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Conclusion to Part One

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Chapter Summary

Many scholars have sought the origins of the early Christian mission in a prior Jewish mission to gentiles. However, although proselytes and sympathizers from among the gentiles may have been drawn to the Jewish community in antiquity in fair numbers, there were no Jewish missionaries, and evidence which might suggest active proselytizing by Jews is sparse indeed. This part documents a widespread and intense interest in conversion of gentiles among Jews throughout the second temple period. It by contrast, suggests that scholars have worked with false alternatives, because they have failed to grasp Jewish thinking in antiquity regarding gentiles and their conversion. The part shows that the Hebrew Scriptures, above all the book of Isaiah, played a formative role in Jewish understandings of the role of Israel in regard to the nations.

Keywords: book of Isaiah; early Christian mission; gentiles; Jewish mission; second temple period



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