Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Anders Runesson: Apostolic Judaism
Anders Runesson rightly recognizes ‘the inseparability of ethnic, cultural, national, and religious aspects of identity in antiquity’ (2008: 71). He follows William S. Campbell and Mark Nanos in arguing that, early on, the Christ-movement remained within Judaism, and he suggests that the term ‘Apostolic Judaism to indicate a common religio-cultural and ethnic focus’ may be employed to describe the movement which ‘included various Jewish groups; Christ-fearers [who] accept Apostolic Jewish authority and theology about their place within the people of God but are not part of the Ioudaioi’ (72-74). Runesson also follows Campbell in arguing that, for Paul, ‘non-Jews remain non-Jews with regard to ritual and cultural behaviour’ (77; Campbell 2008: 127) but differs somewhat from him with regard to Paul’s role in the establishment of a religion (cf. Runesson 2008: 79, 88; Campbell 2008: 51-52). Runesson’s correct conclusion concerning Paul’s view of the ‘law and faith, is that all people must remain in the condition in which they were when they were called’ and that to be ‘“in Christ” reflects an eschatological worldview in which Jews and non-Jews…together form the people of God’ with ‘the basic difference within the people of God between Jews and non-Jews’ being ‘along the lines of ethnic-cultural identity’ where both groups are urged ‘to accept this difference and keep the peace (1 Cor 7:17-20; Rom 15:7-12)’ (2008: 81-82). Far from the abstract, non-ethnic understanding of later ‘Christianity’, Runesson rightly understands Paul as one who defined the early Christ-movement in the context of kinship and ethnicity and not in the absence of these vital markers of community life.
Campbell, W.S. 2008 Paul and the Creation of Christian Identity (London: T&T Clark).
Runesson, A. 2000 ‘Particularistic Judaism and Universalistic Christianity? Some Critical Remarks on Terminology and Theology’, Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, 1: 120-44.
Runesson, A. 2008 ‘Inventing Christian Identity: Paul, Ignatius, and Theodosius I’, in B. Holmberg (ed.) 2008: 59-92.
Holmberg, B. (ed.) 2008 Exploring Early Christian Identity (WUNT, 226; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck).