Boyarin - Border Lines - The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity

Daniel Boyarin - Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity
As long as I can remember I have been in love with some manifestations of Christianity (not always ones that my Christian friends would themselves love or even approve). Tennessee Ernie Ford singing on television the hymn "The Garden" moved me to tears when I was a child. For an oddly gendered teenager, St. Francis, the Sissy, proved an incredibly tantalizing figure of a man. Later on it was medieval Christian art and architecture, the cathedrals of Europe, the spirituality of Meister Eckhart and Jakob Bohme. Still later, and most significantly, it has been the writings of the Fathers of the Church (and their excluded others, the Christian heretics) that have been most riveting for me, pulling me into a world so close to that of my own beloved Rabbis of late antiquity and yet so foreign as well, a world in which oceans of ink (and rivers of blood) could be spilt on questions of detail in the description of the precise relationships between the posited persons of a complex godhead, a world, as well, in which massive numbers of men and women could choose freely and enthusiastically to live lives without the pleasures of sex and the joys of family. I find this world endlessly moving and alluring, even when at its most bizarre to me. For the last decade or so I have devoted much of my time and spirit to learning the languages of and understanding something of the inner and outer worlds of those early Christian men and women who wrote such texts and lived such lives. Some Jews, it seems, are destined by fate, psychology, or personal history to be drawn to Christianity.
 
This book won't let me be done with it, or so it seems, until I come clean and confess that I am one of those Jews. I cannot, of course, deny the problematic aspects of that desire; desire is frequently unruly and problematic. Christians, of course, have been bloody rotten to Jews through much of our histories, and Jews, when occasionally given the chance, have taken their turn at being rotten to Christians. This desire seems sometimes to be not entirely unlike the "love" that binds an abusive couple to each other. Nevertheless, it is there. The question is, then, what creative use can be made of problematic desire—not only what pleasures can it engender but also what utile can it be in the world?
 
Some Jews who are so absorbed by Christianity have been induced by that hour and even then with more of a sense of having been constrained to do this by the language, the text, the parts that would not come alive without this energy than by a desire for self-exposure. Something seems to frighten me here, either some boundary that I am afraid, for myself, that I am threatening to breach or perhaps a fear that I will be perceived to have breached such a boundary and be marginalized or excluded from a community to which I still fervently desire to belong. But there's no way out of this now other than to go right through the middle of it affection to convert and become Christians. I have not, held back by an even more powerful libidinal commitment to the religion, the memories, the thick history, the literature and liturgy of diasporic rabbinic Judaism as practiced for nearly the last two millennia. In earlier work, I have attempted to express and make some sense of that greater love.
In this preface, I want to make some sense of my other love and show how it drives the text that follows. Perhaps, better than "greater" or "lesser" in characterizing these investments, I should distinguish between a love of who I am, diasporic rabbinic Jew, and a desire for a different other, the subject of Christianity.
 

Daniel Boyarin - Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity

University of Pennsylvania Press, - 374p.
ISBN 0-8122-3764-1 
 

Daniel Boyarin - Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity. Contents

Preface: Interrogate My Love 
List of Abbreviations
1 Introduction 
Part I Making a Difference: The Heresiological Beginnings of
  • Christianity and Judaism
2 Justin's Dialogue with the Jews:
  • The Beginnings of Orthodoxy 
3 Naturalizing the Border:
  • Apostolic Succession in the Mishna 
Part II The Crucifixion of the Logos: How Logos Theology
  • Became Christian
4 The Intertextual Birth of the Logos:
  • The Prologue to John as a Jewish Midrash 
5 The Jewish Life of the Logos:
  • Logos Theology in Pre- and Pararabbinic Judaism 
6 The Crucifixion of the Memra:
  • How the Logos Became Christian 
Part III Sparks of the Logos: Historicizing Rabbinic Religion
7 The Yavneh Legend of the Stammaim:
  • On the Invention of the Rabbis in the Sixth Century 
8 "When the Kingdom Turned to Minut":
  • The Christian Empire and the Rabbinic Refusal of Religion 
  • Concluding Political Postscript: A Fragment 
Notes 
Bibliography 
Index 
Acknowledgments
 
 

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