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The Case of the Proselytizing Pharisees?—Matthew 23.15

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This essay examines Matthew 23.15 in the context of the debate concerning pre-Christian Jewish proselytizing activity amongst Gentiles. The study assesses the historical authenticity of the logion and examines the various positions for understanding its meaning. It then attempts to argue that Matthew 23.15 is an authentic saying of Jesus aimed at censuring a Pharisaic group for endeavouring to recruit Gentile adherents (God-fearers) to the cause of Jewish resistance against Rome. It concludes that the logion does not constitute evidence for the existence of a Jewish proselytizing mission.

Affiliations: 1: University of Queensland Brisbane, QLD, Australia


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