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The Jewish JesusHow Judaism and Christianity Shaped Each Other$
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Peter Schäfer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153902

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153902.001.0001

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Adam

Adam

Chapter:
(p.197) 7 Adam
Source:
The Jewish Jesus
Author(s):

Peter Schäfer

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691153902.003.0008

This chapter argues that it is not only the angels who are perceived as dangerous competitors with God—the same holds true for Adam, the first man, who, according to some midrashim, was originally created with enormous bodily dimensions (a makro-anthropos); one midrash even goes so far as to suggest that God decided to make him mortal only when he realized that the angels made an attempt to worship him. The rabbis polemicized against attempts to elevate Adam to a supernatural and (semi)divine being because they were aware of the possible Christological interpretations and because such ideas had gained followers among the rabbis themselves. The Adam myth is but another example of the theological possibilities inherent in ancient Judaism—possibilities that were developed further by circles that would be labeled “Christian” yet could still remain within what would be called “rabbinic Judaism.” In distancing themselves from such tendencies, the rabbis ultimately aimed to shape their own (rabbinic) identity.

Keywords:   Adam, makro-anthropos, Christological interpretations, Adam myth, ancient Judaism, Christianity, rabbinic Judaism, rabbinic identity

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