Timeline: Christianity & Judaism

[Gilbert Stuart Newton, Shylock and Jessica (1830)—Wilimedia]


The history of Jewish-Christian relations is complex and has both political and theological aspects. Here are a few of the major people and events featured in this issue to help guide you through the story.


c. 50 Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) says gentile converts to Christianity do not need to observe the Mosaic law.

70 Romans destroy Second Temple in Jerusalem.

c. 100 Gamaliel II, leader of the Sanhedrin, excludes Christians and other “sectarians” from synagogues.

132–133 Bar Kochba rebellion leads Roman Empire to bar Jews from Jerusalem.

c. 200 Mishnah is compiled. 

c. 305 A council in Spain forbids Christians and Jews to intermarry or share meals.

313 Christianity is legalized in the Roman Empire.

315 Constantine forbids Jews from making converts.

325 Council of Nicaea separates the date of Easter from the Jewish calendar.

c. 350 Jerusalem Talmud is compiled.

380 Christianity becomes official religion of Roman Empire.

c. 386 John Chrysostom preaches Adversus Judaeos, “Against the Jews.”

388 All marriage between Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire is forbidden.

 c. 398 Augustine articulates the “witness” doctrine, which will govern church dealings with the Jews for centuries.

439 Jews are forbidden to hold certain offices in the Roman Empire and to build new synagogues.

c . 500 Babylonian Talmud is compiled.

531 Jews are forbidden to bear witness against Christians in court. 

591 Pope Gregory I condemns forced baptism of Jews.

c. 600 Edictum Theodorici loosens some restrictions on Germanic Jews.

602 Pope Gregory I protects Jews cele­b­rating their religious festivals.

693–694 Councils of Toledo restrict Jewish life in Spain.

794 Charlemagne encourages Jewish moneylending, then later restricts it in the Capitulary for the Jews (814).

1099 The First Crusade establishes the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Crusaders massacre many Jews along the way.

1144 Jews in Norwich are falsely accused of murder in the first known instance of “blood libel” (the accusation that Jews require Christian blood for their rituals).

1187 Muslim leader Saladin defeats Christian troops and captures Jerusalem.

1190 Maimonides writes Guide for the Perplexed.

1192 Kingdom of Jerusalem establishes a new capital at Acre.

1211 Three hundred French and English rabbis migrate to the Holy Land.

1215 Fourth Lateran Council requires Jews and Muslims to wear distinctive dress to prevent intermarriage.

1243 First known accusation against Jews of desecrating the Christian host (Communion wafer).

1247 Pope Innocent IV issues a mandate against blood libels.

1278 Pope Nicholas III requires Jews to attend conversion sermons.

1290 Jews are expelled from England.

1291 Acre falls to Muslim troops.

c. 1300 Christian writer Ramon Llull becomes interested in Kabbalah.

1320 Baruch appears in court to protest his false conversion. 

1478 The Spanish Inquisition begins.

1489 Christian kabbalistic philo­sopher Pico della Mirandola publishes Heptaplus.

1492 Alhambra Decree orders Jews to convert or leave Spain.

1516 Jews in Venice are segregated into a ghetto; other cities adopt this practice later.

1543 Martin Luther publishes About the Jews and Their Lies.

1553 Roman Inquisition burns a copy of the Talmud in Rome.

1621 English lawyer Henry Finch publishes The World’s Great Restauration, which proposes a temporal Jewish homeland. 

1645 Memoirist Glückel of Hameln is born.

1649 Johanna and Ebenezer Cartwright petition Oliver Cromwell, recommending a return of the Jews to Israel. 

1655 Cromwell readmits Jews to England.

1730 Jews of Rhode Island build first North American synagogue.

1770–1880 Haskalah, Jewish Enlightenment, occurs in Central and Eastern Europe.

1858 Lionel de Rothschild becomes first Jewish member of the British Parliament.

1882 The word pogrom receives its first known use to describe a massacre of Jews in Russia

1891 American businessman William Blackstone spearheads a petition to return Jews to the Holy Land.

1897 Theodore Herzl formally establishes Jewish political Zionism.

1903 The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Russian forgery purporting to describe a Jewish conspiracy for world domination, is published.

1917 Britain issues Balfour Declaration.

1920 League of Nations gives Britain a “mandate for Palestine.”

1921 Franz Rosenzweig publishes The Star of Redemption

1933 Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany.

1934 Hitler takes absolute power; Christians who oppose him issue Barmen Declaration.

1935 Nuremberg Laws restrict German Jews.

1938 Nazis attack Jewish businesses during Kristallnacht, “night of broken glass.”

1939 World War II begins; Sholem Asch publishes The Nazarene.

1941 Marc Chagall flees Nazi persecution.

1942 Nazis begin systematically implementing the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”

1945 By the end of World War II, Nazis have killed six million Jews.

1947 United Nations agrees on a partition plan for Palestine; Anne Frank’s diary is published.

1948 Leaders proclaim the State of Israel the day before the British mandate ends.

1951 Menachem Mendel Schneerson becomes Rebbe of Chabad.

1960 Elie Wiesel publishes Night.

1965 Second Vatican Council issues Nostra Aetate, which formally repudiates the doctrine that all Jews everywhere are responsible for the death of Christ.

1967 Six-Day War controversially expands Israel’s boundaries.

By the editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #133 in 2020]

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