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The Rediscovery of Jewish Christianity

The Rediscovery of Jewish Christianity: from Toland to Baur

Edited by F. Stanley Jones
  • Book Info
    The Rediscovery of Jewish Christianity
    Book Description:

    This focused collection of essays by international scholars first uncovers the roots of the study of ancient Jewish Christianity in the Enlightenment in early eighteenth-century England, then explores why and how this rediscovery of Jewish Christianity set off the entire modern historical debate over Christian origins. Finally, it examines in detail how this critical impulse made its way to Germany, eventually to flourish in the nineteenth century under F. C. Baur and the Tübingen School. Included is a facsimile reproduction of John Toland’s seminal Nazarenus (1718), which launched the modern study of Jewish Christianity. The contributors are F. Stanley Jones, David Lincicum, Pierre Lurbe, Matt Jackson-McCabe, and Matti Myllykoski.

    eISBN: 978-1-58983-647-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  2. Series Editor’s Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    L. L. Welborn

    When the plan was formulated for the SBL History of Biblical Studies, it was thought that the series would achieve its purpose by making available in English translation selected works of German and French scholarship that had established themselves as “classics” in the field of biblical studies. But the choice of Albert Eichhorn’s provocative monograph on the Lord’s Supper as the inaugural publication in the series (2007) already revealed the capacity (not fully anticipated by the series editor) of seminal scholarship to open new paths of research, when placed in the hands of a rising generation who appropriate the tradition...

  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    F. Stanley Jones
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Part 1: Background

    • “Christian Jews” and “Jewish Christians”: The Jewish Origins of Christianity in English Literature from Elizabeth I to Toland’s Nazarenus
      (pp. 3-42)
      Matti Myllykoski

      The terms Jewish Christian and Jewish Christianity are often linked with the work of Ferdinand Christian Baur and the discussion of his ideas. However, it is generally known that these terms were used, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, by some British Deists, notably John Toland and Thomas Morgan.¹ As far as I know, no one has tried to look beyond that time and trace the roots and earliest use of this terminology in English literature. The following survey is an initial effort to penetrate into this unexplored area.² This study is limited to the specific terminology that characterizes...

  6. Part 2: John Toland and the Rediscovery of Jewish Christianity

    • John Toland’s Nazarenus and the Original Plan of Christianity
      (pp. 45-66)
      Pierre Lurbe

      Although John Toland’s Nazarenus: Or, Jewish, Gentile, and Mahometan Christianity was published in 1718,¹ barely four years before the author’s untimely death at the age of fifty-two, it was yet another piece of evidence of the Irishman’s lifelong concern with exegesis and scriptural criticism. The book was itself the English version of an earlier manuscript in French, entitled Christianisme Judaïque et Mahométan, written in 1710 as part of the Dissertations diverses de Monsieur Tolandus.² The Dissertations were dedicated to “Megalonymus,” the pseudonym of Prince Eugene of Savoy, one of Toland’s most powerful patrons and an avid collector of heterodox literature....

    • The Invention of Jewish Christianity in John Toland’s Nazarenus
      (pp. 67-90)
      Matt Jackson-McCabe

      The categories and taxonomies that scholars use to interpret and explain religions, like religions themselves, are created in particular social-cultural contexts, evolve over time, and are sometimes abandoned. “Jewish Christianity” is one such category. A staple of historical reconstructions of early Christianity over much of the history of the critical study of the New Testament, it has for good reason come increasingly under fire in recent decades.² The history of the rise and incipient fall of this scholarly invention has yet to be fully written.³ Even as its demise is still being negotiated,⁴ its rise has not yet been adequately...

    • The Genesis, Purpose, and Significance of John Toland’s Nazarenus
      (pp. 91-102)
      F. Stanley Jones

      Janus Junius Toland, soon to be called John to quell the other schoolboys’ ridicule, became a student of divinity and found financial support for his talents first among the dissenting congregations in London.¹ This was the launching pad from which Toland industriously pursued a career in publishing and politics. Though he struggled financially to an end swamped in debt, Toland rubbed shoulders with many of the best and brightest of his time. His influence can still be felt today.

      Toland’s writings were mostly political—often in the service of his government benefactors and employers. But the divinity student in Toland...

  7. Part 3: From Toland to Baur

    • “Jewish Christianity” and “Christian Deism” in Thomas Morgan’s The Moral Philosopher
      (pp. 105-122)
      Matt Jackson-McCabe

      Little is known about Thomas Morgan beyond his professional and intellectual interests.² Born sometime in the late seventeenth century, Morgan was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1717—the year before the publication of John Toland’s Nazarenus—but by 1730 had become a physician.³ He published a variety of works on both medicine and theology from 1725 until his death in 1743 but was remembered primarily alongside Toland, Matthew Tindal, Anthony Collins, and Thomas Chubb as a freethinker.⁴

      It is not immediately clear whether Morgan was acquainted with Toland or his controversial Nazarenus. To be sure, given Toland’s notoriety, their...

    • From Toland to Baur: Tracks of the History of Research into Jewish Christianity
      (pp. 123-136)
      F. Stanley Jones

      John Toland’s Nazarenus argued that the Jewish Christians were the first Christians. By equating these first Christians with the Ebionites and the Nazoraeans, Toland concluded that the first Christians were the first heretics.¹ Toland furthermore objectified these first Christians with the moniker Jewish Christianity and thereby opened them up for systematic historical investigation. The purpose of the following paper is to track how this seminal set of ideas made its way into F. C. Baur’s later publications and thereby became a foundation stone for modern critical study of the New Testament and early Christianity. It is a distinctive set of...

    • F. C. Baur’s Place in the Study of Jewish Christianity
      (pp. 137-166)
      David Lincicum

      Ferdinand Christian Baur was born in 1792 and died in 1860, having lived in Württemberg in southwest Germany his whole life. After teaching briefly at the lower seminary in Blaubeuren, he was called to be professor of theology at the University of Tübingen in 1826, where he remained until his death thirty-four years later. Throughout his career, he produced an astonishingly wide range of work (Emanuel Hirsch reportedly counted 16,000 printed pages), on subjects ranging from the history and philosophy of religion to the critical study of the New Testament, from multi-volume works in the history of dogma to treatises...

    • Nazarenus: Or, Jewish, Gentile, and Mahometan Christianity
      (pp. 167-242)
      John Toland


      SINCE you are determin’d to continue in town this whole Winter, and that I know none of my friends to be a nicer judge of exact Printing, I just beg the favor of you, to convey (during my necessary absence, for some time, in the country) the inclos’d DISSERTATION to the Press, and to see it every way correctly finish’d: tho I hope to be with you again, before you have half done. But tis good to provide against all chances. I design to publish it next spring, for the same reason that all books are or ought to...

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 243-244)
  9. Index of Modern Authors
    (pp. 245-248)