In the study of early Christianity, we often hear references to "the parting of the ways" as the process or result of Christianity declaring itself independent of its Jewish origins, and of Judaism reciprocally rejecting Christianity.\1/ It is quite obvious that the "ways" that led to classical Christianity and rabbinic Judaism by the 4th century did indeed "part." This becomes true simply by definition, since in those classical Christian and classical Jewish communities, each understood the other as "other." To be a "Christian" involved in part not being a "Jew," and vice versa. They came to understand themselves as exclusively different "religions," and/or perhaps also, at times, exclusively different cultural options.
\1/See, for example, James D. G. Dunn, The Partings of the Ways Between Christianity and Judaism and their Significance for the Character of Christianity (London: SCM / Philadelphia: Trinity Press International 1991); also James D. G. Dunn (ed.), Jews and Christians: The Parting of the Ways, AD 70 to 135 (the second Durham-Tübingen Research Symposium on Earliest Christianity and Judaism, Durham, September 1989; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck 1992).
But the path to such a simple and clear answer is littered with the sorts of complexities that surround all historical and social developments -- all human developments -- complexities that get masked by the urge to make and keep things clear and simple. It was doubtless with this in mind that the organizers of the Princeton Colloquium selected the confrontational title, "The Ways that Never Parted: Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages." To issue such a challenge to "common knowledge" (or exclusive definition) may appear on the surface of things to be a bold step, but it constitutes an invitation to look more closely at the micro-histories behind that "common knowledge" to determine what other trajectories may be ascertained. A challenge is offered to a unilateral development model. Ockham's razor is blunted if not shattered, and one of the major results is to explore quite closely the interrelationships of the various parts and participants and particularities that in various ways produced the familiar medieval/classical landscape. In an obvious attempt to be clever, I've christened this deconstructive exploratory process "The Weighing of the Parts." Although there is a rash of modern literature that is relevant to t his subject, I will make no attempt to survey it extensively or directly, but will pay some attention, by way of footnotes, to aspects of two recent contributions, from Gabrielle Boccaccini and Seth Schwartz.\2/
\2/Most recently, Boccaccini, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism: An Intellectual History, from Ezekiel to Daniel (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans 2002), especially the "Introduction: The Intellectual Quest of Rabbinic Origins and Roots"; and Schwartz, Imperialism and Jewish Society, 200 B.C.E. to 640 C.E. (Princeton University Press 2001).
Several points need to be made, some methodological and others evidentiary. Since effective methodology cannot take place in a vacuum (true by definition; otherwise it would not be "effective"), these aspects of method and data cannot always be separated. One of the first lines of attack on traditional assumptions and arguments is the recognition of how many "parts" there are to be "weighed"! It is fashionable in some scholarly circles today to speak of "Judaisms" (rather than simply "Judaism") in the period prior to the ever increasing success of "rabbinic" authority;\3/ regarding Christianity, we hear fewer voices speaking of "Christianities" in the early period, but the same recognition is captured with the oft heard references to early Christian "varieties," including discussions of whether such varieties as "gnosticism" can be considered legitimately "Christian."\4/ The vocabulary used is perhaps less crucial than the situation it attempts to represent -- there are many "parts" to be recognized and weighed in the close study of these materials! And, indeed, this multifaceted situation does not automatically disappear with the "victory" of the respective classical forms of these religions. There continue to be variant, sometimes competing, forms within and sometimes somewhere between each tradition (e.g. Samaritans, Karaite Judaism, Cathar Christianity, Mandeans, Manicheans, "mysticism" of various sorts).
\3/The use of "Judaisms" became popularized by the anthology entitled Judaisms and their Messiahs at the Turn of the Christian Era (Cambridge University 1987), edited by Jacob Neusner, William Scott Green, and Ernest S. Frerichs. Boccaccini (14) is sympathetic: "Neusner's approach has already left its clear imprint on Judaic studies ('from Judaism to Judaisms') and the indication of a much promising method of studying rabbinic origins and roots as a comparison of systems of thought that 'took place in succession to one another'" [citing Neusner, The Four Stages of Rabbinic Judaism (London: Routledge 1998)]. Schwartz (4f) emphasizes the variety without embracing the plural terminology: "It is difficult to imagine any serious scholar ever again describing the Judaism of the later Second Temple period as a rigorous, monolithic orthodoxy, as was still common only a generation ago"; or again, "In this book I assume that ancient Judaism was complex, capacious, and rather frayed at the edges," although not "multiple" (9).
\4/For example, James D. G. Dunn, Unity and Diversity in the New Testament: An Inquiry into the Character of Earliest Christianity (London: SCM 1990\2); Walter Bauer, with Georg Strecker, Orthodox and Heresy in Earliest Christianity (trans. and ed. from the 2nd German edition, 1964, by Robert Kraft and Gerhard Krodel; Philadelphia: Fortress 1971).
In some ways, there is little that is new in these observations. The presence of "Jewish" groups and/or perspectives labelled Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, and more, comes straight from the ancient sources, and modern supplementation by attempting to give actual social reality to ancient Jews with apocalyptic, wisdom, Enochic, hellenistic, or other foci simply increases the possible "parts" with which we need to deal. On the Christian side of the ledger, our ancient reporters mention especially "docetics" and "gnostics" of various stripes, and more vaguely "Judaizers" as well as "chiliasts" and the like; modern study has refined things further with interest in Pauline, Johannine, syncretistic, reformist (like Cynics), and so forth.\6/ The naming process is relatively easy. Weighing the parts in relation to each other and to the respective surrounding worlds is quite another matter.\7/
\5/Boccaccini provides an excellent example of an attempt to isolate various tendencies and socio-religious interests within Judaism, especially in the period that he labels "middle Judaism" -- see his Middle Judaism: Jewish Thought, 300 B.C.E. to 200 C.E. (Minneapolis: Fortress 1991), followed by Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways between Qumran and Enochic Judaism (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans 1998), and now Roots of Rabbinic Judaism (2002).
\6/For a general overview of the earliest Christian materials, see Bart D. Ehrman, The New Testament: a Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (NY and Oxford: Oxford University Press 2000\2). See also above, note 4.
\7/In the opening chapter of his Roots of Rabbinic Judaism, entitled "Introduction: The Intellectual Quest of Rabbinic Origins and Roots"; Boccaccini attempts to survey the work of his recent predecessors, including E. P. Sanders ("covenantal nomism" as the common denominator or "essence" of Judaism), Lawrence H. Schiffman (an "evolutionary model" in which "the essence of Judaism is its history" which leads to the rabbinic stage), Shaye J. D. Cohen and Martin S. Jaffee (a more ethnocentric model in which "Judaism is the history of its people"), and Jacob Neusner ("the history of Judaism is the history of Judaisms"). Seth Schwartz, whose book appeared subsequently to Boccaccini's, would probably fit somewhere between Schiffman's "evolutionary" approach and Neusner's "skepticism," pluse a large measure of the emphasis on variety and change attributed to Cohen and Jaffee. Schwartz (49) argues for a general "coherence" around "the three pillars of ancient Judaism -- the one God, the one Torah, and the one Temple" within which there was "messiness, diversity, and unpredictability of the effects of this system in Jewish Palestinian society in the first century." He also notes "the existence of a subsidiary ideological system -- basically, a mildly dualistic mythological narrative -- that implicitly contradicted the main one." For Schwartz, "the main sects were in fact an integral part of the Torah-centered Judaean mainstream elite ... the three main sects are evidence not simply of Judaism's diversity but also of the power of its ideological mainstream. For their part, the Christians illustrate the proposition that there were limits to acceptable diversity in ancient Judaism, for those who remained Jewish did so by affirming their adherence to the Torah and at least the idea of a temple, while the rest in short order ceased to regard themselves as Jews."
Definitions and assumptions play crucial, often unrecognized roles, in such discussions. If "Judaism" really is taken to be meaningful only in some sort of direct relationship with what it became in its later classical forms (I hesitate to oversimplify even here and say "form") -- a definitional assumption that seems live and well even in some contemporary scholarly circles -- then some aspects of the ancient evidence will be privileged over others (e.g. legal and ritual interests, "biblical" connections, separatism, roots-awareness).\8/ It becomes difficult to imagine someone, or some group, being at the same time "Jewish" and uninterested in aspects of ritual law (e.g. circumcision, food restrictions), for example. Were there such people? Of course. Why should that world be so different from ours? Are they important for purposes of understanding historical developments and processes? Of course. To ignore them or pretend they didn't exist is to neglect an aspect of the real world that creates both attraction and reaction, perhaps revulsion, at the very least. Philo is well aware of such situations, and tries to tread a fine line between them. For him, understanding meanings is crucial, but he is wary of throwing out the baby with the bath water in failing to find an appropriate balance between meanings and the activities they interpret.\9/ Probably his nephews, Marcus Julius Alexander and Tiberius Julius Alexander, were less committed to such compromise. Would that make them less Jewish?
\8/As noted above, the most important categories for Schwartz's treatment of Palestinian Judaism in the "second temple" period are God-Torah-Temple (but with lots of variations), which he finds compatible with Sanders' "covenantal nomisim." Some would add the idea of election/peoplehood and the "promised land" (e.g. Dunn ; see also Boccaccini's presentation of the Cohen-Jaffee approach).
\9/The classic Philonic passage is from Migration of Abraham 86-93. Philo sometimes seems caught between his epistomological idealism (attention to essenses and meanings) and his socio-political realism (avoiding conflicts or criticisms that weaken community) -- a dilemma doubtless encouraged by his Platonic orientation.
For fruitful pursuit of all such discussions, clear and consistent definition is basic. In my experience, most "arguments" about this subject area are actually valid or invalid (successful or unsuccesful) "by definition" -- that is, if the definitions being used for "Jewish" or "Christian" were clear and explicit, arguments about whether this or that individual or text or phenomenon could be considered "Jewish" (or "Christian") would simply become unnecessary. If my understanding of "Jewish" does not permit me to apply that term to data in which Jesus is uniquely and selfconsciously revered, it may be necessary to explore the extent to which a given historical witnesses does or does not reverence Jesus, but when that has been determined, the choice of labels will be selfevident. In such an approach the parts may still be in need of weighing, but that will take place inside of the boundaries imposed by the definiton.\10/
\10/Interestingly, in his otherwise provocative and instructive treatment of Palestinian Judaism's relationship to "Imperial Power," Schwartz seems carefully to avoid proposing or establishing any definition of "Judaism" beyond his rather fuzzy (and largely assumed rather than argued!) triad of God-Torah-Temple, over against which he sees various shades of deviation -- for example, "how can the centrality of God-Temple-Torah in Jewish self-definition be proved? What about the Judaean settlements at Elephantine or, more chronologically relevant, at Leontopolis in Egypt? Or the worshipers of the Most High God settled in the Cimmerian Bosporus? Did these Jews, too, if that is what they were, live in symbolic worlds whose central components were the Temple and the Torah?" (50). -- he then argues that the centrality of Torah-Temple are "not a priori an eternal truth of Jewish identity, uncontingent on changing social and political conditions" (50) but the result of a process, and that originally "pagan" areas in Palestine that "passed under Judean rule all now became in some sense Jewish" (51) and "had by and large internalized some version of the ideology that was centrally constitutive of Judaism, [but] we must not assume that their Judaism was indistinguishable from that of the Judaeans" (52). Further on, Schwartz mentions the diaspora, where the legal and social contexts were different, and notes that "it is in the Diaspora that one finds clearest evidence of radically anomalous types of Judaism, as well as a constant trickle of people both in and out of Judaism" (74). He does not show any awareness nor provide any discussion of the value of definitions for his project, and it is clear that although he recognizes the value of "self-identification" as an important factor, he does not limit himself to it as the central definitional criterion. These aspects of his otherwise very instructive study are, I think, distressingly problematic.
But the practice of imposing definitions upon material is not the only possible approach, and in my estimation is less satisfactory, for historical purposes, than attempting to let the materials define themselves. Such relativizing of labels (definitions) can lead to confusing situations in which self-identifications ("I am a Jew") may be in conflict with assessments made in the same world ("you are not really a Jew"), but even then, we can learn more about the historical situation by recognizing the apparent confusion than we can by ignoring it or defining it away. For our "parting of the ways" and/or "wieghing of the parts" perspectives, historical selfidentification (explicit or suspected) may force the modern scholar to develop new categories and vocabularies that are more satisfactory for the task. If, in their own understandings, Herod the Great and his successors were "Jewish," as were Philo and his nephews, Jesus and his opponents, Paul and the other "apostles," Hillel and Shammai, Josephus and Bar Kochba, etc., our task as would-be "insiders" is to refine our categories in order to enable better understandings of the situation(s). And this requires a whole lot of "weighing," within the historical contexts that produced the available evidence (and with an awareness of our own motives and contexts). What issues were important to the historical participants, and how do those issues affect our historical understandings?
Complexity is the normal state of human social existence, and complexity is certainly the rule with reference to the situations under examination here. Prior to the emergence of "Christianity," there was significant diversity within the seedbed that produced classical Judaism. And possibly from its very start within that seedbed, Christian varieties were also in evidence -- did all of the earliest followers of Jesus as Messiah/Christ share the same attitudes to such things as Jewish ritual, or eschatological expectations, or the value of material/physical existence? Is there any reason to expect such conceptual "unity" at the earliest period of what comes to be called "Christianity?\11/ And while it is clear that the definitional simplicity of mutually exclusive selfunderstandings ("Jewish" means, among other things, not "Christian"; and vice-versa), where it exists, shows parted ways, it is not clear that historically, every user of these terms "Jewish" or "Christian" (or their functional equivalents) would accept the exclusivist element. At the end of the 4th century, Jerome scoffs at those whom he claims to have met in the Syro-Palestinian region who would accept both designations ("they are neither"!),\12/ and we are left to speculate whether their two-sidedness is indicative of a selfunderstanding that had continuity from the very outset of "Christianity." Various clues are scattered along the path (e.g. Justin in his dialogue with Trypho on "Jewish" believers in "Christian" communities;\13/ the traditions of Elisha ben Abuya ["Aher," the "other" oriented one];\14/ Tertullian on Christians as a "third race"\15/), but it is difficult to connect the dots with any confidence or consistency. And why, after all, should we care?
\11/Schwartz acutely observes, without attempting further detail: "Jesus was the figure expected to usher in the end of the dominion of evil and the beginning of the rule of God; he and his followers were renowned for their ability to manipulate demons and free people from their influence. It was a movement, or rather a loose collection of related groups, that took shape around a distinctive understanding of the [eschatological] myth complex, a movement in which the Torah was not ignored (it could not possibly have been) but was definitely of secondary importance" (91).
\12/Jerome, Epistle 112.13, to Augustine (apparently also designated "Epistle 79" in some sources) [PL 22.0924/746-747]: Quid dicam de Ebionitis, qui Christianos esse se simulant? Usque hodie per totas Orientis synagogas inter Judaeos haeresis est, quae dicitur Minaeorum, et a Pharisaeis nunc usque damnatur: quos vulgo Nazaraeos nuncupant, qui credunt in Christum Filium Dei, natum de virgine Maria, et eum dicunt esse, qui sub Pontio Pilato passus est, et resurrexit, in quem et nos credimus: sed dum volunt et Judaei esse et Christiani, nec Judaei sunt, nec Christiani. [Why do I speak about the Ebionites, who pretend that they are themselves Christians? To this very day, throughout all the eastern synagogues, there is a heresy/sect among the Jews which is called "of the Minim" and is condemned even now by the Pharisees. Those people are commonly designated "Nazarenes," who believe in Christ as Son of God, born of the virgin Mary, and they acknowledge that he is the one who suffered/died under Pontius Pilate and was resurrected, in whom we also believe. But while they wish to be both Jews and Christians, they are neither Jews nor Christians!]
\13/Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 46-47.
\14/E.g. b.Hagigah 15a; see also Alan Segal, Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic Reports about Christianity and Gnosticism (Leiden: Brill, 1977) and the discussions it engendered.
\15/E.g. Scorpiace 10: Illic constitues et synagogas Judaeorum, fontes persecutionum, apud quas Apostoli flagella perpessi sunt, et populos nationum cum suo quidem circo, ubi facile conclamant, »Usquequo genus tertium?« (PL) [Will you plant there both synagogues of the Jews --fountains of persecution -- before which the apostles endured the scourge, and heathen assemblages with their own circus, forsooth, where they readily join in the cry, "Death to the third race?" (NPNF)]
Some of us are simply nosy -- inquisitive. We want to know as many of the "why?"s as we can handle. We are uncomfortable with overly comfortable answers. Some of us may want to explore different solutions to old problems. If Judaism and Christianity were not always mutually exclusive by definition, perhaps some sort of contemporary rapproachment can be recreated with reference to the historical developments; history provides basic justification for trying to reset the clock to a more favorable time and situation. Some of us revel in the unusual, in what seems to challenge the accepted norms. Some of us are looking for evidences of "influence," to try to trace the various tides and ripples on the troubled sea of human history. Whatever our motives, we collect the clues and sift the variegated sands to recreate or recapture what we think is a more accurate picture of this aspect of our historical past, which also is to some degree our historical heritage.
How can we proceed responsibly in such difficult waters? We are driven partly by reaction to commonly accepted oversimplifications, although we are always in danger of making the same mistakes in our own reformulations. To be aware that monodirectional models need to be avoided is one thing, to actually avoid them is another. We are also forced to make much use of arguments from analogy -- what we can see in our own worlds clearly happening elsewhere or elsewhen may provide us with the possibility, other things being similar, that the same sorts of things happened in the period or materials we study. Thus we build up probabilities, on the basic assumption that individuals and groups operating under similar conditions will operate similarly. To the extent that our impressions about what is similar are accurate, and to some extent persuasive, we fill in some of the missing blanks in the historical records. And we operate on sort of a spiral of exploratation, which comes around to the same questions and subject matter every so often, but with fresh insights and sometimes even new evidence that has been acquired since the previous time around and thus moves the discussion to a new level. Since we can't all be expert in everything that is significant or necessary for our investigations, a major factor in this weighing and reweighing process is the identification of trustworthy partners and resources in the process. Whom do you trust in areas out of your expertise? And why?
What does all this have to do with "the parting of the ways" or "the weighing of the parts" in exploring the respective developments of those complexities covered by the terms "early Judaism" and "early Christianity"? Our most basic definitions and assumptions tell us that at a most obvious level ("the big picture"), the ways did part, although perhaps at different times and under different circumstances in the course of history. But by weighing the parts -- that is, by recognizing the immense diversity that existed (and to some extent still exists) within and between the targeted traditions and attempting to understand how the representatives interacted, or perhaps refused to do so -- we may be able to begin to understand more fully, if not more clearly, what was involved in the various processes out of which classical Judaism and classical Christianity emerged and gradually became dominant and definitionally mutually exclusive from the fourth century onward.
/end of article proper/
[some prep notes]
The importance of clear definition -- the "keystone" of the arch, the "lynchpin" of the mechanism, the "foundation" of the edifice. With it, many apparent objections and problems dissolve; without it, there is little hope for satisfactory solutions.
"Parting or not Parting of the Ways" -- what constitutes a "way," and what suffices to indicate "parting"?
For early/middle/late Judaism(s) there seems to be good evidence of variety that some would interpret already as "ways" that have "parted" from each other in some senses; yet most of us continue to speak of "Judaism" at some level, even if in the plural. Definitionally, how far can the term "Judaism" take us in this context of apparent diversity? To what extent do we actually "weigh the parts" and in various ways privilege some over others for purposes of our discussion?
Similarly with early Christianity/ies: there is abundant evidence of variety from as early as we can see among those who identified themselves as followers of Joshua/Jesus "the Christ/Messiah" -- it is basic to the letters normally associated with Paul and is also present, if less obviously, in the compilation known as Acts. And among these "ways" that in some senses identified themselves as "Christian," there was a great deal of "parting" -- of mutual hostility or at least selfconscious separation. From a later vantage point, something we can call classical Christianity emerges and eclipses its rivals in the parts of the world that most concern us and for which we have the best evidence. It attempts, with some success, to eliminate or at least suppress the other options -- the "parts" that thus receive less "weight" in most reconstructions.
Example: most scholars would agree that of the known varieties within the "Jewish" category at the time of Joshua/Jesus and Paul, the Pharisees as described in Josephus and in certain passages from the "NT" anthology are more in continuity with later rabbinic Judaism than are any of the other groups (Essenes, Sadducees, Samaritans, etc.). Because of this apparent continuity into "classical Judaism," the Pharisees become the main representative of first century Judaism for purposes of comparison with "early Christianity" and such discussions as "the parting of the ways." Indeed, at the level of selfidentification and selfconsciousness, to the extent that we can access it, there is good evidence of mutual "parting" between the "ways" that emerge in the 4th century as the classical forms of Judaism and Christianity, as we look back on them from our vantage point. Pharisaic Judaism weighs in as determinative for such discussions. The primary definitional criterion here would seem to be selfidentification -- we see ourselves as "Jews" and that means we are not "Christians." The "parting" is less a matter of practice (some Christians keep food prohibitions, observe Saturday Sabbath, perhaps even circumcize) than of resisting identification with a group that reverences a person whom they believe to be a unique representation ("Messiah/Christ") of the deity among humans. At this point, it is to some extent parting by (self) definition, based on acceptance/rejection of a certain understanding of events believed to have occurred on the human plane. And at this point, from a rabbinic Jewish perspective, all "parts" of "Christianity" are equally unacceptable, as also objectionable varieties among selfidentified "Jews."
Were there "pre-Christian" "Jews" for which matters of self-definition did not develop in the same manner? Some modern scholars have suggested that Jewish Essenes became absorbed into early Christianity, for example. In such a situation, not only would there be no "parting," there would not really be different "ways." In the Greek speaking world, it is also possible to imagine a somewhat untroubled transition by synagogue associates ("god-fearers," "theosebeis") and their supporters into "Christian" enclaves of various sorts, as suggested by some of the stories collected in the book of Acts. This might involve some sort of "parting," if issues of leadership, alliegance, ownership, and the like, were present, or it might not. To what "parts" of the ancient religio-cultural landscape do we look to try to understand what had taken place? And how do we label what we think we see?
//end of prep notes//
[[Some detailed notes on Schwarz]]
[[There are different ways of "weighing" these parts, often with significantly different results. Sanders, Neusner, Boccaccini, J.Z.Smith, Schwartz. "Essentialism," "Nominalism" (radical empiricism, positivism), "Skepticism," etc.
Seth Schwartz, in the framework of his outspoken yet level-headed daring, argues for a general "coherence" ("the three pillars of ancient Judaism -- the one God, the one Torah, and the one Temple" 49) within which there was "messiness, diversity, and unpredictability of the effects of this system in Jewish Palestinian society in the first century" (49). He also notes "the existence of a subsidiary ideological system -- basically, a mildly dualistic mythological narrative -- that implicitly contradicted the main one" (49). For Schwartz, "the main sects were in fact an integral part of the Torah-centered Judaean mainstream elite ... the three main sects are evidence not simply of Judaism's diversity but also of the power of its ideological mainstream. For their part, the Christians illustrate the proposition that there were limits to acceptable diversity in andient Judaism, for those who remained Jewish did so by affirming their adherence to the Torah and at least the idea of a temple, while the rest in short order ceased to regard themselves as Jews" (49). Schwartz gives no explicit definition of "Judaism," nor any discussion of the value of definitions for such discussion, but it is clear from the above statements that he does not limit himself to "self-identification" as the central criterion. I think he skates, untypically, on thin ice.
"Some readers may find it odd that this point requires argumentation, while others may be inclined to dismiss my claim out of hand: how can the centrality of God-Temple-Torah in Jewish self-definition be proved? What about the Judaean settlements at Elephantine or, more chronologically relevant, at Leontopolis in Egypt? Or the worshipers of the Most High God settled in the Cimmerian Bosporus? Did these Jews, too, if that is what they were, live in symbolic worlds whose central components were the Temple and the Torah?" (50) -- he then argues that the centrality of Torah-Temple are "not a priori an eternal truth of Jewish identity, uncontingent on changing social and political conditions" (50) but the result of a process, and that originally "pagan" areas in Palestine that "passed under Judean rule all now became in some sense Jewish" (51) and "had by and large internalized some version of the ideology that was centrally constitutive of Judaism, [but] we must not assume that their Judaism was indistinguishable from that of the Judaeans" (52).
"Can we follow Sanders in supposing that most Jews more or less beleived in something like the 'covenantal nomism' that I have just described? ... [new par] The conventional answers to all these questions, at least among scholars not totally silenced by skepticism, is yes. Indeed, the 'covenantal nomism' extractable from the Pentateuch and later texts presumably has some rough correspondence to what many Jews occasionally believed, though 'belief' is such a mercurial category of experience that any statement about what a large number of people believe necessarily flirts with meaninglessness" (66).
"The complex God-Temple-Torah -- although it was politically and symbolically potent -- does not imply that all Jews actually lived their lives according to the rules prescribed by the system; tha it, it implies disappointingly little about the texture of daily, private life" (67). Schwartz distils his concept of a coherent system for Palestinian Judaism (thus, at one level, his definition) from looking at the actions of the elite, both outside (rulers viewing the Judean area and people) and inside (the leadership, centered in Temple and using Torah as a focus). But he also embraces the idea of diversity alongside the "system." The opacity of Torah even fostered diversity of interpretation. "Torah" means legal tradition as well as text -- "a series of negotiations between an authoritative but opaque text and various sets of traditional but not fully authorized practice" (68). In the diaspora, the legal and social contexts were different, and "it is in the Diaspora that one finds clearest evidence of radically anomalous types of Judaism, as well as a constant trickle of people both in and out of Judaism" (74).
"It seems likely that the historical process mainly responsible for generating apocalyptic mythology and causing its spread was the rise of the covenantal ideology, to which it seems both a reaction and a complement" (77).
"Thus, the incorporation of the mythology into the main ideology of Judaism -- admittedly as a subsidiary element without a separate institutional base -- was an aspect of centralization, of the rise in post-Maccabean Palestine of an integrated Judaism, controlled from Jerusalem by mediators of the Temple and Torah. ... The expansion of the ideological system to include noncovenantal elements, some of them, like belief in the power of demons, astrology, bits of Canaanite mythology, almost certainly derived from popular Palestinian religion, was as much a corollary of the success of Judaism as the incorporation of elements of, say, Mithraism or neo-Platonism in Christianity indicated its success" (86-87).
On the tensions between "the elements of the ideological complex that constituted Judaism" -- "the prestige and authority of the Torah could empower those who claimed expertise in its manipulation, and the prestige and authority of the myth could empower a different group of experts" (90); so "the case of Judas the Galilean reminds us that successful brigand groups might mutate into bands of armed messianists or legal rigorists" (89). "I should add parenthetically that this conception of the separability of the two main ideological axes of ancient Judaism, with their potential to generate at the margins of society separate types of organization, crystalizing around individual experts, has the advantage of helping t o explain the origins of Christianity. Jesus was the figure expected to usher in the end of the dominion of evil and the beginning of the rule of God; he and his followers were renowned for their ability to minipulate demons and free people from their influence. It was a movement, or rather a loose collection of related groups, that took shape around a distinctive understanding of the myth complex, a movement in which the Torah was not ingnored (it could not possibly have been) but was definitely of secondary importance. In this sense, at least, Josephus's classification of Jesus and James among the assorted troublemakers is entirely accurate" (90-91).
"I have [argued] that, as a result of the enduring tendency of the imperial rulers of the eastern Mediterranean to rule partly autonomous regions through local agents, a Jewish society gradually coalesced in Palestine. We may speak, for the later Second Temple period, of Judaism in the singular as the integrating ideology of the society. Judaism was complex and rather baggy, and the fact that most Jews professed adherence to it tells us suprisingly little about how they actually conducted their lives. ... The norms themselves were constantly disputed by the scribal and priestly elites and subelites. This dispute blossomed into the sectarianism that was so important in Josephus's narrative and in real life far from marginal in Judaea, at least in the first century. Nevertheless, there is ample evidence for Judaism's success in creating a Jewish society, loosely centralized and frayed at the edges though it was. One of the most important corpora of evidence for this process is the emergence of apocalypticism in literature starting in the third century [1 Enoch Watchers], for this material seems to show that the scribal and priestly elites and subelites constantly engaged in the domestication, or judaization, of ideological systems apparently at odds with the Torah" (98-99).
Overall, Schwartz substitutes the effects of the activities of Palestinian Jewish elite (Temple-Torah, incorporation of eschatological myth) for any general definition of "Judaism." It is a practical, socio-political approach, providing an "ideological" focus around which he can orient all the rough edges, bagginess, etc. that he finds abundantly. He is selfconsciously "Palestine" centered, but well aware of the "Diaspora" situations, as far as they can be known, and does not attempt a universal definition even at the practical level.
Conclusion (291-292): "The main argument of this book has been that attempts to make sense of the remains of ancient Judaism must consider the effects of shifting types of imperial domination. The complex, loosely centralized but still basically unitary Jewish society that may be inferred from the artifacts of the last two hundred years of the Second Temple period was in part produced by a long history of imperial empowerment of Jewish leaders. ... The Jewish cultural explosion of late antiquity, which can be read from a revival of literary production and the emergence and diffusion of a distinctively Jewish art and archaeology, is in complex ways a response to the gradual christianization of the Roman Empire." [new par] Comments on the problem of "infinite regression" of "quite specific assumptions" necessary for even beginning to interpret "some small body of material" -- thus "expanding the scope of the investigation ... can at least make the ground a bit firmer, the hypothetical structure a bit more solid." He tries to look at "the contours of the evidence as a whole" along with the "specific pieces of evidence" to "help explain why the evidence is the way it is, why covenant and myth are so inextricably combined in the literature of the Second Temple period, why the archaeology of Jewish Palestine in the second and third centuries seems so similar to that of the eastern Roman Empire in general, while its exiguous literary remains are so different from the products of the "second sophistic," and why, finally, the synagogue and the religious ideology that justified its construction reached their greatest diffusion only under Christian rule."]]
[[Annette comments on the pre-Schwartz draft:
E.g., you mention the discussion about JudaismS as now commonplace when dealing with pre-70 (or perhaps pre-Mishnah) Judaism and "varieties" with regard to early Christianity, without noting right away that the prevailing tendency is to assume that the emergence of the Rabbinic movement marks the end of "JudaismS" and the beginning of "Judaism" (or, more accurately, the triumph of one Judaism over the others, even despite recent scholarship cautioning against simply conflating Pharisees and Rabbis, as well as against imagining that "Yavneh" marked the definitive ascendancy of the latter), thus rendering the diversity of Second Temple Judaism irrelevant for the question of Jewish/Christian relations thereafter and facilitating the problematic assumption that Christianity "parted" with a monolithic Judaism (and in many cases "the naming process" seems to facilitate this move)--or, in other words, the assumption that the multiform Jewish heritage of Christianity is exactly that, the heritage of a still diverse Christianity parted from a now monolithic Judaism. In short, you could perhaps say more about why certain "parts" are seen as not needing to be "weighed" at all, as well as the distortions that result. Of course, you allude to this a bit later ("If "Judaism" really is taken to be meaningful only in some sort of direct relationship with what it became in its later classical forms..."), but this could use a little unpacking.]]
//end of Schwarz notes//