Talk:Christianity and Judaism/Archive 6

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Second sentence

The second sentence does not make any sense. "Judaism as an Abrahamic religion differs in theology and practice."... from what ... from Christianity? Why not say so? Surely it is Judaism that is the parent and Christianity that is the offshoot, anbd it should be the other way around. I am replacing it with Both are Abrahamic religions thougfh they differ in theology and practice." John D. Croft (talk) 23:18, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

New Covenant - Jewish and Christian meanings

The discussion in this section was copied from [Talk:Bible]. Egfrank (talk) 16:15, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

If I understand your point correctly — that Christian understanding of Bible naturally and immediately brings to mind two Testaments, which is to say, two Covenants, and hence the article should reflect that in its description — ... if that is your point, then I agree with you. However, it is worth remembering this article is also covering Jewish use of the word Bible. In Jewish usage, Bible naturally and immediately brings to mind three sections — Law (Torah), Prophets (Navi'im) and Writings (Ketuvim) — the TaNaKh.

In sharing an article describing what is meant by Bible, there are many things that Jewish and Christian people, scholars and officials would say in common. There are other things about which they disagree. There are still other things about which there are internal differences among Jewish people or among Christian people. Covenant in the sense of Old and New is not a Jewish idea. The Hebrew Bible speaks of several specific covenants (Noah, Abraham, Moses and David for example), also of covenant renewal and of The Eternal Covenant (Berit Olam). Naturally Jewish people do not call their scriptures The Old Covenant, because they recognize no newer ones, and because those scriptures talk of many covenants, not just one.

The place for discussing Covenant (as Old and New) is at the point of introducing the New Testament, since he kaine diatheke (literally The New Covenant) is the New Testament's autonym. The name New Testament is actually older than Old Testament, which was a natural name for the "other part that comes before the New Testament". I'll stop there. Is what I am saying helpful? or is it unclear? What do you think? Alastair Haines (talk) 14:34, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Ref Jeremiah 31:31-32 for the Jewish New Covenant different from that of the Old Covenant with Moses. -Bikinibomb (talk) 18:22, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, aside from the fact that that verse has nothing to do with this topic i.e. the New Testament, which, according to Paul, is a covenant with all humanity (not specifically Israel) ... this is just your (or my) interpretation of a primary source; using it as the basis for editing the article will violate NOR. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:06, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Responding to "Covenant in the sense of Old and New is not a Jewish idea." If the Jeremiah text states NC, then NC is not just an NT idea. Forking it out of the Tanach exclusively into the NT is POV. -Bikinibomb (talk) 22:47, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Additionally Jeremiah 31:27 addresses the so-called "grafting in" of Gentiles for the NC as you mentioned concerning possible origination of the idea with Paul, I'll try to find some sources for that as well to avoid being an issue of OR. -Bikinibomb (talk) 23:05, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
You must misunderstand Alistair, who is quite right - and quite specific. he is refering not to some vague or genersal idea of "a" new covenant. he is talking about the specific new covenant represented in the Christian New Testament. And he is quite right that this is not a Jewish idea. I do not think he meant that Jews have not had ideas about a variety of covenants. i think he is refering spoecifically to the one described in the New Testemant. It is that "new covenant" that is not Jewish. Slrubenstein | Talk 23:41, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
NC described in NT is asserted to be of Jewish origin, namely from Jesus the Jew. It is more accurate to say that it is not an idea embraced by modern Judaism, rather than say it is not a Jewish idea, since whether or not it actually originated from a Jew is currently POV. You understand that Judaism and Jewishness are not always synonymous terms. -Bikinibomb (talk) 00:11, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
You are making two assumptions: first, that the account of Jesus's teachings in the Gospels are identical to the teachings of the actual Jesus, and second, that Jesus' references to a new covenant refer to the Christian conception of the new covenant as opposed to the Jewish conception of the new covenant. I am sure many people share these assumptions and it is a notable POV. But I know that many Bible scholars would not take either assumption for granted. On the contrary, many historians suggest that elements of the account of Jesus in the Gospels were interpolated by Christians a hundred or more years after Jesus was executed. Moreover, many historians suggest that Christian interpretations of Jesus' words are historically implausible and that there are more plausible interpretations of his words that do not coincide with Christian beliefs. You do not have to agree with this POV, but it is just as notable as yours. Slrubenstein | Talk 00:26, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
That's another issue, Christian/Church NC vs. NC as intended by Jesus, which agreed is much POV. The issue I'm addressing is NT NC being written off as not Jewish and not the same as Tanach NC. Again it is more accurate to say that both are purported to be Jewish and the same covenants, citing sources for and against each position, rather than organizing articles based on one religion's doctrine since that blows NPOV out of the water. In other words the Biblical text should be determining how what is placed where, not favorite POVs. That was my concern here. -Bikinibomb (talk) 00:44, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

The word Testament means Covenant in relation to the Christian Bible sections Old Testament and New Testament . The word covenant is an English translation of the original Hebrew word for beriyth ( ber-eeth' ) . In the New Testament the words testament and covenant are interchangable as synonyms translated from the Greek word for diatheke ( dee-ath-ay'-kay ) . For further theological explanation of The New Testament/Covenant and The Old Testament/Covenant see New Covenant ( link ) .......... Is what I have just written appropriate for an edit immediately following the sentence giving introduction of the Old and New Testaments in the article Bible ??? ......... Alastair , to my understandings , all you have stated here is correct and yes , you do understand me correctly ... question , why berit instead of beriyth ( Strong's 1285 ) ??? .......... Slrubenstein , I don't believe I would be introducing an interpretation of the Pauline doctrine you have mentioned by this edit . Also , that doctrine would be covered in the link to New Covenant .......... Bikinibomb , the theological doctrines relating to Jeremiah 31:31-32 you have mentioned would be covered under the link New Covenant also ....... Pilotwingz (talk) 01:04, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Beriyth is Strong's way of turning a Hebrew word into English letters. Strong uses an old-fashioned way of doing this. In normal Hebrew, vowels are not always indicated, sometimes a Y is used to indicate the vowel I. Strong's system writes this as iy, more modern systems are simpler and just write i. Hebrew has two letters for T, one of which is thought to have been pronounced t in some cases and th in others. Strong adds the h to indicate the presumed appropriate pronunciation, and also to indicate which of the two letter Ts is used in the Hebrew. More modern systems are again simpler and typically simply represent the basic letter. Summary: Strong adds the y and the h using an old-fashioned system intended to give more information. Berit, or b'rit are more modern versions. From memory Strong also indicates the e as e, because it is a very short vowel, not really e at all. It is called shewa and is actually by far the most common vowel in English -- it is the same as the vowel at the end of the definite article in the car. Alastair Haines (talk) 00:35, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

I commented over there my plans to neutralize article wording so that it's not dominated with the POV that the OT NC is Jewish material and NT NC is perhaps non-Jewish or Gentile only. Again, the need for sensitivity when speaking of "Jewish" concepts, as opposed to concepts commonly held within the religion of "Judaism," since those are often two different things. Thanks. -Bikinibomb (talk) 01:48, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

I think I appreciate your point Bikinibomb, the New Testament use of "covenant" is widely analysed in literature as originally a kind of Jewish understanding. Indeed, few scholars question that the New Testament was largely written by men both of Jewish heritage and of a religious conviction those men would call Jewish. In fact Paul repeatedly describes himself as a Jew in the New Testament. This very notable POV is the Christian POV of the NT writers. But, of course, Wiki cannot present it as the NPOV.
However much the early Christians presented their position as the authentic Judaism, it never won the support of the Jewish religious authorities. This is recorded in the NT itself, other ancient literature, and modern scholars do not doubt it. Ultimately there is no advantage for Christians to claim to be the authentic representatives of scripturally defined Judaism, presenting this point as proven, because that is manifestly not the case. In fact, the New Testament itself ultimately distinguishes Christians from non-Christian Jews, who it simply describes as Jews. In a sense, there is even evidence within the New Testament that Christians of Jewish background ultimately surrendered their Jewishness.
I hope I'm not saying anything anyone would disagree with so far. My aim here is to argue that conservative Christian editors at Wiki should be content to accept that, from a Neutral Point Of View, Christianity is a notable and successful heretical splinter group from Judaism, that can claim association by background but cannot claim to represent some kind of Jewish perspective even with the acknowledgement that it is of unorthodox character.
This point may seem to be very abstract and subtle, however, it is regularly an issue in other contexts. For example, are Jehovah's Witnesses representatives of an unorthodox Christian POV, in the same way Baptist or Presbyterians may provide different Christian POVs. Do Mormons present a Christian POV? In what sense can Protestants represent Christianity, when they have never been accepted as Christians by Catholic authorities? I hope you see that Wiki has room to clarify policy in these areas. Personally, I think Jewish-Christian co-operation to produce neutral articles can set an example for many other issues.
I'd love to know what others think about this.
Just a short comment about "new covenant" though. I'd have to look around for sources, however, I'd expect to find many quality sources that would identify two distinct uses of "new covenant" in the NT. The first is Jesus' own use, at the Last Supper. There, it would appear, he alludes to the Mosaic covenant, apparantly interpreted by John, Paul and others as suggesting his death should be understood as a new Passover and Exodus. Although I would imagine the best scholars would be cautious, it would seem this reference is not to Jeremiah, it is quite original. On the other hand, several NT references to Jeremiah 31:31ff explicitly apply that prophecy to the role of the Holy Spirit in Christian theology. Now my personal guess is that by calling the NT he kaine diatheke Christians were refering to Jesus' death, rather than to the Holy Spirit, which renders arguments based on Jeremiah moot. However, were I publishing thoughts on this, I would not want to dogmatically exclude Jeremiah from broad associations of he kaine diatheke in Christian usage, it's just that it seems to me (and I imagine many others) that the Last Supper would be the primary allusion.
Again, I'd love to hear criticisms, and hear what sources say about this. Alastair Haines (talk) 05:34, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. On, "Ultimately there is no advantage for Christians to claim to be the authentic representatives of scripturally defined Judaism, presenting this point as proven, because that is manifestly not the case." I agree, as I was saying the phrase "view of Judaism" is preferable since differences between the religions of Christianity and Judaism are more clearly defined and accepted.

However, use of the phrase "Jewish view" as exclusively pertaining to the "view of Judaism" exerts too much POV since as mentioned, while NT texts themselves do not claim to be a "view of Judaism" concerning that religious institution, they do claim to be a "Jewish view." That said, it is important to reserve implication that the NT may not be a Jewish source -- to be blunt, a text fabricated by Gentiles in opposition to "authentic" Jewish teachings -- for clearly critical sections only and not use it as a general article theme since it is a less than neutral POV. Similarly, you probably would not want to state that the "Christian view" involves allegiance to the Pope, implying that any views outside of that one are non-Christian.

Additionally, painting Jewishness as being exclusively defined by the religion of Judaism should also be avoided since in reality Jewishness is an identity held by Jews of any belief -- Messianic, atheistic, Buddhist, etc. Jewishness is also addressed by Paul as being a spiritual state not exclusive to those who follow Torah or who are deemed to be Jews by other Jews. In the same way, you wouldn't want to use the phrase "Jewish race" either because that implies Jewish "blood" or "color" which is equally stereotypical and inaccurate.

To sum it up, although it may take more thought and care not to pigeonhole and categorize, "Judaism" is the more preferable term to use as opposed to "Jewish" when describing such non-Christian religious thought, since not doing so raises many unnecessary points of argument. -Bikinibomb (talk) 07:24, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

On the NT New Covenant vs. Tanach NC, Hebrews is a good place to start in referencing Jeremiah, the big payoff being sons not paying for the sins of the fathers -- teeth set on edge -- which ultimately refers to the end of death and sin on the sons of Adam -- humanity -- and everlasting life for those who accept the New Covenant with God as administered by Messiah/Moshiach ("David" in Ezekiel 34:23, 35, etc.) That's it in a nutshell, as stated by both Tanach and NT text, they teach the same thing, not two radically different ideas. -Bikinibomb (talk) 07:58, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

I like your word stereotype and think it goes to the heart of the issue. That issue being reality is more particular than human languages used to describe it. Is a stool a chair? Not that anyone would take offence at "exclusion" of chairs, or their stereotyping. As you say, Christian as a stereotype in Wiki language has blurry edges, but the Judaism-Christianity distinction can normally be assumed as uncontroversial, with the notable and difficult exception of Messianic Judaism (so called Messianic, if we are being very delicate in our terminology).
I'm not sure that I'm comfortable with your reading of Ezekiel, which in context refers explicitly to the house of Israel (beth Israel). It is an excellent example of Christian reading of the Hebrew Bible. As a Christian I share your conviction of its applicability on the basis of many New Testament texts. However, would you agree a sincere, conservative Jewish reader could not conclude with certainty that Ezekiel (whether under divine inspiration or not) had Christians in mind? Alastair Haines (talk) 11:34, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Under Moses the seed of Israel could be cut off and no longer Israelite when breaking the Sabbath for example, while non-Israelites like Ruth could be acknowledged as Israelite if they accepted the God of Israel. Assuming Ezekiel knew about Ruth and past sojourners, he "should" have accounted for Gentiles who were "grafted in" as Israelites because they accepted what God offered, and also for those who descended from Jacob removed from Israel because they rejected what God offered. If there is any doubt with Ezekiel, Malachi 1:11 can further confirm this idea. -Bikinibomb (talk) 13:24, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

The issue here is NOR: editors do not put their own views into articles - and V: wikipedia is not about the "truth" it is about verifiable points of view - and NPOV: we represent and identify all notable points of view. Bikinibomb is representing a Christian point of view and it can be included as long as it is clearly identified as such. We can contrast to it a Jewish point of view. There is no "true" Biblical view, only views of the Bible. Now, I know fundamentalists - Christian and Jewish alike - will claim that they are providing a literal reading of the Bible. But even this claim is a view and must be represented as such. As I have made clear, I would love an article on the book of Jeremiah that contrasts, for example, Christian interpretations of chapter 31 with Jewish inte3rpretations from the Mikraot Gedolot with the interpretations of the Anchor Bible. One can of course just quote Jeremeiah, but as soon as one makes any claims as to what the quote means, one is expressing a point of view and it must be identified as such.
By the way I take strong objection to Bikinibomb's distinction between Judiasm and Jewish. Among Jews it is unexceptional and uncontroversial to identify the two. If you ask a Jew what his or her religion is, s/he is at least as likely to say "Jewish" as "Judaism." Now, aside from "Messianic Jews," is their any Christin church or congregation that identifies its religion as "Judaism?" In this case, I am with your St. Augustine: Judaism is a religion of the flesh - it is the Jewish religion. Bikinibomb is free to provide verifiable Christian views, but please, do not distort the Jewish view. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:32, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

For the record I'm Muslim and not representing any particular point of view except for the most neutral one. If in a comment on Judaism you would like to say that Jews believe all things Jewish belong to mainstream Judaism, and all things not of mainstream Judaism are not Jewish, that's acceptable POV and open to cited rebuttal. But peppering an article with "the Jewish view is this and the Christian view is that" is enforcing POV on the entire article and not acceptable, since intentionally or not you imply that nothing from the NT is from a Jewish view and therefore fabricated. If it is intended, it belongs in discussion of Judaism or in an NT Criticism section, not throughout the article with no qualification. So in general except in those cases, it is more proper to say "Judaism believes this and Christianity believes that." -Bikinibomb (talk) 13:24, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

I have no problem modifying "Judaism" or "Jewish" with the words "mainstream" or "traditional." Slrubenstein | Talk 14:00, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, I for one think this is a really helpful discussion, especially given our three different backgrounds. I'm inclined to agree with Slrubenstein that Jewish and Judaism would normally need explicit clarification if they were being used other than synonymously. Modifiers are probably preferable. That's not just a Jewish thing, it's simply English language usage, wouldn't we agree?
Regarding whether the text of the Bible expresses a proposition, say "God created the heavens and the Earth", I would think it would be a rather unusual view among scholars of any type to suggest that this was not the intention of Genesis 1:1. When Genesis was written, by whom (or "whoms"), what their sources, whether they intended "creation from nothing" or not, even whether monotheism is intended -- all these are "up for grabs", but divine sovereignty over creation as the intent of the text we now have is generally accepted, surely. But what's significant is that this proposition is attributed to the text. Interpretation actually implies something has been articulated warranting an attempt at understanding that articulation.
I would have thought that's the standard approach to dealing with many questions about the Bible in a neutral fashion. Establish the text as best as possible first. After that, all sorts of possible explanations for origin or transmission can be proposed, along with various differing interpretations. I believe the technical expressions for the epistemology of this is associated with the ideas of de dicto and de re beliefs.
Anyway, I'm inclined to think almost any outlandish possibility regarding the Bible has been published at one time or another, because so much has been written about it. Which raises another issue for me. How do we establish WP:UNDUE? It seems to me the ideal is to have sources that state or imply the boundaries of notable alternative opinions. What happens when we don't?
It's stimulating to consider these matters, though I suspect a lot of issues are not quite so interesting. ;) Alastair Haines (talk) 15:03, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

I don't feel at all comfortable with the distinction between "Judaism" and "Jewish" if it means to include viewpoints of other religions. Generally when the distinction between the two is made, "Judaism believes" refers to the religion and "Jews believe" refers to the community of religious and secular Jews. It does not generally include those who affliate with another religion. This particular understanding is so fundamental that it is captured in the Israeli law of return - a secular Jew may return to Israel under the law of return. A Jew who has converted to another religion may not. This definition of the law of return has widespread acceptance by secular and religious Jews in the diaspora as well.
There is a similar consensus among all of the religious denominations of Judaism: a Jew who has converted to another religion is no longer sufficiently Jewish to be called to the Torah or to marry another Jew. Only by formally repudating that other religion may they regain status on an equal footing with other Jews. The most notable dissent to this point of view are the Messianic Jews. However, given WP:UNDUE I think we would be hard pressed to give the Messianic Jewish view equal weight to that of mainstream secular and religious Judaism.
As far as the mainstream Jewish view goes I think we need to distinguish between 1st-2nd century Judaism and later rabbinic Judaism. Most scholars agree that modern day rabbinic Judaism was in a formative stage during the 1st-2nd century. Only the lens of history lets us decide which of the many ideas put forth at that time should now in this day and age be considered as mainstream Jewish, mainstream Christian, or part of a shared Judeo-Christian heritage.
As for post 1-2nd century mainstream understandings of "new convenent" in Jeremiah, I cite the following sources:
  • Rashi (medieval commentator) - stresses the clause "shall not be broken" and argues that the rules, laws, and ordinances associated with this "new covenent" will be the same. However, the human spirit will be such that the laws will be unbreakable. In support of the unchangability of the content of the covenant itself, he cites the fact that the last book of Nevaim (Prophets) is the prophet Malachi who closes the book saying "Remember the Torah of Moshe my servant, which I commanded him in Horev for all Israel, both statues and judgements". The Christian "new covenent" is a covenant apart from the law of Moses so clearly Rashi believes that Jeremiah is referring to something very different than the Christian "New covenent".
  • Radak (medieval commentator) - takes a somewhat existentialist approach (really!) and argues that the covenant is "new" in the sense of ever fresh and vibrant in the minds of Jews. It is not broken because Jews won't get bored or tired of it so will always want to participate in it.
  • Sefer Jeremiah. (Jerusalem: Mossad Rav Kook, 1983). This is an academic commentary on Jeremiah. The editors of this commentary bring out the point that there are other examples of post Sinai covenants:
    • Moses two covenants. The torah was given twice: first it was brought down from Sinai on tablets. Then Moses gave a long speech in Moav repeating the covenant. These are viewed as two covenants side by side: These are the words o fthe covenant, which the Lord commanded Modehs to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moav, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horev. (Deut 28:26)
    • Josiah and the book of the covenant And the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and hist testimonies and hist statues with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant". (Kings II 23: 3).
It should be noted that many modern Jews consider the medieval commentators on equal or greater par with academic commentaries, especially when there is no conflict with academic understandings. Best, Egfrank (talk) 15:19, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Fascinating and informative as always Egfrank. Yet again important blind-spots in my knowledge are addressed. The Law of Return explains aspects of Jewish culture I have observed in my Jewish friends, without knowing the background. It does indeed give a very concrete expression to an unbroken cultural tradition. Although there are meaningful distinctions between Jewish ethnicity and the faith of Judaism, the two are much more tightly bound than in most cultures. Though I believe traditional adherents of many religions including Hindu, Muslim, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant have ostracised inter-marriage in particular where "inter" is defined either on religious or cultural grounds. Alastair Haines (talk) 16:00, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Regarding Rashi et al., these understandings sound broadly consistant with John Calvin's readings, (and certainly with my own, by the way). The only thing I disagree with is the close of Malachi, which I understand to refer to the return of Elijah to re-establish heartfelt family solidarity, lest haShem also return with herem for a disobedient land. (Drat! Can't cut and paste the text.) Alastair Haines (talk) 16:00, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Your observation about Elijah I think actually adds a new dimension to Rashi and may explain why he felt that passage was particularly appropriate for his point. In Jewish thought both Elijah mentioned in Malachai and the phrase "yamim habaim" that begin Jeremiah 31:30 have connotations of the Messianic age. So from Rashi point of view, this verse in Malachi referring to the covenant at Sinai is specifically talking about the "new covenant" that Jeremiah says will exist in the Messianic era.
But one should not assume that the Messianic implications of both passages mean that Jews believe they refer to the Christian "New Covenant". Jews understand the Messianic age in light of Rashi's belief that new=unbreakable and various other promises of a world at peace (e.g. Isaiah 2:4)[1]. An unbreakable covenant would imply that the actions of members of the covenant would never deviate from the will of God - that is, a world without sin, or at the very least a covenantial community without sin; where the widow and orphan are always taken care of; where social justice is the norm without exception; where peace reigns in even the most unlikely of circumstances.
The Christian "New Covenant" is defined in terms of the relationship to God created by faith in the atoning nature of the life, death and ressurection of Jesus. However much faith in Jesus has the power to transform lives or reconcile the soul to God or even make the soul blameless before God, it does not prevent Christians from making mistakes, hurting others, and acting from time to time in unethical or unjust ways.
Some Jewish thinkers, like Franz Rosenzweig and Pinchas Lapide even see the hand of God in the Christian story. However, because the world is not yet perfect, the one thing all agree on is that Jesus is not the bearer of the same "new covenent" promised in Jeremiah and alluded to in Malachai. Egfrank (talk) 17:20, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

New section needed here. In reply, the reasoning seems to be in favor of, for example, "The Jewish version of the Bible, the Tanakh..." because it is the religious book of the Jewish people. In saying that in comparison to the NT, does it mean that the Tanach was written by Jews and the NT wasn't? Or does it mean that only Jews read the Tanach? In neither case does it make sense or is it unbiased to use the term "Jewish" when comparing it to the NT, it is more accurate to say that "the Tanach is a text used in Judaism and a form of the the Tanach called the OT plus the NT is a text used in Christianity" or something of that nature. It may require a few more words to clarify but sometimes that's unavoidable. This is why NPOV is required on Wikipedia, to avoid phrasing articles in a way that conveys only one opinion, even if it seems to be the most popular depending on our own personal experience.

As for the New Covenant, there are straight readings and conclusions within the actual text although you will still need external sources to cite for them. For example, where the Tanach states that sins of fathers are no longer on children (Jeremiah 31:29), it is departure from conditions set forth in Exodus 20:5. In general, a state of the New Covenant where sin doesn't exist anymore dictates that most of the Laws of Moses regarding punishment and sin sacrifice are rendered obsolete, thus changed in that regard. Where the Tanach says there is no more darkness in the evening and perpetual daylight, Sabbath laws are also changed: no more observance at sundown. Etc. Which is all in agreement with NT implications, that Laws of Moses do indeed change with the NC, they are not simply renewed -- the straight renewal concept is fine to note as an opinion of sages but it cannot accurately be used as the only view.

Moving to the NT, Jesus himself says in Matthew 5:18 that this doesn't happen until heaven and earth pass, and that Laws of Moses will be in effect until that time. So likewise, you won't want to imply that the NT New Covenant is all about doing away with those Laws right now and just "getting the faith." Again it's ok to note that various Christians may say that and that it is the popular Christian view, but not correct to say it is the actual message of NT text. In short care needs to be taken with both texts to avoid overgeneralization and reliance upon the most popular views since as we see, they are often not the most accurate. -Bikinibomb (talk) 20:26, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

The discussion above was copied from [Talk:Bible] - end of copied text Egfrank (talk) 16:25, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

What does Messianic Judaism tell us about the differences between Jews and Christians?

The discussion in this section was copied from [Talk:Bible]. Egfrank (talk) 16:24, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

NOTE: although this began as a discussion about messianic Jews, it was moved here because it developed into a more general discussion of differences between Christianity and Judaism. The question is, does this discussion provide any material for a new section of this article i.e. on the differences between Judaism and Christianity (not on Messianic Jews)

I'm sorry to open a can of worms, but I'm wondering what people think (especially Egfrank), about the following suggestion.

From a Jewish perspective (or the perspective of Judaism), groups describing their views as Messianic Judaism are no more Jewish than Jehovah's Witnesses are Christian, from a Christian perspective (for precisely opposite reasons). Whereas, from a Christian perspective, the category of Jewish Christian is very natural.

How should Wiki deal with this? Currently, and I'm content with it, MJ is used, possibly because:

  1. MJ is the verifiable autonym;
  2. Judaism has historical precedence over Christianity, hence Messianic Judaism rather than Jewish Christianity; and
  3. most don't know Messiah = Christ, hence MJ sounds less contradictory than Jewish Christianity.

Point (1) seems to be decisive.

My point is this, intriguingly, from the majority Jewish and Christian positions, MJ would more naturally be described as Jewish Christianity -- hence clearly apostate from the Jewish perspective, while clearly affiliated, from the Christian perspective.

It is interesting to note that Jews and Christians can enjoy similarities of conviction at many points, and are motivated to work together on various projects, so long as they are not pressured to surrender their differences. MJ, by definition, crosses that boundary, and in a way more intrusive on Judaism than Christianity. MJ is to Judaism, what Judaizers were to Christianity in New Testament times. Judaizers held that authentic Christianity must be scrupulously Jewish. Christians, since Saul of Tarsus, have rigorously excluded this option. The difference, it would seem, is that Judaizers no longer exist, but MJ does. It is interesting to note that the Judaizing POV is (I think) absent from Wiki presentations, presumably because it is no longer notable. Alastair Haines (talk) 01:47, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

I think according to them, "Messianic Jews" is preferred since "Christianity" may imply lack of Torah observance. Often from a Jewish POV there are two types of Messianics. The first are "real" Jews, that is, born from a Jewish mother or receiving an orthodox conversion, who come to believe in Jesus as Messiah. Typically they are seen by fellow Jews as mostly harmless, just wayward and misguided much like Lubavitchers who believe the Rebbe is Moshiach. They are often still considered to be real Jews. Then there are "fake" Jews, basically Christians who have copied some Jewish customs and terminology to make them appear to be Jewish in order to lure "real" Jews into Messianic Judaism. These types are seen as more harmful to Judaism and much less tolerated. Note that these aren't my opinions, just what I've observed. -Bikinibomb (talk) 05:11, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Four points:

  • I think the editor above may be underestimating the pain that may be caused when a Jew opts out of Judaism. It doesn't matter whether the new religion is called "Messianic Judaism" or "foobar". Reactions of families vary a great deal. Some families quite literally go into mourning, i.e. sit shiva and write the family member off as "dead". Others feel that family ties are more important than religion and so will try to maintain a relationship. They may even go out of their way to understand why this choice made sense to their child/sibling. But these efforts at inclusion and empathy do not change the underlying pain. Often in even the most liberal families religion is a tense topic. Unspoken feelings of sadness and rejection may run deep. Concerns about the long term fate of grandchildren (will they be Jewish? are they lost forever?) hang in the air.
  • Whether we look at the current range of Jewish denominations or the historical changes in Judaism, Jewish understandings of Torah/law/observance have and do vary a great deal and are not necessary literal extractions from the Tanakh. There is a story in the Talmud where Moses is sitting in the academy of the 1st century rabbi Akiva. He hears many new things about the Torah - laws he doesn't remember as part of the covenant of Sinai and begins to worry. But Moses relaxes when Rabbi Akiva closes the lecture saying "and all this we have received from Moses on Sinai".
    All forms of Judaism, whether orthodox or liberal, stress the importance of an unbroken chain. Orthodox tend to see (as did Akiva) that every "new" thing is really there in the Torah originally and if it seems distant then we simply don't have the greatness of mind or prophetic insight that those like Rabbi Akiva or Rabbi Hillel did. Us ordinary folk are not in a position to bring out "new" things.
    Liberal Jews tend to give a greater role to "ordinary folk" and have differing opinions about whether the story of Moses is historical or cultural truth or both at once. This flexibility gives them more options when trying to help modern Jews connect to the "chain". For some this takes the form of stressing the ethical laws over ritual laws (e.g. Kaufmann Kohler's ethical monotheism). Others, like Martin Buber have stressed the existential relationship to God and treated "Torah" as a subjective and highly malleable and individualized expression of that relationship. For still others this takes the form of finding new symbols that perform the same function as an older ritual (what Mordechai Kaplan calls "transvaluing"). Yet others (Heschel, Franz Rosenzweig) feel it is enough to reinterpret or revalue traditional ritual so that it has a firmer connection to the present.
    However, even the most ahistorical of the bunch believe at root that all things "new" still capture the fundamental terms of the jewish covenant begun with the story of Abraham and detailed on Sinai. Like Christians, Jews have their own "kerygma" - a story that captures the existential experience of the faith community. The outward form may change, but never the inner commitment or the fundamental ontological relationship to God signified by the covenant of Sinai.
    When a Jew decides to convert to Christianity it is percieved as a rejection of that commitment, and often of the people that hold it. So it doesn't really matter if they keep Shabbat like a black-hat in Lakewood. It doesn't matter whether they convert as a "Messianic Jew" or an ordinary Baptist or Anglican. What a Jew sees is a break in the chain - a rejection of a 4000 year contract/love relationship between Abraham, God, and the Jewish people.
  • Lubobvichers - I think the jury is still out on this one. Jewish feelings appear to be deeply ambivalent. On one hand, the movement has helped many Jews reacquaint themselves with a rich Jewish tradition. On the other hand, their messianic beliefs are generally viewed as outside the scope of Judaism. I recently heard that Yeshiva university is now asking Lubobovicher students to sign a pledge saying that they do not believe Menacham Schneerson is the messiah.
  • The most modern day notable use of the phrase "messianic Judaism" is the modern day Jewish christians. However, historically there have been many messianic movements. Two come to mind within modern times: Sabbatai Zevi in the 1600's, Jacob Frank in the 1700's and more recently the Lubovicher movement. For various reasons, these have been considered Jewish in ways that "Jews for Jesus" has never been.

Alastair - I think you have hit the nail on the head as to why Christian Messianic Judaism is so disturbing to many Jews - it does attempt to blur the boundaries and obscure differences. But I also think it is more. It actually attempts to redefine Judaism. Messianic Jews often try to claim their Jewishness by saying "we observe Torah" but in doing so they often "freeze" Torah into a particular interpretation - often biblical, sometimes traditional orthodox.

By contrast, the Jewish community allows a lot of latitude in "what Torah means". To be sure disagreements can be intense and sometimes even degerate into spitting matches where each side blames the other of "destroying Judaism and its future". But even in the midst of such debates, we all have at our back a tradition that goes out of its way to preserve a wide range of opinions on all kinds of Jewish practice. The talmud illustrates this not only in its preservation of multiple disagreements, but also in its stories. Once, it reports, there was a long standing debate (3 years running) about the status of an oven. The school of Hillel and the school of Shammai stood on opposite sides of the debate (as they often did). Finally God speaks from on high "Elu v'elu divrei elokim chaim" - these and these are the words of the living God.[2]

What Jews do not give on is the one thing that Messianic Jews reject - the sufficiency of the existential relationship Jews have to each other and to big threesome God, Torah, and Israel. This sufficiency is what keeps us together even when we fight. Amazingly, even secularists like Mordechai Kaplan, still find the need to build their thought around these categories. For Kaplan, "Isreal" became a "volk" with a unique path through history. "God" became the embodiment of the values of that "volk" and "Torah" became the body of cultural practices that expressed those values. Egfrank (talk) 07:17, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

There is a difference between an observant Jew who has an opinion about who is Messiah -- could be Jesus, could be resurrected Daniel, could be the Rebbe -- as opposed to a Jew who entirely converts out of Judaism to become a Catholic, for example. To use familiar terminology, one is a heretic still within Judaism, the latter is an apostate converted out of it.
Though I was primarily addressing intrusiveness and damage in terms of missionary efforts regarding attitudes toward the two types of "Messianic Jews" I mentioned, I understand grief caused by Jewish belief in Jesus as Messiah, not seeming to be so much a matter of theology -- Jews opting for total atheism typically cause far less pain to their more religious loved ones than those who opt for Jesus -- but a cultural matter of embracing a POV historically associated with Jewish persecution and thus being a "traitor to the cause." -Bikinibomb (talk) 08:38, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps we have a terminology problem here, but I am not getting the difference between "an observant Jew who has an opinion about who is the Messiah" (i.e. Jesus is the Messiah) and "a Jew who entirely converts out of Judaism to become a Catholic". I'm getting the impression here that you think the problem is cultural (a common claim of Christian Messianic Jews) and that it can be addressed if only those "converts" were to stay culturally Jewish.

It can't - no more than wearing an abaya turns a man into a woman. Although we have been talking about culture, the problem is fundamentally theological. Christianity at heart claims both personal and communal salvation through the story of Jesus. It isn't merely a factual claim about who is or is not the Messiah. Christians (including Messianic Christians) believe they are loved by God because Jesus died on the cross for them. (John 3:16)

Jews, on the other hand, believe they are loved by God because of 4000 years of Jewish history. For them that history serves the same function as the Jesus story for Christians.

What we have is two communities with two different core mutually exclusive "Myths" (Note: myth in the technical sense here - no implication here about historicity or validity intended) each serving a similar function. For both communities, their respective myth helps them understand that they can't strong arm God into loving or forgiving them; that God's love is a gift freely given; that their relationship with God is unbreakable, even if they descend into the very depths of hell (Psalm 139); that forgiveness comes to those who repent not because of who we are but because it is in God's very nature (Psalm 51); that God does not desire the death of any human being, but rather that each turn from his or her sin and live. (Ezekiel 18:23).[3].

Both communities believe that their core myths are sufficient and need no supplement. That is why Christianity rejected Judaizers (who said you needed something more than Jesus). That is why even the most liberal Judaism rejects Jews for Jesus and other Christian messianic Jews (who say they need something more than God+Torah+Israel). Best, Egfrank (talk) 13:43, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

I am wondering if there is a much denominationalism and schism in Judaic worship , as there is in Christianity and Islamic practices ............ Pilotwingz (talk) 15:42, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Some Christians say Catholicism is the only true Christianity, others say Mormonism is fake Christianity. Some Muslims say only the Quran is authoritative, other say you aren't a real Muslim if you don't accept Hadith. Then of course Judaism has its own pecking orders and criteria for who is a real Jew and who is really practicing Judaism. Orthodox factions may insist real Judaism involves wearing tefillin. Neturei Karta say real Judaism renounces Zionism. Other Jews say that atheist Jews can still practice Judaism by fulfilling whatever mitzvot they can, apart from belief in God.
And then you have some Jews who say that because an observant Jew decides to believe Jesus is the king promised to David, he or she can no longer really be a Jew or practicing Judaism. Of all differences among Jews, this seems to be the one most Jews agree on. When we compare this deviation with others, I can only personally conclude that the primary cause of irritation with so-called Christian thought has more to do with cultural and historical associations with Jewish persecution, rather than with intense violations of theology. Since again as I mentioned, if it was mostly a theological concern it would seem to be highly lopsided compared to far fewer protests over Jews who turn to atheism which throws out the very reason Jews and Judaism came to exist in the first place, as recorded in the Tanach. -Bikinibomb (talk) 16:46, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
But back to the real question of how to categorize those who call themselves Messianic Jews...if they say they are Jews practicing Judaism adopting some elements of Christian thought then I'd say you would need to defer and categorize it as Judaism and them as Jews, with any appropriate rebuttals and criticisms within relevant articles. That being based on the same principles of treating observant Jews who happen to adopt some elements of Buddhism, for example, as still being Jews practicing Judaism, rather than editors arbitrarily deciding that they are no longer Jews practicing Judaism and insisting on categorizing them as Buddhists only. -Bikinibomb (talk) 17:35, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Thank you to everyone for your wonderful comments.
Pilotwingz, I imagine you appreciate as much as I do, the honest "inside look" Egfrank gives us of Jewish understanding and issues.
Bikinibomb, how on Earth do you know so much about everything! :D
Egfrank, it's a funny thing, but I love MJ because they are Christians who value the Jewish roots of Christianity with all their hearts — it's in their blood! I also love them because we share the same canon of the Bible and they tend to treat that canon as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth ... nothing more, and nothing less. I cannot worship a Jewish man as my God without caring about the Jewish people. For me, MJ represents the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2). I feel it when I read their writing, and listen in on their blog discussions.
However, here's an odd thought for you. Among Christians, you'd think MJ would be the least "supersessionist", and technically this would probably be true. But I wonder if, from a family Jewish perspective, MJ's often conservative commitment to the Torah only underlines their leaving it. Scratch enough and they do indeed admit that Jesus is sufficient and Torah observance is a special devotion to a family relationship with God. MJ are not Judaizers. Being very biased here, they are conservative Christians of the very best sort.
How is the Torah replaced for a Gentile Christian? She never had the Torah in the first place! Christianity brings Gentiles closer to Sinai (though they typically don't understand this), but it moves the MJ away, in the language of Hebrews 12, from Sinai to Zion! Though I doubt the Law of Return would appreciate the analogy. ;)
Thanks for sharing, in a dignified but open way, this family business with friendly outsiders. Alastair Haines (talk) 19:14, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Bikinibomb writes ". Of all differences among Jews, this seems to be the one most Jews agree on. When we compare this deviation with others, I can only personally conclude that the primary cause of irritation with so-called Christian thought has more to do with cultural and historical associations with Jewish persecution, rather than with intense violations of theology." Without under-emphasizing the inmpact of pesecution, I disagree. I think Judaism is as St. Augustine said a religion of the flesh - which is why for all Jews of all movements the sine qua non (for males) is circumscision - inscribing the covenant with God on the flesh itself. I think that what so disturbs Jews about Christianity is how spiritual it is. Paul (and most Jews i know who are knwoldgable have more problems with Paul than with jesus) establishes the importance of the crucified Jesus, the Jesus of the spirit. The Jesus of the spirit allows for a circumcision of the spirit, not the flechl, which enables ALL humans to be one in Christ (Galetians, there is ntierh Jew nor Gentile) ... for Jews (right or wrong) Christianity effects a metaphysical Holoocaust because Jews can enter heaven only by giving up what makes them distinct, their Jewishness. I think at a viscefral level Jews do not get trhe whole heavn/hell thing. I think rabbinic Judaism and Christianity developed at the same time, and they knew about each other, and they were consciously making themselvs different each from the other. So it is not surprise Chrsitianity really rankles Jews - rabbinic judaism develoed to a degree to be as different from Christianity as possibly, and vice versa. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:25, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

It seems so strange in my spirit to hear that " what so disturbs Jews about Christianity , is how spiritual it is " ....... those who nurtured and raised me are/were Israel ....... without them I would never have been able understand the love our Father has for us ........... without them I would be lost and wandering in darkness .......... they gave me their spirit that was given them by God .......... if only I were able to walk as worthy and reverned in spirit as they , in as humble and honorable a way as they ........... if only I could give in return something as precious for what they have given me ............ those who raised me were the most devotionally Spiritual people I have ever known and dare say ever will ........... It can not be possible that Jews believe Christians are more spiritual .......... it is totally incomprehensible to me ....... Pilotwingz (talk) 03:20, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

What a wonderful testimonial Pilotwingz! :)) I'm sure Slrubenstein would be the first to acknowledge very many spiritual Jews (not just Jewish mystics). I think his point is that there is something "fleshly" (could I also say "earthy"?) about Judaism in a very broad sense, and this is something recognized by modern scholars, as well as first century scholars.
Between you and me Pilotwingz, I think Jesus refers to this Jewish fleshliness, where it is not opposed to spirituality, quite positively, because it reflects his own reading of the Law and the Prophets. "God sends rain on the righteous and the wicked." "God clothes the flowers of the fields and feeds the birds of the air."
Even more profoundly, Jesus says "this is my body, broken for you." "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood." This is very earthy, very fleshly, very Jewish! And Jesus of Nazareth does not escape his culture, he speaks within it and to it.
Again, between you and me, this is one of the things that I think the Jewish scriptures teach me as a Christian. I think many of us Christians rush to spiritual interpretations, whereas the Jewish writers of the New Testament were able to make such spiritualizations reliably, because of their deep familiarity with the "fleshliness" of the Jewish Scriptures.
The more I try to understand the Law, the Prophets and all the Writings, as they were originally framed (as best we can recover), the more deeply I understand what Matthew, and Mark, and John, Paul and Peter were saying. Or at least I imagine I do.
Didn't Jesus teach that spirituality was expressed by loving your enemy. He doesn't mean it in an abstract way. He says "turn the other cheek." If we believe he deliberately set himself up to be crucified, isn't this flesh and blood spirituality. Sure, it goes significantly beyond and outside mainstream Judaism, but the practicality of Jesus teachings, the sweating honesty of them, feels very Jewish to me. What do you think? Alastair Haines (talk) 05:31, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Those are beautiful words, Pilotwingz. Jews wrote the psalms so of course we see things spiritually as well as earthily. I think Slrubenstein's point is that Judaism gets to spirituality by looking at the here and now. We like to face the hard facts of life - to hold them in our hands and turn them over wondering what they mean. We understand atheism because we know exactly where it comes from. We understand its hard honesty. Yes, the verdict of our history and our collective faith is that God is, but the verdict has never been God is obvious, easy to understand, easy to see.
Slrubenstien is also alluding to Jews paradoxical ability to look way beyond the here and now by focusing on the day to day. In Christianity there is no borrowed faith - either one believes (and is saved) or one does not. But Jews borrow each others faith all the time and this borrowing is what saves us. That is why community is so important and we are warned by Rabbi Hillel - Do not separate yourself from the community (Pirke Avot 2:5). We don't all have to believe at once - we just need to hold each other up long enough to continue to raise our kids, feed our families, to patch the world where it is broken, and bring on the next generation. Jews have a long history..we know in our bones that a thousand days of human kind is but one in the eyes of God. It doesn't have to all work out in our own life times. Again from Pirke Avot: You are not required to complete the task but neither may you refrain from it. (Pirke Avot 3:21)
We remind ourselves of God and/or our connection to fellow Jews through fleshy symbols like circumcision and dietary habits or through our ethical and financial choices. For example, many people explain kashrut (a spiritual dietary discipline) as a way of educating our flesh to understand that there is something more than just food. By making our food choices a consciously considered act we learn what Moses taught in Deuteronomy (8:3): Humankind does not live by bread alone but rather human beings live by every word that comes out of the mouth of the God. Sex and procreation are the most basic of human instincts - they are the ultimate symbol of life - so Jews put symbols on them too. Fine to say "I love God". That is good. But to change the way you experience the process of creating life (which I'm told circumcision does do) - well that is a commitment that stays with one in the most intimate and concrete of ways.
Slrubenstien is also I think means to say that Jews think spirituality has to be acted out "in the flesh" - it can't just stay in our heads. When bad things happen Jews don't just say "it will be better in the world to come". Jews ask: "why is the world broke? what can we do to help fix it". And even more importantly, "What can I do to fix it?".
There is a lovely story by Rabbi Marc Gellman that I would like to tell. In this story God is making the earth and Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve are told to take care of the earth (Gen. 1:26) but they complain that they need help - God has the plans and they are too little. So God says to Adam and Eve - OK, I'll help you but we have to work together as partners. A little later the angels ask God "Is creation done yet?". God answers "I don't know - go ask my partners!". (Rabbi Marc Gellman. Does God have a big toe?).
What can possibly be more spiritual than being a partner with God in creation? And by the way - Jews believe this particular story isn't just for Jews. Jews believe that we are all - Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Daoist, Pagan, Jew - we are all partners with God. This is because Judaism also teaches that all human beings were created from one first human being (Adam) so that no one could say I'm more human, I'm more a partner than anyone else.(Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5) Creation needs each and every one of us. Best, Egfrank (talk) 09:52, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

I very much appreciate Alistair and Egfrank's very thoughtful and constructive efforts to explain my point. I think i can explain myself a bit more clearly ... but still in a way that may require other people's help at elaborating. I believe that Paul's major contribution to theistic theology is the rely on and apply a binary opposition between the spirit and the flesh. My point is that this opposition does not exist in Judaism, for the most part. I do not mean that Jewish or Israelite poets have never employed a contrast betweeen flesh and spirit. I do mean two things. First, I do not think they mean by spirit the same thing that Christians think. I think a Jewish notion of the soul, that corresponds to the Christian version (which I am arguing has its immediate roots in Paul and its deeper roots in Plato), similarly has its early roots in the influence of Hellenic culture, and later the influence of Christians - but not in ancient Israelite thought (the hebrew Bible) and Rabbinic thought (the Talmuds) ... the "spirit" in Ancient Israelite religion is breath which animates the body but has no existence independent of the body and dies with the body (for Jews, the messianic age brings about the resurection of the body (including the breath that animates it). Secondly, I think that in Jewish religion (the Hebrew Bible and Rabbinic literature) any opposition between body and spirit or heart is rhetorical but in Pauline theology it is ontological. This has consequences not only for how Jews view their bodies, but how we read texts. I think Paul's reading of the Bible relies largely on allegory - that just as the flesh masks a hidden, inner spirit, the words of the text mask a hidden, inner meaning. In other words, hermeneutically, meaning comes from a difference between the surface of the text and its depths. In Jewish (Rabbinic) thought, our hermeneutics is not primarily allegory but midrash - in which meaning comes from a play of difference between words in one text (or part of the tex) and another, i.e. a play of difference on the "surface."
So my immediate - and superficial i.e. less complete than Alistair's and Egfrank's - response to Pilotwingz is that he and I are using a different language and when I say what fundamentally puts jews off from Christianity is that it is so spiritual, I am also calling into question what we mean by "spiritual." If I may now re-explain my point, what I mean is this: Christian theology as I understand it makes an ontological distinction between flesh and spirit and privileges the spirit (though I acknowledge that the Church fathers were always concerned that some Christians might take their privileging of the spirit too far, which is why Gnosticism was deemed heretical). By contrast, I think Jews simply do not traditionally make this ontological distinction between body and spirit. Since they do not make this ontological distinction, they do not privilege "spiritual." But this does not mean Jews do not do things that a Christian, using the language of Christianity, would not recognize as "spiritual." Max Kadushin has a lovely phrase which he applies to Rabbinic thought called "normal mysticism" by which he meant not only that Jews were "spiritual" in quotidian ways, but also through their bodies and fleshy things. Put another way, normal mysticism is about "the flesh and material world understood as holy" - again, to respond to Pilotwingz, I would say that Jews, and the psalmists, are not very "spiritual," they are "holy" - hoiliness is the key word in Hebrew and Rabbinic religious thought, not "spiritual" (because spiritual is the opposite of material, but holy is the opposite of unholly, not the opposite of material).
Now all of you, being very educated, are already thinking of exceptions to my claims, so let me try to anticipate the major ones. First, Philo - he like Paul was influenced by Hellenic (specifically, Platonic) philosophy and developed an allegorical reading of the Bible. So Paul was not the only or first Jew to seek to synthesize Hebrew and Hellenic thought. But, Philo never became very important in Jewish thought/theology. The rabbis never excommunicated him, but neither did they elevat hi. His allegorical approach to reading texts was largely ignored in favor of midrash, the privileged Rabbinic way of reading texts. Second, Kabbalah - which I (following many scholars) would also argue was deeply influenced by Platonic dualisms. true enough. But this I would argue is precisely why rabis asserted that before one study kabbalah one must be 40 years old, married, and a Talmud scholar. Marriage is important because it privileges the flesh (we are talking not just about a functioning household, but the value of sex, of carnal relations); Talmud scholar means a mastery over what max kadushin called "normal mysticism," what I would call "spirituality through the flesh and the material world" or even better, "the flesh and material world understood as holy." And within Kabbalistic thought there is a strong emphasis on not rejecting the material. Someone will correct me (or be more precise0 but in the Talmud or some midrash there is a story of a rabbi who is embarking on a kabblistic quest to enter God's heavenly throne-room, and is warned that the marble floor is so shiny that the rabbi might think it is wet but if he thinks that he will be denied entrance into God's presense. When he enters God's palace he sees the floor and cries our "water!" and thus returns to his regular life. This is a powerful message I think about materiality and how even mystics must not lose sight of the concrete (in this case - marble! which is even harder i think than concrete). I know that there are other examples of Jewish mysticism, and indeed examples of where Platonic philosophy - with its distinction between the apparent material world and the hidden ideal reality - have influenced Jewish thought ... during the middle ages and even today Christianity too has and continues to influence Jews and Judaism ... and one can find examples of Jews celebrating the spirit over the body. I just think that these examples are relatively few and marginal in Hebraic and Rabbinic thought.
Talmud scholar Daniel Boyarin wrote a lovely little book on this theme called Carnal Israel. He points out the Judaism as we know it - Rabbinic Judaism - largely (not entirely, but largely) developed after the emergence of Christianity and he suggests that as the Rabbis and Christians offered competing visions of Judaism - and competed for Jewish leadership - after the destruction of the Temple, they consciously and unconsciously emphasized those elements of Pharisaic and Hebrew thought that contrasted most clearly with Christian thought. He wrote another book asking why Christianity has so many martyrs and Judaism so few and suggests in a similar style of argument that the rabbis and Christians developed contrasting responses to Roman oppression. He doesn't claim that one is right and the other wrong, or one better than the other - he just points out that when people live under colonial oppression they typically have a variety of ways to resist. Uncle Tom's Cabin similarly portrays a variety of forms of oppression and a variety of possible ways of responding to oppression. Stowe's Uncle Tom - if not a Christ figure, then certainly an explicit representation of Christian values - is one way to respond ... a way that makes him Stowe's hero, but that many blacks today disdain. She also has characters that represent other responses (escape, rebellion, etc.) For Boyarin, Rabbis and Christians twoo offered contrasting ways of responding to oppression. While he does not judge them politically, he doesn't say one is better than the other, he does say that this difference is another example in which the Christian distinction between body and spirit, and value of the spirit, is part of what makes martyrdom - death - both easier to accept and even to celebrate, whereas the Jewish idea that the body itself is holy and holiness is experienced on earth, in earthly - and "earthy" ways - makes martyrdom both less appealing and less meaningful. Not that judaism does not have its martyers, just that they are not as many and do not have the same status as martyrs do for Christianity. There is a famous story of a woman and her sons who were martyred by Antiochus Epiphanes (leading to the macabeean rebellion) and he points out that she and her sons are remembered more as victims justifying rebellion than as saints to be revered.
One final example. I once had a conversation with a colleague about the pressure we feel from our parents to have children, and he said - and I had never thought of it this way, but instantly felt he was right - that it is tied up with the relative unimportance of heaven in Judaism, and our relative lack of interest in any afterlife (relative to Christianity). God's covenant is with the people of Israel. Individual death is not a problem for Jews, because the people of Israel lives on (one reason the Holocaust was such a traumatic incident - not just the death of six million, but the threat of genocide - the death not of many individuals but of the nation itself. It is that death that would end the covenant with God, so the possibility that God might permit a genocide theologically is profoundly troubling to Jews in a way that individual death is not). Our holiness relies on the continued reproduction of Jewish bodies, and our immortality is not in the spirit (when we die our sould lives on) but in the flesh, in our children. In a way, what heaven is for Christians, children are for Jews. I really believe this, and it is consistent with my reading of the hebrew bible and Talmud (not that i am a real scholar). I hope this explains what I mean about Christianity being too spiritual. I do not mean to offend Christians, I think their religion is perfectly reasonable. But I think that on this point - Christians distinguishing between mortal flesh and immortal spirit, and Jews distinguishing between holy matter and unholy matter Judaism and Christianity are most opposit or antithetical and I think this - more than any history of anti-Semitism or racism or religious oppression - may be why it so upsets jewish parents when their children convert to Christianity more than if a jewish shild is an atheist. Even as an atheist, as long as the child doesn't renounce his or her Jewishness, God is fulfilling his promise to Abraham that his children - children of the flesh (not "spiritual children") - will be like the stars in the sky or the grains of sand. A child who converts to Christianity is the loss of flesh in a double sense: the child's body is no longer Jewish, a subtraction from God's covenant with Abraham, and the child him/herself is renouncing a religion of the flesh for one of the spirit which, however much I can understand intellectually as a system of thought, just rubs against the grain of everything I know and feel about God and religion, because I was reared in a religion of the flesh. I am not sure how many Christians are aware of this, but for many Jews - this was clear to me groing up - Christianity is not bad or hateful or odious so much as, it just doesn't make sense to us. I think this is because we grow up speaking entirely different "languages" (or "metalanguages") of religion, and I think that the Christian language is premised on an opposition between body and spirit that does not exist in the Jewish language, and it is this difference that just makes much of Christianity simply unintelligible to Jews. I hope this is a better explanation of what I wrote earlier.
Pilotendz doesn't understand how I could say that Jews react negatively to Christian spirituality when s/he sees his/her own spirituality as deriving from jews' love of God. I hope it is clear that to me, nothing I wrote meant that Jews do NOT love God. But we love him through the flesh - a perfect example being how Jewish parents, who identify as jewish but do not obey jewish law, will nevertheless have their sons circumcised. I did not mean to say that there is something objectively wrong with Christian spirituality, I was only trying to explain a difference between Judaism and Christianty that explains why it so hurts a Jewish parent when his or her child converts to Christianity. Christians see a soul that is still wedded to God. Jews see the loss of a body. And I wish Pilotendz and other Christians could understand this Jewish language of religion - even if they do not "agree" with it or accept it as their own - but understand this Jewish language of religion in which it is through the flesh that we love God and how the loss of flesh is such a painful loss. I think this is the issue - an existential or ontological "betrayal" but not - or, not just - as Bikinibomb suggested, turning to the side of people who have in the past persecuted Jews (though I do think that is an issue, and explains why many Jews are so offended when some Jews have Christmas trees). Slrubenstein | Talk 13:30, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

The discussion above was copied from [Talk:Bible] - end of copied text Egfrank (talk) 16:24, 20 November 2007 (UTC) How may I say thank you all so much for your sincere and loving efforts to help me understand .......... my eyes have not dried yet ......... Pilotwingz (talk) 18:53, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

NOTE: although this began as a discussion about messianic Jews, it was moved here because it developed into a more general discussion of differences between Christianity and Judaism. The question is, does this discussion provide any material for a new section of this article i.e. on the differences between Judaism and Christianity (not on Messianic Jews) Slrubenstein | Talk 19:16, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

What are Messianic Jews?

The question of what "Messianic Jews" really are isn't so simple:

On the extreme surface the religion appears Jewish, by terms, tefillin, talit, and Torah scrolls.

Dig a little deeper into doctrinal statements and the religion appears Christian, by vicarious atonement, belief in the deity of Jesus, etc.

Dig a little deeper and some congregations are neither. The teaching that the Trinity is a "Compound Unity" violates both Jewish Monotheism and Christian Trinitarian Monotheism, which both insist that God has no components. So, calling them Jewish is wrong except on ethnic grounds. Calling them Christian may or may not be wrong, whether or not the group members would allow the term.

Nevertheless, this is what the group calls itself. We can't go around calling Jehovah's Witneses "Arians" to the exclusion of their self identification, or no one will know what you are talking about. And although the word "Catholic" applies to everyone who can agree with the Nicene Creed, we can't go around calling Southern Baptists "Catholics" to the exclusion of their self identification, or, again, no one will know what you are talking about.

Ultimately, it is not the role of Wikipedia to prescribe what should and should not be. Our role is to describe in ways that are meaningful to the average reader. If necessary, the context of the article could explain problems of terminology that Jews, Christians, and Messianics have about the group -- but the name needs to at least be identifiable or no one will even be able to find the article.

Tim (talk) 16:49, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

I wonder if there is any scholarly analysis of "Messianic Jews." I do not mean by jewish or Christian theologians, I mean by sociologists or anthropologists of religion - that would provide material for a good encyclopedia article. In any event, I do not think that this particular article is the place for an anlysis or discussion of Messianic Jews. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:13, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Also some Messianic Jews believe that Messiah is human and not deity, just given some God-like powers over the people as Moses had (like in Ex. 4:16). Then again some say that shechinah in Judaism makes for a compound male/female unity in God and is not necessarily monotheistic. So I agree, it can all get very complicated if editors try to classify based on any one particular aspect of a belief system. -Bikinibomb (talk) 20:08, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

There are a number of anthropologic references to Messianic Judaism to be looked over , that are available on the Net.......... I am going to take some time to go through them to see what they have to say ............ perhaps my understanding may be broadened beyond a Jewish person who believes Christ Jesus is the promised Messiah of Israel's hope ........ Pilotwingz (talk) 02:32, 21 November 2007 (UTC) given as reference , Paul Liberman : The Fig Tree Blossoms ; Messianic Judaism Emerges , Harrison AK : Fountain , 1976 , p.2. ......... ( quote ) A tenet of Messianic Judaism asserts , that when a Jew accepts a Jewish Messiah , born in a Jewish Land , who was foretold by Jewish Prophets in Jewish Scriptures , such a Jew does not become a Gentile , but in fact becomes a completed Jew ..... a Jew who believes Jesus is the Messiah ........... Stern , p.42 : in this context there is then no conflict whatsoever between being " Messianic " and being " Jewish " , since believing in Yeshua ( the Jewish Messiah ) is one of the most Jewish things a Jew can do .... ( end quote ) ........... also there is a very well recorded history in the study of Anthropo that covers the most recent 100 or so years of it's ( MJ ) organizational movement ..... a rather awakening stat. is that Messianic Judaism membership has grown 16X in the last decade ......... Pilotwingz (talk) 05:59, 21 November 2007 (UTC)Pilotwingz (talk) 06:11, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Have I got this correct Pilotwingz?
"A tenet of Messianic Judaism asserts, that when a Jew accepts a Jewish Messiah, born in a Jewish Land, who was foretold by Jewish Prophets in Jewish Scriptures, such a Jew does not become a Gentile, but in fact becomes a completed Jew ... a Jew who believes Jesus is the Messiah (Stern: 42) ... In this context there is then no conflict whatsoever beween being "Messianic" and being "Jewish", since believing in Yeshua (the Jewish Messiah) is one of the most Jewish things a Jew can do." Paul Liberman, The Fig Tree Blossoms: Messianic Judaism Emerges, (Harrison, Arkansas: Fountain Publishing, 1976), p. 2.
A sixteen-fold increase in membership in the last decade? That is an extraordinary statistic for any group. What precisely was the source? What was the date?

Alastair Haines (talk) 14:41, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Alastair, you've found a good quote there. One of the peculiarities I've seen is that when a Jew converts to Christianity, both Christians and Jews believe he is still a Jew, but for different reasons. Conversely, when a Christian converts to Judaism, only Jews uniformly regard him as Jewish. Christians will sometimes deny that he could be -- or in other words, Jews no longer have the authority to convert Gentiles into their nation (trust me, I've lived through this). Back to the Jew who becomes a Christian: Jews believe he is a Jew for halakhic reasons, the religion specifies that the nationality holds, even though the person is an apostate. Christians believe he is a Jew both religiously and ethnically (or, how can believing in the Jewish Messiah make you less Jewish; wouldn't it make you more?). The problem I see is that we can't properly describe the differences in perspective unless we find a reference point the two groups have in common. A Jew converts to Christianity (i.e. becomes Messianic). "Is he Jewish?" gives you the same answer from both sides but with radically different content. A better question would be: is he Christian? Well, both sides should agree to that, and in fact they do -- but now Messianics do not agree, because they reserve the term for Gentiles! Tim (talk) 18:48, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I have asked Mr.Liberman to visit us here on this discussion ....... maybe he will , maybe he won't .......... figured it couldn't hurt to ask ....... Pilotwingz (talk) 15:33, 22 November 2007 (UTC) There were two stats I came across concerning the 16X increase while researching more on Messianic Judaism ....... The first one I read came from the same place as the " quotes " mentioned , and that stat stated this increase as 1978 to I believe 2001 or there abouts ......... the second stat which I mentioned was from another source ( the 16X in the last decade ) , and I have tried desperately to recover that source for you , but have to this point failed to do so ........ it is certain that I encountered both of these just mentioned , because I explicitly remember the contradiction between the two regarding the time span of the increase in membership ......... so for now and what it's worth , I am able to provide you with the first source only if of any value ......... perhaps irrelevant but I would appreciate it if anyone could help me understand ( in brief ) what Dor l' Dor means ?? ........ Pilotwingz (talk) 06:37, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

I believe dor l'dor (or l'dor v'dor Psalm 33:11 and others) are Hebrew expressions for "from generation to generation". I believe it is a popular expression because of it's source in Tehilim (Psalms) resonating with the long experience of the Jewish community enduring and passing on their traditions from generation to generation. Our friends here can say much more I'm sure.
I think it was also the old title of the Journal of the World Jewish Bible Society of Jerusalem, now called Bet Mikra (ISSN 0005-979X). It is also the title of another journal ISSN 0483-2465. Alastair Haines (talk) 08:24, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
@Tim, :D, I see what you mean. LoL, when I call myself a gentile messianic, I violate everyone's systems of nomenclature! I don't mean to be difficult, just to use a Jewish/Hebrew way of describing myself as a Christian, out of sincere respect. I understand it classes me as a God-fearing heretic, but I much prefer that idea to one with an implicit imperialistic triumphalism (meant semi-seriously).
Goodness me, adding Wikipedia needs for clarity of classification, on top of Jewish, MJ and Christian attempts at this, presents a very interesting challenge. Though we do seem to be gathering editors equal to the task. :D And you, Tim, have established some excellent foundations for that. Alastair Haines (talk) 08:45, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Well , I came across Dor l' dor in my recent readings pertaining to Messianic Judaism ....... It seemed to be being used as a doctrinal or creed type of expression to sum up a core motivation for MJ's .......... it also made me think of what Slrub. ( and you others ) had explained to me about the " Fleshy " componant of Jewish spiritual faith ......... it also makes me think of passages within the Holy Bible just as you have given Alastair ......... and even my own conception of the words in Gen. 2:4 ( toledoth ) , which I believed to include all of humankind ( 6th Day event of the generations mentioned there ) ......... it also has made me think of a theophany event which happened to an 8 yr. old boy involving his father .......... also I want to apologize to Slrub. because I have read what s/he suggested about " this particular article not being the place for discussion about Messianic Judaism " , for me it's just that the discussion is here and I followed ....... Alastair , I was unable to get very far in accessing those ISSN's you gave , I wonder if you know anything about the ISSN Portal and if it could be of value to me in my efforts to read referenced material ( they have a free 30 day trial subscription available ) ........ Pilotwingz (talk) 17:51, 26 November 2007 (UTC)


This thread has been archived at Talk:Christianity and Judaism/Archive5 due to excessive length (96K!) and the fact that discussion of terminology is now taking place on the talk page of a spin-off article named Glossary of Christian, Jewish, and Messianic terms.

If you wish to participate in the terminology conversation, please visit Glossary of Christian, Jewish, and Messianic terms. Egfrank 08:04, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

The article has been renamed to Glossary of Christian and Jewish terms. -LisaLiel (talk) 16:09, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

understandings of the Bible

I did some more reorganization of this section. I admit that this is a difficult section to organize, since it provides not only an account of Jewish and Christian scriptures, but also an account of how Christians view jewish scripture and how Jews view Christiand scripture. But my main intention in editing was to clarify what I saw as a misleading representation of the Talmud. The most recent edit compared the Talmud as an authoritative interpretive tradition for Jews with Catholic and Orthodox Christian authoritative traditions. It is true that the Talmud is in some way authoritative for Orthodox Jews ... but I think this misses the point. For one thing, the real authority for Orthodox Jews is as the article already said the Shulchan Aruch. Also, Conservative Jews consider the Talmud authoritative, thought in a very different way than Orthodox jews, and even Reform Jews consider it sacred. The important point about the Oral Torah, certainly in the form of the Talmud, is that it is heterogeneous and dialogical. That is, it is not just a compendium of official interpretations and rulings. It includes stories, discussions, debates, and when it comes to law includes majority rulings but also minority rulings which, though not followed, are nevertheless considered part of the Oral Law revealed by God and sacred. Now, I do not know anything about the sacred traditions of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches and maybe they really are comparable to the Oral Law. If so, someone needs to elaborate on that. But just calling the Talmud authoritative I think could too easily be misinterpreted to mean that it is a monolithic set of interpretations when it is anything but. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:18, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

The end of this section is going to need some rework. First let's assume that most Christians are Gentiles, not Jews. As a standard Christian Gentiles were only commanded to follow parts of Torah as stated in Acts 15, which includes Laws common to Noahide. This standard also exists in modern Judaism, Jews usually do not expect Gentiles to convert fully, but only to follow Noahide. So the tone here is a bit like most Christians just choose willy-nilly from what they like out of Torah and ignore the rest. And also, that Jews contradict themselves when they criticize Christian Gentiles for not following Torah but then tell their own proselytes they don't need to, they only need to follow Noahide. So perhaps next week I'll get around to clarifying all this unless someone else wants to take a crack at it in the meantime. -Bikinibomb (talk) 20:29, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

You are referring to a section I did not write, so I cannot speak to your concerns and certainly take your word concerning what Christians think. But I can tell you what most Jews think: they think no Gentile is obliged to obey any commandment (including the ten commandments) aside from the "Noahide commandments." So most Jews are confused when Christians ever refer to any of the commandments in the Torah, at all. For example, in the US Christians often cite the commandment against male homosexual acts. I think many Jews are just confused about why Christians fel this law applies to them when, say, the laws of kashrut don't. Do you see what I mean? What is confusing is not that Christians do not observe the commandments, but on the contrary why the pick some commandments to obey. Does this make sense? Slrubenstein | Talk 20:35, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

On cursory inspection, I'm fine with your rearrangement, Slrubenstein. I put the bits about authoritative traditions together only because they already existed separately (and rather haphazardly) in the section but seemed to go together as written. My primary qualm is with this sentence:
Jews however do not accept the retronymic labeling of its sacred texts as the "Old Testament," and reject claims that any new covenant supercedes the covenant expressed in the Written and Oral Torahs. They therefore do not accept that the New Testament has any religious authority over Jews.
Is it true that all Jews (in the broadest sense) reject this labeling? Do Messianic Jews? Do liberal (and particularly, academic) Jews? It seems to me that some Jews (in the broadest sense) may have accepted it as a conventional term, even if they did not altogether agree with it, or perhaps as a religious term because they did.
Moreover, "supercedes" is a controversial idea. Covenant theology, for instance, sees the New Covenant as a fulfillment, unfolding, or consummation of the ancient covenants, and most certainly not as a replacement for the Old Covenant (in a sense, OT is a misnomer to them, too, but they still use it as a conventional term). Gentiles are grafted into the existing, "new and improved" covenant community (Rom. 11), not into a "brand spanking new" covenant community. How can reword this? --Flex (talk/contribs) 20:39, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Again we see the problem of the term "Messianic Jews." Although I've argued in favor of using the term in Wikipedia, I personally do not use it, because it is theologically confusing. It is a Christian (or quasi-Christian) movement, and not a Jewish one. My terms are Christians for Christianity and Jews for Judaism, and I treat Messianics as a subset, much like Baptists (within Christianity) or Conservative (within Judaism), etc. Do Jews reject the labeling of "New Testament"? Yes. Do they do it in the broadest sense? Again, yes. Jews actually call the New Testament the Christian Bible, a term which causes entirely different semantic problems because the Christian Bible is not just the New Testament, but the New Testament, the Hebrew Bible, and for many the Apocrypha as well. Tim (talk) 21:09, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Seems like a similar problem that Christianity has with Mormonism: Are Mormons Christians? Most evangelicals, Catholics, and Orthodox would emphatically demur, though some liberal Christians would accept them, and Mormons self-identify as Christians (i.e., Christ followers) in the sense that they also claim to follow Christ. The Wikipedia consensus seems to be that they must be included as Christians in the broad sense of the term. I suspect the same thing applies to Messianic Jews -- it's not for the Wikipedia to take a stand on whether they are Jews or not since they self-identify as Jews and have a plausible claim to it. In short, we must be descriptive, not prescriptive.
And what about liberals and academics? I had a professor for my class at a secular university on the HB/OT who was a liberal Jewish rabbi but occasionally used the term "Old Testament." Some of our texts for the class (including the primary one) called it the OT. So, like I said, even if he didn't like it, he used it as a conventional term. Hence, I suspect it would be relatively easy to disprove from reliable sources your universal statement that all Jews reject the term OT. --Flex (talk/contribs) 21:52, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Flex, it shouldn't be a question of the self identification as much as the normative identification of the group as a whole. The state of Israel, for instance, has the law of return for Jews, even atheist and Buddhist Jews, but NOT "Messianic Jews." Messianics are accepted by Christianity as Christians (unless they peer too closely into the Compound Unity semantics). Messianics are NOT accepted by Judaism as Jewish, period. Should we call them "Messianic Jews?" Yes, or at least "Messianics." Should we regard their movement as Jewish or Christian? Emphatically, most emphatically, as Christian. They are not trying to convert Gentile Christians to Judaism, but Jewish Jews to Christianity through term switching and other tactics that are normally reserved for sociologically designated cults. While I do not believe they are a cult, I DO believe they are Christians -- as their embrace of the New Testament, if nothing else, should demonstrate. Tim (talk) 01:16, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Tim, again we need to be descriptive not prescriptive. Messianic Jews say they are Jews. They have Jewish roots, perhaps both ethnic and religious. They self-identify as Jews and have a plausible (though not undisputed) claim to that classification. That Israel rejects them is analogous to Christianity's rejection of Mormonism, but it is not grounds for the Wikipedia to prescribe who is a Jew and who isn't. The Wikipedia must not choose sides in a religious debate like this. It must be inclusionist rather than exclusionist. That's what WP:NPOV requires. Of course, that doesn't mean that there can't be neutrally worded and reliably sourced statements about how most Jews don't accept them as Jewish. --Flex (talk/contribs) 13:48, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Flex, I think there was a disconnect between what I meant and what you got out of it. I've argued and will continue to argue that Jewish Messianic Jews be called Messianic Jews because of their self identification. There are, of course, Gentile Messianics, and in fact I used to be good friends with a Gentile Messianic Pastor years ago before I moved away (and made some other changes). Gentile Messianics should not be called Messianic Jews, and even Messianic Jews will insist on that. Messianic Jews and Gentile Messianics use these terms: the movement = Messianic Judaism; the ethnically Jewish adherents = Messianic Jews; the ethnically Gentile adherents = Messianic Gentiles. I think that the only personal innovation I've made is to not say "Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles" but just to say "Messianics." I do it to save time, not to be prescriptive. NEVERTHELESS, Messianic Judaism's self identification should never be used to deny Judaism's self identification. "Judaism" without the "Messianic" moniker is always taken exclusive of Messianic Judaism. There is no "broader sense." And, to make matters even more confusing, Jews will agree that ethnically Jewish Messianics are in fact Jews, but their religion is not Judaism. God, I love religion! Tim (talk) 14:58, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Tim, it sounds like we are actually on the same page here. Messianic Jews are rightly called "Jews." Getting back to the wording questions at hand then...
Jews [Orthodox, Messianic, liberal, academic, or otherwise] however do not accept the retronymic labeling of its sacred texts as the "Old Testament," and reject claims that any new covenant supercedes the covenant expressed in the Written and Oral Torahs. They therefore do not accept that the New Testament has any religious authority over Jews.
Isn't it more correct to say Judaism (not "Jews") rejects that labeling because it rejects the New Testament? Secondly, it is simply not true that the New Covenant replaces ("supercedes") the Ancient Covenants in all major Christian views. Covenant Theology is a primary example. This part needs to be reworded for factual accuracy. --Flex (talk/contribs) 15:12, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Hmm... while I don't agree with your use of Jews, I don't disagree with your use of Judaism. When using the word Jews ethnically, it includes all natural born Jews or converts, regardless of religious orientation; secular, Buddhist, Christian, pagan, Orthodox, etc. However, when using the word Jews religiously, it is exclusive of Messianic Jews unless the moniker is specifically applied. For instance, most people understand the meaning of these three truths: 1) "Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah", 2) "Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the head of the church", and 3) "Baptists do not recognize each other in a liquor store." Most people get the meaning. However, that being said, it is certainly not wrong to say "Judaism does not accept the (funky-word) labeling of its sacred texts..." Tim (talk) 15:46, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
The issue, on which I think we agree, is that Jews is more ambiguous than Judaism. So do you approve of changing the sentence back to Judaism? --Flex (talk/contribs) 15:51, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
I think the problem with Jews here is that the qualifiers matter. Almost all Jews would agree that a Jew that is halakhically or ethnically Jewish can never lose that halakhic or ethnic status. However, the word Jew (unqualified) is generally reserved for those who, in addition to having the ethnic or halakhic status, also have never accepted another religion.
My main concern here is that Judaism refers only to the religion but Jews includes both secular and religious Jews. I think both secular and religious Jews reject "OT", or at least prefer alternatives such as "Hebrew Bible", "Tanach". However, since this article is about religion, I don't see a problem with using Judaism rather than Jews. Egfrank (talk) 15:56, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Flex -- yes, "Judaism" is correct, even though (as Egfrank explained) "Jews" isn't incorrect.Tim (talk) 16:23, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree that "Jews" isn't incorrect in every sense of the term, but it is incorrect in the ethnic sense. While perhaps the intended sense here should be clear to the reader from context, it is my opinion that it is best to reduce the ambiguity in this case. Since we all seem to be in general (if not absolute) agreement, I will make this change. --Flex (talk/contribs) 17:20, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
It's a tricky issue. For example, in an NC era when there is no more sin and everyone observes Torah, will there still be laws commanding annual sin sacrifice? What will there to be atone for if there is no more sin? If some laws of a covenant don't exist anymore is it a renewal of the same covenant or a brand new one? I think on this you have to rely on external C/J sources for their commentary about it. -Bikinibomb (talk) 21:19, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
I completely agree that we have to rely on reliable sources. Of course. (This article is severely lacking in sources all around, as it stands. It's pretty weaselly.) Anyway, the point is, it is not correct to say that all (or even the vast majority of) Christians believe the New Covenant supersedes the old. This needs to be reworded. Suggestions on a better wording? --Flex (talk/contribs) 21:52, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
In my discussions with Christians, most seem to take one of two positions, each with variations. 1. The old covenant died on the cross, the new came into effect at that time, all you need now is faith and love. 2. The old covenant is followed until Judgment, after that the new covenant is in effect when death and sin are no more. In almost every case, Christians believe the old covenant is replaced with the new. However, they are equally split on its impact for Jews, some Christians believe Jews are God's Chosen no matter what their belief about Jesus is and they will given a chance and come around all in good time, others say that no matter who you are you go to hell without belief in Jesus. I think these need to be referenced in order to explain all Christian POVs, finding good sources for them may not be easy though. -Bikinibomb (talk) 22:20, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
"In almost every case, Christians believe the old covenant is replaced with the new." -- I don't dispute that this is an accurate assessment of your experience with Christians, but I don't think it is an accurate summary of all their major views on the subject. --Flex (talk/contribs) 13:48, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

When Noahide-type restrictions in Acts 15 agree with Torah, for example regarding fornication and homosexuality, pragmatically Christians cite Torah as basis for what consititutes fornication since they are commanded in the NT to avoid it. On the other hand there are no Acts 15 commands to avoid pork for example. Therefore confusion and criticism among Jews exists simply due to lack of understanding of what Christians are commanded to do in Acts 15. So of course all this needs to be explained if that Jewish POV is mentioned at all. -Bikinibomb (talk) 20:59, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

I should remind that this only applies to Gentiles, Jews are never relieved of Torah observance per Mat. 5:19. -Bikinibomb (talk) 21:09, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Also to clarify, some Christians may teach Jews they don't need Torah anymore, others remain "true" to the NT and teach the policy similar in Judaism: Jews need to follow Torah, Gentiles follow the Noahide-type Laws. Therefore some Jewish criticism is correctly aimed at the first type of Christians who take a light view of Torah for Jews, but incorrectly atributed to what the NT actually says about it. Hope that explains more. -Bikinibomb (talk) 22:39, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Just to responmd to Flex above: while I agree with Bikinibomb on Messianic Jews' status, I think in this case we just can ignore them because among Jews their views do not rise to the standard of notability required by NPOV to demand adjusting general statements made about Jews. I have no problem acknowledging that not all Christians believe in supercession and some believe in an unfolding or fulfilment - I will add this language. In any event I believe that the article's claim stands, and applies to reform jews and academics. It would not surprise me if a Jewish professor in a mixed class used the word Old testament as a way of simplfying communication by following convention i.e. use the languaqge of the dominant culture. I still believe that any self-identified Jejects the appellation of "Old Testament" as being meaningful or valid for Jews. I am sure that there are cases of Jews who use the term but would interpret this as a sign of assimilation. Jews living in a Christian country begin speaking a Christian languge. Or as i suggested just acknowledgment that we live in a Chritian dominated society. Look, I do not believe in Christ or that Jesus' birth is anything worth celbrating but I wish my Chritian friend "Merry Christmas" out of respect for them. My saying the words does not reflect on my beliefs. I suspect that is what goes on with some Jews speaking before mixed audiences. Slrubenstein | Talk 23:25, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
I think in discussion of Judaism vs. Christianity, views of most religious Jews should be focused on: Jesus as Messiah, covenant replacement vs. renewal, etc. But somewhere initially there should be a brief mention that Messianic Jews may lie in the middle, then link off to their article explaining their views. That way it doesn't ignore them completely, but doesn't confuse the reader into thinking their views represent mainstream Judaism either.
Unless it is specifically stated to represent a POV, I see a problem with flatly declaring some things "Jewish" and others not as general article terminology. If you imply "Jewish/Jews=Judaism" then you imply all Jews follow Judaism which is a common myth but an inaccurate one regardless. The same condition doesn't exist with Christianity, you can use "Christian=Jesus" shorthand with no further explanation. So it needs to be clarified that when you talk about Jews and Jewishness, you are talking about only that which pertains to Judaism, and not all things in general. That, along with a brief reference to Messianic Jews, should give a decent NPOV and free everyone up to move along with the rest of the material. -Bikinibomb (talk) 00:02, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Bikinibomb's explanaton of Christians and Torah law is illuminating and I hope s/he will add it to the articleSlrubenstein | Talk 23:25, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Someone deleted "Rabbinic" and I put it back in because the claim described was made normative in the Rabbinical period (3rd c.-6th ce.). The same section is followed by one that clarifies what Jews today believe. Slrubenstein | Talk 23:29, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree, based on my own experience reading Christian theology and participating/facilitating ecumenical dialog, that unfolding is a much more normative Christian understanding of "New Covenant", even among those who (sigh) believe that the Christian community supercedes or replaces the Jewish community as the "new Israel". However, I am once again uncomfortable with the comments about Judaism above, especially the attempt to separate Judaism and culture and then to use that to blur or expand the definition of what counts as Jewish belief.

Religion vs. culture. In the section #What_does_Messianic_Judaism_tell_us_about_the_differences_between_Jews_and_Christians? above, two editors (myself and Slrubenstein) have tried to explain that the western division between religion and culture is simply not applicable in Judaism. On one hand we have thinkers like Mordechai Kaplan who quite literally see culture as religion. On the other hand we have a long and continuous religious and secular tradition that does much the same thing, albeit less formally. Please, Flex, read the above discussion and see if you still believe that "Jews" can be so easily separated from "religion".

Judaism is not a belief based religion. Unlike Christianity or Islam, Judaism is not a belief based religion. It has no formal creed. Judaism is not a set of beliefs or even a particular way of life. The disputes about what it means to live as Jew are too great to say "Jews do this" or "Jews do that". These disputes are complicated enough when we limit our view to Jews in the Western world. The problem grows only more complex when we expand our focus to include Yeminite, Ethiopic, Indian, and Chinese Jews.

At best we can describe for Judaism and Jews a range of beliefs (and practices). However, even as a range, this tradition is not completely open-ended. Diverse as this range is, it is bound together by several meta assumptions about how the individual is connected to his community and to life itself (cf. Slrubenstein's comments about fleshliness) - it includes everyone from the atheist to the most rigid Orthodox, including even Nuturei Karta. The only members of Nuturei carta whose Jewishness have been questioned are those who have engaged in actions that put the lives of other Jews at risk - a point which only underscores the visceral definition of Judaism given by Slrubenstein.

The Messianic Jewish community has redefined Judaism in ways that are completely incompatible with the normal latitude for debates within the Jewish community. Jews have historically debated on what exactly "observing Torah" means. They have never questioned the sufficiency of their historic/ontological/existential/cultural (take your pick) relationship to God for purposes of atonement, forgiveness, reconciliation with God, etc. This question is simply not a matter of debate within Judaism or among Jews. It is, of course, a matter of debate between Jews and Christians.

Even Alvin Reines, the famous proponent of polydoxy, has acknowledged bounds on the meaning of the term "Jew". Alvin Reines is at the extreme end of Jewish liberalism - his polydox philosophy argues that individuals are born intrinsically free and have a right to choose their own values, beliefs and identity. It should be noted that not all Jews agree with his extreme views on autonomy. I am using him as an example, not because he is normative, bur rather because Reines tests the limits.

In his essay The name Jew he makes the following observations: The name Jew, viewed historically, can be discerned as possessing three characteristics: inheritability, possessability, and redefinability...Inheritability is the characteristic of the name Jew that makes it capable of being transmitted from parent to child... Possessability is the characteristic of the name Jew that enables it to become the possession of or "belong to" those who inherit it...Redefinability is the characteristic of the name Jew whereby it can be given new definition by a sovereign community whose members have inherited the name. (bolded by editor User:Egfrank).

Notice here that even the radical individualist Reines acknowledges that the identity Jew is a communal identity - it is defined not by a creed but by a community. When definitions of that term change (the redefinable characteristic of "Jew"), they must be acknowledged by a wider community. To claim that Messianic Jews have a right to define Judaism or Jew would also mean claiming that they are a sovereign community whose members have inherited the name. Indeed members have inherited the name, but no Jew other than the Messianic Jews themselves acknowledges them as a sovereign community with the right to define or redefine Judaism. Egfrank (talk) 07:14, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Whoever thought of explaining, right at the start of the article, that Judaism and Christianity have different raisons de etre was spot on (though perhaps the French phrase might put some readers off). With the subjects of Torah obedience and Covenant, I think it is all too easy for Jews and Christians to end up talking at cross purposes. Even when they use the same terminology, refering to the same objective referents, the place of those things in the total world view can be very different.
Torah obedience and Covenant are very closely associated in Judaism, and core to self-understanding. While Covenant and Obedience are prominent in Christianity, they are nowhere near as central as Atonement, Faith, Hope and Active Prosletizing.
I want to be able to answer Flex's question above, but I find it hard to do so, because the reason for the inadequate description (I agree with him) may lie in the fact we are comparing apples and oranges.
Returning to Slrub's suggestion, some matters might be best sourced from atheist or agnostic sources. Otherwise, we are stuck with sources that are written by Jews for Jews or Christians for Christians, and don't engage as much as they could in clarifying definitions and contexts.
Personally, I am more flexible, if logic and available sources allow editors here to form a responsible consensus, in the absence of suitable sources, we can provide provisional text, until such sources are located (or published!).
In the case of New Covenant. I think it could be very helpful to source and state the Jewish view that sees Christians believing one thing, while sourcing and stating what Christians say of themselves. But we need to do this in a way that affirms for the reader why Christian denials of supersession sound hollow. Sourcing that is extremely hard, but it is something required to do justice to the Jewish POV, and hence to maintain NPOV.
I hope others follow the tricky subtleties of this, sorry if I've only made it more confusing, I'm very keen to hear other proposals. Alastair Haines (talk) 07:20, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I think the average reader will be puzzled to see that Judaism is not a belief based religion with no formal creed, yet generally excludes Messianics based on their belief in Jesus. You are getting a little warmer by implying that Judaism emphasizes culture as much or even more than religion, but as I said earlier, you are probably going to have to come out and say that Christians and Christian doctrines are offensive due to past persecutions of Jews, and most Jews don't want any part of it in Judaism, if in fact you want to explain it all in a way that makes sense. I know it's a touchy matter, but for clarity it's probably necessary to delve into, that is, if you want to go in that critical direction with Messianics. -Bikinibomb (talk) 08:30, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

One of the perrenial problems in the study of religion is the tendency of Western scholars and the general public (predominantly from a Christian background) to impose Christian definitions of religion onto other religions. Scholars in recent years (e.g. the last quarter century) have tried increasingly to find other forms of definition because religion=belief creates more problems than it helps. Whilst Religion=belief works fairly well for Christianity and Islam (both of which require affirmations of belief as an entry fee), it fails miserably with many other religions, including Judaism.
As Frederick Streng in his book Understanding Religious Life (part of the reading list of a Princeton University course on Buddhism I took c. 1985) provides one alternative way to define religion: "Scholars who study religion ... look at religion as it affects individuals, as it operates in a culture, and as it expresses the highest life values." (p. 2). The American Academy of Religion (an association for academics, teachers, and research schoars in religion) has a website that does a superb job of illustrating just how difficult it is to limit religion to "beliefs" - see [4].
The definition of religion that I think can best be applied to Judaism is probably "process" and "debate". Judaism defines itself in terms of a community process and in terms of core debates within that community. I think if you look at the history of Judaism and what got pushed out or called non-Jewish you will consistently see in every case a violation of process or an attempt to change the core debate. The Samaritans removed the prophets from the debate - they split off. The Nazarites tried to turn redemption into a core debate - they split off. The Karites tried to remove oral tradition from the debate and return to a written only tradition - they split off. Messianic Jews are only the latest in a long line of people who have tried (and failed) to change the core debate.
On the other hand, atheism has never stretched the boundaries of Judaism because the relative presence or absence of God in the world has been an ongoing area of speculation and interest. Similarly doubts about chosenness are tolerated because Judaism has always been somewhat torn between universalist and particularist tendencies. Consequently, Mordechai Kaplan's removal of the blessings on chosenness from the liturgy have been tolerated even though many refuse to worship in that fashion. Both atheism and the rejection of chosenness violate long held Jewish beliefs, but never lead to claims that their proponents were outside the Jewish community.
Okham's razor tells us that reasons must be necessary. To make the claim that Jews rejection of Messianic Judaism is purely about persecution, you would have to show that no other reason explains it adequately. In particular, I think you would have to show that Messianic Jews are making claims that fall within the normal range of debate and are acting within the normal community process. Best, Egfrank (talk) 09:36, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Reading Egfrank's post-before-last reminds me of something I think we need to bear in mind. One nice thing about fundamentalists is they are often black and white, and keen to articulate, in catchy sound-bites, just exactly what their positions are ("We do not negotiate with terrorists"). However, in real life, even modest sized organizations struggle to form a mission statement and then stick to their core business, why should they? It's all the more tricky when dealing with large groups over long periods of time. It didn't take long for Protestants, after leaving Catholic doctrines, to start diverging. Who can now say, authoritatively, what defines a Protestant? The Evangelical awakening sought to reform the reformers!
The same issues arise in politics. What is a conservative or liberal in politics? What does the British Labour Party stand for? What are the core doctrines of feminism? Again I agree with the wisdom of whoever put, right at the top of the article, neither religion is monolithic.
Having said all this though, there are very real constants. Strangely enough an atheist Jew, probably tends not to believe in precisely the same God that believing Jews acknowledge. It's not Allah she doesn't believe in, it's not Shiva she doubts, but the God who single handedly made a world and promised it to Abraham and David, it's that particular God. I think I can understand that such an atheist is, in a sense, still Jewish! I've only got to read Esther to get this feeling. Perhaps the scholars are right and Esther is written to precisely this kind of Jew!
I don't know I'm helping here. I promise I'll do some actual work on the article, before I next offer abstractions on the talk page. ;) Alastair Haines (talk) 09:51, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
What sounds fuzzy in my mind is if Judaism's core statement is "God told us to do these things," how are Messianics more in violation of trying to change that than atheists who say there is no God to tell Jews anything? When comparing community inclusions and positions of atheists and Lubavitchers regarding the nature of God and Messiah respectively, through process of elimination the only reason that adds up for Messianic exclusion would seem to be not wanting association with the religion of Rome and Hitler. I'm not saying that should be the only reason given since opinions may vary among Jews, but it would seem to be a primary one of which cites are easy to obtain. -Bikinibomb (talk) 17:07, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Bikini -- you stated it precisely.Tim (talk) 17:27, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
I do not think this answer will satisfy you, but I think the issue is that (1) Judaism cares more about practice than belief and (2) better not to worship any God than to worship a false God (no offense). A couple of examples. At the Seminary I knew a guy who was close to Orthodox in the strictness of his practice, and he did not believe in God. He strictly adhered to Jewish law because he was Jewish. Don't ask me to try to explain him any more than this - maybe it is like an American who thinks that all politicians are crap and Congress and the President and the Courts are all jokers but still obeys the law, I dunno. My point is this: I do not think that any major jewish organization or movement would care about his lack of belief, I think most Orthodox Jews might view him as an eccentric but as long as he obeyed the law he was okay. There is a line in Deuteronomy: "We shall do and we shall hear." Rabbis ask, shouldn't it be the opposite (first you hear God tell you what to do, then you do it)? Their answer? doing is the path to hearing. It is by following the law that we eventually are brought to God. In this little drash, Jews are being asked to take a "leap of faith" but it is not the classic leap of faith in believing in God, it is the leap of faith that if you start obeying the law even if you do not know the reason, or have a reason, or reject the reasons you will end up in the right place. Second example: Rambam wrote one of the authoritative law codes. he was such a great scholar that people said and continue to say, "From Moses (Moshe Rabbeno, Moses of Sinai) to Moses (Rambam) there is none like Moses" (you can't really find a higher pedestal than that). But when he forwarded his 13 principles of faith (as close to a creed as you can get in Judaism) some rabbis excommunicated him. There is a deeply ingrained bias towards acts over belief. I think this explains the lackadasical attitude towards atheism. But this also goes to something I tried to explain elsewhere about faith for Jews versus faith for Christians - I do not think that there are so many Jewish atheists in the same sense as there are Christian atheists and by this I only mean that in my experience (limited of course) people brought up nominally Christian who become atheists are very decisively rejecting not just belief in God but religion. Jews who do not have faith more often are not so decisively rejecting belief in God, and I wouldn't even quite put them in the category of agnostics - they just do not care about God. But (as example 1 illustrates) they can reject god without rejecting religion, meaning Judaism. What i mean is, atheism is not just about God for most atheists, for most atheists it is very much about rejecting Christianity. Jewish atheists do not necessarily reject Judaism and while they may not be Orthodox they may still practice some rituals and go to temple on high holidays - it is not a total rejection.
Now, I really do appreciate the dilemma facing Messianic Jews and those who try to understand Jewish reactions to them, because one can certainly argue that they too do not want to reject Judaism. Nevertheless, most Jews see an acceptance of Jesus as savior as a profound rejection of Judaism and I can only offer a hybrid of my explanation and Bikinibomb's explanation - the idea of a crucified messiah, a Christ in the spirit rather than in the flesh, is just too unJewish in its ultimate rejection of the fleshy and earthy that as i explained is central to Rabbinic Judaism in favor of the spiritual. Also, while I do not quite agree with BB that it has to do with identifying Christians as oppressors and MJs as turncoats, I want to emphasize that by the time of Paul Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity were indeed competing against one another and I believe that leaders of the two groups at that time began to emphasize those elements of their beliefs and practices that were most unlike that of their rival. Judaism and Chfristianity have a unique relationship because of this shared history. Very jewish, to us jews at least - do you know that the rabbis often used "Edom" to refer to Christians/Christianity? Do you knbow that the Rabbis also identify Edom with Essau - Jacob (Israel)'s elder brother? In the womb they struggled and in the womb Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity struggled. I suggest that during a formative period Judaism and Christianity both defined themselves as not being the other and this (rather than any association of Christians with later anti-Semitism) might be the source of seeing MJ's as somehow "traitors" ... just some thoughts ... Slrubenstein | Talk 18:16, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
I've known all types of Jewish atheists, some just "secular" simply not caring one way or the other, others rabidly and outspokenly anti-God. Yet even the latter types are usually accepted in Judaism. Then there are Lubavitchers who believe in not only a resurrected Rebbe as Messiah, but even that he is God incarnate. Yet those too haven't been kicked to the curb, more often than not they are just looked upon with pity by other Jews. Those two examples suggest to me that the problem with Messianics isn't really one of theology but just as I stated.
As a Muslim I also have problems with viewing Messiah as an exotic whipping boy, which is mostly the fault of Christians for presenting material that way, partly the fault of Jews for not giving their own interpretation of the NT to see that Jesus attained his position to be Messiah to make reconciliation for the people (Ez 45:17, Ps. 110:4, Hebrews) through suffering and obedience, just as Moses and other prophets suffered to become as "saviors" to the people in their positions. In other words the concept as the NT presents it, though not necessarily as Christians present it, is not foreign to Judaism at all.
Other criticisms of the NT include antisemitism, yet the Tanach is even more filled with condemnations of Jews, ending with Malachi and back. So the list goes on. To summarize, when we start opening doors of criticism, one thing will lead to another until it all boils down to "Christianity=persecution" and that beyond anything else is the only "solid" reasoning I can see against Messianics. -Bikinibomb (talk) 18:49, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
I'll add that I can see the reasoning in tolerating atheists and Lubavitchers who deviate to extreme ends from classical beliefs in Judaism, but still excluding Messianics, if it is a matter similar to rebutting an argument of "alcohol is legal, marijuana should be legal too" in that because something possibly detrimental is currently allowed, it isn't justification to allow yet another into the ranks. That is another argument that might be used, stronger than others I've heard but still not as poignant as the one I stated. -Bikinibomb (talk) 19:06, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Core Statements

Alastair, what I tried to convey at the start of the article, on more scholarly sounding terms, is this: 1) Christianity's core statement is "you can be saved in Jesus"; 2) Judaism's core statement is "God told us to do these things." Everything else stems from these statements. Christians ask "What is salvation? Who is Jesus? How does he save us? Who does he save? What does salvation do?" Jews ask "What things? Who does them? When are they done? How are they done?" Messianics clearly fall in the Christian paradigm and throw a facade of Judaism on top. Having come from a Christian theological background, it was a culture shock to find out that "What do we do at this time of the year; How?; Who?; When?" was all that was discussed. I kept waiting for the message to happen -- but this was the message. It's not even "Why?" That's a Christian question.Tim (talk) 10:08, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Tim, great work! I think that is much clearer and more focused than the previous intro. I wonder if we can find a source for this? I won't be able to get to the library until next week, but if no one has something by then, I'll see what I can come up with. Egfrank (talk) 11:45, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
I haven't done any work on the article, so I won't be abstract, but Tim, are you a convert to Judaism? Congratulations if so, apologies if asking is inappropriate. You're a wiz, whatever you are! ;) Alastair Haines (talk) 13:24, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Alastair, I gave a long answer that didn't save on your talk page. Short version is "yes" :-) Tim (talk) 16:02, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Agreed, spot-on, Tim! For many years i lived in a part of the US with a large Evangelical (or do you prefer, Fundamentalist?) Christianity community and regularly the local papers got letters to the editor declaring that if people don't believe in heaven or hell, why would any one be a good person? These letters always left me speechless. It is true that there is a tradition of Rabbinic interpretation that became increasingly important as Jews and Christians lived in contact, that a good peron is rewarded in the world to come. Nevertheless, whenever people ask me questions like, why do Jews not eat pork, and so on, all I can say is, "God told us not to." Now, I know that there are both sociological and theological explanations for both individual commandments and the whole system of Jewish law, but I think Tim is quite right: the main point for Jews is, God asked us to do it. If you love God, why would you not do what he asked? I think this extends to different meanings of "faith." I think for Christians (and certainly atheists who are specifically rejecting Christianity) faith = belief. For Jews in general, however, I think faith is not whether one believes in God or not, but rather whether one cares - people of faith care about God and are careful to walk in His way; people without faith just don't care whether God wants them to do one thing or another. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:44, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Sl! I find it fascinating what Christians and Jews think about each other versus what they think about themselves. The trick is to figure out a way to word things so that both sides get the same meaning. I loved your explanation of how faith can't be disconnected from care or love (or action) in Judaism. Sola Fide doesn't work so well. But then, it isn't independent in mainstream Protestantism either, as Melancthon put it: "it is faith, alone, which saves; but the faith which saves is not alone." So, how do we word differences without turning them into caricatures (on the one hand) or apologetical rephrasing (on the other)? For instance, are Jews unconcerned with the question of salvation? For the most part (Talmudic injunctions notwithstanding), yes. But why? If we see "salvation" as "being in a covenant relationship with God" then it starts to make sense on both sides. Christians understand that Jews see themselves as already in a covenant relationship with God (i.e. saved). Jews understand that Christians are trying to help people get into a covenant relationship with God (i.e. become saved). But that brings us to a final problem: even if we find correctly neutral frames of reference, how the heck do we find SOURCES for those descriptions? Tim (talk) 16:02, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
(EC) Thanks for your comment to me, and thanks again for the fine work you are doing. I share your thoughts. Of course, it is not the mission of Wikipedia to effect any reconciliation or eccumenical healing, though perhaps indirectly, via well-researched and written articles that help explain things to a diverse audience. In this we ought to take advantage of the best recent scholarship available. I find this in work by Christian, or formerly Christian, scholars like E.P. Sanders and Geza Vermes who place Jesus in his Jewish context. On the Jewish side I have been very much impressed and influenced by the work of Talmud Scholar Daniel Boyarin, whose book Carnal Israel helps me articulate my own understanding of Judaism as embodied, but even more his book A Radical Jew who I think does justice to the philosophical break between a Jewish Christianity and a Christianity in which there is no distinction between Gentile and Jew - via a turn from Pharisaic midrash to Platonic allegory as a hermeneutic, and a turn from Phrophetic rhetoric that plays foreskin against heart to a Platonic ontology that distinguishes between material appearances and ideal reality - while at the same time fully placing Paul in a Jewish context (a book I recommend most highly to everyone here), as well as his book Dying for God in which he once again explicates what makes Jews and Christians so different, while emphasizing their common love for God. I have done my best to articulate my own understanding of Judaism as a religion of the flesh - I would be very greatful if you, Egfrank and others could edit together the various comments several of us have made into a clear explanation added to the article.
Be that as it may, I only feel competent expanind on some Jewish themes and am very glad others have joined me. I hoe you and others can also clarify Christian views - the section on the Bible still needs to incorporate Bikinibomb's explanations of Christian selective reference to Mosaic law. Long ago I developed the section on love and even I acknowledge that it is too long - long on the Jewish view (and perhaps relies too much on Rosenzweig) .... but it is way too short on the Christian views. I certainly would look forward to reading more on the relationship between faith and works in Christianity. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:31, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

They have got to be out there. We're smart - but we can't be the only ones who see this - especially if we have all come to this understanding independently. I think though it is a question of strategy and we may want to use more than one of these:
  • Possibility 1: There are a *lot* of sources that can be used to demonstrate that Jews take salvation as a given (or at least the acceptance of even baby baby steps towards teshuva - in the general sense, not the baal teshuva sense that is - as a given). We don't even need to do exegesis on primary sources - a quick scan of high holiday sermons on the net will give us samples from practically every stream of Judaism. We just need to find the ones that sound most intelligible to Christian ears. Try searching for chesed, hesed, forgiveness, salvation, redemption, Yom Kippur,...I sure you can think of a few more.
  • Possibility 2: Attack the concept of covenant directly. Eugene Borowitz has written extensively on this topic and as the bibliography I've collected on the wiki link shows, he's got a bit of Jewish-Christian dialog around his ideas. Main downside of using Borowitz is that Borowitz is primarily read in liberal Jewish circles, and then primarily in the US. He isn't a general spokesman for the Jewish community.
  • Possibility 3: Scan through the various published works on Jewish-Christian dialog. I'm not sure what key words we should use for this. Any ideas? Egfrank (talk) 16:18, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I think putting the concept of Tikun into play would be very helpful here - maybe we can contrast Christian notions of Salvation with jewish notions of Redemption, manifest in the notion of Tikun - theorized by Lurianic Kabbalah and Emil Fackenheim, and developed as practice by Hassidic Jews and Michael Lerner. Franz Rosenzweig provides a framework for seeing Judaism and Christianity as complementary in this regard though I do not remember the details. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:34, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
I think that whatever angles we approach this from we need to make sure of several things:
  • The emphasis needs to be authentic. Christianity and Judaism intersect in a lot of respects, but we can't focus on an example to the exclusion of it's context.
  • It needs to be intelligible from both sides, but that doesn't require it to be acceptable to both sides.
  • It needs to be applicable, and if it isn't, there needs to be a caveat.
For instance, I could say, "I want to be Orthodox because they say it's all right to eat crab legs." That could be an authentic perspective I have, and it's even intelligible, but it isn't applicable without a caveat -- "ref-Tim-/ref said in treatise thus and so that he believed that crab legs were kosher for Orthodox Jews, although in fact they were not ref-OU site-/ref". That's like the shituff issue. The Jewish misconception is authentic, and intelligible, but not applicable without a caveat. But it's also like the faith and works issue. In fact, BOTH sides ultimately teach that works are a result of a covenant relationship with God, and not a pre-requisite. Jews don't keep kosher in order to OBTAIN a relationship with God, but in order to EXPRESS it. Christians do the same thing. Although there are some very vocal Dispensationalist Antinomian Evangelicals, they do not speak for Christianity as a whole.
And this brings me to a final point -- if we start having to pile on too many caveats, maybe we're adding detail that's out of scope for the article. Tim (talk) 17:16, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Shalom everyone!

Hello, just dropping a quick note so the page is added to my watch list. I will attempt to make a contribution to this important topic. We do seem to have an excellent collection of editors involved. It will take me a little while to read through everything here. I expect to learn a lot. :) Alastair Haines (talk) 00:35, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

PS I presume the debate re Judaism and Christianity v Christianity and Judaism as title for this topic has already been resolved? If not, I'd propose renaming. I'm sure the arguments would be apparant to other editors, without me stating them. No big deal, just worth mentioning. Alastair Haines (talk) 00:57, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
In biblical Hebrew shituf שׁטף could possibly mean "outflow" or something like it, which is quite close to early Christian debate regarding the Trinity, as per creeds — "eternally begotten of the father", "proceeding from the Father (and the Son)". Stretching it somewhat, it could even approach a Hebrew form of perichoresis.
Is this the right Hebrew form of the word? Does anyone know where it is first used in Jewish descriptions of Christianity? Alastair Haines (talk) 06:50, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
This is a great question and raises some interesting additional questions about the intent of Rabbis who used this term. It should be added that some concept like this (often translated "emanations") is used to explain the attributes of God in Kabbalah. I think a good place to start exploring this question might be the dialog between Jurgen Moltmann and Pinchas Lapide on trinitarianism and monotheism (Jewish Monotheism and Christian Trinitarian Doctrine. I haven't read this book in about 25 years, but I seem to recall it covers a lot of ground and may have some useful citations. Egfrank (talk) 07:36, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
It started with Rabbenu Jacob Tam, initially as an allowance for Jews to enter into a partnership (shittuf) with Gentiles for business practices, even though Gentiles might rely on religious oaths as a basis for honesty -- so long as the religious (i.e. idolatrous) oath was not done at the insistence or in the presence of a Jew.[1] Over the course of time this concept was expanded to allow that Gentiles were themselves allowing a partnership (shittif) between God and lesser, created beings, such as Jesus. The concept has NEVER approximated Trinitarian doctrine, which insists that the Son has the same nature as the Father -- God of God; begotten, not made; being of one substance with the Father, etc. In fact, such a concept is explicitly forbidden as either Arianism or Tri-theism, each of which are polytheistic (Arianism with a big God and at least one other little god). Jews still hold to this idea of allowing Gentiles to be Christians through a concept that Christians would never tolerate for themselves (at least not Trinitarian ones). I had a discussion on this just last week in Shul -- a friend came up and said, "Some of them don't believe in the Trinity, so they aren't idolaters." I asked him what they did believe, and when he said this concept, I informed him that if they did, they were both idolaters and non-Christians. That is, the Trinity is not idolatry precisely BECAUSE it is not a partnership, nor a division in the Godhead. These are not three beings, but three (to borrow Telushkin's more apt word from his Jewish Literacy) "aspects" of the one God. Tim (talk) 09:52, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

[typed during Tim's post] @ Egfrank. Woohoo, I think we're onto something then. :) Thanks for the ref and link. I like both Moltmann and Lapide ... a lot!

I don't think we'll ever be able to recover it. But I wonder how much undocumented Jewish-Christian dialogue has evolved in unofficial religious circles over time.

Leave the people to themselves, without Sanhedrin or Pope, and it's amazing what heretical synchretisms they'll come up with. What's the phrase? "And the high places were still not removed from Israel ..." ;) Alastair Haines (talk) 10:01, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

@ Tim. Thanks for your erudite answer and Novak (ever knowledgable and cogent) ref. I remember you as rather a New Testament textual genius, and you're a Jewish chap as well. He he, good to know you Tim. :))
Slrubenstein sent me to the right page! Flex and Tim here already. Very nice. Alastair Haines (talk) 10:12, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
PS Just found a definition of shittuf as "believing in the divine through the name of another" as the basis for the legitimacy of business partnerships with Gentiles. To me it sounds like it was rightly condemned by the rabbis as a psuedo-legal fiction, that is more properly seen as idolatrous. This "flow of belief" metaphor would explain a post-biblical Hebrew coinage from the biblical root. My speculation that the "flow" metaphor might have related directly to Christian descriptions of their trinitarian views is obviously wrong as it was the post-biblical use of the root in the context of partnerships that suited it to application to the trinity, perhaps with the added advantage that shittuf had religious connotations and negative ones at that. But I am still curious to know how biblical ShTP became shittuf, "flow of belief" is still only a speculation. Is the root ShTP used in other senses in Modern Hebrew? Alastair Haines (talk) 10:33, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
The word might have been wrong, but the concept of "flow" or aspect was probably not - though where it comes from is now an open question. I seem to recall Moltmann and Lapide coming to a common understanding that it was useful to talk about aspects of the Godhead, at which point Lapide countered: Why stop at three? and then pointed out Judaism's kabbalistic system of 10 sephirot. The term sephirot is often translated "emanation" and has a definition that at least superficially (to me) sounds like the Greek Orthodox understanding of the Trinity. For a scholarly understanding of sephirot (which I do not have - nor - for that matter a lay understanding), I would recommend anything by Gershom Scholem who basically founded the academic study of this area. For an updated perspective, see [5].
If I recall correctly Lapide's other point to Moltmann was similar to your earlier point about differences of focus. Lapide argued that whilst Judaism does from time to time talk about aspects - the important concept is unity. Much of Jewish thought can be explained as an attempt to wrestle with how opposites can really be one: absence and presence, justice and peace, judgement and mercy, universalism and particularism, and on and on and on... By contrast much of Christianity is devoted to making distinctions: what exactly is the nature of each of the three persons of the trinity has occupied far more time than what makes them one. Egfrank (talk) 11:14, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Another source: Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance. My understanding is that Rabbinic and Orthodox sources agree that Christianity is idolatry - "shituf" comes in when someone swears an oath on God's name while thinking about another (e.g. Jesus). So shituf would I imagine from a Christian perspective express a misunderstanding of Trinitarian doctrines. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:59, 21 November 2007 (UTC)


  1. ^ David Novak, Jewish-Christian Dialogue, 46-49

Headings - Hope being bold was OK

I've rearranged the headings to better fit Tim's revision of the intro - I hope this isn't too controversial. The main changes are:

  1. Grouped topics relating to action and salvation under main headings. Previously there had been a list of about 8 topics and I think it was hard for readers to see how or why these particular topics were the differences being discussed. By grouping them under "Right action" and "Salvation" we (a) create some consistency with the introduction (b) explain the significance of these particular points of comparison (c) give ourselves a chance to discuss if these really are the important ones or some others.
  2. Placed discussion of text before discussion of God-concept. Since Jewish and Christian concepts of God are tied to text, I think it is important to explain the different approaches to text first.

I hope these are OK. If not, lets discuss. And if someone has a better arrangement, please be bold. It just seemed easier to show than describe in this case - especially since my changes are relatively easy to undo (no actual narrative was changed). Best, Egfrank (talk) 14:35, 21 November 2007 (UTC)


For now, both the {{Judaism}} and {{Christianity}} templates are not appropriate for this article, since neither should get precedence of positioning over the other, so I have removed them for now until a more equitable and Solomonic solution can be found. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 09:48, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

When I need to order "the big three" for a project it is chronologically "Judaism, Christianity, Islam." -Bikinibomb (talk) 10:05, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Hi Bikini: The chronology you list makes sense from a historical and theological perspective, but when I came across this page, the Christianity template was on top. IZAK (talk) 10:37, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
The templates had been side by side and an anonymous IP tried to "improve" things by stacking them. The side by side arrangement has been restored and following BB's suggestion they have been placed in historical order: Judaism, then Christianity. Egfrank (talk) 11:18, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Should Hannukah candles be lit by starting with one and adding an additional candle (or lamplet) each night, or by starting with eight and removing a candle each night? Believe it or not the Talmud entertains both positions and while Jews ended up following one procedure, the other was also considered theoretically acceptable. "Order?" You know what? It doesn't matter. If you happen to believe that placing one template above or before another somehoe makes it "more important" or expresses any evaluative point of view, well, that is in your own head. Prove to me that placing one template above or before another says anything about importance and I will accept your claim that it somehow violates NPOV. Me, I always save the best food on my plate for last. Desert is better than soup. Since Judaism comes before Christianity chronologically it ought to take precedence which means in my mind putting it below the Christianity template. Judaism is the rich soil out of which many other religions grew, including Christianity and Islam, so like the rich, nourishing soil, the Judiasm template should go beneath. Or we can just admit it is arbitrary and doesn't matter. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:17, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
I guess the concern is making an entity appear of lesser importance or second fiddle for no good reason. Like with "Penn & Teller" it appears Penn is the boss, Teller the little buddy. Or with "burger & fries" a burger is the entrée, fries the side dish. Maybe...? -Bikinibomb (talk) 15:40, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
You have clearly never had Nathan's fries. As for Teller, well, obviously, I will let him speak for himself! Slrubenstein | Talk 20:02, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

So, the name of this article doesn't bother you? Have you noticed it was changed from Judaism and Christianity to Christianity and Judaism? Perhaps there should be two articles? LOL. Anyway, I deleted both templates for now in agreement with the edit by IZAK, together they are too bulky, occupy too much space, and produce too much white space, i.e. the two templates don't work together well. I noticed there is a new footer template for Christianity {{Christianityfooter}}, is there one for Judaism as well? My suggestion is that those would be better for this article, but there will still be those who bicker over which should go first, LOL. (talk) 19:37, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

I can speak only for myself, but the day I worry about which word comes first is the day I will consider myself a pathetic small-minded person who is too myopic to see the things that really matter (like, the contents of the article, its accuracy and clarity). That's just speaking for myself. (left to right read I Jewish being course Of). As for two templates taking up too much room - this is not a valid reason for removing the templates (much as I disagre with IZAK, NPOV at least is a reason worth doing something for). If there is some technical problem with the layout i hope someone technically competent can restore the templates in an efficient way. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:01, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
How does [6]look in your browser? It looks terrible in mine (firefox). (talk) 20:10, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
It looks fine in my Window's Explorer. But I agree (if this is what we are discussing now) that it ought to look good in all major browsers and if it does not look good in Firefox, I hope someone can figure out why and make appropriate changes. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:24, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
It looks fine in mine (firefox) - perhaps this is a matter of personal aesthetics? Egfrank (talk) 21:32, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
On my setup, the intro paragraph and the contents box are squeezed far left and only a few words wide per line then there is a large white space below the two info boxes. Neither religion is monolithic is five pages down. (talk) 23:13, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
On further review, it's probably the font size selected. If you select a larger font size on Explorer you will probably also get a poor result. My suggestion is that a wikipedia article should look ok with larger font sizes, not just with micro fonts or monster pixel displays. (talk) 23:23, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
My wife uses 1024x768 and the intro is squished, but ok at higher resolutions. -Bikinibomb (talk) 15:40, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

I particularly appreciate Slrub's comments. Sometimes it is a matter of importance that ordering not be a matter of importance. The left-right right-left issue is a nice one too. A friend of mine bound his Hebrew Bible with his Greek Christian Testament. With spine away from the viewer, the Greek was on the left and the Hebrew on the right. When he thinks Greek, he opens to read left to right with kata Matthaion (Matthew) at page 1. When he thinks Hebrew, he opens to read right to left with B'reshit (Genesis) at page 1. It's the natural way to bind them, and each comes first in its own frame of reference. Rather cute.

Having said that, Wiki readers will probably miss much of our subtlety, I think chronological and theological order are natural and uncontroversial and Judaism, Christianity and Islam makes sense, as indeed our Islamic background correspondant has kindly volunteered for us. If Genesis 1 is anything to go by, the best is often left till last. That the last shall be first and first last is, of course, a Christian maxim soaked in precedents from the narrative and poetry of the Tanakh. Alastair Haines (talk) 04:08, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Messianic Judaism in the Christianity and Judaism article

Now that the terminology table has been (helpfully) floated off for further development elsewhere. We are still left with components of that discussion as regards this page. It would be strange indeed, imo, if MJ was not explained on this page. There is one branch of evangelical Christianity that actually considers itself Jewish, that's pretty relevant. It is also relevant that Messianic Judaism is not considered Judaism at all by most Jews, but rather Christianity, practiced by Jews (and some gentile friends) in a more Jewish way than gentile Christianity.

It's a fascinating thing for non-Jewish, non-Christian readers to learn about. Not only does Christianity historically come out of Judaism, there are still Christians (of Jewish background) who actually want to maintain contact, dialogue and even a sense of identity with Jews.

In some ways, I don't want MJ to become a big issue in this article, because gentile Christians also claim an identity with Jews on the basis of Saul of Tarsus' letters to the Romans, chapter 4 (and other passages), where he claims Christian gentiles are adopted into the family of Abraham by sharing the faith of Abraham. This is a 2,000 year old Christian view of relationship between Christianity and Judaism. Interpretation of Paul on this particular point is not controversial. Not only that, the significance of his point is expanded on in thousands of commentaries from the Church Fathers to the present day. The problem, from a gentile Christian perspective is that the obvious connection of ethnic Jews of Christian belief to Judaism is easy for a reader to grasp, and the more subtle, but more widely discussed issue of adoption according to faith could be overlooked.

However, despite my personal desire, and the practical demands of proportionate representation, I simply must accept that the MJ claim is out there and well known. How are we all doing on this topic? Is it fair to say we have consensus that MJ have a place in this current article, but no right to a dominant place? Alastair Haines 04:04, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Sure, just give them a sentence stating they say they are Jews observing aspects of both Christianity and Judaism, then link off to their article where their view is explained more, and also the views of critics. That's appropriate. -Bikinibomb 04:55, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

When are negative statements necessary?

This conversation is a continuation of a topic that has been archived at Talk:Christianity and Judaism/Archive5#Terminology - please see the end of the sub-section titled "Edit break". Egfrank 07:51, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Arnold, I wanted to thank you for the reminder to say no more than is absolutely necessary for the purposes of article development. I share that philosophy. If I did say more than was necessary to explain to Bikinibomb why the current state might not be reflective of the future (which is an observation about Jewish dynamics, not a slander), please let me know. Egfrank 23:11, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

It's not just what you said, but the kind of remarks that get made in the ensuing discussion. I think highly of the Rebbe and so do a number of people I respect. But that's besides the point. We should not be bashing any religious group or leader here. --agr 03:17, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Ahem...first, mentioning them at all would never have been necessary if not for Messianic "bashing" statements like "They are not in the middle at all, they are Christians, period."
Second, I simply reported "bashing" of Lubavitchers from Jews themselves, some of which I sourced from Haaretz. Some of which may make it into their article. All I've said personally about them is that they had some good reasons for believing Rebbe is Messiah.
Third, it's easy to call valid criticism of our favorite religions "bashing" when in fact it is just criticism which is entirely welcomed here on Wikipedia. Bashing occurs in part when we want to push one side of the story and exclude NPOV, and you're right, "we" shouldn't do that. Hope that clarifies. -Bikinibomb 03:41, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Bikinibomb - I hear you and I agree that statements like "They are Christians, period" are out of line. They are disrespectful of the self-concept of Messianic Jews. That is not how they see themselves. Wikipedia is quite clear, at least with names (see WP:NCON) that self-identifying names are the only factual name. Any other name is the POV of outsiders imposed on the group - since wikipedia has no way of determining which outsider POV has the "truth", it goes with the group's self identifying name. I think the same applies to the self-concept of the group. The name is just a symbol of the whole shabang.
but Arnold does have a point here that I think it is only fair we acknowledge. Negative statements (even well sourced ones) that aren't strictly necessary for article development do get in the way of WP:NPOV. On a lot of articles few have the time (or access) necessary to build the article up from scholarship so instead the article's content becomes a consensus of the personal knowledgebase of all the editors (that is happening here - is it not?) In such situations it is very important that we have a mix of editors. I don't want Arnold to feel uncomfortable. I don't want a Lubabavitcher to feel uncomfortable. Nor do I want a Messianic Jew to feel uncomfortable. We need all voices here.
I think Arnold's complaint is that he is having trouble seeing how these statements actually are moving the article forward. We all understand that uncomfortable things may need to be said in the article and if so, they need to be discussed on the talk page. So maybe the real question here is - what does this conversation have to do with the article? Lets refocus here so that anyone participating can clearly see that anything aversive that needs to be said is indeed related to article content and not just team building at the expense of some percieved "out group". Egfrank 07:41, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
It's common practice on Wikipedia to lump Messianics in with the Christians as a general rule, that's the problem. It's been stated that they need to be categorized according to self-identification, as you've done just now again. Still arguments that they are Christians, period, and need to be treated as such in articles. So for some precedent I've offered a look at other groups like Lubavitchers who aren't reclassified from their own self-identifications simply due to deviation from the norm. And Mormons and JWs who can't easily be removed from Christian categories despite broad Christian feelings that they are somehow unChristian cults.
None of this is bashing Lubavitchers, Mormons, or JWs, it's stating facts about how they are viewed within respective religions and examples of how we need to deal similarly with Messianics when defining and categorizing them in Wikipedia. That's what it all has to do with this article and other articles that mention them. Unfortunately it seems the whole point of this flew over some heads.
Anyway I fixed up this particular article to note there are ethnic Jews in the movement too, rewording it to not say they are a notable "Christian" group returning to Jewish roots. Also in the Messianic article there are at least three duplicate statements from the first couple of paragraphs to the end of the article stating that they aren't viewed as Christians, I've started fixing that too.
It's an emotionally-charged and overbearing POV that needs to be leveled out, hopefully that will now be the case here. I don't give a flying flip about changing anyone's personal opinions, they are free to keep them and post about it in appropriate criticism sections, but such criticism can't dictate how a religious group is generally defined on Wikipedia. That's the message here. -Bikinibomb 10:40, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
And now we're back to terms... not of ideas, but of groups. What are Messianics? Christians? Yes -- except for the Compound Unity ones, the Arian ones, the Monarchian ones, the.... Jews? Well, the Jewish ones are... That's one of the reasons I've argued to just call them "Messianics." It gets around the "who is a Jew" question and the "who is a Christian" question at the same time. "Judaism" has a self identification exclusive of Christianity, but "Jews" does not. So, you can have Buddhist Jews but not Buddhist Judaism. But "Messianic Judaism" is or is not correct based on the perspective of the individual. Most readers can follow "Messianics." It doesn't impinge on Judaism. It's inclusive of the Gentiles in the movement as well as the Jews. And it can function almost as a denominational moniker for people who want to read it into whatever group they choose. If they want to read it as Judaism, they'll see Judaism having "Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and Messianic" branches. If they want to read it as Christianity, they'll place it up with the "Baptists, Catholics, Orthodox, Presbyterians, Messianics, etc." Everyone gets to keep their self identification. Tim 11:55, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

I apologize if I offended any one. I didn't consider calling followers of Jesus Christian was a form of bashing, but I accept that I may be wrong. In any case, WP:NPOV gives clear guidance on how to proceed. See A simple formulation: "Assert facts, including facts about opinions—but do not assert the opinions themselves." We should say how the Messianics view themselves and also say that they are not recognized as a form of Judaism by the Orthodox, Conservative or Reform movements, nor by the State of Israel. We should avoid statements that characterize them one way or the other (like mine).--agr 12:22, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Sure we should say Messianics are rejected or considered purely Christian, but not let that perspective manipulate and define every single mention of them which was the case here and also in the Messianic article until I changed it. And it's ok to discuss your own personal views in Talk as long as they relate to how to handle an article issue. I was fully aware what I posted was going to be offensive, it is supposed to be, it was criticism of various groups to compare to criticism of Messianics. And yes your classifying some people as Christians just because they embrace Jesus as Messiah may also be offensive, especially if you did it to me as a Muslim. But that's your view and criticism of Messianics, and criticism by nature is going to offend and insult someone, it's just a necessary thing. That doesn't mean it's bashing, bashing is like when you say "he sucks" and then offering no explanation or room for alternate views. That's what we really need to avoid. -Bikinibomb 13:11, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Arnold, I certainly didn't take offense. My own understanding of them is as a Christian group, which was the reason I was arguing to keep a column of their terms (to distinguish them). As an aside, looking back at our exchange, it looks as if you and I had almost identical motivations -- clarity, self containment of Judaism, etc. and still came to opposite sides of a discussion. And I apologize if I gave offense in return. Tim 13:23, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Who is religious?

This conversation is a continuation of a conversation that has been archived at Talk:Christianity and Judaism/Archive5. Egfrank 08:55, 4 December 2007 (UTC).

I was referring mainly to religious Jews, they usually know their stuff and have a definite opinion .... Bikinibomb 01:00, 4 December 2007 (UTC) copied from here. Egfrank 08:55, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

First, Bikinibomb, I want to thank you for raising so many thought provoking questions. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Egfrank (talkcontribs) 10:18, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Since this article is about the religions of Judaism and Christianity (rather than the culture), I think we might need to clarify what we mean by "religious" and who we consider valid "informers" to that religious tradition.
Religious. US Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative Jews are religious by their own definition, by any sociologists definition, and by scholars of religion's definitions. According to the latest National Jewish Population Survey these religious Jews form 86% of self-identified religious Jews in the states (Orthodox form only 14%)[7]. These non-orthodox Jews do not see Orthodoxy as more real, serious, or legitimate than themselves as definers of the religion of Judaism.
Know their stuff. Orthodox Jews do a much better job of educating their youth than non-orthodox Jews (though the situation is changing). As result your average Orthodox Jew will know a lot more about why he or she believes what he or she believes and who said what. They, of course, know more about certain ritual practices, because their understanding of Torah requires daily practice of those rituals.
Because of the educational situation, your average non-orthodox Jew, especially one over 25 that never went to a Jewish summer camp, will lack considerable formal knowledge of Judaism unless they have made a personal effort to learn about it. However, lack of formal knowledge does not mean that they are less legitimate as religious sources - just less articulate. For non-orthodox Jews, religion is often rooted in concepts, ethics and values more than it is in formal knowledge and specific rituals. These values are strongly held and taught parent to child as well as preached in synagogues. And they have a rich Jewish intellectual and religious tradition justifying them even if the particular speaker you know can't himself or herself describe it.
Furthermore, when non-orthodox Jews are educated, they usually learn and study different things from the orthodox Jews. If you think modern critical scholarship is essential to understanding traditional texts (as do many non-orthodox) you will inevitably focus on different range of thinkers and scholars than someone who limits the field of legitimate interpretation to medieval commentators. You will know your stuff, but you will know different stuff.
Definite opinions. Within the non-orthodox religious community and also within some parts of the orthodox community there is a strong religiously based aversion to idolizing fellow human beings and considerable ambivalence about conceding authority and decision making to fellow human beings, no matter how saintly they are. Some view it as a denigration of human dignity, rather than an elevation. They feel that all human beings, not just the saintly ones, are created in the image of God and so deserve an equal reverence. Others see it as an escape from moral responsibility. As human beings endowed by God with free will we must take responsibility for our actions and yield to the decisions of a community or an individual only when absolutely necessary for the development of community and the social order. This position is as pragmatic as it is philosophical; many view it as the only way to prevent another holocaust.
Many (not all) orthodox have strong opinions because they believe there is one true Judaism and they believe that they know which one that is. They have an (often implicit) understanding of epistomology that makes it hard to see how two individuals might have internally consistent reasons and yet come to entirely different conclusions. Since they perceive their viewpoint as internally consistent, they assume others must be rationalizing away something or in denial or simply wrong.
When non-orthodox Jews avoid having an opinion, it is often an expression of a religious commitment to tolerance and pluralism. The respect for pluralism has its roots in the values described above - if we are responsible for our choices we must also be allowed to make them.
However, as we've discussed elsewhere (interested readers can scan some of the topics above - particularly those that where copied from the Bible page or concern Messianic Judaism), every community, no matter how open, has a range of discourse. Should a sub-group violate that range over the long term, one of two things happen: (a) the range expands or changes and the group's identity shifts in some way (b) the sub-group is viewed as an outsider, whatever the sub-group's own self-concept. Egfrank 08:55, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Christianity defines religion in terms of belief, and Judaism defines it in terms of practice. By Western cultural terms (i.e. Christian), Reform are every bit as religious as Orthodox. By Jewish cultural terms (i.e. Orthodox), even passionately spiritual Reform Jews will refer to a casual barely believing but "Observant" Jew as "religious." In this case, the Reform is more "religious" according to Western terminology. But Reform Jews are still Jews, and will tend toward Jewish terms. Tim 12:00, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Agreed, but with some clarifications:
  1. US Reform Jews are an interesting case because while they do not have fixed practices, they have none the less express their commitments in terms of values and priorities, rather than content beliefs. There is no creed among reform Jews. Beliefs are restricted to the process of defining Torah and Torah observance and Israel and Jewish community, rather than to the actual content of that observance. So while they may appear superficially Western they are not.
  2. As for who uses the term "Religious" and how - here I hope we are using it in a neutrally valanced way, but out in the real world it is not:
    • In my experience, consistent with the value of pluralism, US Reform Jews are happy to call orthodox Jews religious, so long as that in no way denies their own religiousity. I know more than one Reform Jew who will not visit Israel because they are angry that the government institutionizes a group that repeatedly denies Reform religiousity. Going to Israel is a religious experience for them and the popular Israeli conception (reinforced by the Israeli Orthodox Rabbinate) that dati(religious) means orthodox observance spoils the experience.
    • In a slightly different vein, I'm sure you recall the outcry about Katzav refusing to call Eric Yoffee "Rabbi" in Hebrew. Orthodoxy may have percieved it as political and the American Jewish community might have nattered on about the US economic contribution to Israel, but I assure you the motives on the reform side were religious - it was a deep affront to the sincerity of their religious convictions and the legitimacy of their understanding of Judaism as a religion.
    • In Israel (and I think in the US as well) many avoid the word "religious" (dati in Hebrew) because it is associated with intolerance and bigotry in their minds. This even applies to some people that are very observant in a traditional sense. But if the negative connotations were separated out and it was defined in terms of personal commitment to one's understanding of Judaism (be it practice based or value based), they would have no trouble with the term "religious".
      I guess my concern is that we be careful not to use "religious" to valorize orthodox Judaism over other religious streams of Judaism. And that we also take care not to misunderstand some people's denial of the label "religious".
  3. The claim that Judaism as a whole is defined by practice alone is highly problematic in an environment where at least some Jews believe that both belief and practice are viewed as under historic development (the viewpoint of most of non-orthodox Judaism). If revelation is an unfolding over time or an ever-changing adaption to historical context, then we can't hang Judaism on specific practices or beliefs. As circumstances change the specifics will also change.
    Those who believe in historical development are forced into a position where they have to define beliefs about meta-Judaism, i.e. how we participate in this process of historical development. In doing so, though, they also make obvious a point about orthodoxy: orthodoxy also has a meta-belief about how Judaism is defined.
    We can argue till the end of time which meta-belief is more Jewish, but no side will ever win. The orthodox will say "Our meta-belief is from the beginning of time". The non-orthodox will say, "but your reasoning is circular. You assume your reading of text and tradition at this point in time is the same as the reading two centuries early and two centuries before that and so on..." There is no solution to this debate because we have clashing epistomologies - each internally consistent and each subjectively and passionately motivated by the desire to preserve Judaism and the Jewish people. (Yes, I am making an allusion to Kirkegaard's belief in Truth as Subjectivity).
  4. Which of course gets us back to the question, what makes a Jew religious? To the non-orthodox it is the willingness to jump on the train of history; wrestle with the epistomology of the day to keep oneself and Judaism connected to God, Torah, and Israel (or not, if your conscience so dictates - let's be pluralistic here and include the orthodox); and finally to act in accordance with whatever conclusions you reach. To the orthodox it is a list of specific practices - you do X you are religious; you don't do X you aren't. Both are about practice but in very different ways. For the non-orthodox beliefs define the process of decision making and are meant to get one to the point of action. For the orthodox, the action itself defines. Egfrank 14:17, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

It might help to bear in mind that Jews often distinguish themselves in terms of degrees of "observance" rather than "religiosity." At least in English. I am making a larger point: Jews may use a different lamguage or vocabulary for talking about Jews who do more or less than Chrisians, and diffeent movements of Jews may have diffeent vocabularies for evaluating different Jews. I do not believe that this is merely a matter of semantis - different words for the same ideas. I think that different vocabulaaries actually reflect substantive differences between these groups. I suspect that if we aren't clear on the meaning and value of these contrasting vocabularies first, misunderstanding will later ensue. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:12, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

That's a really great point, Slrubenstein. In US Reform circles I've heard lots of words: "committed", "serious", "educated", "knowledgable", "involved", "affiliated", "active", "thoughtful" - each of which would indicate a different kind of religious involvement with Judaism.
To make things even more complicated, some terms aren't used consistently. If talking about someone who emotionally identified with orthodoxy, I would probably use the word "observant" or "religious" the same way many orthodox do: how many things on the traditional list do they do?. When applied to non-orthodox Jews, "observant" or "religious" would mean (a) they study Judaism and are knowledgeable, i.e. beliefs defining process (b) they make a concerted effort to integrate that learning into their day to day choices - actions following the outcome of process.
If I wanted to describe a Reform Jew who was traditionally observant, I would qualify it just like that "traditionally observant". However, since traditional observance isn't a measure of commitment or devikut (seriousness about pleasing and staying connected to God) in Reform circles, saying someone is "traditionally observant" simply describes a flavor of observance, not a higher level. Egfrank 16:51, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

What in the world does "Judaism does not characterize itself as a religion so much as a way of life (although one can speak of the Jewish religion and religious Jews)" mean!? How can this be true or usefull to include?--Carlaude (talk) 20:44, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Religions are diferent ways of worshiping God or a set of gods. Within the Talmud, there are sages who make statements suggesting that everything amounts to "Torah" which certainly is a religious claim. But there is much in the Talmud - material central to Judaism - that is not about God or worship of God. Judaism is about more than "religion" per se. I do not even think that there is a word for religion in Biblical Hebrew or in the Aramaic of the Talmud. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:37, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
So Judaism is not a religion because you think that Hebrew lacks a word for religion? This is silly. The opening sentence of the section is just puffery and not encyclopedic. You clearly think Judaism is a religion, but more than just that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Carlaude (talkcontribs) 22:55, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Did I treat you with disrespect or a lack of courtesy? No one denies that the article could be improved; all Wikipedia articles can always be improved. But you need to WP:AGF and also WP:NPA. Learn how to address others properly, with respect, if you want to work on a collaborative project. Slrubenstein | Talk 00:59, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

genocide versus ethnic cleansing

Someone changed genocide to ethnic cleansing, suggesting in the edit summary that the reason is that Hitler was not motivated by Christianity. I have reverted it back because (1) I think ethnic cleansing is a detestible euphemism and poor style: it is the word genocide that has standing in international law, and (2) the word genocide does not refer specifically to Hitler´s holocaust but to a variety of crimes including the attempt to eradicate a culture. This certainly applies to anything that could be covered by ethnic cleansing. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:24, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Plus the comment Hitler didn't do it for Christian reasons...well no one really knows why he did it, it may have been to avenge Christ, or just to create a common enemy for political gain. But historically it is viewed by many as a Christian attempt at genocide, with at best hands-off from the Church, at worst warm support from some of its clergy, so it is noteworthy in that regard no matter what the real reason. Not that it has to be detailed right here, but it is a strong basis for general claims of genocide. -Bikinibomb (talk) 07:53, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
I think that way he did it was explained in some book. I read that it said that he was raised to hate Jews. Just a little side note. Thanks, H*bad (talk) 07:55, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
I read he was a student of HP Blavatsky who taught that Jews are holding back the advancement of humanity to the next stage of evolution. I also read he was a secret Jew sacrificing the few for the many to ensure speedy creation of a Jewish state, and to further cement global hatred for Christianity. I also read he was a reptilian planning to destroy earth but the grays helped the allies defeat him. I read lots of things, and am no closer to really knowing why it happened than when I started learning about it forty years ago. -Bikinibomb (talk) 08:09, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Ethnic cleaning isn't an inappropriate term. And it's wikilinked. As far as genocide is concerned, Hitler is Hitler. He attempted genocide, but didn't succeed. So "attempted genocide" would be legitimate, if we were talking about the Nazis. But as much as I detest Christianity's barbaric history of persecuting Jews, you can't lay Hitler at their door exclusively. He was coming as much from Norse religious ideas and Teutonic cultural ones, and while Christian anti-semitism may have been a factor, using the Nazis as an excuse to accuse Christianity of genocide in this article is patently ridiculous.
And you, Bikinibomb, you claim to know me from elsewhere. If so, you know that this may quite possibly be the first time in my life that I've ever defended Christianity against anything. But I'm not doing it to defend Christianity; I'm doing it because it's true. -LisaLiel (talk) 00:10, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
There are a lot of views about Hitler, some are that he worshiped Norse gods, some that he worshiped aliens. But a big one is that it was another Christian attempt to wipe Jews out, so that view is notable. There are no true "facts" proving why, just views. But I personally don't care what term you use, ethnic cleansing or genocide, both say about the same.
Also don't remove that fig tree stuff since now there are two Jewish sources for it, if you see no symbolism in it that's fine but you aren't a source, you're an editor. Of course if you find a source saying Jews don't see it as anything else we can work it in there too. -Bikinibomb (talk) 00:26, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Those sources say nothing about fig trees. Figs are figs. A fig tree is a fig tree. You can't claim that what you put there is sourced when the source doesn't refer in any way to what you are using it for.
It's clear that you're bending over backwards to find ways to link Christian and Jewish beliefs. That's POV in the extreme. I'm removing that source and that comment, because it has nothing to do with "the fig tree", let alone "The Fig Tree". -LisaLiel (talk) 01:07, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I didn't create the original cells or contents from JE despite your insistence I did, my sources were only from and both well-known Jewish resources. The only thing that's clear is that you're a dedicated antimissionary on yet another rampage as you have been for years now, and I'm hoping you get bored soon and move on to bigger and better things because your actions here have been extremely annoying and disruptive. -Bikinibomb (talk) 01:53, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Saying "Hitler is Hitler" is meaningless and just shows the lack of respect LisaLiel has for fellow Wikipedians in her unwillingness to participate in a constructive conversation. Aside from the fact that, according to international law, Hitler did commit geocide, the fact that he did is not and hes never been an issue in this article. LisaLiel bringing Hitler up is a red-herring and disruptive editing because it has nothing, zero, zilch, nada to do with the question at hand. Please let us drop the question of what motivated Hitler or what caused the Holocaust, it is not germaine to this discussion and only disrupts constructive discussion. Please, Bikinibomb, this is not the issue.

There is a documented history of Christian motivated and organized genocide against Jews. I say this while acknowledging that there have also been sincere efforts on the part of Christians to fostor reconciliation and dialogue with Jews, but the fact remains, one cannot and should not whitewish history. The word genocide stays. It is only a tiny part of this article, but its use if appropriate, accurate, and important. Slrubenstein | Talk 00:45, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

If genocide is really "the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, religious or national group" and "forcibly transferring children of the group to another group" as its main article says, then the Church certainly did that much throughout history, no Hitler required. So I agree. -Bikinibomb (talk) 00:58, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I concur, based upon the information provided on Genocide, one need look no further than the Inquisitions or Crusades for evidence of Genocide committed against the Jews by theocratic forces. - CheshireKatz (talk) 20:11, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Scope of this article

Hi, I came here because I wanted to write something about the historical relationship between the two religions, specifically how Christianity developed from Judaism, when it split off and the relationship between the two religions during the first centuries of the Common Era.

However, this article seems to be more an exercise in comparative religion than in the history of the interaction between the two religions. So, my question is... does my proposed text fit in the scope of this article?

If so, what section title would you suggest? I was thinking of adding a major section titled "Historical interactions" with the first major section being "Origins of Christianity" and the next section being "Bifurcation".

For a sense of what I want to write about, check out the text at this URL.

If you don't think this kind of discussion belongs in this article, where would you suggest it belongs?

Richard —Preceding unsigned comment added by Richardshusr (talkcontribs) 02:04, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Here we could put For development of Christianity from Judaism see Jewish Christians link and that article would probably be the place for it. -Bikinibomb (talk) 16:05, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
I would look for appropriate scetions in articles specifically on the history of Christianity and Judiasm. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:37, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, you could put it in those and have see also links in other articles if desired. -Bikinibomb (talk) 07:39, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

OK, I've created Relations between early Christianity and Judaism. Check it out and please provide your thoughts on how it could be improved at Talk:Relations between early Christianity and Judaism. Thanx. --Richard (talk) 09:43, 5 January 2008 (UTC)


Christianity in this article is presented along basically Protestant lines. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:57, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

This article has long sections on Judaism and short sections on Christianity, often from a Judaism point of view. It will take much rewriting to bring the art to what the into says that it does from a NPOV. --Carlaude (talk) 23:01, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

I wrote some of the long sections on Jewish views. That's because it is what I know best. I am not faulting anyone, but on some themes there have not been editors who either know a lot about Christian theology etc., or who weren't inclined to work on this article. i imagine the same goes for Catholics and Orthodox Christians. I've no doubt that some of the lengthier sections could not be trimmed, but I think the real way to ensure NPOV is to develop those sections that are underdeveloped; to add points of view that are missing. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:49, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
I understand writing long sections on Jewish views because what I know best. Yet, it seems a lot for someone to read. Cannot some of this information be put elsewhere? Are you supposing that the difference are so subtle the they need a lengthy descriptions. Maybe you could add links to other Jewish articles to help make your points.

I also think the entrenched Jewish perspective hindered more than you might guess.--Carlaude (talk) 15:28, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

There is no "entrenched" bias. When this article first spun off from "Judea-Christian" a variety of editors with different backgrounds worked on it. Over time it grew, like all Wikipedia articles, as individual editors added stuff and changesd stuff. All Wikipedia articles are works in progress. That means none are ever done or can be judged as done. Obviously this article has gaps. That is why this is a wikipedia, anyone can edit any time, so we just wait for people to come along and fill the gaps. Go ahead! Slrubenstein | Talk 15:33, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
Also, just to be clear, this article is not about "Christianity" 'and "Judaism," as both have their own articles. It is precisely about "Christian views" and "Jewish views." Slrubenstein | Talk 15:35, 7 February 2008 (UTC)


I have a problem with this sentence:

Although Christianity began as a sect of Judaism, these two religions diverge in a fundamental way.

I agree that Christianity began as a sect of 1st century Judaism. The problem is, Judaism as we know it today also began as a sect of 1st century Judaism (namely, the Pharisees). Or, if we want to adhere strictly to NPOV, we might say that there are three points of view: according to Christians, Christianity is the fulfilment of Israelite religion; according to Orthodox Jews, modern mainstream Judaism is the continuation of Israelite religion; according to most historians, Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism both began as sects of 1st century Judaism. or something like that. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:53, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

I disagree with your thesis. Judaism as we know it today didn't begin as a sect. It does not descend from the Pharisees; rather, the Pharisees were the most well known of the general Jewish Oral Torah accepting population, from which modern Jews descend. In fact, the Talmud mentions Pharisees as a distinctive group which, while being Torah observant, was too separatist (hence the name Perushim).
Saying that modern Judaism descended from 1st century Judaism is like saying that it descended from 14th century Judaism, or that it descended from 19th century Judaism. It's true, but not particularly pertinent. Each one is a stage of a continuing stream. Christianity, by contrast, split off from that. -LisaLiel (talk) 18:10, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
That said, it's true that "sect" might sound a little harsh to Chrisitians. What do you think of "Although Christianity and Judaism share common roots, these two religions diverge in fundamental ways." -LisaLiel (talk) 18:15, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Lisa, it doesn't matter whether you agree with me or not. Wikipedia doesn't publish views of editors. It presents notable and verifiable views and there is indeed a notable, verifiable view that Judaism as we know it today began as a sect. This is not the only view, but it is a notable view. NPOV demands that we provide all notable views - even the ones we think are wrong.

I personally do not know what you mean about "sect" sounding harsh, as I do not find the word pejorative in any way and it is the word that historians use. That said, I have no problem with the sentence you propose, except for the redundant phrase "share common." They share roots, or have roots in common; both phrases mean the same thing, and either one would be fine by me. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:51, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

There were three sects mentioned by Josephus and Philo: Sadducees (who believed in the Written Torah only), Pharisees (who followed the Oral Torah), and Essenes (who had some of their own writings and communal practices). Some of the Essene practices and texts show similarities with John the Baptist and New Testament eschatology. But, then again, even Philo shows some similarities, with his pseudo trinitarian writings and allegorical approach.
Eventually there were the Karaites (who believed in the Written Torah only), the mainstream Jewish community (who followed the Oral Torah), and the Christians.
To say that Jews came from 1st century Judaism is partially true -- but which sect? Not the Essenes, and not the Sadducees. We're Pharisees.Tim (talk) 21:04, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Saying that modern Judaism descended from 1st century Judaism is not like saying that it descended from 14th century Judaism. Once the Temple was destroyed Jews had to decide how to view the Law in light of that and what to do with all the Temple laws. Judaism is practiced differently today as there is no Temple.--Carlaude (talk) 15:28, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Tim, when you write "of course" in the edit summary it suggests to me that you are missing the point. "Of course" to me suggests that "this :... is true." But Wikipedia is not about what is true. it is about what is verifiable. All that matters is that this is a notable point of view. There are other points of view that are notable. It doesn't matter whether we think one is true and another false. It doesn't matter which one (if any) is true. All that matters is, notable views from verifiable soures. For the view that contemporary Judaism originated in a first century sect, I can cite Neusner, Cohen, and others. It doesn't matter whether they are right or wrong. And it wouldn't be hard to find verifiable sources for very different views. They get included too, as long as they are notable. Slrubenstein | Talk 21:28, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Sl, I cited two ancient sources that are continually used by mainstream historians and theologians. When I wrote "of course" I meant it as: "who doesn't know this is mainstream?" Are there other views? Sure. Can they be cited? I'm sure they can. But so can views that we didn't land on the moon. Is it a "fact" that we landed on the moon? That's not the point. The point is that this is so mainstream that to argue otherwise for an article violates Wikipedia norms. There is verifiability to consider. There is notability to consider. There is also proportion. I was agreeing with your initial point by adding the point of "mainstream" (i.e. "of course") vs. "not mainstream."Tim (talk) 21:49, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Also -- about what is true. Although we are not the spokesmen of ultimate truth, we are not the spokesmen of something we know to be false. We do not determine truth, but we certainly must be truthful in our presentation. That's where proportion comes in. We should truthfully present the verifiable references that we find, and not sweep some under the rug because of an agenda. The problem that I continually find on Wikipedia is that some editors manipulate NPOV rulesets to ram their POV down everyone's throat. For a good example that none of us are currently a part of, I'd suggest reveiwing the history of the edits on the New World Translation article. That's a whopper of POV on POV, all standing because of a consistent manipulation of NPOV rules. The letter should not be used to manipulate away the intention. We do not create the truth -- but we certainly should not create a lie either.Tim (talk) 21:54, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes, Tim, if we know of a notable POV that is false, we ought to include it in an article, that is called, writing an excellent NPOV encyclopedia and it is one of the tasks editors should be doing. As to your mentioning ancients sources, it is true Josephus identifies three (he later says four) sects or schools. But to claim that Rabbinic Judaism emerged out of one of these (Pharisees) is a synthetic claim and for you to make it is original research and violates WP:NOR. If you want to add this view to the article you need a verifiable secondary sources such as Neusner or Cohen. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:34, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

The fact that there were only three major movements at the time doesn't mean that they represented between them all Jews. On the contrary, most Jews had no truck with any of the three parties. And it's from them that we're descended. -LisaLiel (talk) 22:31, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

"wer're descended" - do you mean us people, biologically descended? Or do you mean our religion, the halachah and the principles that guide halachic rulings and decisions about halachic observance? I thought we were discussing the latter not the former. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:34, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm definitely talking about the latter. I should have been more clear, sorry. -LisaLiel (talk) 14:16, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

That is okay. I'd be curious to know your source. Most historians I know of agree fully with your first sentence, to some degree with your second sentence, but not with your third sentence. But I am always up to reading another history book! Slrubenstein | Talk 15:06, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Sl, you are assuming too much. Had I made changes to the article I would have cited someone like Neusner to connect the dots between Josephus and today. You'll notice that I didn't make such changes. I merely stated on this discussion page that we not neglect what we know to be mainstream. I don't need to cross all the ts on a talk page to make that point. If I wanted to do that, I'd just change the article with the source.Tim (talk) 14:48, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Okay, Slrubenstein | Talk 15:06, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

I've changed the intro sentence again. The idea that both Judaism and Christianity derive from "Second Temple Judaism" is highly POV. It's certainly a notable view, and I have no problem with it being presented in the body of the article, but it is POV. There are other views as well. Saying that the two share historical roots is NPOV, and I don't think you'd find anyone anywhere who would dispute it. -LisaLiel (talk) 16:00, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

I actually need to qualify what I wrote earlier. Many historians agree that Christianity started as a Jewish sect. However, it is a little misleading to say it emerged out of Second Temple Judaism. As Lisa pointed out, during the Second Temple period - at least in the 1st century, which is really what we are talking about here - it may not make sense to talk about "Judaism" if the "ism" suggests a systematic body of thought and practice. There certainly were a set of practices and beliefs most Jews likely shared, but beyond these Jewish beliefs and practices varied a good deal. Also, "derived" is probably too strong a word for most historians. When Christianity was a Jewish sect (according to most historians) it bore little resemblance to what people today call Christianity, and (according to most historians) Christianity even as it developed in the second and third centuries "derived" at least as much from Hellenistic culture as from Jewish culture. I personally have no objection to Lisa's phrasing. The details of all this in any event belong in the article on the history of Christianity, not here. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:09, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Slrubenstein, when you say «there is indeed a notable, verifiable view that Judaism as we know it today began as a sect», would you be so kind as present some reference -- just should like to know.Muscovite99 (talk) 15:29, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
For example: "Conservative, Orthodox and Reform Judaism are essentially derived from and dependent upon the teachings of Pharisaism." (which was a sect of Judaism) NY Times Bikinibomb (talk) 22:02, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

I cannot give a page number but Daniel Boyarin A Radical Jew and perhaps also his book Dying for God. Also Shaye J.D. Cohen's book on Jewish identity, I forget the title but something like boundaries is in the title (I am away from home and borrowying a friend's computer, do not have my books accessible but I am sure this is easy to find at Amazon. com) Slrubenstein | Talk 00:48, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

JUDAISM article

As I have pointed out, on the judaism talk page, while borrowing from the Jewish Encyclopedia article to the extent of plagiarism, word for word, the wiki article goes off at a tangent to present precicely the dusty, Christian view that Kohler is attacking. Kohler says Judaism has no creed that is a requisite for converts or a focus for Jews, it is primarily a legal framework with belief system only mentioned incidentally, and a universal religion: the wiki article makes judaism into a national tribal religion. I am criticising the present wiki article, not agreeing with it.

As regards what to do, why not simply refer to the K (Kaufman Kohler) article, or do a summary of it and then the other sections about developments since 1905 (Reconstructionism etc) added on. RPSM (talk) 12:46, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Overly speedy deletion

I think the merger is a stupid idea because judeo-Christian refers to something entirely different from this article. The two articles represent a content-fork. Judeo-Christian refers to a a set of beliefs shared by Jews and Christians. This article is explicitly about those matters in which Judaism and Christianity take contrasting views - what characterizes the break between two religions that began as sects of the same religion, as it were. This would be like merging the articles on Portugal, Spain, France, England, Italy, Austria, Yugoslavia, Greece, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco with the article on the Roman Empire since all these countries grew out of Rome. It is absurd. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:21, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree that the merge/deletion is wholly misguided - but for rather different reasons.
Note that, whatever this article might claim, the article Judeo-Christian does not set out to review beliefs shared by Jews and Christians. For such a review, it directs readers to come here, for a unified comprehensive overview of the relationships between Christianity and Judaism. Instead "Judeo-Christian" discusses the word phrase itself -- which itself has an interesting history, not without its own controversies.
In particular, one can make a strong case that "Judeo-Christian" has primarily been used to signal a secular American self-identity, which has very little to do with either Judaism or Christianity. More recently the term has been used by the American Christian right, to evoke the supposed ethos of the early settlers, but in a more palatable and politically inviting way than "Protestant-Puritan"; however that agenda has precious little to do with Judaism.
Wikipedia deserves a good comprehensive survey overview on the relationships between Judaism and Christianity; and the place for that article is here. Jheald (talk) 14:12, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
I apologize for not paying attention during this. In any case, if they are concatenated into one article, "Christianity and Judaism" is the proper title (or "Judaism and Christianity"). The bare presentation of the names of these two religions in the title allows for comparison (of which "Judeo-Christian" is a subset) and contrast (of which "Judeo-Christian" is not). If Judeo-Christian is redirected here -- that is somewhat defensible (although unnecessary). However, if THIS article is redirected THERE, then we'll have to rename that article to this name. SkyWriter (Tim) (talk) 14:29, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

I do not think the Judeo-Christian article says that this article covers what is shared by Christianity and Judiasm. It directs people to this article on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. Now, I am not thrilled by that phrasing, but the important thing is that it maintains the distinction between Judaism and Christianity. Judeo-Christian is not, I believe, an objective account of various things shared by Christianity and Judaism. It is a point of view that claims a continuity if not plain identity between Christianity and Judaism. I agree that it is a notable view and one that merits an encyclopedia article. But it is not a term used by scholars who study Judaism and Christianity. When anyone - including scholars writing on other matters - use the term, it is evident that what they call "Judeo-Christian" is what Jews would simply call "Christian." In short, "Judeo-christian" expresses a particular ideology, worth an article. But historians who study the split between Judaism and Christianity are quite attentive to what caused a break between the two sects and how each religion developed in contrasting directions. If the problem with this article is that it reads too much like an essay, I propose that the solution is to revise it in a historical framework i.e. in the 1st century these were the things Pharisees and Christians may have debated; in the second century we have record of debates among Christianity that had implications for its relationship to Judaism; in the third century the two sects broke and effectively became two religions; by the eight century - after the second Nicean council and the completion of the Babylonian Talmud - the following (n...) emerged as contrasting characteristics of two religions that, for much of the history that followed, were in an antagonistic relationship. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:25, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

One problem is that this article has been saying that the Judeo-Christian article covers what is shared by Christianity and Judiasm. But it doesn't. The Judeo-Christian article says that people seeking a review of the relationships between the two religions - including similarities, differences, and historical developments - should come here. Jheald (talk) 19:29, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
But that is correct: The concept of "Judeo-Christian" claims to refer to what is shared between Jews and Christians. This article is about how they diverge. Where does the Judeo-Christian article say that this one deals with similarities? I admit that article ios not on my watchlist but when it was first written it certainly didn't say that. If it really says that I wonder who added it and why, but it is a mistake. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:34, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
That isn't the subject matter of the "Judeo-Christian" article. The Judeo-Christian article explicitly states that it is not an article about the relationships between the two religions (language I take to include similarities, differences, and historical developments). The Judeo-Christian article specifically covers the phrase Judeo-Christian: when it was introduced, who used it, and for what purpose (and how others reacted to the phrase). That article is specifically about the word-phrase. It directs readers who are interested in the actual substantive questions of how the two religions are and are not similar to here. Jheald (talk) 19:53, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Also, note that while "Judeo-Christian" might imply a reference to what is shared between Jews and Christians, that arguably isn't what the phrase as used has typically identified -- neither in the '40s and '50s; nor in the '80s and '90s. Therefore it is not a good choice for an article on perceived similarities and common ground between the two religions. Jheald (talk) 20:05, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Finally, there is also the issue of WP:POVFORK. WP recommends a top-level article giving an integrated synoptic view of all aspects, not a disparate collection of different articles. Jheald (talk) 20:05, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
I am not expressing myself well. I am not arguing that WIkipedia should even have an article on the similarities between Judaism and Christianity. I am saying that this issue only comes up because of the phrase "Judeo-Christian." Insofar as that article is about that phrase, it should go into detail about what users of the phrase mean, and why they think that the phrase is meaningful. As for this article, I have argued that this article should be recast in an historical framework. If there are notable views among historians of Judaism and Christianity from verifiable source that analyze shared elements of Judaism and Christianity, then of course that should go into the rewrite I am proposing - but my knowledge of the sources is that, past using a certain set of texts as a point of reference, virtually all scholars (I am talking about historians mostly) see the story as one that is principally about differentiation and contention. I do not see this as a POV fork, I see it as a content fork. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:17, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
After seeing all of this, I would have changed my vote in the AfD. I think the article should stand as the proposed merger is too different from the topic at hand, and the article should be merely improved and kept. --Banime (talk) 13:01, 5 October 2008 (UTC)


I've been in touch with Aervanath (talk · contribs), the closing admin in the AfD, and his advice is that should a new consensus be reached here [his emphasis], then, per WP:CCC, the new consensus should be followed, rather than the AfD decision, without the need for a DRV or a new AfD.

Per Averanth's advice, I've therefore notified this discussion at WPT:Christianity, and will be notifying the participants in the AfD. As discussed above, I'm strongly of the opinion that WP should have a comprehensive overview article reviewing the relationships - similarities, differences and historical developments - between Christianity and Judaism, and that the proper location for the article is here. But we must also consider the issues with the article in its present form, that were raised in the AfD. Jheald (talk) 17:48, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for pursuing this. What do you think of the general framework I proposed above, for revising this article? Slrubenstein | Talk 18:36, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
I think a thorough review of the historical development would be very welcome, and is a substantial deficiency in the article at the moment. Such a review is perhaps the best way to cover the question of whether Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism should be seen as "sibling" religions, both growing out of similar reformist roots and subsequent upheavals in the 1st Century CE, or whether they are indeed best seen as "different people talking about different things to different people" (Neusner).
However, I believe that that is not all this article should contain. It will be sought out by readers interested in comparative religion, as well as those interested in history, and it should survey aspects of similarity and dissonance (preferably based on external assessment from reliable sources, as to what they identify as the most significant points of contact and points of departure.
Inevitably that is a lot for one article to cover in depth, and I suspect inevitably this article must principally set out to be an overview, giving a WP:SUMMARY introduction, leading the reader to more detailed presentations of specific aspects in other more specific articles.
I suspect that a proper detailed review of thinking about the historical parallel development of the two religions, treated in the detail it deserves, is probably more than would comfortably fit into this article. But nevertheless, IMO such an article would be a very valuable thing to include, and IMO a WP:SUMMARY style summarisation of a new article along the lines you are describing should perhaps be the first thing this article treats, before getting into comparative religion aspects of this topic. Jheald (talk) 11:39, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Do not delete nor merge. --Carlaude (talk) 04:46, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Reopen and continue the orginal AFD

IZAK let's at least have a discussion first, rather than retreating to old battle-lines. What's your response to the questions that have been raised since the AfD? Specifically:
  • Per WP:ADJECTIVE and WP:MOSNAME, we use nouns and noun-phrases for article titles, not adjectives. So a general survey on the relationships between Christianity and Judaism (a topic this encyclopedia should certainly cover) should be called Christianity and Judaism, as per the articles Christianity and Islam, Islam and Judaism.
  • The reason the article Judeo-Christian exists, as its own hatnote declares, is specifically to survey the history and use of that word-phrase -- which has its own controversy, and its own tale to tell. That story is a good fit for its own article, and will get completely lost if the contents of Christianity and Judaism get inappropriately dumped on top of it.
Do you accept these points, and do they lead you to change your position?
I agree that there's a problem with the statement in the lead of this article that:
The article on Judeo-Christian tradition emphasizes continuities and convergences between the two religions, this article emphasizes the widely diverging views held by Christianity and Judaism.
If that were true, I agree it could set up a completely deprecated WP:POVFORK. WP policy (quite rightly, IMO) is to prefer top-level articles on particular subjects to give comprehensive, synoptic overviews of all aspects of the issues. Per WP:SUMMARY some aspects can then be considered in narrower focus in more detailed spin-out articles. But the truth actually is that the Judeo-Christian article does not review the "continuities and convergences between the two religions". Instead, its hatnote says "For the relationships between the two religions, see Christianity and Judaism."
Apart from the issues about WP:ADJECTIVE, I believe we should be quite wary of blessing the term "Judeo-Christian tradition" as a neutral term for the relationships between Judaism and Christianity (and vice-versa). For one thing, a number of authors question whether there is a meaningful Judeo-Christian tradition - eg Jacob Neusner looking at history in Jews and Christians: The Myth of a Common Tradition (1990) summarised the reality as "different people talking about different things to different people", and Arthur A. Cohen, in The Myth of the Judeo-Christian Tradition (collected 1969) called the term essentially an invention of American politics. The charge is that it came to the fore as a particularly politically useful word, but one the unthinking overuse of which has been criticised (particularly from the Jewish side) as engendering a falsely consensual perception of Judaism, because Judaism is not mostly "singing from the same hymn-sheet" as Christianity, and through the last twenty centuries seldom has been.
The term was almost unknown, outside academic discussion of early transitional phases of Christianity, until the 1940s. But in the '40s and '50s it very much came to the fore, as a commonplace of American political discourse, as an inclusive politician's phrase for "American values", that a generation earlier would have been called the values of America as a Christian country. "Judeo-Christian" came to the fore to distinguish America from the racist perversion of Nazi Germany, and then the "godless Communism" of post-war Soviet Russia. But beyond the most superficial, there never was much religious content in the term. When Herberg (1955) comes to consider what was meant by the vogue term, after a few intentionally broad generalities "(the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man, the dignity of the individual human being, etc.)", he concludes that what it really signified was identification with the American Way of Life, politically "compounded almost equally of democracy and free enterprise", as the "common religion" of American society. In the United States the term became a commonplace, and then a homogenising term that some Jews emphasised their distinctiveness from. But its prominence as a term is/was a particularly American thing, something which became applied to American identity, and came out of the needs of American political discourse. Outside America, it is not a commonplace in at all the same way, and has rather little resonance.
More recently, the term has reappeared since the '80s and '90s used by the Christian moral right, as a codeword for their values, to evoke the supposed ethos of the early settlers, but with a more palatable and politically inviting note than "Protestant-Puritan". However that agenda has precious little to do with Judaism, and is often substantially at variance from the ethical priorities of Rabbinic Judaism, and traditional American Jewish politics. Indeed key conservative authors like Michael Novak and Dennis Prager explicitly say this is what they mean by the phrase, which they justify on the grounds that those early American protestants (compared to some other denominations) were deeply attracted by the Old Testament, and even saw themselves as a new Israel, God's elect forced on account of their faith to go and seek a new promised land. A Calvinistic view of the Old Testament, but hardly Judaism.
As I've said elsewhere, any encyclopedia project with pretensions to comprehensiveness (which WP certainly has) should have a comprehensive overview on the relationships between Judaism and Christianity - similarities, differences, and historical developments. For all the reasons above, Judeo-Christian is not a good title for such an article. A title like Christianity and Judaism or Judaism and Christianity is much more neutral, open and to be preferred. Jheald (talk) 10:19, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't think reopening the AfD would be a good idea, this discussion is the best place to reach consensus. --Banime (talk) 13:23, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Banime. I also agree with Jheald's detailed explanaition of why this article should not me named "Judeo-Christian." I agree that "Judeo-Christian" should attach to an article on a term that has been used to signify several different points of view in a political discourse. I am glad Jheald agrees with me that this article could be refashioned as an article that provides an account of scholarship on (1) the history of religion and (2) comparative religion. Above I forwarded a proposal that has two main elements (1) that the bulk of the article cover the time period from no earlier than the Roman occupation of Judea and Galilee to the eigth century i.e. the end of the period of the early Church fathers, and the completion of the Talmud, because I think this is the period where all the major differences between Christianity and Judaism took form (although I do not have any objection to a portion of the article summarizing contemporary differences and contemporary views) and (2) structure the article into three broad historical sections: first, when the Pharisees and Christians were both sects of Judaism; second, when Christians argued among themselves about their relationship to Jews and Gentiles; third when Judaism and Christianity emerged as distinct religions often in an antagonistic relationship. This is meant to provide a framework for explaining in what ways and why Judaism and Christianity have similarities and differences. I agree with Jhealds points above and welcome him to elaborate on and modify this proposal. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:10, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
The term "Judeo-Christian" is significant but not enough to warrant its own article which will no doubt replicate much of the content in a Christianity and Judaism article. Thus I maintain that the "Judeo-Christian" can be a subcategory of the general discussion in the Christianity and Judaism article. Yehoishophot Oliver (talk) 18:05, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
I do not see how "Judeo-Christian" would fit in this article, since it really is a phrase use in the context of relations between Jews and Christiand in the US in the 20th century and not really about the historical relationship between Judaism and Christianity. And, how is it not significant enough to warrant its own article? It is a phrase that is used all the time in American public discourse! If we have an article for one episode of Scrubs or for one character from Star Wars, I think Wikipedia (which is not a paper encyclopedia) has room for an article on the concept, "Judeo-Christian!" Slrubenstein | Talk 18:59, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree with those who say that the article should not be deleted or merged or renamed. From a sociological POV it is notable that the phrase Judeo-Christian is used mostly by Christians and hardly at all by Judeos. Phil Burnstein (talk) 05:07, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Internal links removed

In accordance with Wikipedia policy and common sense I have severely cut down the number of internal links in this article. I did so since I found this article tagged with the overlinked template. We try to provide all relevant internal and external links in articles. In almost all cases linking to another article one time should be enough. We should avoid repeating one and the same link. But we should link only if the link is likely to add information relevant to the article we are writing. I recommend you to have another look at the Wikipedia policy I linked to above, and I’ll be happy to see your future contributions to Wikipedia. Debresser (talk) 11:45, 5 February 2009 (UTC)


I would like to see some comparative and/or theological research on the spiritual role of Enoch in both Judaism in Christianity. He seems to be a rather prominent figure in the Scriptures and in several apocryphal traditions. ADM (talk) 20:43, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Wouldn't that be more appropriate under Enoch? (talk) 19:00, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

possible good source

has anyone read this? looks useful: Slrubenstein | Talk 23:51, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

It seems to be a how-to book, or some form of advocacy "Enhancing Jewish Well-being in a Christian Environment". I can't see how that would be a good source for an encyclopedia.--Scott Mac (Doc) 14:29, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Gosh, that is not what I thought when I looked through it. How much of it have you read? I don't think you are right about it being an inappropriate source. It is written by a professor of religious studies at the principle Reform Jewish seminary, draws on critical scholarship on the NT, and explores how Jews have misinterpreted Christianity and how Christians have misinterpreted the Jewish material in or context for the Gospels and Pauline epistles. I can't imagine a better source for Jewish views on the NT or for discerning between Jewish and Christian beliefs in the 1st century (although I can of course imagine two other excellent sources). Slrubenstein | Talk 14:55, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Sounds like a great source. I would also propose Jacob Neusner's "A Rabbi talks with Jesus". (talk) 18:58, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Slr, sounds like a good source. Leadwind (talk) 19:18, 25 April 2009 (UTC)


There is a template at the top of this article saying that "the neutrality of this article is disputed", since February 2008. Has this been solved? If not, what are the issues, and let's solve them. Debresser (talk) 10:20, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Christianity or Islam

There are some theological authors who have suggested that contemporary Judaism may in fact be doctrinally closer to Islam, instead of being closer to Christianity as it is often assumed. There is some merit to this opinion because both Judaism and Islam strongly reject the teaching on the Holy Trinity, which is central to mainstream Christianity. For instance, much of medieval Jewish theology was centered on the Jewish Kalam, which is essentially a cultural adaptation of standard Islamic theology from that same period. ADM (talk) 09:52, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, for starts, this article is all about how different Judaism and Christianity are. As to your point, I think the real value would be an article on the history of Jewish-Arab relations. Certainly the Gold Age was a time in which Jewish and Muslim Arab philosophers and poets were in close communication. It pretty much ended with the expulision fronm Spain which marked the beginning of the rise of Europe as the center of Jewish learning. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:32, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Jewish theology of love

A big part of the section Love was moved to Jewish theology of love. I reverted that move, and recommend somebody Afd that article, because it does not discuss only the Jewish theology of love. Apart form that it seems to be based almost exclusively on one source only. Debresser (talk) 12:37, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

80-90 % of it is about Judaism, with only 10-20 % of inter-cultural material with Christianity. It cites at least two prominent modern Jewish writers and gives plenty of references in sacred texts. Because it is primarily a disseration about Jewish teachings, I felt that it did not belong in an article about Christianity and Judaism. For this reason, it should not be deleted as well. ADM (talk) 12:42, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

There can't be even 10-20% of it in an article named Jewish theology of love. I do agree with you that Judaism and Christianity should be shortened.
And then there is the problem of this Franz Rosenzweig being far too prominent a source over there. Debresser (talk) 12:49, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Given that Christianity often portrays itself as a religion of love, and Judaism as a religion of law, I think a long section on the place of love in Judaism is justifid in an article like this. Similarly, I would expect a longer section on the role of law in Christianity. There are diferrent stereotypes abou each religion that call for different kinds of attention. To expect each secion to be 50-50 is to use a cookie-cutter approach to ditiong, rather than reason and good judgment. Slrubenstein | Talk 03:00, 25 July 2009 (UTC)