Christianity & Judaism/what's the difference?

Aren’t all Christians merely a Jewish sect who believe that the Messiah has come once already, and will come again? Why then all the new rules and regulations? Help me out here.

Hmmm… shouldn’t this be moved, perhaps to GD?

Wecolme to the boards, Raoul.Once you get a feel for this board, you’ll get the hang of where to post your messages. Not to make you feel unwelcome, of course, but you’ll soon get the hang of it! Hope to see you around more!

Yes, this looks like a Great Debates thread.

Because the coming of the Messiah as the Christians believe changed the rules. For the Jews, who didn’t believe the Messiah had come, none of the rules were changed. Jesus said that the 10 Commandments were reduced to 2 Commandments.
[ul][li]Love God[/li][li] Love thy neighbor as thyself/love thine enemy[/ul][/li]
Then there was this guy named Saul, who came to be known as Paul and he said that the old rules didn’t count and what it took was the belief in Jesus dying for our sins and that was it. Even though Paul was a Jew the Jews didn’t cotton up to this idea either.

First of all, while Christianity may have arisen out of Judaism, it is no more a form of Judaism than my copy of the New York Daily News is a form of a tree.

I suppose we can start with the basics. I won’t cover everything (there’s just too darn much), but we’ll start and maybe others will pick up where I leave off.

Let’s start with the issue of Jesus.

Most Christians believe Jesus was the literal Son of God and the long-waited for Messiah. They believe he died on the cross to for mankind’s sins and arose from the dead three days later. Most sects believe that there will be a second coming of Jesus to establish God’s kingdom on earth.

Jews (and, admittedly, I am speaking from the Orthodox perspective), on the other hand, believe that Jesus was not the messiah. We do not believe it is possible for there to even be a literal Son of God. We believe the messiah will be a mortal human being, born of two parents in the normal fashion. He will be a scholar and a righteous person. He will gather in the exiles to Israel, rebuild the Temple and establish a secure Jewish state. We do not believe that the messiah will “die for our sins.” The salvation that the messiah will bring will be, for the most part, a political one. Needless to say, we reject any notion of a “virgin birth, etc.”

Most Christians believe that Jesus came and fulfilled the law. As such, using the words of Paul, they are “free from the curse of the Law.” That is why Christians today do not keep kosher, do not observe Jewish holidays or the Jewish Sabbath, or keep most of the commandments of the Torah.

Jews (again, Orthodox), OTOH, still keep the commandments today. Some commandments cannot be kept because they require the presence of the Temple in Jerusalem. But, those aside, Orthdox Jews do keep the commandments as outlined in the Torah.

Most Christians maintain the doctrine of Original Sin. Jews, OTOH, reject this doctrine.

Christianity is a religion that emphasizes faith. One must believe that Jesus is the messiah and the believer’s personal Saviour. Judaism is a religion that stresses actions. We are required to keep the commandments[sup]*[/sup]

That will do for now. I hope others will be able to continue on. If not, I will post more later.

[sub]Yes, Jews are required to believe in the existence of God. And yes, Christians do require one to follow Christian law. But, in both cases, that is not where the main emphasis is.[/sub]

Zev Steinhardt

Didn’t Hillel say this first? I’m not saying Jesus didn’t say it, but I believe he wasn’t the first Jewish teacher to put for this notion of Commandment Reduction.

Truly, a Jew or anyone else might wonder about Paul’s ideas when other sources attribute to Jesus of Nazareth statements like the following:

It goes much further back than Hillel. Love your neighbor as yourself is in Leviticus 19:18.

Zev Steinhardt

Whoops. I didn’t read the rest of your statement ThunderBug.
Hillel never taught “commandment reduction.” No reputable Jewish scholar of the day would have taught that there were anything less than 613 commandments. Even the Saudacees (who had different beliefs about the interpretation of the commandments) believed that there were exactly 613 commandments, no more and no less. Hillel (or any other Talmudical sage of the day) would not have engaged in “commandment reduction.”

Zev Steinhardt

Another difference that I forgot is the matter of the Trinity.

Most Christians believe that God is made up of three parts, a Father, a Son and a Holy Spirit (or Ghost). Judaism holds that such a division is impossible. Dueteronomy 6:4 clearly states that God is one. As such, Jews do not believe that the concept of a Trinity is even possible.

[sub]As I think of more, I’ll keep posting…[/sub]

Zev Steinhardt

Okay, obviously zev knows a whole lot more about Judaism than I, but I did some research on the Tamud for a school project last year and I think I remember the story ThunderBug may be thinking of. Zev, please feel free to correct me if I screw this up.

A pagan comes up to Hillel and says he’ll convert to Judaism if Hillel can teach him the Torah while he stands on one foot. Hillel responds, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. This is the whole of the Torah; the rest is commentary. Go now and learn it.” (cite)

The “go now and learn it” part is important. He’s NOT saying that you can ignore all the other commandments, just pointing out that they’re all elaborations on the basic point of being kind to one another.

Yes, you have the story correct, king of spain.

Zev Steinhardt

Well, I don’t know that the dietary laws, f’rinstance, are about being kind to one another (unless your “fellow man” includes pigs and cows). The dietary laws are simply God’s commands and do not appear to have anything to do with kindness to your “fellow man”. Hillel seems to have been overstating things a tad. :wink:

He may have been. It could also be reflective of a parent/child relationship. If your parent tells you to do something, and you know that they have good reasons and only wish the best for you, you would probably do what they requested.

There are many laws that, on the surface, may not fit the “love your neighbor…” model. I know for a fact that I can’t put them all in that realm without using the above mentioned idea. But, then again, Hillel was a lot smarter than I am.

Zev Steinhardt

The replies here are great; they are also from the Jewish perspective, so let me express (nearly) the same thing from the Christian view point.

Before Jesus, our relationship with God was a legal/contractual one - if you do this, God will do that. Christians believe that Jesus replaced that relationship with a familial one - God is our dad, and he loves us even when we screw up.

Now, this is some sort of hypercompressed summary but the result of this is that Christians expect to screw up. A good Christian who loves God, will do their best to live by the “ten commandments” and the “two commandments” (as listed above) but also rests easy knowing that, thanks to Jesus, his mistakes will be forgiven.

Some branches of Christianity will argue that you MUST obey the law (as they understand it - quite different from how an Orthodox Jew understands it!) or at least be explicitly forgiven for your mistakes (the sacrament of confession). Other branches hold that this is is unneccessary.

Personally, I’m just gonna do my best and hope He understands.

I don’t think “doing what you parent says to do since you trust him to know what’s best” can really be legitimately considered a part of “what is abhorrent to you, do not do to your fellow man”:

  1. I doubt many pre-Moses Jews would have thought that letting someone else eat a cheesburger was particularly abhorrent. Therefore, they should not feel a need to refrain from eating cheeseburgers to avoid distress to others. I mean, some people are grossed out by sushi, but I don’t consider it an important moral obligation to stop eating it altogether out of kindness to them.

  2. Even if they stop eating cheeseburgers to avoid distressing God, unless there is a mistranslation Hillel said “fellow man” not “fellow man or deity”

  3. Even if “fellow man” includes God, the moral dictate to avoid distressing God seems much more strict that that to avoid distressing your fellow man, so it doesn’t seem to fit neatly into “what is abhorrent to you, do not do to your fellow man” either. There is no overriding concern to, say, circumcise your son because your neighbor finds it abhorrent, but there is if it’s God we’re talking about. So God is not the same as one’s “fellow man”.

I think the various dietary and ritual laws are more appropriately regarded as “stuff God told us to do” rather than “not doing something that is abhorrent to one’s fellow man”.

Granted Gaudere, that it doesn’t fit nicely into the “love your neighbor…” I was only offering a possible rationale, which you are free to reject. As I said later in the post, I can’t fully put all the ritual laws (including the laws of kashrus) into the “love your neighbor…”

Zev Steinhardt

Many years ago I read a book purporting to explain Judaism to Christians. It stated flatly that Judaism has no doctrine of an afterlife. I interpreted that to mean that belief is optional.

I was taught in Sunday School that there were two Jewish groups in Jesus’ day (the Pharisees and the Sadducees) which were opposed on that point, among others.

Zev, what’s the stright dope?

Wow…Thanks for all the great input…But even with all these differences, I still think Christianity is a mere sect of Judaism, and in fact is referred to as such by Jews themselves in the New Testament , I think in the book of “Acts.” Don’t ask me where exactly; I’ll have to look it up.

Wow…Thanks for all the great input…But even with all these differences, I still think Christianity is a mere sect of Judaism, and in fact is referred to as such by Jews themselves in the New Testament , I think in the book of “Acts.” Don’t ask me where exactly; I’ll have to look it up. Probably the differences weren’t so great in those days, but Paul and other writers of the N.T., and many others through the centuries have magnified and increased them…