Council of Jerusalem

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"Council of Jerusalem" is a common name for a meeting of early Christian leaders reported in the Acts of the Apostles chapter 15. The meeting must have happened about the year 50, at the latest some time before the death of James the Just in 62.

The issues[change | edit source]

A common interpretation is that the council came together because there was disagreement within the Early Christian community between those who believed the church must observe the rules of traditional Judaism[1], and Paul of Tarsus, who believed there was no such necessity. The "rules of traditional Judaism," the Halakha of Rabbinic Judaism, were not finished at this time[2]

The central issue was circumcision, as the author of Acts relates the initial confrontation in Antioch, where Paul had been preaching:

"And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, [and said], Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved." (Acts 15:1) KJV

Footnotes[change | edit source]

  1. That were the followers of the Pillars of the Church, led by James; see Galatians 2:12
  2. The Jewish Encyclopedia article on Jesus notes: "Jesus, however, does not appear to have taken into account the fact that the Halakah was at this period just becoming crystallized, and that much variation existed as to its definite form; the disputes of the Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai were occurring about the time of his maturity."

Other pages[change | edit source]

Other websites[change | edit source]

Further reading[change | edit source]

  • Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Christianities: The Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew 2003
  • Eisenman, Robert, 1997. James the Brother of Jesus : The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls. ISBN 0-670-86932-5 A cultural historian's dissenting view based on contemporary texts.
  • Westerholm, Stephen. Perspectives Old and New on Paul: The "Lutheran" Paul and His Critics 2003 ISBN 0-8028-4809-5