Nihilo Theology in Genesis
Rabbah in Light of Christian Exegesis a
|Maren R. Niehoff a1|
a1 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
“The Ways that Never Parted” is the title of a recently published collection of articles that reflects an increasing tendency in scholarship. A significant number of scholars no longer interpret the emergence of Christianity from Judaism as a clear separation between the two religions either at the end of the first or the beginning of the second century. Instead, they envision a prolonged process which, according to some, may even have lasted until the late fourth century. This process is thought to have been shaped by both segregation and rapprochement, creating ambiguity and “fuzziness” rather than clear boundaries. A central notion is the idea of sororal relations between Judaism and Christianity. These scholars no longer see Judaism as the mother figure giving birth to the daughter religion, while remaining unchanged herself, but rather as a sister developing and changing during the first centuries of the Christian era. This interpretation then sees Jews as an integral part of the Roman Empire, which eventually became Christian and (im)posed certain religious challenges.
a This research was supported by The
Foundation and the ISRAEL
FOUNDATION (grant no. 810/03). An initial version of the article was presented at the Theological Faculty of the Humboldt University in July 2004. I wish to thank Prof. Christoph Markschies for his hospitality and Tal Ilan for her question on that occasion. Menahem Hirshman, Menahem Kahana, Menahem Kister and Yehuda Liebes read a draft of this article, improving it by their valuable comments. Troels Engberg-Pedersen, Menahem Kahana, Menahem Kister, Chaim Milikowsky and Guy G. Stroumsa kindly gave me manuscripts of articles not yet published. My assistant Sergey Minov significantly contributed by his responsible and independent work. After writing this article I noticed two essays by Menahem Kister treating some of the materials discussed here independently. My approach to them differs significantly as will become apparent in the discussion. Last, but not least, I would like to thank the anonymous readers of the HTR for their helpful and constructive comments.