The Influence of Judaism on Christianity Similarities and Differences

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Judaism and Christianity are both part of the Abrahamic religions, and although they have many similarities, there are much greater differences separating their beliefs and practices. Judaism is an extremely influential religion, and it stands as the root of Christianity.

The Hebrew people originated in Ancient Mesopotamia in the city of Ur of the Chaldeans. Around 2000 BCE, Abraham was a nomadic leader wandering the region, when according to the Book of Acts 7:1-4, God gave Abraham his first calling to leave the city of Ur and travel to the promise land of Canaan (Israel). The land of Canaan was arid and wrought with famine, forcing Abraham to travel to Egypt in search of a better life. In the book of Genesis, which consists of the first five books of the Torah, it was the Abrahamic Covenant that first explains the contract between God and Abraham. It stated that if Abraham and his people followed God’s rules, consisting of circumcision and do as he commanded, he will in turn take care of them and give unto Abraham and his people the promised land of Canaan. The land will be occupied by Abraham’s descendants and they will rule over it. At this time, it was already understood that Abraham believed in a monotheistic God known as Yahwe, one true God and the only God who was all powerful and all knowing.

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The foundation for Judaism is renewed with the Mosaic Covenant. Moses was asked by God to deliver his people, the Israelites, out of slavery in Egypt. Upon their liberation, Exodus, God speaks to his chosen people and gives Moses the tablets with the 10 commandments. Israelites are to follow the commandments, live a life of obedience to God, and worship him. In return, God will set Israel apart as the Kingdom of Priests and Holy Nation, (. )

At the time when Jesus was born, 4 BCE, it is believed that Judea was in turmoil while under Roman control. Revolts from the Jewish people led the Romans to destroy the Temple and disperse the Jewish people, known as the diaspora. Conflicts within the Jewish communities were also causing major divisions. According to the prophecies, Jews had long believed that a savior will someday return to the world and reunite the kingdom and his people. Jesus was a Jew, he lived as a Jew and he never started a new religion, but there was a movement within Judaism that developed during and after Jesus died. Jesus was known as a prophet, teacher, messiah, and to some, the son of God. He was a Jew, but did not fit in with any other Jewish sect. He often spoke against them and against the established leadership. Jesus talked about opening the religion to non-Jews and how circumcision was not required to follow God’s will.

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