Types of Authority in Formative Christianity and Judaism

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9780415173261: Types of Authority in Formative Christianity and Judaism
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Bruce Chilton and Jacob Neusner study the points of comparisons and contrast between formative Christianity and Judaism. By identifying three categories of authority in each of the two religious worlds, they show how they have both worked in compelling or failing to get someone to do a given action.
The arguments are introduced by a general discussion of the founding figures of the two religions, Moses and Jesus, and how their inherent authority distilled itself through the structure of their religious institutions and intellectual thoughts.

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Two well-known scholars, in New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism respectively, ask the question: what does it mean to translate a theory of God's presence in the social order into a concrete doctrine of everyday authority? What sort of politics, what theory of ongoing and everyday religious encounter, and what modes of persuasive intellectual exchange embody the conviction that God is present among us and that our community is made holy by obedient response to that Presence? The holy community, the presence of God's representatives on earth, and the compelling power of certain kinds of evidence and arguments - these provide the outlines of an answer to that question. Politics come first. But both communities also looked to the authority of God embodied in persons, validated by miraculous events, or otherwise certified by gifts of the spirit. And, finally, both Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism deemed Christ and the Torah respectively to embody the logos of reason or the rules of right thought. Both maintained that well-expounded, probative evidence and compelling argument formed the best source of authority - compulsion exercised from within, by intellect.

About the Author:

Jacob Neusner is Distinguished Research Professor of Religious Studies at the University of South Florida and Professor of Religion at Bard College, New York.
Bruce Chiltern is Bernard Idding Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College, New York.

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Publisher: Routledge, 1999
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