This chapter introduces the reader to the theme of “Jewish and Christian relations in Late Antiquity,” as treated by students of early rabbinic Judaism. It describes recent developments in scholarly views of the relations between classical rabbinic texts and early Christian texts, and critically discusses especially the contributions of Israel J. Yuval and Daniel Boyarin to the field. It suggests that the early rabbinic reaction to Christianity should be seen as part of the rabbinic discourse of minut, which, following a theory current in sociological literature, should be understood as a discourse responding to an identity crisis and re-establishing group identity, by the ousting of some of society's member and their placement beyond the pale. The chapter concludes with explicating the book's historical approach to rabbinic texts and their interpretation.
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