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Early Jewish Believers in Jesus

April 8, 2011

As the matter of early Jewish believers in Jesus has come up in some recent email exchanges, and is a topic of perennial interest to scholars and the wider public, I mention a really valuable collection of studies on the topic.  Indeed, it’s probably now the first place to go for informed discussion that is up to date and incomparably wide-ranging in the evidence considered:

Oskar Skarsaune and Reidar Hvalvik (eds.), Jewish Believers in Jesus:  The Early Centuries (Peabody, MA:  Hendrickson, 2007).  xxx + 930 pp.

The 23 contributions that make up the volume take account of all the questions in current scholarship, and put on the table textual and also archaeological data.  The discussions are sane, balanced, informed, and accessible to anyone seriously interested.

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4 Comments
  1. Arne Berge permalink

    Yes, it’s a great book! I have it in my bookshelf. Those who are interested in the center which is responsible, – go to http://www.caspari.com

  2. Melissa Fitzpatrick permalink

    Prof. Hurtado,

    Thank you for suggesting this volume. I was just skimming the preface on Amazon. I have recently been studying the Apostolic Decree in Acts 15, etc., and I am wondering if you have any book or article recommendations on this matter. I cannot discern whether the prohibitions of the decree are based on the rules in Leviticus 17:8-18:18 relating to Jews and the resident aliens in the land of Israel or if they refer to Gentile participation in temple feasts where sexual immorality was regularly found in association with meat offerings. I know there are other options, too (Noahic laws, etc.) but these are the two I have read most about. I thought since you mentioned this volume on Jewish believers in Jesus that you might have some recommendations.

    • You will perhaps know that there are two main issues: (1) There is the text-critical issue, what and how many prohibitions were included, and (2) the exegetical issue of what the decree meant and presupposed. If, as I would guess, the decree involve four prohibitions (idol-offerings, “blood”, “things strangled”, and “porneia”), then these are likely an adaptation of Levitical rules for the observances necessary for “resident aliens” in the land of Israel.

  3. I dearly love the subject matter, but the scope (“the first five centuries CE”) is so broad! I’d much rather see a focus on the apostolic and first subsequent generation as it’s then that so much of importance occurred, even if in seminal form – perhaps especially because it was in seminal form.

    Of course, if they wrote only for me they’d go broke.

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