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Gentile Christian Identity from Cornelius to Constantine
The Nations, the Parting of the Ways, and Roman Imperial Ideology
HARDCOVER; Coming Soon: 11/5/2020
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7175-6
Price: $ 75.00
656 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6.125 x 9.25
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DESCRIPTION

Originally an ascribed identity that cast non-Jewish Christ-believers as an ethnic other, “gentile” soon evolved into a much more complex aspect of early Christian identity. Gentile Christian Identity from Cornelius to Constantine is a full historical account of this trajectory, showing how, in the context of “the parting of the ways,” the early church increasingly identified itself as a distinctly gentile and anti-Judaic entity, even as it also crafted itself as an alternative to the cosmopolitan project of the Roman Empire. This process of identity construction shaped Christianity’s legacy, paradoxically establishing it as both a counter-empire and a mimicker of Rome’s imperial ideology. 

Drawing on social identity theory and competitive ethnography, Terence Donaldson offers an analysis of gentile Christianity that is thorough and highly relevant to today’s discourses surrounding identity, ethnicity, and Christian-Jewish relations. As Donaldson shows, a full understanding of the term gentile is key to understanding the modern Western world and the church as we know it.

Table of Contents

1. Three Orations and a Question
2. Positioning the Question
3. Ethnē as an Identity Ascribed to Non-Jews: By Jews
4. Ethnē as an Identity Ascribed to Non-Jews: By Jewish Christ-believers
5. The Nations in Roman Imperial Discourse
6. Ethnē and Gentile Christian Identity (to 135 CE)
7. Ethnē and Gentile Christian Identity (after 135 CE)
Afterword

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