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Jewish Studies, an Internet Journal

Publication date: 2012-01
Volume: 10 37
ISSN: 1565-7388
Publisher: Bar-Ilan University * Faculty of Jewish Studies


Tomson, Peter
Schwartz, Joshua


Early Rabbis, Jewish Christians, minut, Parting of the Ways


Talmudic Literature contains three stories about the arrest of Rabbi Eliezer and the accusation of minut leveled against him (Tosefta Hullin 2:24; Bavli Avodah Zarah 16b-17a; Kohelet Rabbah 1:8 [3]). The three versions of the story represent different historical, social and religious realities. In the earliest version, which is found in the Tosefta, Jews and Christians are entangled with one another, as well as with the realities of Roman policy toward both Jews and Christians. The Rabbis strove to unravel the entanglement, but it is difficult to know to what extent they succeeded. By the time the story reached the Bavli and Kohelet Rabbah, the Jews and Christians had parted ways and developed distinct identities, but the Christians had now become entangled with the Romans. Old boundaries were no longer relevant, new ones were drawn and the traditions developed and were changed accordingly.