'Like Green Herb': Julian's Understanding of Purity and His Attitude Towards Judaism in His Contra Galiaeos



Among the charges levelled against the Christians in Julian’s ‘Against the Galileans’ Judaism and its purity legislation play an essential role: By refusing Jewish sacrificial practice and dietary regulations, Julian argues, the Galileans abandoned the pure and priestly life prescribed by Moses to follow a new path of impurity and moral disorder. Julian aims to prove his allegations by strategically developing a close parallelism between Jews and Hellenes. Against a widespread view, therefore, Judaism plays essentially a polemical role in Julian’s reasoning. Only when we consider the continuing attraction which Judaism held for Christians, especially in Antioch, we can properly understand Julian’s polemics. Favouring the Jews and supporting the literal interpretation of Scripture he affirmed on the one hand indirectly the Hellenic pure way of life, on the other hand he tried to nourish inner-Christian conflicts.
  • Year: 2008
  • Volume: 2
  • Page/Article: 1-16
  • DOI: 10.18573/j.2008.10293
  • Published on 15 Dec 2008