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Jewish Philosophical Polemics Against Christianity in the Middle Ages: With a New Introduction$
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Daniel J. Lasker

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113515

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113515.001.0001

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(p.1) Chapter One Introduction
Jewish Philosophical Polemics Against Christianity in the Middle Ages: With a New Introduction

Daniel J. Lasker

Liverpool University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the historical relationship between Judaism and Christianity, which had not been peaceful. Through the ages, Christian thinkers had made Judaism the object of attack, hoping to convince Jews to abandon their ancestral faith. From the earliest days of the new religion, when Christianity was just emerging from Judaism, Christians sought to demonstrate to Jews that Jesus was the expected messiah and that the doctrines he taught were true. Many Jews did not remain passive in the face of the Christian challenge to their religion. Talmudic and midrashic literature offers evidence that Jews were aware of the story of Jesus as related in the Gospels and basic Christian doctrines, against which they argued. In a later period, Jewish thinkers in Muslim countries polemicized against Christianity. This book therefore studies the Jewish philosophical polemic against Christianity in the Middle Ages. In combating the doctrines of Christianity, Jewish polemicists employed a variety of types of argumentation to strengthen their own beliefs. These arguments may be divided into three distinct categories: exegetical arguments, historical arguments, and rational arguments.

Keywords:   Judaism, Christianity, Christians thinkers, Christian doctrines, Jewish thinkers, Jewish philosophical polemic, Jewish polemicists, exegetical arguments, historical arguments, rational arguments

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