they simply could not compete with the popular message of Christian thinkers such as Paul, Justin, Irenaeus (e.g. Haer. 4.1-34) and Tertullian (e.g. Adv.Jud.) that Gentile converts could enjoy all the benefits of membership in Israel without suffering the inconveniences associated with strict observance of the Law. As a result, the church became more and more Gentile in complexion, and the question arose as to how to deal with the increasingly marginalised Jewish Christian minority - the mirror image of the earliest church's dilemma about coping with the influx of Gentiles. Justin Martyr, for example, describes various kinds of Jewish Christian groups that continue to observe the regulations of the Torah, specifically circumcision, the sabbath, months and purifications (Dial. 46-7). Some, like Paul's Galatian opponents, try to persuade other Christians to observe the Law. Others, however, while personally observant, do not object to their fellow Christians remaining unobservant. Justin is prepared to put up with the latter group but not the former; he adds, however, that not all Gentile Christians are so tolerant.
A comparison of these passages from Justin with the evidence examined earlier from Acts and Paul's letters brings to light a striking change in tone. In Acts and some of the Pauline correspondence, readers encounter an aggressive Jewish Christianity centred in Jerusalem and influential throughout the Christian world, a self-confident movement against which Gentile Christianity has to defend its legitimacy. In Justin, on the other hand, they meet a self-assured Gentile Christianity dictating the terms under which Jewish Christianity may still be countenanced. Although Justin's presentation may reflect his desires as well as the reality in which he lives, and although, as noted above, Jewish Christianity was still dominant in his time in some parts of the Christian world, a shift in the balance of power had nevertheless occurred. It is not accidental that neither Irenaeus, the great refuter of heretics in the second century, nor Epiphanius, his counterpart in the fourth, devotes to Jewish Christians a fraction of the attention that he pays to Gnostics. Already by Justin's time the battle for the legitimacy of the Torah-free mission, while not over, was at least in the process of being won in most portions of the Christian world, and the question on the agenda would increasingly be whether any place might still be found for Torah-observant followers of Jesus. And the writing was already on the wall: the Great Church's answer would be 'no'.
What was lost through this 'no' to Jewish Christianity, which eventually turned 'Jew' and 'Christian' into antonyms in most people's minds? As Paul said in a related context, 'Much in every way' (Rom 3:2). The Gentile church forfeited its sense of a living connection with 'Israel according to the flesh' (1 Cor 10:18; cf. Rom 9:3-4) and began to think ofJews as 'those people' rather
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