When Did Christianity officially split from Judaism?

Most scholars and historians say that Christianity began as a sect and renewal movement within Judaism and that for the first few decades Christianity wasn’t seen as totally distinct from Judaism. The Council of Jerusalem (50 A.D) was the basis for the split between Judaism and Christianity, but that the break finally came in between a 60 year period from 70 A.D (destruction of the Second Temple) and 132 A.D (Bar Kokhba revolt). When exactly did Christians really start to see themselves as something distinct from Judaism?

Wouldn’t it have been the period of time when gentile converts outnumbered Jewish converts? I would think at that point both people within the church and those outside it would have a hard time calling it “Jewish” when most people were not either religiously or culturally Jewish.

Hmm, wouldn’t that be the moment when the veil of the Temple was torn in two? :slight_smile:

Acts of the Apostles, 11:26
"…it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.*****

  • 11:26] Christians: “Christians” is first applied to the members of the community at Antioch because the Gentile members of the community enable it to stand out clearly from Judaism.


Not really, as the first 2 generations of Christians still believed themselves to be Jewish, hence the confusion over such issues as circumcision and keeping kosher.

Really, I’d say that it was Judaism that rejected the Christians rather than vice versa. The point when the Rabbis rejected the LXX might be as good a benchmark as any.


Yes, especially in those first 2 generations (30 - 70 A.D). But there are scholars who believe the break occurred at the end of the first century/beginning of second century when the majority of converts were Gentiles. Some scholars even believe the break didn’t happen until the Bar Kokhba revolt in 132 A.D.

A very good question and I don’t have a definitive answer. However, I would think that the episode in Acts 21 where the Jews rejects the Gentile converts Paul brings to the temple contributed significantly. Also, before Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans the Christians were warned to leave by divine revelation.

Eusebius wrote:

The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella. (Ecclesiastical History, tr. C. F. Crusè, 3d ed., in Greek Ecclesiastical Historians, 6 vols.) (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1842), p. 110 (3:5)

So, perhaps that event of fleeing the Jewish center under divine guidance also contributed to the separation.

However, didn’t the Christians return to Jerusalem/Aelia Capitolina after AD70, although Jews were barred from there?

Seems to me they were already seen as distinct if that were the case.


Jews weren’t barred from Jerusalem until after the Bar Kokhba revolt.

I would guess Christians never saw themselves as distinct from Judaism but its fulfillment.

Interesting question…

I don’t believe that there was ever any official break - the communities just drifted apart. Those that were primarily Gentiles had a different focus on prayer and ritual than the communities that were primarily Jewish. Remember that early Christianity was pretty fragmented in terms of location, texts, and purpose.

There were Christians who were still practicing Jews and worshipping in synagogues in and around Jerusalem and into Syria, but they had pretty much disappeared by the 5th century.

I actually kind of agree with this. The drift had it’s roots with the Council of Jerusalem (50 A.D.) with no longer requiring Gentile converts to follow Jewish law. After the destruction of the temple (70 A.D), the Jewish Christian community was dispersed alongside the rest of Jewish people. Gentiles began flooding in. The Church was probably mostly Gentile by 90 - 100 A.D. Though, The Gospel of Matthew was written in 80 A.D by a Jewish Christian specifically to the Jewish Christian community. Also, the Gospel of John and the Johannine Epistles were written in 90-95 A.D. The community that wrote these works were Jews and as we could see, they had massive influence over the Church. So even by the start of the second century there was still Jewish influence over the Church. However, by the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt (132 - 135 A.D.) many Jews accepted Simon Bar Kohhba as Messiah (Jews no longer accept him today), but Jewish Christians did not since they believed Jesus to be the Messiah. The Jewish Christian community, and actually the entire Christian Church as a whole, was alienated from the rest of the Jewish community and this is where (if there wasn’t any split before) the break was totally finalized. This is what I had gathered from the works of scholars and historians.

Both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches view themselves as The Catholic Church with the other as a breakaway. If they both used the same name, things would be really confusing lol…

Same here, I have always considered myself “technically Jewish” because if our religion is true then well…we are.

And technically so are the “Jewish” Jews in that they are in fact if we are correct “incomplete Jews”

From that same stand point if we were incorrect and they were correct we would be “Really bad Jews”

But we can not use the word or everyone would get all confused.

The difference with all of that is that Judaism is based on blood descent, while Christianity is not. So most Christians cannot claim to be Jews.


And then of course, Messianic Jews throughout the world today. (Fully Jewish, though believe Christ is the Messiah).

The Messianic Jews movement (such as Jews for Jesus) is a modern phenomena, and considered by many to be suspicious and a bit cult-like. I would be cautious.

I’d suggest that the answer lies in the mists of antiquity.

Much easier to take the Jewish definition of you, ie ‘Christians’ which can be defined as “belonging to the very, very different religion known as Christianity.” :wink:

Actually one can convert to Judaism they just do not have an affirmative evangelism.

I would also note that given the pop of the entire earth in the year 800 equals the amount of ancestors it takes to make you…

We are all blood :stuck_out_tongue:

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