Chapter 7 Forgetting an Epic Battle: Did the Early Church Understand the Debate between Paul and His Judaistic Opponents? Preliminary Notes on the Role of the Torah in the Early Church

In: The Challenge of the Mosaic Torah in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Author:
Erkki Koskenniemi
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Abstract

The Apostle to the Gentiles left a winning but nonetheless difficult tradition behind. Paul taught that the Gentiles were not required to observe the Torah, but what exactly did that mean? If scholars disagree on Paul’s own view, the problem becomes even more acute when the various Jewish traditions on the Torah are observed properly. The “Old Testament” was accepted after Paul, but most of the rulings of the Torah were rejected, and few if any of the teachers could state the reasons for this. The original context, in which Paul and the other Apostles shook hands, was no longer understood once the Gentile part of the Church outnumbered the Jewish counterpart. This led writers to different, partly creative, solutions, and sometimes into a confusion which their first audience themselves could hardly understand.

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