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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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The Birth of the Messiah, or Why Did Baby Messiah Disappear?

The Birth of the Messiah, or Why Did Baby Messiah Disappear?

(p.214) 8 The Birth of the Messiah, or Why Did Baby Messiah Disappear?
The Jewish Jesus

Peter Schäfer

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the emergence of “Christianity” from “Judaism,” examining a famous midrash in the Jerusalem Talmud about the disappearance of the newborn Messiah. Instead of tracking the more elaborate efforts of differentiation and demarcation, one witnesses an early and archaic attempt to excrete “Christianity” from “Judaism”—yet this is a Christianity that is still regarded as part and parcel of Judaism and at the same time recognized as something that will become Judaism's worst enemy. Hence, this Baby Messiah is simultaneously the Jewish and Christian Messiah, caught at that tragic moment when Judaism was desperately trying to retain the Messiah within its fold but was also vaguely sensing that it would ultimately fail and that a new religion had already been born.

Keywords:   Christianity, Judaism, Jerusalem Talmud, Baby Messiah, Jewish Messiah, Christian Messiah

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