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Between 1971 and 1996 the late John Howard Yoder (19271997) wrote a series of ten essays "revisiting" the Jewish-Christian schism in which he argued that, properly understood, Jesus did not reject Judaism, Judaism did not reject Jesus, and the Apostle Paul's universal mandate for the salvation of the nations is best understood not as a product of Hellenization, but rather in the context of his Jewish heritage.
Yoder's argument draws upon his lifelong critique of the Constantinian deformation of Christianity to show links between the "free church" vision of Christianity and diaspora Judaism. This posthumous collection of essays is arguably his most ambitious project and displays Yoder's original thesis that the Jewish-Christian schism "did not have to be."
Editors Michael Cartwright and Peter Ochs locate Yoder's argument in relation to his decades-long dialogue with the philosopher and rabbi Steven S. Schwarzschild as well as placing it in the context of Yoder's understanding of the eschatological significance of Jewish-Christian reconciliation as imaged in the Letter to the Ephesians. Cartwright and Ochs also show how Yoder's understanding of the Jewish-Christian schism must be understood in the context of his theological understanding of what it means for Christians and Jews to share the God-given vocation to be "missionary" peoples to and for the nations. Cartwright's afterword puts Yoder's project in context with the ongoing issue of Christian supersessionism.
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