By Gerd Theissen
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Extra resources for New Testament
Paulo/Tarsus 49 At the same time these ritual questions had a political dimension. After the Caligula crisis and the indignation that it provoked among the Jews, in AD 41 Claudius had come to power and calmed things down by a policy of the religious status quo. The traditions of Judaism were again to be respected, but they were not to be put in question by Jews either. Claudius sent edicts to this effect to Alexandria, and in Rome too commanded the Jews strictly to adhere to their ancestral traditions; otherwise he would expel them (DioCass.
Probably the delegates from Jerusalem would have been able to point out that Jewish Christians would be put in a difficult situation if Gentile Christians demonstratively also gave up the second Jewish identity marker. Jewish Christians who shared meals with them could then even come under suspicion of apostasy. This time Paul did not win the day, and parted company with Antioch. But what did the relativizing of the two Jewish identity markers practised by Paul mean for the history of primitive Christianity?
Here they saw Jesus in their role - forsaken by God and fellow human beings. A second tradition points to southern Palestine. It, too, does not consist of individual pericopes. This is the 'synoptic apocalypse' in Mark 13, in which Mark has worked over an earlier tradition. It prophesies the end time in three phases. First come wars and earthquakes as 'birth pangs' of the new world. They must have been so terrible that some thought that this 'beginning of the woes' was the end. 8). ). 19). ). 14).