'Trading Places' turns on its head the usual scholarly consensus that early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism run parallel. These two great traditions, argue Bruce Chilton and Jacob Neusner, intersected and ultimately traded places during the first four centuries of the Common Era. In this, the authors offer a bold new way of interpreting Western religious history.
Politically, for example, the private and communal Christianity became public and dominant after the conversion of Constantine, whereas the formerly public and political Rabbinic Judaism became private and communal.
But Christianity and Judaism traded places in other ways as well, such as their values, their teleology, and their understandings of history. Ultimately Judaism found success in making the best of what it could not change, Chilton and Neusner assert, whereas Christianity entered public discourse in a bid to transform the world.
'Trading Places' is accompanied by a sourcebook so that the critical passages from primary sources within each tradition can be scrutinized. Professors Chilton and Neusner also provide helpful commentaries to illuminate the context for and significance of these sources.
Bruce D. Chilton Jacob Neusner
Bruce Chilton is the Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College. He also serves as Chaplain and as Executive Director of Bard's Institute of Advanced Theology. He is the author of several books on early Christianity, including 'The Temple of Jesus'.
Jacob Neusner is Research Professor of Religion and Theology and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard College. He is also a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ and a life member of Clare Hall at Cambridge University in England. He is the author or editor of numerous books on Judaism and comparative religion.