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Original Research

How many Jews became Christians in the first century? The failure of the Christian mission to the Jews

David C. Sim

HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies; Vol 61, No 1/2 (2005), 417-440. doi: 10.4102/hts.v61i1/2.430

Submitted: 08 October 2005
Published:  09 October 2005


This study examines the early Christian mission(s) to the Jews, and attempts to determine, albeit speculatively, the number of Jews in the Christian movement in the first century. It is argued that the combined Christian mission was marked by a distinct lack of success. Neither the Law-observant gospel of the Jerusalem church nor the Law-free gospel of the Hellenists and Paul made much impression upon the people of Israel. Throughout the first century the total number of Jews in the Christian movement probably never exceeded 1 000 and by the end of the century the Christian church was largely Gentile.

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Author affiliations

David C. Sim, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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ISSN: 0259-9422 (print) | ISSN: 2072-8050 (online)

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