Christian and Jewish History

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Christian and Jewish History

Post by HailToTheSquirrel on Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:22 am

I am not a religious person but I do study religion. Well, not professionally, just at my own leisure. Now I've read the Bible, part of the Koran, some Hebrew translations etc and so on.

I have a question, not a debate, about the history of Christianity. There are just some parts that I don't understand or don't know. So here goes:

As I understand it, Jesus was of course a Jew. Not debatable. He also was not setting out to create a new religion, but rather reform the Jewish church. (yes/no?)

The followers of Christ then branched off and Christianity was born. (yes/no?)

OK, then later on a whole buncha Romans converted. So the religion became mostly populated with non-Jews right? I mean, initially, were there all that many Jews that converted to Christianity?

Ok, so the Christian faith was born out of the Jewish faith in a way. So it's the same God right? (the Jewish and Christian God).

If the Hebrew people are the chosen of God, and Christ believed in the same God but disputed the religious methodology, and numerous people converted or joined Christianity, and the Hebrews still believe in the same God,

well, I mean does it not mean that really there is not much of a division between the Jews and Christians? It seems only a rhetorical difference so aren't Christians a branch of the Jewish faith?

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Re: Christian and Jewish History

Post by Davelaw on Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:34 am

yes and no

soon after the death of Jesus-some began claiming Jesus was revealed as God in the flesh-this is absolutely incompatible both with the Judaism of that day and now

Secondly, for at least the first 100 years and possible for several centuries after there were essentially two Christianities -the Jewish one as a subset a Judaism with Jesus as a prophet and the gentile one with Jesus as God

I can not state enough that in the Jewish faith, God is not and can never be a man-that is our core difference-it has been said in that light Judaism and Islam are actually closer to each other and Christianity is the odd man out
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Re: Christian and Jewish History

Post by HailToTheSquirrel on Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:42 am

Ok, so does that mean that Christianity has progressed along in such a way that it now views it's God as different than the God of Judaism and Islam?

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Re: Christian and Jewish History

Post by Davelaw on Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:37 am

we (as Christians) say no: but both Jews and Muslims would say that the doctrine of the Trinity is not monotheism. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem on the site of Solomon's Temple was actually built as a place of worship for both Jews and Muslims; as you enter it is written in both Arabic and Hebrew-God has No son
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Re: Christian and Jewish History

Post by Sakhaiva on Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:07 pm

I LOVE early Christian History. Thanks for the topic Squirrel.

Not to derail the conversation already going on... I wanted to come at this from a slightly different perspective (setting Islam... even the concept of the Trinity aside for now)

HailToTheSquirrel wrote:I am not a religious person but I do study religion. Well, not professionally, just at my own leisure. Now I've read the Bible, part of the Koran, some Hebrew translations etc and so on.

I have a question, not a debate, about the history of Christianity. There are just some parts that I don't understand or don't know. So here goes:

As I understand it, Jesus was of course a Jew. Not debatable. He also was not setting out to create a new religion, but rather reform the Jewish church. (yes/no?)

no.

Some believe that Jesus was who the prophets wrote about ... iow, the messiah. Now not every Jewish person believed this; there were many other would-be Messiah's that came and went before and after Jesus.

(A good question might be... "why did Jesus 'stick' whereas the others failed?" Something to chew on if you like.)

The followers of Christ then branched off and Christianity was born. (yes/no?)

At first Jesus' ministry was only for the flock making it a movement within Judaism. (It's important to note that this period of time was very turbulent and there were several different Jewish sects including the Nazarenes (Christians) such as the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Herodians and Zealots.) As Jesus' movement began to grow, Jesus Himself reached out beyond tribal boarders to the Samaritans (totally unheard of at that time mind you!) and to the Roman Centurions.

OK, then later on a whole buncha Romans converted. So the religion
became mostly populated with non-Jews right? I mean, initially, were
there all that many Jews that converted to Christianity?

Before we start dealing with Romans, we need to be aware of the Jewish Diaspora ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_diaspora ) These were Jewish people who were in exile; living abroad. The early Jewish Christians began reaching out to Diaspora; these people are referred to as 'wandering charismatics' (Josephus tells us about a number of prophets who appeared and gathered followers and were wiped out by the Roman Governors.) While reaching out to those abroad, it makes sense that the natives from those lands also heard the news.

Now keep in mind that, at this same time, we have the Jewish Revolts going on; this is where people said 'look, we've had it with 60% unemployment rates, we've had it with this occupation crap... lets rid ourselves of the Romans." Who could blame them? (First Jewish revolt lasted from 66 -73ad and the second Jewish Revolt from 132-135; this is the failed Bar Kokhba revolt btw) Needless to say, they were stomped on pretty hard by the Romans.

There's a whole lot going on during those first few hundred years of Christian history!


Ok, so the Christian faith was born out of the Jewish faith in a way. So
it's the same God right? (the Jewish and Christian God).

I call it: prophecy fulfillment Smile Yes, same God.

If the Hebrew people are the chosen of God, and Christ believed in the
same God but disputed the religious methodology, and numerous people
converted or joined Christianity, and the Hebrews still believe in the
same God

What did Christ dispute? He kept all the laws, and emphasized the main two: Love your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your body and all your soul (1) and love your neighbor as yourself (2) He, Himself, quoted scripture indicating He was the fulfillment of the law.

Where is the conflict? Wink
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Re: Christian and Jewish History

Post by gillyflower on Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:18 pm

I think that Philip Pullman's new book "The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ" will be an interesting read this spring. He wrote that Paul changed the world more than Jesus did and mores the pity in his opinion.

Read it quick because I predict that it will go missing from our library shelves in a hot nanosecond!

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Re: Christian and Jewish History

Post by DotNotInOz on Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:39 pm

Sakhaiva wrote:Some believe that Jesus was who the prophets wrote about ... iow, the messiah. Now not every Jewish person believed this; there were many other would-be Messiah's that came and went before and after Jesus.

And the key word here is "would-be" Messiahs. Not one person has met the traditional criteria for the Messiah, not even Jesus.

No Jew who knew the criteria would have considered Jesus anything but possibly another prophet.

That Jesus was regarded as the Messiah by "some Jews" is a popular Christian belief. However, those Jews who so regarded Jesus would rightly be called Christians by Jews then and now for it would be a Christian concept of the Messiah that Jesus fulfilled.

The so-called Messianic Jews are referred to as apostate Jews or Christians, and rightly so.

Most importantly, the Messiah will be a human being, not a God-man as Jesus is proclaimed to be by Christians.

See the following for the criteria for declaring someone the Messiah:

http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/questions-a-answers-primary-234/68-the-jewish-messiah/374-messiah--the-criteria

Clearly, Jesus could not have been.
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Re: Christian and Jewish History

Post by Sakhaiva on Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:54 pm

gillyflower wrote:I think that Philip Pullman's new book "The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ" will be an interesting read this spring. He wrote that Paul changed the world more than Jesus did and mores the pity in his opinion.

Read it quick because I predict that it will go missing from our library shelves in a hot nanosecond!


LOL, I doubt it will be pulled. Pullman is far from the first person to deny that Jesus was Solus Christus.

Though his is a fantasy writer and not a scripture scholar.
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Re: Christian and Jewish History

Post by Sakhaiva on Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:04 pm

DotNotInOz wrote:
Sakhaiva wrote:Some believe that Jesus was who the prophets wrote about ... iow, the messiah. Now not every Jewish person believed this; there were many other would-be Messiah's that came and went before and after Jesus.

And the key word here is "would-be" Messiahs. Not one person has met the traditional criteria for the Messiah, not even Jesus.

Except for the resurrection.

Actually, there are great many differences between Jesus and the rest.

No Jew who knew the criteria would have considered Jesus anything but possibly another prophet.


What makes you say this?

That Jesus was regarded as the Messiah by "some Jews" is a popular Christian belief. However, those Jews who so regarded Jesus would rightly be called Christians by Jews then and now for it would be a Christian concept of the Messiah that Jesus fulfilled.

The *Christian Jews* (My term, for clarity's sake) were not viewed differently until after the Revolt... and it was mainly due to their refusal to fight. Paul and Peter both talk about bringing money to the Temple in Jerusalem; it is mentioned in scripture. So ... I'm not sure where you are getting your above statement from Dot.

Squirrel... if you take this to the *Christian* debate board.
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Re: Christian and Jewish History

Post by DotNotInOz on Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:32 am

DotNotInOz wrote:
Sakhaiva wrote:Some believe that Jesus was who the prophets wrote about ... iow, the messiah. Now not every Jewish person believed this; there were many other would-be Messiah's that came and went before and after Jesus.

And the key word here is "would-be" Messiahs. Not one person has met the traditional criteria for the Messiah, not even Jesus.

Sakhaiva wrote:Except for the resurrection.

Another entirely Christian designation for the Messiah.

Sakhaiva wrote:Actually, there are great many differences between Jesus and the rest.

Of course, again from a Christian viewpoint. You're upholding Christian teachings based upon Christian interpretations of their Old Testament. Despite many Christians' insistence that it's the same as the relevant portions of the Tanakh, the two are not identical. The interpretations of their respective texts by Jews and by Christians are definitely not the same, another reason why Jesus cannot be considered the Jewish Messiah but certainly can be from a Christian perspective.

DotNotInOz wrote:No Jew who knew the criteria would have considered Jesus anything but possibly another prophet.


Sakhaiva wrote:What makes you say this?

Did you read through the list of criteria I linked? Jesus couldn't possibly have met them. THAT's what makes me say that you are working from a popular Christian view of what constitutes the Messiah and not from the Jewish one.

DotNotInOz wrote:That Jesus was regarded as the Messiah by "some Jews" is a popular Christian belief. However, those Jews who so regarded Jesus would rightly be called Christians by Jews then and now for it would be a Christian concept of the Messiah that Jesus fulfilled.

Sakhaiva wrote:The *Christian Jews* (My term, for clarity's sake) were not viewed differently until after the Revolt... and it was mainly due to their refusal to fight. Paul and Peter both talk about bringing money to the Temple in Jerusalem; it is mentioned in scripture. So ... I'm not sure where you are getting your above statement from Dot.

Okay, I'll grant you that there was far more leeway among the early Christians in terms of whether or not they were Jews. There were sects among them who still followed Jewish law but believed in Jesus as someone extraordinary and unique.

"Messiah" can be understood legitimately within the context of Judaism in a number of ways. The term itself simply means "anointed" or "anointed one" within Judaism and can be legitimately used for anyone anointed with oil, so in that sense it does apply to Jesus. There's a distinct difference, however, between calling someone Messiah and designating THE Messiah. For the latter designation, the person must meet ALL the listed criteria, which is why Judaism has never proclaimed anyone the Messiah to date.

I should think the fact that Jesus did not meet all the traditional criteria would be evident to anyone reading them.
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Re: Christian and Jewish History

Post by DotNotInOz on Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:41 am

One additional bit of clarification about the importance of resurrection.

The Pharisees did incorporate the concept of resurrection into their variety of Judaism. However, they were considered a deviant group within Judaism.

Pauline Christianity retains a good many of the tenets of the Pharisees, so the Christian focus upon the importance of belief in resurrection does have its origin in the Judaism of Jesus's time. If I'm not mistaken, I think Paul himself was originally a Pharisee.
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