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The Church in Ancient SocietyFrom Galilee to Gregory the Great$
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Henry Chadwick

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246953

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199246955.001.0001

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The Jewish Matrix

The Jewish Matrix

(p.13) 2 The Jewish Matrix
The Church in Ancient Society

Henry Chadwick

Oxford University Press

Christian beliefs in the first century ad, as recorded in the gospels, may be related to those of the Essenes and Therapeutae, ascetic Jewish groups in Palestine and Egypt, and to the community at Qumran as revealed in the texts collected as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The gospels, probably written in the late first century, are of basic importance in the transmission of traditions about Jesus in the beliefs of Christian communities. Christianity may also be linked to the description of ordinary Jews as ‘people of the land', shunned by the strict observers of ceremonial purity and scribal interpreters of the Law. Jesus' remarks about the Temple recorded in the gospels may be related to the situation after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 ad, while the Christian interpretation of his crucifixion radically alters the ideas of conservative Jews concerning messianic leaders.

Keywords:   crucifixion, Essenes, gospels, Jerusalem, Qumran

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