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The Israel of God

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Chapter Summary

From gentile to Jew to Christian: was this the course of conviction and affiliation for a convert to "Christianity" in the first century? This question may be raised with Paul of Tarsus, the Jewish Christian who deliberately assumed the special role of "Christian" evangelist to gentiles. He distinguished his role and its attendant theological problems from the role of Peter. Some would hold that whoever calls himself a Jew is one, even as Paul more than once claimed for himself whereas some disputed his right to such a status. Various criteria have been proposed: descent from Jewish forebears, Jewish parents, observance of Torah, practice of rites, dietary requirements, participation in synagogue worship, national citizenship in Israel, or even belief in Psalm 15. First-century Judaism did not maintain a membership roll. Within Judaism there was a variety of attitudes, as is shown by the numerous sects and by the varied personalities.

Keywords: First-century Judaism; Israel citizenship; Jewish Christian; Peter

10.1163/9789004266155_014
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