The Rise of Normative Judaism and Christianity
The Role of Politics in the Formation of 'Religion' in Late Antiquity
How did it come to pass that a small Jewish messianic movement in the first century, whose leader had been executed by the Roman Empire, rose to power in that same Empire just a few centuries later and was proclaimed state religion in a process which involved an absolute rejection of Judaism? This classic question is intertwined with the complex issue of the so-called parting of the ways between Judaism and Christianity, and, indeed, with the problem of the rise of rabbinic Judaism. This essay presents an analysis of these processes based not only on the literary evidence but also on archaeological remains, which reveal how local developments may shed light on larger socio-political and religious dynamics in the Roman Empire.