Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins: Diversity, Continuity, and Transformation

Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins: Diversity, Continuity, and Transformation

Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins: Diversity, Continuity, and Transformation

Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins: Diversity, Continuity, and Transformation

Excerpt

“Two questions have provided the framework for this volume. How have the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and revolutions in the methodology of biblical scholarship in the past two generations changed our perceptions of Judaism in the Greco-Roman period, and how do—or should—these developments lead us to rethink the origins of Christianity? In attempting to answer these questions, I sought to highlight major aspects of the past fifty years of scholarship, and to synthesize my own work over tour decades.

I intend the book for a broad audience consisting of biblical scholars who do not specialize in the study of Judaism; college, university, and seminary students; clergy; and laypeople who have some familiarity with the methods of modern biblical interpretation. I especially hope that it will engage persons participating in Jewish–Christian dialog.

The genesis of the book was a set of five seminar papers (chapters 1–5) prepared in 1993 for discussion in a number of venues in South Africa. After my return to the United States, the manuscript sat in the queue for eight years as I served as director of the University of Iowa School of Religion and then completed work on volume 1 of my commentary on 1 Enoch. A month's fellowship at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center on Lake Como provided the occasion, the quiet environment, and the impetus to bring the task to fruition.

I cheerfully express my thanks to the Bellagio Committee of the Rockefeller Foundation for their support, and to the Universities of South Africa (UN1SA), Potchefstroom, Bloemtontein, Stellenbosch, and Capetown, the New Testament Society of South Africa, and the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa for the invitations and resources that made the trip possible. I remember with gratitude the gracious hospitality that Marilyn and I received from Pieter and Helen Botha, Pieter and Leona Craffert, Jaspar Burden, Fika van Rensburg, Hermie van Zyl, Jan Botha, Bernard . . .

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