by Robert A. Kraft
Jesus and his earliest followers apparently were Semitic speaking Jews living in Roman Palestine, but their messages quickly spread into the Greek speaking worlds in which Jews had been quite active for centuries. The Greek sources left to us by the early Christian authors, compilers, and copyists include Jewish writings and traditions of various sorts, especially those that later became "canonized." Greek speaking Jews tend to disappear from our preserved sources in the second century CE, leaving the impression that the gradually dominating Semitic Judaism of the Rabbis has displaced most other Jewish representatives. This paper will challenge that simplistic assessment by drawing together evidence from and about Jewish scriptures in Greek throughout the Greco-Roman period.