This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
1 (Winter 2009) 7–36
Rethinking Jewish Christianity: An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Category (to which is Appended a Correction of my Border Lines)
D A N I E L B O YA R I N
Reﬂections occasioned by OSKAR SKARSAUNE and REIDAR HVALVIK, eds. Jewish Believers in Jesus: The Early Centuries. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007. Pp. xxx ם930. MATT JACKSON-MCCABE, ed. Jewish Christianity Reconsidered: Rethinking Ancient Groups and Texts. Minneapolis, Minn.: Fortress Press, 2007. Pp. x ם389. I T I S N O T just to be clever that I have appropriated Michael Williams’s title;1 I want to suggest that the argument for dismantling the one (Gnosticism) is startlingly similar to the argument for dismantling the other (Jewish Christianity). Adding Karen King’s important insights into the comparative mix,2 I would say that the term ‘‘Jewish Christianity’’ always functions as a term of art in a modernist heresiology: It is a marker of the too Jewish side of the Goldilocks fairytale that is ‘‘ordinary’’ Christianity, to cite for the moment Oskar Skarsaune’s heresiological terminology.3 I propose that any deﬁnition of ‘‘Jewish Christianity’’ implies an entire theory of the development of early Christianity and Judaism,4 and I will
1. Michael Allen Williams, Rethinking ‘‘Gnosticism’’: An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Category (Princeton, N.J., 1996). 2. Karen L. King, What Is Gnosticism? (Cambridge, Mass., 2003). 3. ‘‘Ordinary,’’ in his parlance, functions as ‘‘proto-orthodox,’’ or ‘‘mainstream’’ in other writers. To his credit, Skarsaune has pledged to stop using this term in future. 4. Annette Yoshiko Reed, ‘‘ ‘Jewish Christianity’ after the ‘Parting of the Ways’: Approaches to Historiography and Self-Deﬁnition in the PseudoThe Jewish Quarterly Review (Winter 2009) Copyright ᭧ 2009 Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. All rights reserved.
R E V I E W E S S AY S