Daniel Boyarin, Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity. (Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press. Border Lines has 88 ratings and 11 reviews. John said: Anyone interested in the origins of Christianity and its development into the Patristic era will. Michael Carden reviews Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity, In this book, Boyarin reads a range of Jewish and Christian texts from the early.
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Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity
Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Border Lines by Daniel Boyarin. The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity Divinations: 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 The historical separation between Judaism and Christianity is often figured as a clearly defined break of a single entity into two separate religions.
Even before its subsequent division, certain beliefs and practices of this composite would have been identifiable as Christian or Jewish. In Border Lineshowever, 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 Boyarrin lived on a cultural map in which beliefs, such as that in a second borderr being, and practices, such as keeping kosher or maintaining the Sabbath, were widely and variably distributed.
The ultimate distinctions between Lijes 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.
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Anyone interested in the origins of Christianity and its development into the Patristic era bordsr, at some point, have to account for the parting of ways between Christianity and Judaism. It is this popular notion of “parting ways” that Daniel Boyarin contests in his book, Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity. As the subtitle makes clear enough, Boyarin detects, not a peaceful, inevitable split between these two “religions”, but a partition – an enforced dissolution.
Readers be warne Anyone interested in the origins of Christianity and its development into the Patristic era will, at some point, have to account for the parting of ways between Christianity and Judaism.
Readers be warned, this is a rather complex work. Boyarin approaches the phenomena as a post-colonial historian. Which, if I were to summarize, means boder he walks into the past holding everyone suspect. Any historical event is linee opportunity to dig up an underlying conspiracy.
Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity by Daniel Boyarin
booyarin And not the kind of conspiracy that consists of bizarre, extraordinary events. But the kind that lurks within seemingly mundane actions. No one is innocent – all are participating within the power structures of the day and often unknowingly marginalizing the weak and uneducated.
The sociological theories that contribute to the post-colonial project are quite sophisticated. The terminology will likely be new for those who are unfamiliar with PC thought; it certainly was for me. In an attempt to present clearly and briefly Boyarin’s central thesis, I will have to limit the comprehensiveness of this review. Many of the borfer arguments and sub-points will regretfully be unstated.
Boyarin’s reconstruction of the interaction between Christianity and Judaism is as follows. Christianity began as a sect within Judaism – and continued so throughout the New Testament period.
It was not until boyarln time of Justin Martyr, the mid 2nd century, that Christianity began to truly become “other” than Judaism. This “parting of ways” was not a natural process determined by the difference of theology between the two entities. Rather, it was an imposed partition rendered by the heresiologists i. On Boyarin’s account, the heresiologists were not only defending orthodoxy, they were constructing it. They were not simply identifying heresies and heretics, they were producing them.
In ilnes so, they were constructing their own identity. Because Christianity had no specific geographic or ethnic qualities, she had to find here bogder within beliefs. It was theology which unified, not common ancestry. This detachment of religion from ethnic and cultural ties is what Boyarin terms the “disembedding” of religion. Essential to Boyarin’s account of Christianity’s identity-formation-through-orthodoxy, is the role it plays for Judaism of the late antiquity. Prior to the ante-Nicene heresiologists, Judaism was a conglomerate of Judaisms – a coalition of sects, all under the umbrella of Judaism.
However, upon the dubious? boyarih
It became an orthodoxy to which one must subscribe if he wishes to maintain his Jewish identity. According to Boyarin, this construction of Jewish orthodoxy was in large part due boharin Justin’s production of Christian orthodoxy. Christianity set itself over against Judaism. To be a Christian was to be a not-Jew.
Thus, Justin needed to determine what it was to be a Jew – strictly so a Christian could not be that.
Thus, the pluralism that was allegedly present prior to Justin, was dissolved under his labor. The border lines were drawn and their was now Christianity, and there was Judaism. Hybrids were deemed heretics.
Boyarin demonstrates his scheme through charting out the history of Logos theology.
Logos theology being the belief in “two lknes in heaven”; God Himself, and a second power, variously known as Wisdom, Memra, Sophia, etc.
This was the portion I was especially looking forward to. According to Boyaring, this Logos boyrin, which has often been considered the doctrine which demanded Christianity’s split away from Judaism, was not actually a Christian innovation. Rather, it was a notion horder embedded within the Judaism of the 2nd Temple period. Complexity within the Godhead was not a novelty within the New Testament.
On the contrary, Boyarin thinks it was likely predominant. Thus, the accounts which implement Logos theology as the key to the “parting of ways” are mistaken. However, it is clear within the 2nd century that this became a major contention between Jews and Christians.
For Justin, a Christian was one who held to Logos theology and a Jew was one who rejected it. So how did this come to be? Boyarin argues that Justin is not portraying Jewish orthodoxy when he records their rejection of Logos, rather, he is constructing it. Justin, or at least those like him, is responsible for the removal of Logos theology from Judaism. What once had a lasting heritage in Judaism became a strictly Christian doctrine. Yet the story does not end there.
Boyarin goes on to draw up the story of Judaism in the 6th century. Namely, the point in which it rejects the Christian innovation of orthodoxy. The game that the Christians had lured the Jews into playing, the game of “religion”, would ultimately be rejected by the Jewish community. In his reading of the Babylonian Talmud, the pluralism recorded is not historical to the Talmud’s references, but rather to the Talmud’s redactors. The pluralism of late Judaism has been “remembered into” the history of the Rabbis.
Judaism rejected its status as an orthodoxy, and became a reembedded religion. To be a Jew was no longer to hold to certain doctrine, rather it was to be a certain ethnicity. In the end, Judaism became something wholly other than Christianity, not simply in content, but in category. Judaism ceased to be a “religion” like Christianity. Thus, as it was in the days of the Apostles, one could again be a Jew and a Christian, or a Christian and a Jew.
I close with a few thoughts of my own. I think Boyarin has published an incredibly erudite and creative work. His reading of the Talmud was impressive and rather persuasive, and he certainly made imaginative connections while maintaing credibility.
However, I am surprised he did not give any time to drawing up a history of the 1st century interaction between Judaism and Christianity. That lack seemed to be a major lacuna in this volume.
Likewise, his suspicion toward all the actors of antiquity is a bit exhausting. But that goes more at his ideology than his history Ah, I’m a fool – as if they can be separated. I also think that he has overplayed the presence of Logos theology.
I don’t doubt its presence within the 1st century theological milieu, however, I do doubt its dominance. In truth, it was quite a bit of work to get through this one. I can’t say I particularly enjoyed it, however, it was definitely provocative and served as a good wake up to the importance of the 2nd century for Christian theological development. Proper motivation to once more take a long look at the Church Fathers’ role in the theological process.