Recovering Jewish-Christian Sects and Gospels


Author: Petri Luomanen
The mystery of lost, apocryphal Jewish-Christian gospels has intrigued scholars for centuries. Scholars have also debated whether the Ebionites with their low Christology or the more “orthodox” Nazarenes are the genuine successors of the early Jerusalem church. This book provides a fresh assessment of the patristic sources and the scholarly theories on the number and contents of Jewish-Christian gospels. A new approach, the study of indicators of Jewish-Christian profiles, shows the artificial nature of the church fathers’ heretical discourse, bringing forth previously neglected connections between various Jewish-Christian movements. This book also challenges the widely accepted theory of three Jewish-Christian gospels bringing the Gospel of the Hebrews closer to its synoptic cousins—not, however, as a witness of the earliest Jesus traditions but as a post-synoptic composition.

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Petri Luomanen, Th.D. (1996), University of Helsinki, is a University Lecturer at the University of Helsinki. He has published widely on the Gospel of Matthew, early Jewish Christianity and social-scientific studies of Early Christianity, including A Companion to Second-Century Christian “Heretics” (Brill, 2005; co-edited with Marjanen) and Explaining Christian Origins and Early Judaism (Brill, 2007; co-edited with Pyysiäinen and Uro).
1.1 Early Jewish Christians and their gospels
1.2 The contents of the volume
1.3 How to define Jewish Christianity: Indicators of Jewish-Christian profiles
1.4 Gospel harmonies and harmonizing gospels

2.1 The profiles of the Ebionites
2.1.1 Irenaeus’ Ebionites
2.1.2 Origen’s Ebionites
2.1.3 Eusebius’ Ebionites
2.1.4 Epiphanius’ Ebionites
2.1.5 From Irenaeus’ Ebionites to Epiphanius’ Ebionites?
2.2 The Nazarenes
2.2.1 Introduction
2.2.2 Who were called Nazarenes?
2.2.3 The profile of Epiphanius’ Nazarenes
2.2.4 The profile of Jerome’s Nazarenes
2.2.5 Conclusion: Who were the Nazarenes?

3.1 Farewell to the Three Gospel Hypothesis (the 3GH)
3.2 Jerome’s life and quotations from Jewish-Christian gospels
3.2.1 The setting of the quotations in Jerome’s biography
3.2.2 An illustrious translator
3.2.3 A Greek translation?
3.2.4 Jerome and the Nazarenes’ gospel traditions
3.3 A new reconstruction of the gospel used by the Nazarenes
3.4 Reconstructing the Gospel of the Hebrews
3.4.1 Eusebius’ testimony: The Gospel of the Hebrews on the fringes of canon
3.4.2 A reconstruction of the Gospel of the Hebrews
3.4.3 The Gospel of the Hebrews in relation to Q and the synoptic Gospels

4.1 The Last Supper in the Gospel of the Ebionites and Luke (Codex Bezae)
4.1.1 Introduction
4.1.2 Arguments for and against the shorter reading
4.1.3 Reconstructing the passion narrative in the Gospel of the Ebionies
4.1.4 The Gospel of the Ebionites and Luke (D, Old Latin and Old Syriac)
4.1.5 The timing of the shorter reading and the Gospel of the Ebionites
4.1.6 Eucharistic tradition preceding Luke?
4.1.7 Ebionites—an offshoot of the Hellenists?
4.2 Passion fragments in Jerome’s Commentary on Matthew
4.3 Jesus’ appearance to James the Just
4.4 Conclusion: Passion traditions in Jewish-Christian gospels

5.1 Three rich men in the Gospel of the Hebrews and the Diatessaron
5.1.1 Introduction
5.1.2 The Rich Man in Origen’s Commentary on Matthew
5.1.3 Comparison with parallel passages
5.1.4 Comparison with variant readings and Diatessaronic witnesses
5.1.5 The influence of the Diatessaronic context
5.1.6 Summary and conclusions of the text- and source critical analysis
5.1.7 Mapping Jewish Christian profiles
5.1.8 The Jewish-Christian profile of Origen’s story
5.1.9 Conclusion: Where did the men come from?
5.2 The Gospel of Thomas and Jewish-Christian gospel fragments
5.2.1 Introduction: Thomas and Jewish Christians
5.2.2 The provenance of the Gospel of the Hebrews and the Gospel of Thomas
5.2.3 Let him who seeks continue seeking
5.2.4 Your brothers and mother are standing outside
5.2.5 Wise as Serpents
5.2.6 “O Man” and “he turned to”
5.2.7 Jewish-Christian gospel fragments and the Gospel of Thomas: A summary of literary relationships
5.2.8 Jesus as Wisdom incarnate and the Spirit as Jesus’s mother
5.2.9 Conclusion: Common roots in harmonized synoptic tradition

6.1 The Ebionites and the Nazarenes
6.2 Jewish-Christian gospels
6.3 Summary and conclusions