1st Edition

Between Jews and Heretics Refiguring Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho

By Matthijs den Dulk Copyright 2018
    182 Pages
    by Routledge

    182 Pages
    by Routledge

    Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho is the oldest preserved literary dialogue between a Jew and a Christian and a key text for understanding the development of early Judaism and Christianity. In Between Jews and Heretics, Matthijs den Dulk argues that whereas scholarship has routinely cast this important text in terms of "Christianity vs. Judaism," its rhetorical aims and discursive strategies are considerably more complex, because Justin is advocating his particular form of Christianity in constant negotiation with rival forms of Christianity. The striking new interpretation proposed in this study explains many of the Dialogue’s puzzling features and sheds new light on key passages. Because the Dialogue is a critical document for the early history of Jews and Christians, this book contributes to a range of important questions, including the emergence of the notion of heresy and the "parting of the ways" between Jews and Christians.


    Chapter 1 Justin Martyr, Heresy Hunter

    Chapter 2 The Case for an Internal Audience

    Chapter 3 The Dialogue as an Anti-heretical Text

    Chapter 4 "Heresy" and the Composition of the Dialogue

    Chapter 5 In Favor of Heresiology


    Appendix: Justin Martyr and the Acts of the Apostles


    Matthijs den Dulk is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Studies at Radboud University, The Netherlands.

    "This may be the most important book on Justin Martyr’s work in a century, solving major problems with understanding the text that have been unsolved since Harnack."
    - Daniel Boyarin, University of California Berkeley, USA

    "Matthijs den Dulk’s outstanding Between Jews and Heretics sheds new light on the central questions of Christianity in the second century: mutual self-definition among rival groups, the development of heresiological discourse, literary images of Jews and Judaism, and appropriations of the Septuagint and of traditional philosophy. Its innovative reading of Dialogue with Trypho persuasively shows how all these themes converge in Justin Martyr’s project of inventing what he considered true Christianity. This is essential reading for all historians of early Christianity."
    - David Brakke, The Ohio State University, USA

    "Taking the title Dialogue with utmost seriousness, Den Dulk has written a truly innovative book on Justin’s work while grounding his arguments in both meticulous historical philology and in critical theory. This important book situates the Dialogue in the vibrant milieu of religious diversity, inside and between Christianities and Judaisms of the second century CE, and significantly contributes to our understanding of these religious identities."
    - Galit Hasan-Rokem, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

    "[den Dulk] advances scholarship on several core issues of second-century CE Christianity, including heresiology, the relationship between Judaism(s) and Christianities, and Christian identity articulation ... This is a masterful work that is sure to influence scholarship on early Christianity for years to come."
    - Nathan L. Shedd, Religious Studies Review 2019

     ""In nuce den Dulk argues that the Dialogue was written for an internal audience and that while Justin was not uninterested in arguing a case against nonChristian Jews(...) Dialogue becomes not only an attack upon demiurgical forms of Christianity but also a call for their exclusion."
    -James Carleton Paget, Peterhouse Cambridge, Journal of Ecclesiastical History