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Contesting ConversionGenealogy, Circumcision, and Identity in Ancient Judaism and Christianity$
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Matthew Thiessen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199793563

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199793563.001.0001

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Jews, Gentiles, and Circumcision in Early Christianity

Jews, Gentiles, and Circumcision in Early Christianity

(p.111) 5 Jews, Gentiles, and Circumcision in Early Christianity
Contesting Conversion

Matthew Thiessen

Oxford University Press

Chapter Five argues that disputes over how to construct Jewish identity continued in the early Christian movement. The different forms of the Gentile mission, one which required that Gentiles undergo circumcision and conversion to Judaism, and one which required Gentiles to live like godly Gentiles, depended upon two different conceptions of Jewish identity—one which was open to the possibility of conversion, and one which was not. The author of the gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles believed that Jewish followers of Jesus should continue to observe the Jewish law, but that Gentile followers of Jesus could not become Jews. According to Luke, the God of Israel addressed the Gentile problem by purifying their suspect genealogy through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Keywords:   Luke, Acts, circumcision, Gentile mission, conversion

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