Shorter Reviews and Notices -- Hellenists and Hebrews: Reappraising Division within the Earliest Church by Craig C. Hill

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Hellenists and Hebrews: Reappraising Division Within the Earliest Church, by Craig C. Hill. Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1992. 237 pp. $24.95. ISBN 0-8006-2505-6.

In this fine book Hill explores two major and related topics. As to the first, he concludes that there is no evidence for a fundamental ideological rift between the Hebrews and Hellenists (Acts 6--7). It is commonly held that the Hellenists alone were persecuted by the Jerusalem authorities, and that they were infected by Stephen's radical viewpoint on the law and temple. Hill argues that if, as Acts suggests, the Hellenists were persecuted by other Hellenists, we can infer nothing about their relationship to the Hebrews; but if they were persecuted by the Jerusalem authorities, this would unite them with the Hebrews who suffered the same fate. Further, Stephen's views were not radical, and they were shared by many others, Hebrews and Hellenists alike. As to the second, he challenges the common assumption that the churches of Jerusalem and Antioch were profoundly polarized: the conservative Hebrew/Jerusalem church centered on James versus the liberal Hellenist/Antiochean church centered on Paul. …