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Light Among the Gentiles: Jewish Missionary Activity in the Second Temple Period
Name: Light Among the Gentiles: Jewish Missionary Activity in the Second Temple Period
Author: scot mcknight
Pages: 215
Year: 1991
Language: English
File Size: 9.87 MB
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A LIGHT AMONG THE GENTILES Jewish Missionary Activity in the Second Temple Period Copyright 1991 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in critical articles or reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher. Write to: Permissions, Augsburg Fortress, 426 S. Fifth St., Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440. Scripture quotations unless otherwise noted are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1946, 1952, and 1971 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches. Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data McKnight, Scot. A light among the gentiles: Jewish missionary activity in the Second Temple period / Scot McKnight. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0 8006 2452 1 (alk. paper) 1. Judaism History Postexilic period, 586 B.C. 2l0 A.D. Historiography. 2. Proselytes and proselyting, Jewish. 3. Jews History 586 B.C. 70 A.D. Historiography. 4. Christianity Origin. I. Title. BM176.M38 1991 296 dc20 90 14063 CIP The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z329.48 1984. Manufactured in the U.S.A. AF 1 2452 95 94 93 92 91 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 10

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Acknowledgments T HIS BOO K HAS ITS 0 RIG INS in a side interest of mine in Jewish literature of the first century period that began during my doctoral work on the missionary discourse in Matthew 9:35 11:1 at the Univer sity of Nottingham. Because of the kind graces of the administration of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, I was able to devote part of a sabbatical in the fall of 1987 to writing up the results of my previous work. I express my gratitude to President K. M. Meyer and Deans W. C. Kaiser, Jr., and B. J. Beitzel for their continuing support of academic scholarship. Since that first draft, many colleagues, some of whom have become my friends as a result of this work, have read portions or the entirety of the manuscript. I wish to express my thanks to these critics: B. D. Chilton (Bard College), D. Senior and C. Osiek (Catholic Theological Union), S. J. D. Cohen Oewish Theological Seminary), L. H. Feldman (Yeshiva University), A. J. Levine (Swarthmore College), D. E. Aune (St. Xavier College), and M. Wise (University of Chicago). I am grateful especially to Larry Hurtado (University of Manitoba) for making detailed comments on the entire work. His comments have often found their way into the book without specific documentation, and he will surely detect his own ideas at places. I am also grateful to Norman Golb (University of Chicago) for inviting me to read a paper to his seminar and to R. D. Chesnutt (Pepperdine University), A. T. Kraabel (Luther College), and R. Riesner (Tiibingen) for making available to me copies of articles that I could not otherwise obtain. The librarians of many collections have shown their customary expertise in locating difficult to find materials: I mention especially Eleanor Warner (Rolfing Library, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), C. C. Broyles (Tyndale House), and the wonderful staff at the Univer sity of Nottingham, especially Tony Barker and Glenis Pickering. Other libraries that have been most helpful are Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, Seabury Western, Northwestern University, and St. Mary of the Lake. Such a trail of assistance makes one aware of the community that is needed to do scholarly work. My community has at its center a supporting family. I express my gratitude to my wife, Kristen, for her patience during a decade while IX

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x ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I lived at times among ancient synagogues and curious authors. Our children, Laura and Lukas, have kept us sane and tied to tasks other than our research. During that time they came to love the charitable wife of Tom Dowman, the president of the Carlton Rotary Chapter, a philanthropic organization that looked after our family during our first year in Nottingham. Day Dowman adopted our children as a sur rogate grandmother and taught them how to speak English properly, while their other grandmothers missed them for two years. Tragically, at the end of our stay in England, Day passed away because of cancer. We miss her but remember her with the utmost of affection. Further, I express my deepest appreciation to Professor James D. G. Dunn, formerly of the University of Nottingham, who even after a relocation to Durham University, continued to supervise my work and offer his incisive observations. In making this work public I am again reminded of the debt I owe him, and, as a small token of that debt, I dedicate this book to him along with Day Dowman. Finally, I am deeply grateful to Mr. Timothy Staveteig, of Fortress Press, for his painstaking carefulness in handling the details of this book. He and the editorial team at Fortress impressed me time and again with their precision and attention to detail. Their work has improved the quality of this book in no small measure. In addition, I express my thanks to my graduate assistants who have chased down bibliography and helped with the indexes; in particular, I am thankful to D. Scott Wagoner and Matt Williams. Scot McKnight

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Introduction THE REV I S E R 0 F E. Schiirer's magnum opus, The History of the Jewish People in the Age Qf Jesus Christ, states: "No full and satisfactory study of proselytism in the Graeco Roman period has yet been written, and fundamental uncertainties remain as to both the numerical scale and the conditions of acceptance of both proselytes proper and 'God fearers."'l It is my purpose to present an inductive examination and to propose a theory that may throw some light on one area of this dark corner of Second Temple Judaism, namely, the nature and extent of Jewish missionary activity. Thus, although this monograph surveys the evidence from the ancient world on Jewish missionary activity, it does so to elucidate only one aspect of those data. Scholars agree that earliest Christianity was a missionary movement of major proportions, but the question of the origin of the missionary impulse in earliest Christianity remains unsettled. In particular, did this later movement derive its missionary zeal from its parent religion, Second Temple Judaism? Many have concluded so. According to D. Georgi, "The spread of Judaism ... thus compares quite favorably with the missionary successes of the early church. This is especially true when one considers that the mission of the Jesus believers, unlike that of Jews before them, received a soil already prepared. Indeed, the church came to inherit the successes of J udaism."2 A survey of some approaches may indicate the context of the present inquiry. Previous Approaches Discussions of Jewish missionary activity have been neither plentiful nor comprehensive, although many scholars have expressed judgments regarding such matters as "God fearers," baptism, and the abundance of proselytes. The dominant research into the question of Jewish missionary activ ity has emerged from the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule and perhaps finds its most poignant expression in one of the earliest works on the subject, A. Bertholet's Die Stellung der Israeliten und der Juden zu den Fremden . (1896). Among the most important and influential works after Bertholet (given here in shortened titles) are A. von Harnack, Mission (1904 5); 1

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