But anyway, Stephan mentioned in my now defiled other thread that Jewish Christians only observed the Torah in part.
They read and interpreted the Jewish scriptures but in a highly mystical or allegorical manner. Indeed as far as I can see the only points of debate that ever emerges in the Patristic literature are (a) the calculation of Easter (b) abstention from certain types of foods and wine (c) some sort of observance of the Sabbath even as a fast (d) adherence to the Ten Commandments (e) recognition of Jewish holidays but again in a highly allegorized or 'spiritual form' (such as the examples of a Christian Festival of Unleavened Bread and (f) the covering of women. Maybe there are others. But circumcision isn't on that list certainly, nor animal sacrifices, nor again ritual mourning, birth observances, marriage contracts, divorce etc etc. There is simply no way to square core Jewish beliefs with the 'Jewish Christians' unless you assume that ALL of the Patristic sources are wrong and all the books of the Orthodox are forgeries which is a gross neglect of scholarship
I haven't thought about the various versions of post-70 CE Jewish Christianity in a long time, so I want to take a fresh look at the issue, and that's what this thread is about. I'm not here to push any particular agenda, only to see what the Patristic sources say again and to let the chips fall where they may.
After my initial research into it (which was interrupted by the "John T" issue), it appears to me that the Jewish Christians who did not observe all of the Torah existed only after 70 CE. As Epiphanius says about these Jewish Christians in Pan. 30.18.7:
But before this he says in Pan. 30.2.7 that:Nor do they accept Moses' Pentateuch in its entirety; they reject certain sayings. When you say to them, of eating meat, 'Why did Abraham serve the angels the calf and the milk? Why did Noah eat meat, and why was he told to by God, who said, 'Slay and eat?' Why did Isaac and Jacob sacrifice to God—Moses too, in the wilderness?' he will disbelieve those things and will say, 'What need for me to read what is in the Law, when the Gospel has come?'
And he says in Pan. 29.1.3-3 that the other kind of Jewish Christians, who did keep all of the Torah, go back to before 70 CE:Their origin came after the fall of Jerusalem.
And he says in Pan. 29.5.4 that these Jewish Christians did observe all of the Torah:...these people did not give themselves the name of Christ or Jesus' own name, but that of 'Nazoraeans.' But at that time all Christians alike were called Nazoraeans. They also came to be called 'Jessaeans' for a short while, before the disciples began to be called Christians at Antioch.
So when they were called Jessaeans then shortly after the Saviour's ascension and after Mark had preached in Egypt, in those times certain other persons, supposed followers of the apostles, seceded in their turn. I mean the Nazoraeans, whom I am discussing here. They were Jewish, were attached to the Law, and had circumcision.
And Pan. 29.7.1-5:
But they are Jews in every way and nothing else. They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, as the Jews do. For they do not repudiate the legislation, the prophets, and the books which are called Writings by the Jews and by themselves. They have no different views but confess everything in full accord with the doctrine of the Law and like the Jews, except that they are supposedly believers in Christ ... They are perfectly versed in the Hebrew language, for the entire Law, the prophets, and the so-called Writings—I mean the poetic books, Kings, Chronicles, Esther and all the rest—are read in Hebrew among them, as of course they are among the Jews. They are different from Jews, and different from Christians, only in the following ways. They disagree with Jews because of their belief in Christ; but they are not in accord with Christians because they are still fettered by the Law—circumcision, the Sabbath, and the rest.