The contrasts and differences between Judaism and Christianity has been an unceasing question of personal concern since starting my religious education. It is undeniable that these two religions hold abundance in common, which is primarily due to the fact that Judaism is the patriarch of Christianity. The central base is mutual for both religions – the Old Testament. However I will later acknowledge the distinctness and authenticity of each primeval religion.
Judaism was founded cca. 1300 BCE, on Mount Sinai, Egypt. This is publicised in Exodus 19. God lead the Children of Israel (Joseph’s twelve sons) on a journey through wilderness to Mt. Sinai. “Here, God revealed himself to the children of Israel and offered them a great covenant.”1 If the people of Israel obeyed his covenant they were promised to be the most beloved of nations, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. God furthermore communicated a covenant through Abraham. Following this, he renewed and affirmed this covenant with Moses. Moses can be described as the greatest prophet because he held an intimate relationship with the Lord; he converged with him face to face. Additionally Moses performed miracles superior to those of his fellow prophets. When Moses went and told the people the Lord’s words and laws, they responded in one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do” (Exodus 24:3). There are several types of Jews today; Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed Jews, each defined by how strict they adhere to their religious conviction. Granting Judaism and Christianity share historic ancestries, the two religions diverted their relations in the first century. Christianity was founded cca. 30 AD in Jerusalem, Israel. Christianity finds its source with the birth of Jesus Christ. This new religion emerged from the previous religion; Judaism. Claiming to be the son of God, Jesus’ followers listened to his preaching and teachings performed which in turn became the word of the Bible. Jesus is recognised for the miracles performed and the parables shared. These followers were of Jewish decent but more importantly are the earliest Christian community. Nonetheless there is one pivotal difference. Unlike Judaism, Christianity believes divine revelation is not merely through the Prophets and the Bible, but also through the person of Jesus. There are several types of Christians today; Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant.
“Central in the Jewish belief is that there is only one God, and that there is a special pact between God and the Jews.”2 They believe God chose the Jews to spread the God news to the world; a Messiah (saviour) will come. The Jewish race fervour the belief the Messiah will come. The Hebrew word “Mashiach” has been adopted by the Jews in reference to the forthcoming Messiah. They feel the “Mashiach” will approach the world subsequent to “war and suffering.”3 This is acclaimed in the Jewish scripture: Ezekiel 38:16. On the other hand, Christians trust their Messiah is Jesus Christ. Judaism claims Jesus is a false prophet, who was conceived through a natural birth. Contrastingly Christians believe Jesus is the son God, the incarnation of God and remarkably the saviour of the world. John 10:36 provides; “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemes; because I said, I am the Son of God.” Isaiah says in 7:14; “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel (God with us).” Gabriel insisted the child would be baptised the son of God. Amid the gospel writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus is pronounced the son God on frequent occasions.
Monotheism is the confidence in the existence of a single God. Monotheism is a distinctive element of Abrahamic religions such as Judaism and Christianity prescribed. Judaism assigns God’s (Yahweh’s) cohesion as absolutely unquestionable. However Trinitarian monotheism is the...
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Mc Grath, Allister E. Theology The Basics, Second Edition. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2008.
Woodhead, Linda and Paul Heeles. Religion in Modern Times, An Interpretive Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2000.
Schmidt, Roger. Exploring Religion, Second Edition. California, Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1988.
Duffy, Connie. Religion for Living, Junior Certificate Religious Education, Second Edition. Meath: Alpha Press Ltd, 2010.
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