The Formation of Christianity in Antioch: A Social-Scientific Approach to the Separation between Judaism and Christianity

The Formation of Christianity in Antioch: A Social-Scientific Approach to the Separation between Judaism and Christianity

The Formation of Christianity in Antioch: A Social-Scientific Approach to the Separation between Judaism and Christianity

The Formation of Christianity in Antioch: A Social-Scientific Approach to the Separation between Judaism and Christianity

Synopsis

Magnus Zetterholm uses theoretical insights from the social sciences to deal with the complex issues raised by the parting of Judaism and Christianity, and the accompanying rise of Christian anti-Semitism in ancient Antioch.Unlike previous attempts to solve this problem have focused mainly on ideology, Zetterholm's excellent study emphasizes the interplay between sociological and ideological elements.For students of religious studies, classical studies, history and social scient, this will give leverage and knowldege in the pursuti of their course studies.

Excerpt

Il existe certains coins comme ça

Dans les villes si stupidement laids

Qu’on y est presque toujours seul …

Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Voyage au bout de la nuit

There are several events in the history of Antioch that may help us understand why the relations between Jews and Gentiles developed as they did. the purpose of this chapter is to provide a general understanding of what it was like to live in the city and to emphasize certain aspects of the conditions that had a bearing on our overarching question.

After a short overview of the general history of Antioch, ranging from the foundation of the city in 300 bce to the outbreak of the Jewish War in 66 ce, we will focus on the polis of Antioch and its religious and political institutions. We will see how the different religious institutions acted together in creating a pan-Hellenic religious system, and what religious duties the individual inhabitants of the city had. the focus will then shift towards the basic social conditions that determined life in the city. We will deal with issues of population density, sanitary conditions, mortality rates and social networks in order to see how these factors affected human life, biologically as well as socially.

We will then turn specifically to the Jewish population in its attempt to establish its position in the religious world of Antioch. How was the Jewish community organized, internally as well as in relation to the city and to Rome? How was the problem of the refusal to worship deities other than the god of Israel dealt with in the context of the religious pluralism of Antioch? What legal status did . . .

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