This course surveys the history of Jewish/Christian relations in the first through the fourth centuries of the Common Era with special attention given to the New Testament. It aims to introduce students to Judaism and Christianity as these “religions” sustained a long process of interconnection with and differentiation from one another. The course seeks to expose and consider historically the questions that Jews and non-Jews had to answer with regard to the character of early Christian beliefs about Jesus as well as the character of Christian and Jewish social existence, particularly as these social existences were in the process of complex transformations due to developments in Jewish life and the rise of Christianity. By asking how ancient Jews, Christians, and those who identified as both understood themselves and one another, we will try to imagine together what ancient Jewish/Christian relations might have looked like. Through a critically sensitive practice of historical imagination, we will reflect at length upon what is at stake in the construction of identity and difference today as these fundamental conceptions are inflected religiously, socially, and politically.

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