Who Was a Jew?

A number of years ago, I gave a lecture in Greenwich, Connecticut, at the Chabad sponsored National Jewish Retreat. The lecture focused on the topic “Who Was a Jew?” and was based on my book of the same name. Who Was a Jew, published by Ktav, surveys the halakhic literature surrounding the question of Jewish self-identity in the Second Temple Period. It examines how the Jewish-Christian schism was a result of Gentiles being the majority of Christians, and Jewish Christians (born of Jewish mothers) becoming the minority.

Also in the video, find out why – despite the book’s popularity – I didn’t become rich.


Watch on TorahCafé.com!

2 Responses to Who Was a Jew?

  • What do you think of the arguments of Shaye Cohen and David Daube that in the first century someone was a Jew through their father, rather than through their mother? Shaye Cohen, ‘Was Timothy Jewish (Acts 16:1-3)? Patristic Exegesis, Rabbinic Law, and Matrilineal Descent’, JBL 105/2 (1986), pp. 251-68.

  • Lawrence H. Schiffman says:

    I don’t agree with their evaluation of the evidence. i think THAT they have taken some very interesting cases of exceptions and indications that boundaries arE always fuzzy and allowed them to become the dominant evidence. I also think that we are in disagreement about the influence of the incipient rabbinic tradition in the land of israel at this time.

    L. Schiffman

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