Jewish Jesus to Gentile Church: The Development of Christian Identity

Jewish Jesus to Gentile Church: The Development of Christian Identity

Jesus and his early followers were Jewish. Nevertheless, the Church founded in the name of Christ embraced a “Christianity” that became something different from and even opposed to Judaism. When and how did this happen, and what were the consequences? Join Dr. Joshua Yoder in an exploration of the so-called “parting of the ways” between Judaism and Christianity which will touch on the Jewishness of the Jesus movement, the beginnings of separation and hostility, continuing relationships, and lessons for today.

Suggested Reading: When Christians Were Jews: The First Generation by Paula Fredrickson



Video introduction to the topic:



  • Sunday, September 20

When Christians Were Jews: In this session we will explore Jesus’ teachings within the context of the varieties of Judaism of his day, and observe how his disciples developed his teachings after his resurrection.
Click here for a PDF version of the presentation made in class on Sunday, September 20th.

  • Sunday, September 27

Paul, the Law and the Jewish People: This session will take up the question of how Paul lived as a Jew and whether he taught a system of belief and practice that was distinct from Judaism. Did Paul create a new religion?
View a recording of the presentation from Sunday, September 27th:

  • Sunday, October 4

The Parting of the Ways: In this session we will examine developments after Paul, especially the responses of non-Christian Jews to the Christ believers and the responses of Gentile Christians to Judaism.


  • Sunday, October 11

The Ways That Never Parted? This session will consider the continuing links between Christianity and Judaism in the early centuries of Christianity, and relationships between Christians and Jews today.



About Joshua Yoder: Dr. Yoder’s research focuses on the interplay between the earliest Christian community and their interaction with the secular and political context of their time. His book is entitled, Representatives of Roman Rule: Roman Provincial Governors in Luke-Acts. Dr. Yoder has taught at the University of Notre Dame, McCormick Theological Seminary, The Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Eastern University and United Lutheran Seminary.