Diversity, part 2: Judean diversity fits with plurality of Jesus groups

One heads-up to mention for the coming week and for the rest of the course is something some of you may or may not know: Namely all forms of Jesus adherence in the first centuries are in some sense Judean or Jewish. In other words, the Jesus movements emerge as marginal movements within Judean culture. Take a step further back and realize that Judean culture (or “Judaism” as it’s often labelled as though it is merely a religion) itself was extremely diverse in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. There were numerous different groups with different approaches to using Judean scriptures and to living generally and there were many many arguments and struggles within that context. If Judean culture was extremely diverse with many competing groups and approaches, then it’s no surprise that marginal movements within it (the Jesus groups) would be too. Furthermore, the whole question of how a movement that was now including non-Judeans was to make sense of the Judean roots was not straight-forward.

The situation lying behind Paul’s letter to people in Galatia embodies that conundrum quite well. So keep a sharp eye out for Paul’s OPPONENTS and try to see what their position was on certain aspects of Judean culture and what Paul’s position was in the debate about including non-Judeans (“Gentiles” = Greeks and Romans) in a Judean movement (“Christianity” as it later gets labelled),

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