Early Christian Judaism

  Conveners: David Sloan and Jason Staples     Email conveners

This group examines the diverse ways in which Jews embraced Jesus from the lifetime of Jesus until the rise of Islam. Add yourself to our mailing list.

2021 Theme: Heresy, Orthodoxy, and the Forming of the Ways

While scholars have shown that “Christianity” did not exist in the first century, what can we say about the second century and following? The language of the “parting of the ways” first attempted to identify that, despite the ambiguity of the first centuries CE, at some point what we today call “Christianity” and “Judaism” must have parted ways. Then, in recognition that the so-called “partings” were negotiated in specific communities and at specific times, scholars adopted the plural version of the phrase: “the partings of the ways.”

In light of the research of Daniel Boyarin’s Border Lines, Edwin K. Broadhead’s Jewish Ways of Following Jesus, and, most recently, Annette Yoshiko Reed’s Jewish-Christianity and the History of Judaism, scholars are replacing the now critiqued metaphor of “partings.” One helpful proposal is, the “forming of the ways” (Broadhead), which recognizes the active (not self-evident), contingent (uncertain, local, resisted), and rhetorical process that authors (and the communities that they claim to represent in their writings) took to designate themselves as “orthodox” and their opponents as “heretics.”

We encourage proposals that engage the literature, context, the material remains, rituals, or other practices as they pertain to “the forming of the ways” in the 2nd century or after. Papers should address these issues with an eye toward their intersection with “Jews” and “Judaisms.” Additionally or alternatively, papers may address methodological, conceptual, terminological, or other assumptions in secondary literature as it pertains to how we interpret ancient data or our other “assured facts.” Finally, as far as possible, we invite proposals to move beyond mere critique, as valuable as that is, to open up new conversations.

The due date for proposals is February 28, 2021.

If you have questions or submissions, please contact the conveners. Full papers will be uploaded to the IBR site approximately 30 days in advance of the conference meeting. Because we value the perspectives and voices of everyone, our research group warmly welcomes submissions from women and minorities.