Non-Fiction Books:

The Formation of Christianity in Antioch

A Social-Scientific Approach to the Separation between Judaism and Christianity


Paperback / softback

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The Formation of Christianity in Antioch by Magnus Zetterholm
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One of the major puzzles of Western civilization is how early second-century Christianity was transformed into a non-Jewish, Gentile religion, when Christianity began as one of many Jewish factions in the diverse Judaism of the period. Magnus Zetterholm uses theoretical insights from the social sciences to deal with the complex issues raised by the accompanying rise of Christian anti-Semitism in ancient Antioch. Where previous attempts to solve this problem have focused mainly on ideology, his study emphasizes the interplay between sociological and ideological elements. He argues that the separation between Judaism and Christianity in Antioch arose both from the socio-political situation in the Roman Empire, and from ideological elements within the Jewish faction of the Jesus movement primarily concerning the status of Gentiles within the movement. The study shows that the separation was mainly one between Jews and Gentiles within the Jesus movement. Gentile adherents to the Jesus movement strove to become a legally recognised voluntary association completely separate from Judaism, and the anti-Judaism of early Christianity was used as a resource in this struggle of independence. This novel approach to a much-debated subject will be valuable reading for both advanced students and academics, as well as the general reader with an interest in Jewish-Christian antiquity.
Release date NZ
December 22nd, 2004
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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