Sacred Texts In Judaism And Christianity

1454 words - 6 pages

At a distance, Judaism and Christianity don't appear all that different; they both go to a place of worship, they praise God, they listen to and respect what prophets have said, and they each have certain rituals and customs which were passed down to them through thousands of years of history. On closer inspection it becomes evident that these two are separated by only one thing: the New Testament. The New Testament, and more specifically the teachings of Jesus in its books, morphed the customs and rituals of Judaism into different ones in the Christian faith, such as Christmas, Easter, the sacraments, and the Eucharist. Jesus and Paul went even further by rejecting ritual laws, such as not working on the Sabbath and circumcision, claiming them to not be necessary in attaining salvation, and that merely believing in Jesus Christ will do. (Oxtoby 138) Because the New Testament lays down this doctrine for the Christian people, the religion has evolved into one which allows for more leniency. Conversely, the 613 Commandments contained within the Torah and the legalities of Halakhah in the Talmud are still governing laws in the Jewish faith. With focus on the main sacred texts of both religions, i.e. the Tanakh and the Christian Bible, as well as the commentaries and letters, I wish to draw attention to how these books play a part in present day society's rituals and traditions. In doing so, it will become evident that the Jewish people revere their sacred and authoritative texts more than the Christians do, honouring the words in the Hebrew Bible and the commentaries, while Christians follow the undemanding teachings of Jesus, who simplified Jewish law and the texts of the Pentateuch.The sacred and authoritative books of both Judaism and Christianity have of course the same root: God. In both the Tanakh and the Bible the Pentateuch is found, consisting of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, which make up the Torah and the first five books of the Old Testament; this is where the Tanakh and the Bible are most similar. The Pentateuch plays a vital role in the Jewish faith, as it contains the basis of most of their culture - their customs, beliefs, values and traditions. In Genesis, it is said that God rested on the seventh day, which many Jewish people still celebrate on Saturday, the Sabbath day, with 'Shabbat', a traditional meal served Friday evening, going to the synagogue, or by simply not working. Also in Genesis comes one of the most important teachings in Judaism: the covenant. There are two in Genesis, one with Noah and one with Abraham. The covenant God made with Abraham began the tradition of circumcision, which God said would show that a man had a covenant with Him. The next, and probably most important covenant, was that which Moses had with God. Countless rituals originated in the lifetime of Moses, in the four books after Exodus, yet most of them do not appear in Christianity, from dietary laws, to Seder and Passover...

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