The historical separation between Judaism and Christianity is
often figured as a clearly defined break of a single entity into
two separate religions. Following this model, there would have been
one religion known as Judaism before the birth of Christ, which
then took on a hybrid identity. Even before its subsequent
division, certain beliefs and practices of this composite would
have been identifiable as Christian or Jewish.In Border
Lines, however, Daniel Boyarin makes a striking case for a
very different way of thinking about the historical development
that is the partition of Judaeo-Christianity.
There were no characteristics or features that could be described
as uniquely Jewish or Christian in late antiquity, Boyarin argues.
Rather, Jesus-following Jews and Jews who did not follow Jesus
lived on a cultural map in which beliefs, such as that in a second
divine being, and practices, such as keeping kosher or maintaining
the Sabbath, were widely and variably distributed. The ultimate
distinctions between Judaism and Christianity were imposed from
above by "border-makers," heresiologists anxious to construct a
discrete identity for Christianity. By defining some beliefs and
practices as Christian and others as Jewish or heretical, they
moved ideas, behaviors, and people to one side or another of an
artificial border-and, Boyarin significantly contends, invented the
very notion of religion.
Table of Contents
You are viewing the table of contents
You do not have access to this
on JSTOR. Try logging in through your institution for access.