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The Cornelius episode (Acts 10), in which the Pentecost-like ecstasy affecting the Roman centurion and his entourage persuaded the astonished Peter to baptise them without further ado, seems to have been an exceptional event; no further conversion of a Gentile is recorded in the Holy Land anywhere in the New Testament. 

It was in the Syrian city of Antioch in the late 40s CE that the novelty set in. Emigré members of the Jerusalem church were joined there by Gentiles evangelised and baptised by Judaeo-Christians originating from Cyprus and Cyrene. The mother church of Jerusalem dispatched Barnabas to run the new mixed community, and Barnabas hurried to Tarsus in Cilicia to persuade his friend Saul/Paul, already a believer in Christ, to join him in looking after the new church. The Jewish and the Gentile Christians of Antioch coexisted happily and ate together. When visiting the community, Peter willingly participated in their common meals. However, when some extra-zealous representatives of the Jerusalem church headed by James the brother of Jesus, members of the so-called "circumcision party", arrived in Antioch, their disapproving attitude compelled all the Jewish Christians, including even Peter and Barnabas, but with the notable exception of Paul, to discontinue their table fellowship with the brethren of Greek stock (Acts 11:2). As a result, union, fraternity and harmony in the new mixed church was abolished. The outraged Paul confronted Peter and publicly called him a hypocrite (Gal 2:11-4), creating the first major row in Christendom.   

After Paul's first successful missionary journey to Asia Minor, the entry of pagans into the Jesus fellowship became a particularly acute issue. A council of the apostles, attended by Paul and Barnabas, was convened in Jerusalem, at which James the brother of the Lord, the head of the mother community, overruled the demands of the extremist members of his congregation and proposed a compromise solution (Acts 15:19-21). Gentiles wishing to join the church would be exempted from the full rigour of the Law of Moses, including circumcision, and would merely be required to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from the consumption of blood, from eating non-ritually slaughtered meat, and from certain sex acts judged particularly odious by Jews. 

These rules were necessarily intended for Gentile converts in the diaspora. In Jerusalem different conditions prevailed, for Gentile Christians could not join their Judaeo-Christian co-religionists in the Temple as non-Jews were prohibited under threat of instant death to set foot in the area of the holy precinct reserved for Jews. 

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62peppe
March 18th, 2014
12:03 PM
"Didachè.7:1 Concerning baptism, you should baptize this way: After first explaining all things, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in flowing water." Isn't there clearly stated the trinity? Who should be the "Son" if not Jesus?

sabluerAnonymous
April 3rd, 2013
9:04 AM
I THINK i'VE ALWAYS BEEN A JEWISH CHRISTIAN, BUT NEVER PUT A NAME TO IT UNTIL RECENTLY. I DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM COMBINING THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS. I ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS THE MESSIAH, BUT I AM OPEN TO THE FACT THAT JESUS MAY HAVE BEEN "LIGHTING THE WAY" FOR ANOTHER, WHO IS YET TO ARRIVE.

Unimpressed
June 13th, 2012
1:06 PM
I don't know why Standpoint feels the need tho humour Geza Vermes by publishing these articles. His method of scholarship is less "historical critical" and more "cut and paste". The traditional gospels are not to be trusted (unless they can be mined for tidbits which support his argument). Here's a good overview of his nitpicky approach to criticism: http://www.amazon.com/review/R23BXJ5P3WJQWV/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R23BXJ5...

jackndc
December 24th, 2011
2:12 AM
The comments on here are a great example of how mankind has been able to argue about things of many years past which have zero use in today's society of Islamic jihad terror, Arab-Zionist fights, and other such threats to civilization. The are all petty people picking fights over nonsense that is mostly myth.

andyd
December 15th, 2011
10:12 PM
Sorry, Ben David: "Until the middle of the 20th century it was customary to believe that the Samaritans originated from a mixture of the people living in Samaria and other peoples at the time of the conquest of Samaria by Assyria (722–721 BC). The Biblical account in II Kings 17 had long been the decisive source for the formulation of historical accounts of Samaritan origins. Reconsideration of this passage, however, has led to more attention being paid to the Chronicles of the Samaritans themselves. With the publication of Chronicle II (Sefer ha-Yamim), the fullest Samaritan version of their own history became available: the chronicles, and a variety of non-Samaritan materials. According to the former, the Samaritans are the direct descendants of the Joseph tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, and until the 17th century AD they possessed a high priesthood descending directly from Aaron through Eleazar and Phinehas. They claim to have continuously occupied their ancient territory and to have been at peace with other Israelite tribes until the time when Eli disrupted the Northern cult by moving from Shechem to Shiloh and attracting some northern Israelites to his new followers there. For the Samaritans, this was the 'schism' par excellence.("Samaritans" in Encyclopaedia Judaica, 1972, Volume 14, op. cit., col. 727.)"

andyd
December 15th, 2011
9:12 PM
Love the self-appointed experts who boldly claim that Geza Vermes has only a superficial knowledge of the bible and/or gospels!

notmelbrooks
December 15th, 2011
9:12 PM
How can I believe anything past the 2nd sentence in the article," For how can someone simultaneously be a follower of both Moses and Jesus?" Jews dont "follow" Moses.

giuseppebrasil
December 14th, 2011
11:12 PM
the christian meme evolution

AnoJoenymous
December 14th, 2011
6:12 PM
Monism is passe: The Uncertainty principle and Relativity make that evident. If monism is passe so too is monotheism.

Ben David
December 14th, 2011
1:12 PM
Just one quibble: Samaritans were not, are not Jewish. They are one of the alien tribes moved in to resettle Israel after the destruction of the first Temple. Their attempt to prevent the return of the Jews - and their disputes with Ezra and Nehemia - are recorded in those books, and in the book of Daniel.

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