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Study sees post-Temple schism

A split in the Jewish community after the Second Temple was destroyed contributed to the rise of Christianity, Israeli researchers say. Hebrew University historian Doron Mendels and Tel Aviv University legal expert Arye Edrei argue in a study published this week that Jews who remained in the Levant after the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 C.E. were the ones who codified Jewish law into the Talmud. By contrast, “Western” Jews in places such as Asia Minor, Greece, Italy and the Mediterranean islands were cut off from the oral Jewish law and had to rely on Greek translations of the written Bible. The latter community proved to be fertile ground for early Christian missionaries, who offered them a renewed sense of interconnectedness and scholarship. The thesis, which runs counter to traditional views that the early Jewish Diaspora was united by a Jewish canon that today is preserved in Orthodox practice, has been published in the Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha.

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