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Anti-Judaism on the Way from Judaism to Christianity


Peter Landesmann

The differing beliefs that emerged between Christianity and Judaism, especially in the first two centuries AD, were mainly caused by the introduction of heavenly beings in the Jewish religion. This resulted in the predominance of a messiah, who will be sent by God as salvator mundi. Mainly Paul preached and practiced the conversion of pagans to Christianity, without obligating them to practice the Jewish law. In the course of time the baptized pagans represented the mainstream of Christianity which caused a conflict between them and those Jews who practiced the Jewish law but also believed in Jesus as the Messiah. The development of these tendencies is described in this book.


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6. The apocalyptic influence


The Book of Tobit emerged around 200 BC, containing the following prophesy: "But God will again have mercy on them, and God will bring them back into the land of Israel; and they will rebuild the temple of God, but not like the first one until the period when the times of fulfillment shall come. After this they all will return from their exile and will rebuild Jerusalem in splendor; and in it the tem- ple of God will be rebuilt, just as the prophets of Israel have said concerning it" (Tob 14:5 NRS). This passage addresses an issue that has featured repeatedly in prophetic pre- dictions since 722 BC when the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom and forced the population to relocate in other countries: The return of the descendants of these refugees to Israel. The return of the displaced residents of the northern kingdom – whose loca- tion was not known even then and who were probably totally integrated into their new environment – was an unrealistic wish that only God could have granted since only He would have been able to find these refugees. Both this plea to God and the deliverance from the recurring acts of fate demanded intervention by a higher power. One of the outcomes of this wish, which could only be granted by a miracle, was the Apocalypse (Greek: αποκάλυψις, "unveiling", "revelation"). The influence of the Apocalypse on the region can be seen as the reversal of the trend towards rationalization as outlined in the...

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