Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

“Are Christians the ‘Aliens Who Live in Your Midst’?: Torah and the Origins of Christian Ethics in Acts

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Author(s)

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Recent Jewish-Christian dialogue has uncovered that the early church's ethics were firmly rooted in Jewish halakhic thinking. This essay explores the topic through a study of the church's moral reasoning in Acts 10-15. We see the church readily employing distinctions that are now rarely invoked by Christian ethicists, such as between universal and particular moral law. These distinctions allowed the church to understand the ethical significance of the Torah not by imposing external categories on it (ceremonial versus moral) but through the Torah's own, internal distinctions. Thus, the church's understanding of the Torah can best be understood through the image of 'geirei toshav' (aliens who live in the midst of the people). This image could help Christian ethicists understand their relation to pluralistic contexts because it was precisely the increased pluralism of gentile inclusion that prompted the church in Acts. I briefly consider the implications for a concrete case: the Episcopal-Anglican Communion's debate about homosexuality, which employs the Acts 10-15 narrative.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-174
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Society of Christian Ethics
Volume29
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2009

    Research areas

  • Bible, Ethics, Old Testament, Hebrew Bible, Judaism, Halacha, homosexuality, natural law, Acts

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Anglo-American Secular Government

    Perry, J. M. 23 Feb 2017 Oxford Handbook of Secularism. Zuckerman, P. & Shook, J. (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 125-141 17 p. (Oxford Handbooks)

    Research output: ResearchChapter

  2. Putting hell first: cruelty, historicism, and the missing moral theory of damnation

    Perry, J. Feb 2016 In : Scottish Journal of Theology. 69, 1, p. 1-19 20 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  3. God, The Good, and Utilitarianism: Perspectives on Peter Singer

    Perry, J. 28 Feb 2014 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 212 p.

    Research output: ResearchAnthology

  4. God and the art of happiness

    Perry, J. Feb 2014 In : Scottish Journal of Theology. 67, 1, p. 112-113 2 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewBook/Film/Article review

Related by journal

ID: 66008967