Sample Essay On Christianity And Judaism: A Complex Knot

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Judaism, Middle East, Religion, Christians, Jesus Christ, Church, History, People

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/11/25

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The ancient world sees Christians and Jews live together in the same territory. As long as the Greek peoples and Romans peoples dominate with their polytheism there are no Semitism issue. The polytheistic religion admits the existence of many gods and deities, so one more or less makes no difference, what matters is respect for political and administrative authority. Ancient warfare were not ideological, instead the objective was the conquest, expansion or defense of the reigns.
The spread of Christianity constitute a nuisance and will heavily affect relations with Jews. Born as the reform movement Judaism, Christianity shares with the Jews the books of the Old Testament, but differences are to be found in the rigid respect of Jewish law and in the recognition of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. In early times, Christianity is but one of many religious currents developed in within Judaism, and for a long time will remain tied to the observance of law and the precepts, as indeed they did Jesus and the apostles. Even among the first martyrs Christians in the time of Nero, the separation between Jews-Jews and Jewish-Christians is not yet so clear. The fracture will take place with the abandonment, by Jews-Christians, of the Torah observance of the precepts, and with the recognition of Jesus as the Messiah, while for Jews, faithful to the One God, it becomes impossible to accept the Trinity and the Messiah. The Christian religion immediately opens to large populations in intensive proselytizing and builds strong break with the traditions of stale paganism and produce a large apologetics literature, ie written justifications and defenses. The Christian apologetics also provides an anti-Jewish polemic: it is of interest Original Christians, in fact, to reiterate their difference with respect to the Jews, disliked by the conservative Roman class converted to Christianity, and to avoid the phenomena of syncretism that could cancel their newbuilt identity.

The separation between Judaism and Christianity

Neither Jesus Christ nor St. Paul nor the Christian communities of New Testament era had pronounced anathemas against Judaism. Jesus and his disciples clashed often with officials and individual groups of Jews, but at least up to 70 A.C. nobody thought to exclude the followers of Christ by the people of Israel. The event disruptive of 70 A.C. (Jewish War and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple), however, putting the problem of re-establishing a new Jewish identity in a dramatic way, accelerated the distancing between the Jewish religion and the Christian community up to cause a sort of separation between the closing of Rabbinic Judaism and Paul's vocation to convert all peoples.
The true birth of Christianity is when the preaching of Paul, surpassing the boundaries of Palestine, extends to the communities of the Diaspora, to the Jewish settlements of the Hellenized Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, and then turned increasingly towards proselytizing pagans. In Rome, the Jews, who since the time of Julius Caesar and Augustus had lived as all other citizens, were appreciated and respected enough to be exempt from those practices that were contrary to Judaism, moreover they were included in the Edict of Caracalla (212) which extended Roman citizenship to all free men of the Empire. The advent of Christianity, had downgraded their condition to second-class citizens. A great change occurs essentially when Christianity spreads wildfire and had became dominant religion with the Emperor Constantine (edict 313 d. C.) and then, at the end of the century, with the edict of Theodosius, the official religion Empire. Christianity is a rigid monotheism which poses problems to Judaism. Christians do not admit the existence of paganism (hence attitude of proselytism, evangelization and attempts to convert the pagans), but accept Judaism. However, the existence of the Jews to Christians should be regulated and the consequence is the reduction of the Jews to a lower category of civic and social rights. Jews are forbidden to proselytize, because it must contain their Numerical presence on the Roman Empire territory.
Nevetheless, the Jews had to be accepted (because it would not be possible to deny common origins, since Jesus himself was a jew) as evidence of their blindness, because they did not wanted to hear the message of Jesus, recognizing him as the Messiah, the son of God. Even Paul in his Letter to the Romans speaks the Jews as part of the Christian society, as bearers of an error that is opportunity for the affirmation of the truth. In practice, the Jews had served to Christians to highlight to the world the difference between the two religions. It is very important to be aware of the fact that sacred texts have not the same consideration in Christianity and Judaism. The Jews are the "people of the Book" while, for Christians, the words are incarnated in Jesus. As for the Scripture, it must be emphasized that, in the post-patristic Christianity, the Bible (lectio) and the Theology (Quaestio) were gradually separated since the center of Christian thought focused on a theological and dogmatic processing. The Jews therefore did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, indeed, according to a version that will circulate in the centuries to the present day, have applied to kill him. Jesus was condemned to death in what was regarded as blasphemous by affirming himself as the son of God and guilty of treason against the Roman Empire. But who condemned Jesus? The Jews or the Roman governor Pilate? In this regard, it is customary to recall the famous passage from Matthew 27, 24- 25: Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made of, he took water, you washed his hands before the crowd: "I am not responsible, he said, of this blood; see to it yourselves!" And all the people answered, "His blood be on us and on our children." The incorrect use of this historical sentence, however, present only in Matthew, bears a tremendous responsibility: it attributed to the Jews the guilty of deicide, since they were responsible for the death of Christ. For centuries, this accusation was used by the Church in order to discriminate Jews. Already with the emperor Theodosius II anti-Jewish laws were enacted (438): Jews were forbidden access to any public office, any prohibited proselytism, forbidden to build new synagogues or embellish existing ones. Already in 388 St. Ambrogio opposed to the reconstruction of the synagogue of Callinicus, destroyed by Christians. Under the rule of Islam, instead, Jews have enjoyed legal conditions more tolerant and favorable than those imposed in the Christian West. It must be said that the fathers of the Church does not ever harbored hatred for Jews, in the racial sense, but it is often true that they did discussed the religious controversies by pushing on discrimination. But beyond expressions of hostility, sometimes individually harsh, which are to be found in patristic writings, it is true that the ancient Christianity has never excommunicated officially Judaism: according to Augustine, the Church has simply taken the place the chosen people in God's plan. The same regulatory restrictions that are followed (Prohibition of conversion of Christians to Judaism and of mixed marriages, ban build new synagogues, prohibition of public office and some professions like advocacy, ban proselytizing) presuppose the legitimacy of Jewish worship. To the end of the sixth century, Pope Gregory the Great, while continuing to regard Judaism as a religion full of superstition and treachery, declares the forced conversions as unlawful. In the seventh century A.D. some Christianized regions set in motion the first waves persecution against the Jews: Gaul, Italy and Spain.
What they consist of these persecutions? Substantially in two types of violence: firstly threats of deportation, expulsion real, expropriation of property. Secondly, Catholics had forced conversions. From the eighth century up to about the year one thousand, and in some countries for two more centuries, the Jewish communities around the West will experience a period of calm and prosperity. This change takes place thanks to the new attitude of the Carolingian emperors, starting with the reign of Charlemagne (768-814). He had realized that in Judaism life was governed by religious rules, moreover he had appreciated their honesty and loyalty to the next, their industriousness expressed in the fourth Commandment, and the fact, incredible in those days, that among them there was no illiteracy. Therefore he protected them by providing them not only granting a free life, but also the right to property, religious freedom and merchant, and judicial independence. The Jews will pay off the empire with significant benefits, i.e., encouraging the development of industry and commerce, especially with the East, forbidden to Christians by Islam. They imported skins and brocades, and spices and silks from China, also along the trade routes between Provence and the north of France: they connected the Mediterranean ports with those of the North Sea and Baltic, going even to the British Isles where they will remain until 1290.
The history of the Jews is for a very long time the one of a people driven out from Palestine and dispersed throughout the world, a people oppressed but fails where are permitted to rebuild their lives and a common identity. Until the first millennium, the history of the Jews, in the diaspora, does not record massacres although there are memories of tragic events. After 1000 however, with the Middle Ages, the situation changes and in many countries it will lead mass expulsion of the Jews. Since then the story of Judaism and Christianity has become more and more complicated. As we see the difference between Christianity and Judaism is intertwined, in the course of Western history, with the demands of the political issue and with social revolutions .The differences between the two religions are a complex knot of Western history: born on a dogmatic horizon, developed politically it has grew on the social history of the world.

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