Chapter

Jews, Gentiles, and Circumcision in Early Christianity

Matthew Thiessen

in Contesting Conversion

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199793563
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914456 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199793563.003.0005
Jews, Gentiles, and Circumcision in Early Christianity

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Chapter Five argues that disputes over how to construct Jewish identity continued in the early Christian movement. The different forms of the Gentile mission, one which required that Gentiles undergo circumcision and conversion to Judaism, and one which required Gentiles to live like godly Gentiles, depended upon two different conceptions of Jewish identity—one which was open to the possibility of conversion, and one which was not. The author of the gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles believed that Jewish followers of Jesus should continue to observe the Jewish law, but that Gentile followers of Jesus could not become Jews. According to Luke, the God of Israel addressed the Gentile problem by purifying their suspect genealogy through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Keywords: Luke; Acts; circumcision; Gentile mission; conversion

Chapter.  15256 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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