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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the ancient evidence for interaction between Jews and Christians on the Bible. It begins by noting how the motivation behind the investigation of this subject has changed over the past century. Questions relating to sources and problems of method are then addressed. An examination of the evidence follows. Initially an attempt is made to show how Christians in particular were influenced by Jewish interpretative traditions, Bible versions, and canon. Such evidence might be taken to imply contact between Jews and Christians but this is difficult to show. In fact there are very few references to such contact in the relevant literature and what evidence does exist is difficult to interpret. Relevant Christian texts, often of a polemical kind, are generally too repetitive and formulaic to prove contact; and the Jewish evidence is at best minimal, in spite of the efforts of some to show that on occasion exegetical traditions in rabbinic sources could be taken to imply opposition to alternative Christian interpretations. Instinctively, however, a reading of a work like John Chrysostom’s Sermons against the Judaizing Christians makes us think that interest in Jewish understandings of the Bible amongst Christians must have persisted, even if there is perhaps less evidence of such interest on the part of Jews.

Keywords: Septuagint, polemic, canon, Origen, Jerome, Rabbis, allegory, Torah, Talmud

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