School of Theology and Seminary Faculty Publications


For the Vineyard of the Lord of Hosts was the House of Israel: Cyprian of Carthage and the Jews

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Arts and Humanities | Christianity | Religion


There exists an emerging scholarly consensus that the continued and thriving presence of the Hellenistic Synagogue in the Roman imperial period forced Christianity constantly to define itself in relation to Judaism. This study challenges that consensus insofar as it pertains to the writings of Cyprian, Christian bishop of Carthage from 249 to 258 CE. A close examination of Cyprian’s writings reveals little evidence of an active dialogue, however polemical, between Jews and Christians in Carthage in the middle of the third century. In addition, there is no evidence in Cyprian’s writings of active Jewish hostility toward Christians. On the whole, Cyprian’s manner of scriptural interpretation renders Judaism primarily as an anachronism, part of a negative past which the Christian church has superseded.


DOI: 10.2307/1455002