The early Jewish-majority Church and the rise of "Constantinianism"


#1

Hello, I’m looking for any historical and/or Catholic treatment on the eclipse of the early Jewish-dominated Church by Gentiles. It happened - but it is a set of facts popularly interpreted by Messianics and Protestants as a matter of oppression of the “true” Church by Gentile “Constantinian” elements leading to centuries of anti-Semitism, etc., only to be reborn again in the present in the guise of the Messianic movement or in Protestant denoms sponsoring Messianic churches.

I know that many Jews were simply assimilated into the general Church communities in the early centuries (a fact ignored by the Messianics and Protestants who want to see only a Jewish early church and burgeoning “Constantinianism”), and did not seem concerned about consciously identifying with the discretely Jewish communities WITHIN the Church.

I am not asking about “Jews and Catholicism” or anti-Semitism per se, or for discussions of how “Jewish” the eucharist or the Catholic Church is. I am asking for Catholic historical interpretation of the Jewishness of the early Church and its eclipse.


#2

You might be interested in some YouTube videos by a user named “David Withun”. He is an Orthodox Christian, but he talks a lot about the history of early Christianity in a way that would be appealing to Roman and Eastern Catholic listeners as well. He speaks about the early heresies, and the various Church Fathers and explores many myths about Constantine and the Council of Nicea.


#3

From what I understand Jews never really were prominent anywhere in the church except in Jeruselum where the first fifteen or so Bishops were jewish descendants of James, Bishop of jeruselum. Pretty much since the second century gentiles took on a more dominant role from what I see in the writings of those patristics. There wasn’t this supression of the true jewish followers of Christ, but there were jewish heretics that refused to accept gentiles and insisted they must become Jewish, Ie the Ebionites.


#4

It was not so much Constantine, as it was the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. when the church of Jerusalem lost its pre-eminence. Up until this time Bishop James of Jerusalem prayed daily in the Temple.

Further, the revolt against Roman occupation by the false Messiah, bar Kochba (who was anointed as the ‘Messiah’ by Rabbi Akiba) led to the scattering of the Jewish Christian church in Jerusalem and within Israel . Bar Kochba persecuted Jewish Christians who would not join in his revolt against the Roman occupation. This revolt resulted in the diaspora of Jewish people from the land of Israel around 120 AD.

One will find in the Constitutions of the Apostles the observance of both the weekly Sabbath and of the Lord’s day, which would seem to indicate a Jewish Christian tradition
at the time of the writing of this particular document. Concurrently, this same document
speaks out against the heresy of the Ebionites.

Liturgically, Bishop Victor of Rome (circa 190 AD) attempted to conform the churches of Asia to the Roman day of keeping the Paschal observance, especially the Asian churches associated with the apostolic succession of the Apostle John. These Asian churches kept the Paschal observance on the 14th day of Passover month in the tradition of the Apostle John. Bishop Irenaeus convinced Bishop Victor to desist, but in a later church council this uniformity prevailed.

Julian the Apostate, 360 AD (the only non-Christian emperor after Constantine) attempted to discredit Christianity by financially supporting and allowing the Jewish people to build a third temple in Jerusalem. There was apparently some sort of Divine intervention when earthquakes and the like occurred which prevented the foundation of the Temple from being laid. This seemed to be a further Divine indication to the Church that the Jewish people were no longer favored by God.

These are just a few of the events in the history of the Jewish people and of the church which affected the Jewish Christian influence within the Church of God.

God’s peace

micah


#5

Hello all, and thanks for responding. Much of what I’m reading in responses is what I intuit, and accords with what ELSE the historical record attests. The Church was widespread, heresies cropped up everywhere the Church was, but orthodoxy was present as well. All True. I’m speaking about Jewish Christians, who continued much of the Jewish practice, were participants in the Jewish communities (synagogues existed in circumstances with Christian Churches that reflected Jewish norms, etc). There’s been much recent scholarship on these Jewish Christian communities (wiki has a good piece - Daniel Boyarin, Yoder, “Ways that Never Parted” by Becker and Reed, serious scholarship, not ‘nazarenes’ or weird offshoots of offshoots). I’m really looking for sources. thanks!


#6

I am not familiar with a continued history of Jewish Christians.
Daniel Boyarin does quote from St. Jerome in describing the practice of
Jewish Christians (Minei) during Jerome’s lifetime. Jerome calls them ‘neither Jews nor
Christians’.

pg. 25 of this article in the Jewish Quaterly Review, WInter, 2009 by D.Boyarin:

nes.berkeley.edu/Web_Boyarin/BoyarinArticles/146%20Rethinking%20Jewish%20Christianity%20(2009).pdf

God’s peace

micah


#7

I became interested in knowing why these Jewish Christians
(of whom St. Jerome referred) called themselves, “Minei”.
I am not a Hebrew scholar, but I think the word means,
different kind, or different type as in a different kind of Jew?

Here is a Hebrew blessing over the different kinds of grain:

hebrew4christians.com/Blessings/Daily_Blessings/Food_Blessings/Over_Grains/mezonot.pdf


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