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Jewish ChristianityThe Making of the Christianity-Judaism Divide$
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Matt Jackson-McCabe and John J. Collins

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300180138

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300180138.001.0001

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The Invention of Jewish Christianity: From Early Christian Heresiology to John Toland’s Nazarenus

The Invention of Jewish Christianity: From Early Christian Heresiology to John Toland’s Nazarenus

Chapter:
(p.12) 1 The Invention of Jewish Christianity: From Early Christian Heresiology to John Toland’s Nazarenus
Source:
(p.iii) Jewish Christianity
Author(s):

Matt Jackson-Mccabe

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300180138.003.0002

This chapter explains why Irish freethinker John Toland, in eighteenth-century London, began to reclassify groups long categorized as heresy as “Jewish Christianity.” More specifically, it argues that Toland invented an incarnational model of Jewish Christianity as the centerpiece of a freethinking reappropriation of Christian apologetic historiography. By the end of the nineteenth century, above all because of the influential work of the German scholar Ferdinand Christian Baur, the concept had become a given within the emerging field of historical-critical scholarship on early Christianity. The chapter then looks at Toland's reconstruction of early Christianity, published under the title Nazarenus in 1718. Toland composed Nazarenus not merely as an account of early Christianity, but as an account of true Christianity. The category “Jewish Christianity” was a by-product of Toland's attempt to divert the authorizing power of Jesus and the apostles from traditional orthodoxy to his own enlightened humanism.

Keywords:   John Toland, heresy, Jewish Christianity, Christian apologetic historiography, Ferdinand Christian Baur, early Christianiaty, Nazarenus, true Christianity, Jesus, humanism

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