The Origin of Christianity

Geza Vermes on the transition from Jewish Christians to Gentiles

This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in 2012.—Ed.


A turning point in the Jesus movement, Peter baptizes the Roman centurion Cornelius, the first non-Jewish Christian, in Jerusalem (Acts 10), as shown in one of five baptism scenes on a 12th-century baptismal font in St. Bartholomew’s Church in Liège, Belgium. Image: Jean-Pol Grandmont.

Today the concept of “Jewish Christians” may sound like a confusion of two religions. However, to understand the origin of Christianity, one must begin with the population of Jewish Christians who lived during Jesus’ lifetime. In the November/December 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Dead Sea Scroll and early Christianity scholar Geza Vermes explored the origin of Christianity by examining the characteristics of the Jewish Jesus movement to see how it developed into a distinctly gentile religion.
In the New Testament, Jesus only preaches to a Jewish audience. Geza Vermes described the mission of the 11 apostles to preach to “all the nations” (Matthew 28:19) as a “‘post-Resurrection’ idea.” After the crucifixion, the apostles began to champion a new faith in Jesus and the ranks of the Jesus movement (known as “the Way” at the time) swelled to 3,000 Jewish converts. At first, these followers were distinctly Jewish, following Mosaic law, Temple traditions and dietary customs.

In the free eBook Paul: Jewish Law and Early Christianity, learn about the cultural contexts for the theology of Paul and how Jewish traditions and law extended into early Christianity through Paul’s dual roles as a Christian missionary and a Pharisee.

In BAR, Geza Vermes wrote: “Acts identifies the demographic watershed regarding the composition of the Jesus movement. It began around 40 C.E. with the admission into the church of the family of the Roman centurion Cornelius in Caesarea (Acts 10). Later came the gentile members of the mixed Jewish-Greek church in Antioch (Acts 11:19–24; Galatians 2:11–14), as well as the many pagan converts of Paul in Syria, Asia Minor and Greece. With them the Jewish monopoly in the new movement came to an end. Jewish and gentile Christianity was born.”
As gentiles joined the Jesus movement, focus on Jewish law decreased and we start to see the origin of Christianity as a distinct religion. Jewish Christians in Jerusalem participated in separate Jewish services from the gentile Christian population, and while the two groups agreed on Jesus’ message and importance, the separate rites and communities led to increasing division between the groups.

The Biblical Archaeology Society presents: Partings—How Judaism and Christianity Became Two. Never before has this multi-faceted process been documented so engagingly and so authoritatively by so many eminent scholars.


The early-second-century Epistle of Barnabas is one of the earliest expressions of gentile Christianity and describes Jesus as quasi-divine. ©The British Library

Geza Vermes presents the late first century C.E. Jewish Christian Didache as an important text for understanding the Jewish Jesus movement. The Christian document focuses on Mosaic Law and the love of God and the neighbor, and describes the observance of Jewish traditions alongside baptism and the recitation of “Our Father.” The Didache treats Jesus as a charismatic prophet, referring to Jesus with the term pais, a word for servant or child that is also used for King David, rather than the “Son of God.”
By contrast, the early second century Epistle of Barnabas shows a distinctly gentile Christianity in its presentation of the Hebrew Bible as allegory instead of covenantal fact. The clearly divinized Jesus in this document is distanced from the Jewish Christians and the divide between the Christian communities continued to widen over time. Geza Vermes writes that after Hadrian’s suppression of the Second Jewish Revolt, the Jewish Christians quickly became a minority group in the newly established church. At this point we can see the origin of Christianity as a distinctly non-Jewish religion; late in the second century, the Jewish Christians either rejoined their Jewish peers or become part of the newly gentile Christian church.
For more on the origin of Christianity, read Geza Vermes’s “From Jewish to Gentile: How the Jesus Movement Became Christianity” as it appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 2012.
Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.

This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in November 2012.


Related reading in Bible History Daily:

The Archaeological Quest for the Earliest Christians: Part 1 and Part 2 by Douglas Boin
Roman Emperor Nerva’s Reform of the Jewish Tax by Nathan T. Elkins
When Did Christianity Begin to Spread?
Uncovering the Jewish Context of the New Testament
Amy-Jill Levine reveals what Jews (and Christians) should know about Christian scripture and Jesus the Jew
Alternative Facts: Domitian’s Persecution of Christians by Mark Wilson


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48 Responses

  1. John says:

    BAS – The illustration you have posted on this page is “stretching the truth” quite a bit. If we look as Jesus baptism, as the example for Christians, we know that it was to be total immersion – what it was not, was something that could be carried out in a font, or any sprinkling of water.
    Another factor of baptism is the person undergoing it, has to have accepted Christ and his teachings – or in other words they have accepted Christ as their personal saviour and they must have already dedicated their lives to do God’s will.
    Dedication is personal, between God, and the individual, and baptism is an outward showing of that ones dedication to do the will of God.

  2. John says:

    BAS – Please do not use the Apocrypha to try and and back thoughts or ideas that are blatantly unscriptual.
    It is the Holy Bible that is the word of God and this certainly does not include any books of the Apocrypha, as they are no part of the Bible canon……….there is a very good reason that they do not belong in God’s Word, and that is their contradictory nature to the truth.
    The only PROBABLE value of some of those books is for their historical value, again, I would say VERY LIMITED value, if any.

  3. Kylee says:

    I feel as this was helpful in my report and thank you for helping me with mEmma knowing a little more

  4. Simon S. Peters says:

    Thank you for making the different in Bible history.

  5. John says:

    Geza Vermes say: “At first, these followers were distinctly Jewish, following Mosaic law, Temple traditions and dietary customs.”
    From Pentecost 33 CE when over 3 000 were baptised, they, as Christians, no longer followed the Mosaic Law. The Law was finished, ended, gone, kaput…… Jesus by his death, fulfilled the Law.
    Paul, or any other apostles, never taught the Law after their conversion to Christianity.

  6. jimb147 says:

    Faisal,Paul actually met Christ and realised straight away Jesus was God in the flesh,from that day on there was no corruption.
    nor would he tolerate corruption in his walk with the Lord,in fact he hated false teaching in all its shape and form.
    So your accusations against him comes under false teaching,unless you have evidence which I doubt you should present it.

  7. Faisal Mirza says:

    Going neutrally in line with the 4 recognized books Jesus line of teaching was corrupted by Paul,who never acknowledged Jesus when he was there,but started a mixture of pagan and Jewish teachings at his own. It could be Paulinity but not Christianity. He deviated from the main Abrahamic main stream laws that can be clearly seen.

  8. don says:

    Christianity started before the foundation of the world. 1 Peter 1: 20

  9. brad says:

    well as a christain jew.i strongly believe in god our creature,and in jesus Christ our savior,whom died on the cross for everyones the beginning he came as a lamb…know soon this month according to the bible codes he is on his way back as a roaring lion,the true lion of save mankind from there own destruction..the 6th trumpet shall sound soon,so keep your ears open,and let them hear for the trumpet shall be loud and heard throughout thy world.for I have seen and talked to jesus several times in heaven and sky and on prepared for him.i also he told me he sent man his last warning through natan.the boy whom is also called Nathan,check out his prophecy..for he is telling thy truth says thy lord..for this is the last warning from me and thy father which art in heaven…thy 9th and 19th of august 2016,and the 2nd of oct 2016..all you have to do to be saved is repent and do good deeds towards others..hope your a listening to me and natan,for gods army is ready,and jesus the true lion of Judah is coming soon.

  10. Karen King says:

    In reference to the new Gentile converts abstaining from all forms and practices relating to idolatry, consumming the meat of strangled animals, consuming blood and the practice of sexual immorality as specified in the law of Moses, this was given so as not to case apprehension among the new converts. Let it also be noted in the same scripture, that the Council made it clear the God’s Law given through Moses was taught every Sabbath in the synagogue. My understanding is this, after the converts joined The Way they would gradually learn and live according to the teaching they would receive on the Sabbaths. This important piece of truth has been conveniently read over and ignored so as to remain politically correct in keeping with the popular doctrine currently proclaimed throughout the planet. However, hard truths are rarely if ever, popular.

  11. The Nag Hammadi Codices and Gnostic Christianity – Biblical Archaeology Society | Mark Geoffrey Kirshner says:

    […] The Origin of Christianity […]

  12. Ivan says:

    Jesus only preached to a Jewish Audience , Mmmmm. I think not . Who was the woman at the well , and who lived in her village and many believed. Who had a greater faith than any in Israel.
    Flawed in the 1st sentence.

  13. C.L. says:

    By even stating the terms “Christian” and “jesus” in the context of the 1st and 2nd century middle eastern culture are grossly misleading. In order to be a “christian” one would have to jump to the 4th century and there simply was no “jewish jesus” Yahushua is the only name anyone would have understood because He was a Hebrew of the tribe of Yahuda, not “jewish” to be “jewish” means He would have practiced Judaism which is the religion of the Edomite converts living in Yerushelim during the first century C.E. These people vastly added to Scripture by way of the Talmudic traditions. Yahushua was renewing the First Covenant not creating a new one. He is the embodiment of the Torah. John 1 explains this. Yahushua is the fulfillment and final sacrifice but Christianity preaches that the law no longer applies when Yahushua clearly points to it. I’m not a scholar but I study so I question the author’s sources. I’d like to know where the author is getting their information.

  14. Annelise says:

    Hi Oktay,

    I used to be a Christian but I was challenged a few years ago by Judaism and accepted it through a process of questions and praying. I come from the Parramatta area and although I recently moved to Wagga Wagga, I’m still sometimes in Toongabbie as my parents live there. If you ever have any questions about Christianity and Judaism, I’d recommend talking with Rabbi Eli Cohen of Jews for Judaism, he’s also the rabbi of Newtown Synagogue.


  15. Oktay Ozbaki says:

    Where do I a non Jew or christian go to be baptized as a follower of Christ ?
    I live in the Parramatta area in NSW ,Australia
    I would like to be in the presence of Jewish Christians for my baptism.

  16. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament | Laodicean Report says:

    […] the person or ministry of Jesus, they do illuminate practices and beliefs of ancient Judaism. Since Christianity began as a sect of Judaism, the scrolls are very important for understanding the earliest Christians and their writings—the […]

  17. The Christianity Myth Questions Origins of Christianity - Blessed Today says:

    […] (published by AuthorHouse), author K.A.G. Thackerey takes a dispassionate look at first-century Christianity from a bottom-up perspective. He offers a simple, non-supernatural explanation of how Christianity […]

  18. When Did Christianity Begin To Spread? | Historical Asia Minor says:

    […] old is Christianity? When did it stop being a Jewish sect and become its own religion? As reported in “Crossing the Holy Land” in the September/October 2011 issue of Biblical […]

  19. The Christianity Myth Questions Origins of Christianity | Believer Vine says:

    […] (published by AuthorHouse), author K.A.G. Thackerey takes a dispassionate look at first-century Christianity from a bottom-up perspective. He offers a simple, non-supernatural explanation of how Christianity […]

  20. What I Read Last Week (Links) | Veritas Venator says:

    […] late Géza Vermes has an article on “The Origin of Christianity: On the Transition from Jewish Christians to Gentile”  that is worth your time. Dr. Vermes was a Dead Sea Scroll pioneer and scholar and contributed much […]

  21. James Joy says:

    Jesus stated that the entire Bible was based on two concepts Love God with heart, soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself. That everything in it has to be understood based on that ethics. He states repeatedly that Moses had gotten things wrong often because he deviated from that ethics, which always happens when we try to create rules to demonstrate ethics. When one goes back and looks at the formation of the Old Testament and New Testament we see individuals who knew the original apostles or those who knew people who knew them and used their testimony as a basis of approving what was true or false. The fact that we no longer have those documents does not mean that they did not have documentary evidence or evidence based on memories from those familiar with them. We know that there were many different views of who Jesus was in the early Christian church and that whole segments of the early church saw Jesus only as a prophet, while other saw him as the Son of God. The concepts of whether one could be both God and man were hotly debated as these were common concepts in the Greek and Roman world at that time in their own religions. Much of what we see in the teachings of Jesus was not new. These were the beliefs of the Essenes as was baptism and what we call the Lord’s Supper. The sermon on the mount and many of the teachings of Jesus would have been familiar to the disciples as they were also teachings of some Pharisees as well as the Essenes. So they did not have to remember them as they were very common beliefs then by this variant of Judaism. It is also interesting that Jesus never states anything negative nor do the apostles about the Essenes though there were important differences. But they were both alike in following lives of poverty, and the structure we see in the early church of selling everything to use it for those in need. Jesus reinterpreted the Jewish law from a perspective of love your neighbor is the basis of loving God. But this too is not new as many of the OT prophets said the same thing. That God does not care about rituals but about how one treats immigrants and the poor. One of the reasons that we have the Christianity that we have today is not only the Nicene Creed that was agreed upon and the destruction of most of the other documents and books but that the Muslims when they arose destroyed the other variants of Christianity in large part. But these were also those who were called Nestorian Christians and from whom Mohammed learned the concept that Jesus was a prophet because this was their belief.

  22. Chris says:

    The ex Roman rev Vermes attended seminary in Hungary and Italy .but has mis-stated the case. “Christianity”, defined as a faith in Christ being the person of Jesus of Nazareth, was something new and unique in the culture. That “faith” was “born of a virgin” and opposed the religion of Judaism.. Pope Benedict XVI. has written a very interesting book of Jesus of Nazareth.Lets read it.As a christian with ardent and live faith in Christ wrote it not as a person who lost his faith in the Fathoer and Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit ,.that is the difference.

  23. ‘The Christianity Myth’ Questions Origins of Christianity | North Fork Vue says:

    […] (published by AuthorHouse), author K.A.G. Thackerey takes a dispassionate look at first-century Christianity from a bottom-up perspective. He offers a simple, non-supernatural explanation of how Christianity […]

  24. Gregory Sepeda says:

    Well.said armando u know ur history and I applaud you. The idea of nazareth as opposed to.the true term nawtsar which means shepherd is an apostacy

  25. armando c. macansantos jr. says:

    Paul, the false Apostle was the founder of Christianity not Jesus nor any of his foillowers!

  26. armando c. macansantos jr. says: The ebiomites later became followers of Saul of Tarsus, who changed his name to Paul, and lied about seeing Jesus Christ on the way to Damascus.These were the Jews who was “Christianize d” by the Church of Ephesus that Paul had controlled of.

  27. armando c. macansantos jr. says:

    The term “Christian” is a pejorative and derogatory term. Jesus and his followers were called “Natsarims” or Nazarenes in modern terminology and never wore any crucifixes for their emblem was the “Fish” or Pisces, symbolic of the nature of work done by the apostles, as fishermen, therefore fishers of men. There were 12 names of the Apostles in the 12 pillars of the 2nd Temple of Solomon., and Paul is never written or mentioned there.

  28. Liz says:

    No mention of the church of St. Thomas in India, which I understand continues a purely Aramaic Christian tradition, since it was founded separately from the tradition in Western Europe.


  29. Christopher M . Spellman says:

    Oh look, Joseph attended seminary ‘for a short while’ and discovered that learned people had nothing to show him. Funny how those of his ilk will use ancient ideas of paganism and holidays to determine all religions but his are wrong. God loves you despite your secularism, Joe.

  30. Joseph Ixchu says:

    I enjoyed this short article, and have been doing research on the roots of Christianity. Additionally, I attended seminary for a short while and realized it was very shallow and without the understanding that Yeshua was born a Jew, stated He came for the Jew first, and His “First” converts or followers were all Jews. I found the teachings misleading and when conducting my own research realized the true plan of God in Ephesians 2:11. I also found documents were the Roman Emperor Constantine actually changed the observance of Passover to the observance of Easter (after the goddess of fertility) and dictated how the “Trinity” would be accepted and understood. Also, most of the “Christian” holidays were changed to observe pagan traditions as Constantine himself worshipped the sun. This is why currently, Christians celebrate the birth of of Yeshua in December…when it was clearly during the Jewish holiday of Sukkoth, when jews set temporary huts outside their homes. Anyway, read Ephesians 2:11 and join the true family of God and follow, “the Way”.

  31. Gregory Sepeda says:

    The history of the term Christian can be found in its latin definition and can be understood as such. When the history of the true followers of” the way”which were originally called nawtsar. (Which means shepherd or watcher and can be seen when
    used properly with Yahushua
    Nawtsarine not Nazarene. Referred to as the good
    shepherd. ) the true followers who when were held up in the fortress at the dead sea conmitted mass suicide rather than be taken captive by the romans who would persecute torture and make them denounce their true way for the false ways of the romans. They would rather die than serve the romans. The romans in their disbelief of these peoples devotion to their
    faith . Rather than submit to defeat and enslavement and or citizenship to the Roman nation. They were referred to as christians. ( stupid people) . The term used today is not what it appears to be but is a fabrication of lies and deceit. By grouos of people who share in spreading the false word . Which was hinted at in 2 thessolonians

  32. Blistorian says:

    If scholars don’t wise up and realise there was never any such things as “Jewish Christians” then the question of Christianity’s origins can NEVER be answered factually. What makes Cornelius a Christian? Absolutely nothing. He was baptised into the Jewish sect of the Nazarenes. There isn’t a single Christian in the new testament or that period.

  33. Kim Lamas says:

    @ stephania The Jewish people are not collectively responsible for the death of Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI writes a book to be published next week.

    Many Catholics and other Christians blamed Jews for Jesus’ death for hundreds of years, but the Catholic Church formally repudiated that assertion in the 1960s
    Book is called Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week – From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection maybe you should invest the money and buy a copy. Seems like you have a lot of hate in your heart.

  34. stephania says:

    Jesus said at Matthew 23:37,38 Speaking about Jerusalem and how they (Jerusalem/Isrelites) killed the prophets GOD sent to them.’ 38 Says because of that (killing the Prophets God sent) that their house will be abandon to them.’ Meaning Isael was nolonger the choosen people because THEY killed Prophets that God sent to them and they murdered Jesus Christ. Then in Acts Chapter 15 verse 14 God said that he is turning his attention toward the Gentile Nation. Why? Because the Israelires were so disobedient and THEY killed Jesus as well, so God turned away his attention to look at other nations for obedience to him. Judaism which means Monotheism (One God). When Jesus came and started to prwach at tbe age o30 he started the beginning o.f Christianity. Judaism turned into Christianity. What happened to the purity of Christianity from Judaism is that pagans started to mix with TRUE followers of Christ. However they still exist. Isaiash 43: 1,3,6,7,10, and 21. From reading Isaiah you will find out who they are. They are Gods Witnesses and they go by HIS name. Gods namw is not God THAT is a Title. God has a name. My story is how Judaism went frim Judaism to Christianity. It is just TRUE Judaism/Chritians are here and SO CALLED who r truly NOT CHRIST followwes.

  35. Gaddi says:

    It is lovely to understand the origin of our faith, but you shows the origin of christianity by reffering to new testament.Could you please elaborate more by reffering to the old testaent,because in old testament we saw traditional life and belief, sohow shall we associate that life withchristianity

  36. The Solemnity of Christ the King | St. John says:

    […] The Origin of ChristianityToday the concept of “Jewish Christians” may sound like a confusion of two religions. However, to understand the origin of Christianity, one must begin with the population of Jewish Christians who lived during Jesus’ lifetime. In the November/December 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Dead Sea Scrolls and early Christianity scholar Geza Vermes explores the origin of Christianity by examining the characteristics of the Jewish Jesus movement to see how it developed into a distinctly gentile religion.…more […]

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  38. Allan Richardson says:

    Given that what Jesus said was passed along orally at first, with “oral editing” due to people’s theologically selective memories, then when written, copies and copies of copies were made by hand (and at first, not by trained “scribes” but by whoever was handy that COULD read and write), with selective editing then also, we are not sure just how observant Jesus intended his followers to be; it APPEARS that he was more concerned with moral considerations, and the INNER morality at that, than with ceremonial rules, while accepting that ceremonial rules were useful when subservient to moral principles (e.g. “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”). Some early followers, like some Christians today, surely felt that his primary emphasis, both for Jews and for gentiles, was to realize one’s EXISTING connection with God through meditation and prayer, and express it through service to others, not to “fix” one’s basic wickedness by believing the “right” things about him as a person, anymore than one could “fix” wickedness by performing the “right” ceremonial or moral rules for the wrong reasons.

    It is possible that, due to the influence of Paul, who may have PERSONALLY felt something like the later concept of “original sin”, independent of his actual behavior, the “Jesus fixes me” attitude became the norm for the Christian church. After all, it is easier to teach, and gives the human authorities a greater role in controlling the people, than personal spiritual empowerment.

  39. Tom Barksdale says:

    The idea that Jesus established a religion “opposed” to Judaism is pure bunkum. The religion that we today call Christianity was deeply rooted in Judaism. Did Jesus not say that he came to uphold the law, not to abolish it? An excellent exploration of this point is Gary Wills’ book, “What Paul Meant.”

  40. B. James Wilson says:

    I think Geza has mis-stated the case. “Christianity”, defined as a faith in Christ being the person of Jesus of Nazareth, was something new and unique in the culture. That “faith” was “born of a virgin” and opposed the religion of Judaism. As this “Gospel of Christ”, then called “The Way”, spread and grew out of the Jewish system of synagogs, it appeared to morph from Judaism into Christianity and eventually the Church.

  41. Darrell W says:

    Charles, this article was meant to give us an overview Christianity as it evolved from a closed group of purely Jewish disciples to a much broader gentile phenomena. The exploration is interesting and compelling.

    Your overly enthusiastic simplification of all three religions does nothing to further our understanding of that time and your veneer of self righteousness is a perfect example of how careful study is often clouded by messianic nonsense. In short, you missed the point.

  42. charles says:

    Of all 3 religions namely Judiasm Islam and Christianity, they all claim the same God as their own, but these religions are in a majority of cases all mans intrpretations,. I have to say that Jewish people have been steered in th wrong direction by their leaders, the sanhedrin, and for the last 2000 years have blindly stumbled along.

    As for Islam, it is up to the follower to seek out the truth of a righteous person as to what God expects of a righteous man, and not blindly follow the precepts of man.

    And for christianity, men have taken so many different paths from that what was given by Jesus, and many following a different path each claiming that they are on the right path.

    The Jewish elite, the leaders of their religion failed to hear the words of their prophets, and because of their stubbornness, have suffered their afflictions that have been told so many times in their Torah, even to this day they have no leaders to understand exactly that their messiah had come

    Moslems on the other hand recognise jesus but only as a prophet, and I think this may be the reason they live in a backward manner without much progress

    God gave us the 10 commandments to live by, men have added their own values to suit themselves,, Jesus came as the word of God to fullfill the laws of God
    Those 10 laws are not hard to follow, and if you adorn yourself in the teachings of Jesus you will reach paradise


  43. Rose Stauros says:

    There are several parts to the history of Christianity. This includes the actual history with Josephus and Philo as the best sources, and the traditional history with the book of Acts as its framework. People who have made the Bible their life’s work (i.e. Professor Bart Ehrman) have written that the book of Acts purports to tell historical facts, but instead presents made up stories. This article is about Christian tradition as it deviates from actual history.

    After Paul’s trial in the book of Acts, Albinus succeeded Festus as the Procurator of Judea and Cestius Gallus became the President of Syria(about 62/63 CE). Josephus was the Governor of Galilee and men named Jesus, Justus and Silas were leaders in Tiberius. Josephus tells what happened in his autobiography, Life. You can find much of the build-up in paragraphs 55-58. The historical crucifixion reference is found in paragraph 75. Josephus tells us in paragraph 65 that Justus of Tiberius wrote a false history of the events, but waited to publish it until after Titus and Vespasian were dead. They were both gone by 82 CE, and the book of Acts is thought to have been published about 85 CE. (Col. 4:11)

    Article >> the religious practice of the first Jewish Christians also included the “breaking of the bread” (Acts 2:46).

    Rose> Typically the word ‘bread’ in the New Testament is symbolic of the Torah (Matt. 16:12). Bread is not broken in John’s gospel, they must have cut their bread. Most common folk in first century Judea would have known the sayings of Pythagoras. The synoptic gospels are a counter to the Pythagorean teachings.

    The Symbol of Pythagoras XXIV
    Never break the Bread. I’anem ne frangito
    The life of Pythagoras, Dacier, 1707

    …But if thou art so hardy as to affirm, that thou hast written that history better than all the rest, why didst thou not publish thy history while the emperors Vespasian and Titus, the generals in that war, as well as king Agrippa and his family, who were men very well skilled in the learning of the Greeks, were all alive? for thou hast had it written these twenty years, and then mightest thou have had the testimony of thy accuracy. But now when these men are no longer with us, and thou thinkest thou canst not be contradicted, thou venturest to publish it….
    Josephus Life, 65


  44. paul says:

    By repetitively using the term “Christian” Wiener misleads the reader. By doing so he is suggesting that there was a “Christian” identity as early as early as 40 CE. Not only is it anachronistic it suggests a schism that simply did not exist. On top of that Wiener fumbles around with finding ‘a’ date for what he suggests was a clear parting of the ways. Scholarship should be moving away from such biased readings.

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