Making Myths: Jews in Early Christian Identity Formation

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The first case study takes us to Antioch in the fourth century c.e. Here the local church authorities systematically appropriated the Jewish literary tradition about the Maccabees, then developed the liturgical means to turn these traditions into a cult-the veneration of the bones of the martyrs-and finally appropriated the synagogue that was associated with their memory, turning it into a church that soon became the center of the cult. Rutgers puts forward a new interpretation of this law, arguing that it was promulgated in order to eliminate the Jews' knowledge of Hebrew and consequently their access to the Hebrew Bible: otherwise it remained difficult for Christians to win the exegetical war they had been waging against Jewish contemporaries. Social psychology confirms: when self-confidence is low, physical proximity in inter-group settings often leads to aggressive boundary maintenance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-334
JournalJournal of Early Christian Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


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