Preliminary thoughts on structures of 'Sovereignty' and the deepening gap between Judaism and Christianity in the first centuries CE

Arye Edrei, Doron Mendels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

It is claimed that one important reason for the parting of the ways between Judaism and Christianity in the first centuries of the Common Era was the fact that the Christians 'outsourced' their legal system to their host country (e.g. Rome). At the same time, the Jews created their own 'civil and criminal' law-code and strictly adhered to it, inter alia, by founding their own law-courts. Their legal autonomy led to the idea of political sovereignty on the one hand, yet contributed to their speration from the gentile environment on the other. This development may also be one of the reasons that many of the Rabbis and their constituencies moved eastward to the Parthian Empire, which was-due to its feudal system-quite tolerant towards Jewish legal thought and practice. In contradistinction, Christianity was not bound by its own particularistic legal sovereignty and thus could more easily integrate in the Roman Empire. Its sovereignty was perceived as theological and not political.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-238
Number of pages24
JournalJournal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Christian dogma
  • Eusebius the Church Father
  • F. Fukuyama
  • Jewish law courts
  • Law-codes
  • Legal systems
  • MacChiaveli
  • Parthian Empire
  • Political versus religious authority
  • Roman Empire
  • Th. Hobbes

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