A Spectrum of Early Christian Sabbath Views

Speaker: Categories: Jun 12, 2004


[1hr, 16min, 41sec / 1hr, 11min, 23sec]


"When it comes to the Sabbath,"Dr. Weiss notes,"Adventists have been primarily concerned to establish the necessity of its strict observance on the seventh day of the week. Thus, scholarly books on the Sabbath by Adventists have concentrated on proving that there is no evidence for the abrogation of the Sabbath commandment in the New Testament and that the transferal of Sabbath qualities to Sunday is illegitimate. The works of Merwin Maxwell, Kenneth Strand, Samuele Bacchiocchi, and others have traced the passage of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week along different paths.

This presentation is not just one more run over well covered terrain in order to present yet another explanation for the emergence of Sunday as the Christian day of worship. It will be a reporting of my research in seeking to understand how the Christians of the first century, who for the most part were Jews themselves, or understood thatThe Way(Acts 9:2) had its roots in Judaism and its sacred scriptures, viewed the Sabbath and related to it. Given the fact that Judaism at the time of Jesus and the apostles was not a well regulated religious phenomenon, and that; therefore, not all Jews viewed the Sabbath in the same manner, it would seem logical to expect that among the early Christians there would also be many different ways of understanding the significance of the Sabbath. This presentation will attempt to identify at least some of the views held at that time."


Dr. Herold Weiss was born in Montevideo, Uruguay where his Argentinian father was for twelve years the secretary-treasurer of the Uruguayan Mission. He completed his last year of high school and one year of theology at River Plate College. He received his BA in theology from Southern Missionary College. Then he attended the SDA Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., where he received an M.A. in biblical languages, and eventually a B.D. His graduate work in biblical studies was done at Duke University, which granted him a Ph.D. While working on his dissertation, he taught for a year in the undergraduate religion department of Andrews University'and served as pastor of a Spanish congregation in Manhattan. In 1965 he became an Assistant Professor at the SDA Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, MI. After four years, however, he resigned and accepted a position as professor of Religious Studies at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN, where he taught for 32 years, until his retirement in 2001. Besides his many articles inSpectrum, Dr. Weiss has published many articles in scholarly journals, such as,The Journal of Biblical Literature,The Journal for the Study of the New Testament,Novum Testamentum,The Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman Period,The Catholic Biblical Quarterly,Studia Philonica, etc. Andrews University Press published his first book,Paul of Tarsus,His Gospel and Life, and the University of South Carolina Press published hisA Day of Gladness: The Sabbath Among Jews and Christians in Antiquity.

His latest book, written together with Charles Cosgrove and K. K. Yeo, Cross-Cultural Paul:Journeys to Others, Journeys to Ourselves, will be forthcoming from Eerdmans shortly.

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