Ask me anything (almost) about Judaism


Jesus is a devout Jew. Christianity began as a sect of Judaism. Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism. What’s there not to think about?


The notion that Temple sacrifices forgave intentional sin is largely a later Protestant misunderstanding - based on Reformed theology of atonement - that doesn’t find much support or focus in mainstream Christian thinking, nor has it ever. In fact, the Epistle to the Hebrews quite clearly states,

“It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” - Hebrews 10:4


Is not reincarnation in Judaism usually linked to completing an important task? According to what I read, it is not accorded to everyone and is not based on the concept found in Hinduism. And, as you state, it is not an article of faith.


There are different notions of G-d WITHIN the stream of reconstructionism; however, AFAIK, G-d, whether a force or a person, still exists as a Supreme Being. At the same time, there is a tendency to think of G-d as an impersonal Being much as deism does.


Thank you for the clarification. The misinterpretation of this prohibition, as I previously noted, is not present in Orthodox rabbinical writings but can be found in those of other streams of Judaism.

On another note, are there any Orthodox Jewish interpretations on the subject of WHY these kosher commandments were instituted apart from not following the norms of idolatrous cultures? It is not a health issue according to what I have gleaned.


This is an interesting idea, which can be very helpful, as you say. I have not heard of this practice in Judaism or other religions. I have heard of writing down blessings you are thankful for.


I suppose there are some Orthodox Jews, in particular, who would like to do so; but I don’t have any first-hand information on this.


But let’s say the Temple is rebuilt, is there still a priestly family to run it?


Thanks for all this information concerning The Waltons and comic-book lore. For some unknown reason (to me), I was not particularly interested in comic books as a kid. I have heard of Stan Lee, however. It’s never too late to learn!


I believe Moses613 addressed that issue, and the answer appears to be no. But maybe the Messiah can figure out a way since the Third Temple is thought to be part of the Messianic era.


Christianity is not Judaism, however. As Kaninchen has stated several times, Christianity is more than Judaism plus Jesus, and Judaism is more than Christianity minus Jesus.


Thanks for the information.


Oh it’s hardly essential info. Although a surprising amount of Jewish, Christian and other religions theology and mysticism would turn up on the pages. Usually handled a bit naively but sometimes people would do interesting stuff with it. I liked myself when they revealed years after his creation that the Thing of the Fantastic Four is Jewish, especially as his creator Jack Kirby viewed the character as essentially his own personality on the page. Apparently cynical, gruff New Yorker who is much more sentimental and idealistic than he cares to let on. I’d recommend Stan Lee’s latest venture in TV shows ‘Lucky Man’, although I wouldn’t recommend all the work he has done there as some of it’s pretty mediocre. The latest show with his name on it works because he is only a producer and came up with ideas/characters etc.


Yep, I keep thinking that line by Kaninchen sums up the problems when people ask why don’t Jews think this that or the other about Jesus and don’t consider he may simply not be on their radar or they may simply not think about him. In the same way I generally don’t think about say issues concerning the Great Matter of Anglican and British history.


Mixing of fish and meat is prohibited according to Talmud regulations. Is this particular prohibition due mainly to health reasons or otherwise? Yet I remember many a Pesach in which gefilte fish is followed by a meat dish. So long as they are not cooked together, perhaps?


This depends on your idea of Judaism though. If we’re talking Second Temple Judaism, Christianity can fit in as a Wisdom-Apocalyptic sect among exclusively Jewish sections of the Church. If we’re talking Rabbinic Judaism, then you’re right, Christianity and Judaism have become very distinct religions.

It should be recognized that Judaism and Christianity do have a lot to do with each other. As I already pointed out above, Christianity began as, and in many ways continued as until the mid 2nd century, a sect of Second Temple Judaism that did not adopt the Rabbinic ideals of the surviving Pharisaic groups who transformed into Rabbinic Judaism.

Scholar of ancient religion, Alan Segal, puts it like this,

“…one can speak of a ‘twin birth’ of two new Judaisms, both markedly different from the religious systems that preceded them. Not only were rabbinic Judaism and Christianity religious twins, but, like Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Isaac and Rebecca, they fought in the womb, setting the stage for life after the womb.” - Judaism and Christianity in the Roman World

Professor of religious history, Daniel Boyarin, gives a similar image,

"for at least the first three centuries of their common lives, Judaism in all of its forms and Christianity in all of its forms were part of one complex religious family, twins in a womb, contending with each other for identity and precedence, but sharing with each other the same spiritual food. - Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism


Yes, I believe you are correct to a certain extent. Christianity at its inception and for quite a few decades was still regarded as a sect of Judaism. There were even those who referred to themselves as Jewish Christians, who believed in the Messiahship of Jesus but still celebrated the Jewish holidays and retained the religion’s practices and customs, for example, the dietary laws and the mourning rituals. Eventually, however, Christianity broke away from Judaism and became its own religion with its own doctrine, customs, and practices. This does not mean that all moral values and ethical teachings of Judaism disappeared from Christianity. Far from it. Nonetheless, there are certain essential assumptions within Judaism–common to both antiquity and the modern age–that are not found in Christianity, and the reverse is also true. Apart from Jesus Himself as a Savior-Messiah and the dogma of a Trinitarian G-d, such notions as original sin, the conflict between G-d and HaSatan, the belief in the free will of angels, the ultimate focus of salvation in the afterlife while this life is regarded, at least in part, as a “vale of tears,” plus the relinquishing of all expressions of Judaizing including practicing rituals and celebrating Jewish holidays, form the core of Christianity and not of Judaism. While there are remnants of Jewish practices to be found, albeit transformed, in Christianity, we cannot say that the latter still shares many of the core beliefs and practices of the former.


Again, it’s not as simple as you think.

To address at least one of your points, scholars have recognized that the Christian Trinity has roots in Judaism, particularly in the Jewish Wisdom traditions. The earliest Christian community in Palestine seemed to have regarded Jesus as a manifestation of divine Wisdom, and this can clearly be seen within multiple layers of Q logia that found their ways into Matthew and Luke. Not only that, but Paul himself demonstrates an understanding of identifying Jesus as divine Wisdom, and the author of John does as well by identifying Jesus as the Logos, something Hellenistic Jews, such as Philo of Alexandria, identified with divine Wisdom. (The Gospel of John is very remarkable of Jewish Wisdom and apocalyptic traditions similar to that found in the Essenes, and the discovery of the dead sea scrolls has shed much more light on this; the dualism between light and darkness in John, for example, parallels heavily the Essene dualism between sons of light and sons of darkness.) Christians were also heavily influenced by the “Messianic” Psalms, particularity Psalm 2 and Psalm 110, which are quoted numerous times in the New Testament, and which heightened early Christian Christology. Combine all of this with absolute conviction in a resurrected Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father, transcending time and space, along certain claims Jesus made about himself - such as the “Son of Man” sayings, something which falls squarely into Jewish apocalyptism - and you already have a divine Jesus by the end of the 1st century. It is true that the worship of Christ by the earliest Christians did go beyond the bounds of mainstream Judaism, but it must be understood as a unique culmination of already existing Jewish traditions, mainly Wisdom and apocalyptic, in a very unique time in Jewish history, that gave birth to the Christian Trinity; all influenced by already existing Jewish traditions and wholly Jewish in nature.

This goes for many of the other “doctrinal differences” you sited. You see, you’re approaching this from the perspective of post-Temple Rabbinic Judaism, as well as a modern mindset attempting to neatly categorize certain groups. Unfortunately (maybe for you at least) it’s much more complex.


I am arguing that there is no such thing as post-Temple Rabbinic Judaism in that the Judaism of today can trace all of its core beliefs to antiquity. Just as Catholics (or most of them) argue that the Church has not changed in her essence since her inception, so too Jewish beliefs have not despite the destruction of the Temple on two occasions. The Oral Law of Judaism, codified in the Mishna and Talmud, has ensured that Judaism’s core beliefs remain intact worldwide, although customs may differ. The Dead Sea Scrolls confirm in large measure the accuracy of the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible followed by Pharasaic ancestors and which includes the Law, practiced by Orthodox Jews to this very day. The apocalyptic literature and the beliefs of the Essenes, although extremely interesting and worthy of study, were, as you correctly state, embraced by early Christians, but are not regarded as authoritative according to ancient Pharasaic tradition.


This you perspective as a modern Jew influenced by Rabbinism, but you must realize that Second Temple Judaism was not a single entity; there were Pharisees, Saducees, Essenes, Zealots, Herodians, followers of John the Baptist, and of course, the Christians, and even some other smaller groups. The early Christians in Jerusalem would not have seen themselves as distinct, they would have viewed themselves as Jews following Messiah.

You didn’t really address any of my main points though. I invite you re-read my post above and think about it before responding again.

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