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Paschal Politics: Deploying the Temple's Destruction against Fourth-Century Judaizers

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image of Vigiliae Christianae

The fourth-century Syriac writings of Aphrahat and Ephrem, and Greek homilies by the Syrian John Chrysostom, warn Christian congregants against joining Jewish festival celebrations such as Passover. In light of the respected age of Judaism's scriptures and traditions, not all of these authors' church attendees were easily convinced by supersessionist claims about Judaism's invalidity. These authors surpass earlier Christian claims that the Temple's destruction revealed God's rejection of the Jews, by arguing that Jewish scripture requires ritual sacrifices that were confined to the Jerusalem Temple. us without the Temple sacrifices, fourth-century Jewish festivals, these authors claimed, defied God's biblical commands, a declaration with sharp implications for Judaizing Christians. Demonstrating the nuances of this argument, which crossed eastern linguistic and political boundaries, contributes to complex discussions regarding these texts' audiences, highlights distinctive elements that their contexts shared, and reveals an unrecognized role that the Temple's destruction played in fourth-century anti-Judaizing discourse.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Religious Studies, 501 McClung Tower, Knoxville, TN 37996-0450, USA;, Email:


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