Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 December 2009
As a Jewish scholar who has been engaged in the study and teaching of Jewish–Christian relations for over twelve years, I have thought a great deal about the past history of Jewish–Christian relations, especially in relation to the Bible. During that time I have noticed increasing interest being shown in scholarly and religious circles to both the Jewish context of the New Testament as well as to the influence of Jewish biblical interpretation on the formation and development of Christianity.
For understandable reasons, it has generally been assumed that Judaism influenced Christianity but relatively little attention has been given to the other side of the same coin: the question of the influence of Christianity upon Judaism. Did Christian teaching and interpretation influence the Jewish commentators? The purpose of this book is to consider this relatively unexplored question, to ask whether this influence developed into a two-way encounter and to investigate to what extent Jews and Christians are bound by the Bible. On the basis of a study of the Binding of Isaac, I examine whether there was some kind of a meeting or interaction between Jewish and Christian interpreters during the first six centuries CE and what this may tell us about relations between Jews and Christians in late antiquity.
The background to this book is a reawakening among scholars to the Jewish origins of Christianity, a trend that became noticeable in the first half of the twentieth century.