29. The Jewish Christian community
Particular attention was paid to the Jewish Christians who observed the laws of Judaism in the Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians (around the middle of the 2nd century AD):48 "It is absurd to profess Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. For Christianity did not merge into Judaism, but Judaism into Christianity, that so every tongue which believeth might be gathered together to God" (Epistle to the Magnesians 10:3). Ignatius adds a warning: "Lay aside, therefore, the evil, the old, the corrupt leaven (1 Cor 1,7) and be ye changed into the new leaven of grace. Abide in Christ, that the enemy may not have dominion over you. It is absurd to speak of Jesus Christ with the tongue, and to cherish in the mind a Judaism which has now come to an end. For where there is Christianity there cannot be Judaism. For Christ is one, in whom every nation that believes, and every tongue that confesses, is gathered unto God" (Epistle to the Magnesians 10:8-10). Ignatius also seems to have received news of similar circumstances prevailing in Philadelphia, which is why he wrote to the Christian congregation there: "But if any one preach Judaism unto you, listen not to him. For it is better to hearken to Christian doctrine from a man who has been circumcised, than to Judaism from one uncircumcised" (Epistle to the Ephesians 6,1). The Epistle to Diognetus, 2nd century AD, contains the following relevant sections: In chapters 3 and 4,...
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