Christian identity: Jewish?
Rafael, followed by a couple of others, discusses the issue of the NT being Jewish and what it might mean, something we have both discussed recently off blog. But one thing is pretty clear, namely that Christianity does one day become a gentile religion on the whole, at least in the sense that its members no longer think of themselves as Jewish and most outsiders do not think of Christians as Jewish. One of the problems here is using the NT writers too much rather than thinkning about Christiainity as a movement. If we did then it is easy to think of Christianity as very Jewish because most (all?) NT writers had some clear claim to a Jewish backgound (e.g. ethnicity) and not quite come to terms with the issue that most Christians in history do not identify themselves as Jewish. If we start thinking more in terms of audience and participants then we might start thinking about more and more gentile converts, many of whom would have cared less about Sabbath, food laws or a whole host of practices that people identified as specifically 'Jewish'. Of course, redefining various practices is crucial but when this is done with gentiles in mind too then we start getting on the way to a religion which does not appear to be Jewish. Jews can react against their tradition, abandon this or that practice but may still think of themselves as Jewish and people may define them as Jewish but when gentiles start doing this then things start shifting that bit further.