Christianity and Judaism are major world religions which, though they worship the same God, have marked differences which have caused two thousand years of strife and animosity between the two religions. In his book We Jews and Jesus, Samuel Sandmel likens the link between Judaism and Christianity to a type of parent-child relationship, saying, "Early Christianity was a Judaism; within a century after the death of Jesus it was a separate religion. It was critical of its parent, and hostile to it, and elicited from its parent reciprocal criticism and hostility."1 Opposing views of Jesus Christ caused the initial rift between Judaism and Christianity and is the primary source of the tension between the two religions which has continued for the last two millennia. Therefore, in order to understand how Judaism and Christianity relate to one another, it is essential to understand the way Jesus is perceived in each religion. The way that Christians view Jesus is quite well known, but Judaism's view of him is much lesser known, so it is important to explore Judaism's perceptions of Jesus, beginning with New Testament times, and to examine the ways in which these feelings and opinions have changed over time.
Although the New Testament is the main source of information regarding Jesus' life, Jews often disregard it as a reliable source of information. It was not written until two to three generations after Jesus, hence it cannot be considered a primary source. Also, from a Jewish perspective, the aim of the Gospels is not to give an accurate account of Jesus' life and teachings; the Gospels served as missionary documents containing accounts recorded by biased evangelists. They reflect the aims of the church rather than actual facts, and their writers were more concerned with the advancement of Christianity than the transmission of factual historical information. For these reasons, it is impossible to separate the historical... [continues]
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