Were the Jews who appear so abundantly in the writings of the early Church real or were they figments of the imagination? In this new book, Leonard Rutgers argues that they were both.
Exploring Jewish-Christian interaction in Late Antiquity in the form of three case studies, Rutgers shows that early Christian ideas about Jews and Judaism not only played a determining role in the ideologies that shaped early Christian identity formation. They also had a tendency to spill over into the real world. Therefore such ideas deeply influenced the dynamics of Jewish-Christian relations during a period that saw the curtailing of Jewish civil rights and liberties precisely as a result of early Christian exegetical activity.
Making Myths draws a picture of Jewish-Christian relations in Late Antiquity that is significantly bleaker than the optimistic view of Roman-period Jewish history that permeates many recent studies on the topic. An epilogue sets out to explain why more irenic scenarios do not apply to the period under study.
Leonard Rutgers is professor of Late Antiquity at Utrecht University. In his research he focuses on the interaction between Jewish, polytheistic and Christian groups in Late Antiquity. He studies this interaction on the basis of historical, epigraphical and archaeological sources.
||Making Myths. Jews in Early Christian Identity Formation
||978 90 429 2240 2
||2009, Peeters Publishers