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The Sons of Noah and the Sons of Abraham: The Origins of Noahide Law

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This article addresses the early formation of the rabbinic Noahide laws in light of Paul’s “sons of Abraham” motif and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Close examination reveals that Paul’s epistles, Acts of the Apostles, and rabbinic Noahide law represent one side of a debate among Jews about the eschatological fate of the nations. This development was in contrast to the homogenizing paradigms of Hellenistic Judaism and the anti-gentile apocalypticism of the Qumran community. The similarities between Paul’s “sons of Abraham” and the rabbinic “sons of Noah” suggest that both traditions originated from the same school of thought and may indicate a proto-rabbinic source from which Paul and the rabbis derived these requirements.

Affiliations: 1: Ohio State University Columbus, oh 43210USA

* I would like to thank Professors J. Albert Harrill, Lynn Kaye, Moshe Lavee, Samuel A. Meier, and the anonymous reviewers of this article for their helpful comments, along with Gabriele Boccaccini, Michael D. Swartz, and Daniel Frank for their encouragement and support.

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