Jewish and Christian Afterlife Theology

How do the Afterlife Theologies of these two faiths add up? Jews, IIRC, belive that there’s just a place where all dead souls end up, while Christians belive there is Heaven for the righteous, Hell for the wicked and (in non-Protestant traditions) Purgatory fro those deemed worthy of Heaven but in need of a good spiritual polish as it were.

Yes, you can say that Jesus told His followers about Heaven, Purgatory and Hell, and that’s right, but why did they believe Him? People wanted Him dead for virtually everything He said and did because of how insane it was for a devout Jew of that time to do and say what He did and said. What would have caught there interest and resonated with them as truth when their theology on what happened after death was so different to the way He spoke of it?

For the most part, Jews and Judaism believe in a heaven for righteous souls and also believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead, per the Thirteen Articles of Faith by Maimonides. Hell is conceived of as a separation from G-d, and not a place or state of eternal physical torture. Many also believe in Purgatory as a place (or state) of atonement and cleansing.

How do the Afterlife Theologies of these two faiths add up? Jews, IIRC, belive that there’s just a place where all dead souls end up, while Christians belive there is Heaven for the righteous, Hell for the wicked and (in non-Protestant traditions) Purgatory fro those deemed worthy of Heaven but in need of a good spiritual polish as it were.

You would be correct in your assessment of Jewish human-eschatology during the Biblical period. Sheol was the place of afterlife for all, and it held only the “shades” of formerly living human beings.

However, by our LORD’s time, human eschatology had developed further. There was a belief in a bodily resurrection (witness the speech of the youths facing a hideous execution in Maccabees: Even if the torturers cut off their hands, they’d have them back in the resurrection).

Likewise, prayers and sacrifices were offered for the dead in Maccabees, which would make no sense if there were no human afterlife or if all went to Sheol.

ICXC NIKA.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.