Jewish Christian Literature and the Law

Reading Acts

Donald Hagner’s article on Jewish Christianity in the Dictionary of the Later New Testament provides a summary of the theology of Jewish Christianity. The first issue Hagner discusses is the Law and Christian Life. The Jewish community in Acts appears to have continued to keep the Law. As Jews, there was no real disconnect between keeping the law and salvation. The Temple was the main location of evangelism. This evangelism did not attack the Temple or the priesthood, but seems to use temple worship as an opportunity to reach priests and Pharisees. From the beginning of his Gentile mission, Paul had to deal with Judaizers who argued that Gentiles ought to keep the law.

Cross and StarJames Dunn agrees with this summary in his recent Neither Jew nor Greek (Eerdmans, 2015). In this book Dunn tracks the shift from an entirely Jewish Church in early Acts to a more or less Gentile church…

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