Mission and Conversion: Proselytizing in the Religious History of the Roman Empire

Paperback | June 1, 1990

byMartin GoodmanAs told bySusan Goodman

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This book tackles a central problem of Jewish and comparative religious history: proselytization and the origins of mission in the Early Church. Why did some individuals in the first four centuries of the Christian era believe it desirable to persuade as many outsiders to join their religiousgroup, while others did not? In this book, the author offers a radical new explanation of the origins of mission in this period, arguing that mission is not an inherent religious instinct, that in antiquity it was found only sporadically among Jews and pagans, and that even Christians rarelystressed its importance in the early centuries. In the first half of the book, Dr Goodman makes a detailed and radical re-evaluation of the evidence for Jewish missionary attitudes in the late Second Temple and Talmudic periods, overturning many commonly held assumptions about the history of Judaism, in particular the view that Jews proselytizedenergetically in the first century AD. This leads him on to take issue with the common notion that the early Christian mission to the gentiles imitated or competed with contemporary Jews. Finally, the author puts forward some novel suggestions as to how the Jewish background to Christianity maynonetheless have contributed to the enthusiastic adoption of universal proselytization by some followers of Jesus in the apostolic age.

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From Our Editors

This book tackles a central problem of religious history: proselytizing by Jews and pagans in the ancient world, and the origins of mission in the early Church. Martin Goodman argues that mission is not an inherent religious instinct, that in antiquity it was found only sporadically among Jews and pagans, and even Christians rarely str...

From the Publisher

This book tackles a central problem of Jewish and comparative religious history: proselytization and the origins of mission in the Early Church. Why did some individuals in the first four centuries of the Christian era believe it desirable to persuade as many outsiders to join their religiousgroup, while others did not? In this book,...

From the Jacket

This book tackles a central problem of religious history: proselytizing by Jews and pagans in the ancient world, and the origins of mission in the early Church. Martin Goodman argues that mission is not an inherent religious instinct, that in antiquity it was found only sporadically among Jews and pagans, and even Christians rarely str...

Martin Goodman is at Wolfson College, Oxford and the Oxford Centre for Hebrew Studies.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.51 inPublished:June 1, 1990Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198263872

ISBN - 13:9780198263876

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From Our Editors

This book tackles a central problem of religious history: proselytizing by Jews and pagans in the ancient world, and the origins of mission in the early Church. Martin Goodman argues that mission is not an inherent religious instinct, that in antiquity it was found only sporadically among Jews and pagans, and even Christians rarely stressed its importance in the early centuries.

Editorial Reviews

`Goodman has given a fresh, creative look at the reasons for the growth of the Christian missionary movement.'Virgil A. Olson, Missiology, Oct '96