Is Christianity the Continuation of Judaism?

One of the pillars of Christian culture is the belief that Christianity is an essentially new level of the ethic development of men. However, the Judaism controverts this statement and treats Christianity as its’ derivation. Judaism believes though it to be delusion which nevertheless might bear basic elements of Judaism to all peoples around the world.

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In the same time, it would be just to admit that Christianity has not appeared only like the sect of Judaism – it was a more complicated process. It emerged at the edge of several cultures, and even Judaism among those cultures was a more global one then the ancient Israel religion. It was the Judaism of diaspora, open to dialogue with all nations and influenced by the antique culture. Israeli Judaism is conceived as rooted in disparate historical responses to conditions that developed in nineteenth-century diaspora countries (Shlomo, Liebman, and Shokeid 7).

Ancient Judaism acknowledged one God who made them “a chosen people” but it was the God of a small people.  Thus, it turned the development of the large intellectual potential of Jews, generated by Judaism, inward, to the deep of the religion itself. Judaism emerged from the Old Testament religion – almost universal – and transformed into the national religion being thrown back to the archaic phase of religious development. National religions were to give place to world religions. For Judaism being the national religion was the historical issue as it preserved the national identity of Jewish people, but it has no more global importance. Thus, even if it is hard to understand Christianity without studying of the Old Testament, however, the Christians have a ground to consider themselves “a continuation” of Judaism in its better form.

What have Christians inherited from the Jews? Everything in the Old Testament. The knowledge of the true God. Comparing that with all the other religions of the ancient world, six crucial, distinctive teachings stand out: monotheism, creation, law, redemption, sin and faith. Christianity and Judaism are both closer and farther apart than any two other religions. On the one hand, Christians are completed Jews; but on the other, while dialogue between any two other religions may always fall back on the idea that they do not really contradict each other because they are talking about different things, Jews and Christians both know who Jesus is, and fundamentally differ about who He is. He is the stumbling stone (Kreeft, “Comparing Christianity & Judaism”).

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Of course, given the fact that Christianity has adopted so many Judaism elements, Jews may consider them to have the main and solely true religion. From the point of view of Judaism, the personality of Jesus from Nazareth has no religious meaning and his Messiah role acknowledgment is absolutely unacceptable. They believe that Messiah has not come yet what makes the biggest difference from Christianity.

Nevertheless, basically, theologians agree that modern Judaism, Christianity and Islam originate from ancient Jewish religion founded by a patriarch of Hebrew tribes Abraham and are usually referred to as Abrahamic religions. They are all monotheistic, and all to a different extent acknowledge the holy writings of Old Testament. The “Abrahamic covenant” is often referred to as the origin of monotheism. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all developed strong theological notions of covenant and all three make connections between their prophetic figures – Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, respectively – and Abraham (Hughes 3). Etymology of all Abrahamic religions comes to one ancient religion, as it was already mentioned, - to Judaism of the first century BC. Later affected by various cultural, social and political factors Judaism acquired national features lead to emerging of other religions having much in common.

Indeed, we shall find a striking similarity in Jewish, Christian and Muslim ideas of the divine. Even though Jews and Muslims both find the Christian doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation almost blasphemous, they have produced their own versions of these controversial theologies. Each expression of these universal themes is slightly different, however, showing the ingenuity and inventiveness of the human imagination as it struggles to express its sense of God (Armstrong 22).

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Thus, we should admit that all major world religions have one origin. This understanding makes all disputes over “different religions” meaningless as, in its’ essence, religion has one uniting root – the faith and striving to live in peace and harmony.

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