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Jewish proselytizing in the first century

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Chapter Summary

Jews constituted a nation which at some time before the Hellenistic period accepted the principle that it was open to anyone to integrate himself or herself into its political and social community simply by acceptance of Jewish religious customs. The activities of the earliest Jewish believers in Jesus have been adduced as indirect evidence that some Jews who did not believe in Jesus were doing the same thing. It is unlikely that any of the residual arguments for a Jewish mission in the first century would ever have been proposed if such a mission had not already been presupposed. In the early Church, a convert to Christ was in essence equal to his or her fellows. The role of the Jews was simply passively to bear witness through their existence and piety; how the Gentiles reacted to such witness was up to them.

Keywords: Christ; Church; Gentiles; Hellenistic period; Jesus; Jews

10.1163/ej.9789004153097.i-275.19
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