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The Christians Who Became JewsActs of the Apostles and Ethnicity in the Roman City$
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Christopher Stroup

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300247893

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300247893.001.0001

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Christian Non-Jews and the Polis

Christian Non-Jews and the Polis

(p.128) Conclusion Christian Non-Jews and the Polis
The Christians Who Became Jews

Christopher Stroup

Yale University Press

This concluding chapter summarizes the findings of this book. It argues that Acts of the Apostles' rhetoric of Jewish and Christian identity should be situated within the context of Roman-era cities, in which ethnic, civic, and religious identities were inseparable. Placing Acts within this broader ethnic discourse emphasizes the Jewishness of Christians, even in Acts. When one reads Acts with an eye to the writer's ethnic reasoning, it becomes clear that Luke did not represent Jews as a static group but instead presented Jewish identity in multiple, hybrid, and complex ways that allowed for the identification of Christian non-Jews as Jews. Luke also employs the ethnic, religious, and civic aspects of Jewish identity to privilege those Jews (and non-Jewish Jews) who follow Jesus. If Acts marks all Christians as Jews and Christian communities as Jewish communities, then the concept of “Christian universalism” should be understood as a particular form of “Jewish universalism.” The chapter then reflects on the use of ethnic reasoning and the challenge of anti-Judaism in the interpretation of Acts today.

Keywords:   Acts of the Apostles, Jewish identity, Christian identity, Jewishness, Christians, Jews, Christian non-Jews, Christian universalism, Jewish universalism, anti-Judaism

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