Christianity as a world religion began when St Paul persuaded Jesus’s Disciples at a crisis meeting in Jerusalem that you didn’t have to become a Jew to be a Christian.
An Oxford academic, Alan Garrow, claims to have identified the record of that meeting.
A key question in the debate was whether Gentiles wishing to convert to the (Jewish) Jesus movement should be circumcised.
A section of a document called The Didache describes the process leading to the baptism of Gentiles wishing to convert to the (Jewish) Jesus movement. It does not require them to be circumcised – and thus does not require them to become Jews as a preliminary step.
The Didache (pronounced ‘did ah kay’) is a Christian manual giving unique details regarding baptism, eucharist and church leadership from an early period of Christian development.
Its name comes from the title, The Teaching (Didache) of the Lord, by the Twelve Apostles, to the Gentiles.
At present scholars are still divided over the date and significance of the Didache. However, over the past few years there has seen a steady movement in favour of the idea that the Didache contains extremely ancient material.