Jewish Christianity: The Making of the Christianity-Judaism Divide

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A fresh exploration of the category Jewish Christianity, from its invention in the Enlightenment to contemporary debates

For hundreds of years, historians have been asking fundamental questions about the separation of Christianity from Judaism in antiquity. Matt Jackson-McCabe argues provocatively that the concept "Jewish Christianity," which has been central to scholarly reconstructions, represents an enduring legacy of Christian apologetics. Freethinkers of the English Enlightenment created this category as a means of isolating a distinctly Christian religion from what otherwise appeared to be the Jewish culture of Jesus and the apostles.

Tracing the development of this patently modern concept of a Jewish Christianity from its origins to early twenty-first-century scholarship, Jackson-McCabe shows how a category that began as a way to reimagine the apologetic notion of an authoritative "original Christianity" continues to cause problems in the contemporary study of Jewish and Christian antiquity. He draws on promising new approaches to Christianity and Judaism as socially constructed terms of identity to argue that historians would do better to leave the concept of Jewish Christianity behind.

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Yale University Press
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