Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)



First Advisor

Paul Anderson

Second Advisor

Kent L. Yinger


In the discussion of Christian origins, Judaism, and their relationship to the gospel of John, the Birkat ha-minim remains an important element; particularly as it pertains to the occurrence of άποσυνάγωγος; in John 9:22; 12:42; and 16:2 and John's pejorative presentation of the 'Ιουδαιοι. Some have contended that it explains why, in these verses, Jewish followers of Jesus were ostracized from the synagogue which resulted in John's animosity in the use of 'Ιουδαιοι. In other words, they hold that the Birkat ha-minim functioned as a means of programmatic expulsion of Jewish Christians from the synagogue in John. Conversely, some have argued that Jewish and Christian relations remained peaceful in the early years of Christianity. In other words, no conflict existed around Jewish Christian participation in the synagogue; the Birkat ha-minim had no adverse effect on Jewish-Christian relations in John and certainly did not isolate Jewish Christians in order to force them out of the synagogue--they left on their own volition. In this thesis I argue that the issue warrants a more middle-of-the-road approach. That is, conflict certainly existed between Jewish Christians and their Jewish counterparts surrounding eligibility for participation in synagogue life, but was not necessarily the result of the Birkat ha-minim because the expulsion in John was not programmatic. Moreover, synagogue expulsion was not necessarily limited to a single community, more plausibly it occurred sporadically confronting many confessors of Jesus. The Birkat haminim, then, was a later formalization of these efforts.

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