indicative of "Jewish Christianity"?

J. B. Hood said...


I'd also love some comment on Hebrews (does it go in list I or IIIa?).

Sean, I think scholars rule Hebrews out since it reinterprets and reappropriates Jewish institutions; thus despite the massive use of Jewish Scriptures it lacks the emphasis on Jewish-Torah-and-institution supposedly on offer in other texts. Of course you get about as radical a redefinition of Temple as you could want in John, with no clear binding requirement of Torah (esp. boundary markers like circumcision, diet, Sabbath observance); cf. Revelation. I guess I'm unclear on how we're arranging the evidence in the early (first 100 or so) years--what counts as Jewish-Christian or no. I understand Romans and the like as response. But what counts and what doesn't? What's the criteria? How does Jude get in and not 2 Peter?

Joel Willitts said...

Your comments concerning the omissions in the list are appropriate. Many scholars however consider Hebrews a Jewish Christian text(cf. Tomson's "If this be Heaven").

J.B. The questions you raise concerning what criteria constitute a "Jewish Christian" text are important since at one level all the NT docs could be labeled as such. Tomson provides what I think is a good rule of thumb in this regard and it is consistent with my definition of a Jewish Christian:

“A writing is ‘Jewish’ when the author [as perceived from the intention of the text] has a Jewish lifestyle and Jewish affiliation . . . They are Jewish in that their authors speak from a specifically Jewish-Christian milieu and identify themselves observably with it” (Tomson, 335-36)

Interestingly Tomson does not consider the Gospel of John a Jewish Christian text. So while Marcus includes John, but leaves out Hebrews, Tomson includes Hebrews but leaves out John.

I suppose in the end "Jewish" is in the eyes of the beholder.

Geoff Hudson said...

The picture is totally different for a more fundamental definition of a 'Christian' such as an anointed one, that is one anointed by or filled with the Spirit of God, like a prophet.