The Fourth Century was crucial to both the Christian Church and Judaism: it saw the formulation of Christian doctrine and the completion of the Palestinian Talmud. Christianity was now the favoured religion of the Roman Empire, but Judaism remained a vital force. In this meticulously researched study Leopold Lucas explores the arguments and attitudes of the Church Fathers from Basil to Augustine. A picture emerges of a strenuous intellectual struggle between Christians and Jews. Thanks to their political ascendancy, the Christians emerged victorious. But the same pressures that excluded the Jews from authority in the Christian State resulted in their preservation as a necessary and hence tolerated minority faith in Mediaeval Europe.
Dr Peter J. Lucas is Head of Old and Middle English at University College, Dublin.
September 1, 1993