Criticism of Jews in the Early Christian Writings of the Antiochian and Asian Traditions Cover Image

Krytyka żydów w najstarszych pismach chrześcijańskich tradycji antiocheńskiej i azjatyckiej
Criticism of Jews in the Early Christian Writings of the Antiochian and Asian Traditions

Author(s): Jan Słomka
Subject(s): Christian Theology and Religion
Published by: Księgarnia Świętego Jacka
Keywords: Didache; Ignatius of Antioch; Jews; Melito of Sardis

Summary/Abstract: The article deals with three Christian writings which originated in Antioch and Asia at the end of the 1st and the first half of the 2nd century, namely Didache, the Letters of Ignatius of Antioch and the Paschal Homily of Melito of Sardis. The first two include only short, marginal paragraphs criticising the Jews. The Paschal Homily, on the other hand, devotes a long, carefully composed passage to their criticism, or more precisely, accusation. It is placed in the text after the presentation of the history of sin, slavery and liberation offered to us by Christ through His death. The passage starts with an accusation against Israel for killing Jesus. The Jews killed Him because they had not recognised God, their Saviour. Then Melito revisits the history of Israel as described in the Old Testament, demonstrating that, from the very beginning, the Jews had been ungrateful and unable to recognise their God. As a result, they deserved their punishment. Though Melito does not mention it directly, it is highly probable that he regards the destruction of Jerusalem and the expulsion of the Jews in 135 AD as their punishment and the sign of their rejection by God. The entire Homily is based on the typological interpretation of the Scripture and demonstrates the author’s excellent knowledge of the Old Testament. The combination of such a violent accusation and such good knowledge of the Jewish tradition, in the context of what we know about the social relations in 2nd century Sardis, suggests that the church in Sardis was dominated by Christians who previously were proselytes.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 10
  • Page Range: 396-404
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: Polish