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Judaism And Christianity Essay

1798 words - 7 pages

In a tree of monotheistic religions, Judaism and Christianity, despite sharing common roots and spiritual tradition associated with Abraham, for many centuries diverged and developed in their own distinct ways. The partition, based on different theological doctrines, evolves around the idea of the nature of human relationships with God, which in case of Judaism are based on the Law of Torah, and in Christianity stem from the belief in Jesus Christ and its cornerstone – the doctrine of Trinity.
Beyond a doubt, the best illustration to the character of religious beliefs in Judaism, is “The Covenant at Sinai”, which despite being a part of Holy Scriptures in Christianity, draws a clear boundary between two religions. Not only it plays a crucial role in defining the self-identity of Jews as “the children of Israel”, and “a holy nation”, chosen by God, but it becomes the foundation of the “covenant theology”, the law of Moses. Thus, the conviction that the Jewish people were set apart from the rest of nations is the basis of that special “covenant relationship” with God and does not imply their superiority but rather the fact that through all the commandments and laws given by God their faith is being tested. The Covenant at Sinai is, therefore, the symbol of that relationship between God and people of Israel and the law that has to be observed in order to maintain God’s will. The sense of distinctiveness, even some sort of privilege as God’s “treasured possession among all the peoples”, is the cornerstone of Judaism and is reinforced through ethnic self-consciousness, ritual practices, and the “lawful” way of living of Jews, which eventually became a part of anti-Jewish polemics.
The primary commandments of the covenant itself deal with the nature of God,-- “You shall have no other gods beside Me”. God’s Unity and incorporeality do not accept any intermediaries in worshipping Him, thus any kind of reduction of God to an imitation or idolatry is violating God’s will, and therefore, should be considered a blasphemy. Such doctrine appears to be in contrast with Hellenistic tradition of syncretism which perceived different local and national gods as manifestations of one deity (Dunn 27). As noted by Dunn, “the widespread belief among cultured Hellenists in the Graeco-Roman world that Jews (and subsequently Christians) were atheists – not because they were monotheists as such, but because they were exclusive monotheists, whereas the cultured Hellenists were typically syncretistic monotheists” (Dunn 28). On the other hand, it clearly confronts with the Christian doctrine of Trinity.
Among the laws given to Jewish people, a special role is attributed to the one about the Sabbath – “Remember the sabbath and keep it holy”. Based on the idea of creation of world, the seventh day had to be observed as a constant reminder of the Covenant with the Creator. Futhermore, act of creation of a man in the God’s image, which, however, does not imply...

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