"In the early church literature Christians are really desperate to separate from Judaism and to distinguish themselves."

Burton L. Visotzky, Ph.D.
Jewish Theological Seminary



"As a result there is the appearance of a great deal of anti-judaism or anti-Semitism. Some of it is invective—nasty comments about Jews. Some of it is pushing away from what they saw as Old Testament religion."

The anti-Semitism to which Dr. Visotzky refers was a reflection of official Roman attitudes toward the Jews. Hadrian, the emperor who succeeded Trajan, is probably best known to us for the wall he ordered to be built across the north of England. You can still see portions of Hadrian's wall today.

But he had other building projects, one of which was the construction of a new city—Aelia Capitolina—on the ruins of Jerusalem. He decreed that Jews would never be allowed to enter this city. Some Jews, incensed at this banishment, joined in another uprising, the Bar Kochba Revolt. It was quashed in 135 AD.

Hadrian issued more anti-Jewish decrees, outlawing circumcision, study of the Torah, and observance of the Sabbath. Is it any wonder that Christians wanted to break their close identity with Judaism?



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