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Table Fellowship of Jews and Gentiles

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Chapter Summary

Table fellowship of Jews and gentiles must have been an important issue in early diaspora Christianity. It features prominently in two Pauline letters, Romans and Galatians. These are also the letters in which 'justification by faith' plays an important role. This can hardly be incidental, but the question is what this means for the precise relationship between these two elements. Dietary laws have many functions in Judaism. They have a fundamental significance both in religious and social sense. From the point of view of structural anthropology this is self-evident: dietary customs and table manners embody the specific human or 'rational' value system of any given culture. The application of this anthropological approach to Jewish religion would seem obvious: the halakha is a system of consciously guided practical conduct, in which all human acts and functions have a specific significance.

Keywords: diaspora Christianity; Dietary law; Galatians; gentiles; Jews; Judaism; Romans



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