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Ethnic Reasoning and Anti-Judaean Rhetoric in Early Christianity

  • Author / Creator
    Kok, Michael
  • There was no abstract conception of religion in antiquity, but religious beliefs and praxis were closely intertwined with ethnicity in the Greco-Roman period. Building on the groundbreaking studies by Denise Kimber Buell, this thesis investigates the use of ethnic reasoning in centrist Christian identity formation in the second century CE. Specifically, I closely examine four different Christian texts (1 Peter, the Epistle of Barnabas, Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho the Judaean and the Epistle to Diognetus) to show how the centrist Christian elites utilized ethnic reasoning to construct a distinct Christian ethnic identity and to manufacture sharp differences between Christians and Judaeans. In order to defend the idea of a homogenous Christian ethnic identity with pure origins,centrist Christian intellectuals re-appropriated the legacy of Israel and represented the Judaeans as an adversarial foil. This rhetorical strategy of “othering” characterizes the Christian Adversus Ioudaios literature.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2010-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3ZD7B
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Religious Studies
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Braun, Willi (Religious Studies)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • DeBernardi, Jean (Anthropology)
    • Braun, Willi (Religious Studies)
    • Landy, Francis (Religious Studies)
    • Brown, Sylvia (English and Film Studies)