Jewish roots of Christianity

Baptism - comes from Mikvah, the Jewish ritual of purification.
Confirmation - comes from the breathing of Jesus Christ on His Apostles
Confession - comes from Yom Kippur, particularly Viddui
Eucharist - comes from Passover, the Jewish celebration of Israel’s liberation
Marriage - comes from Jewish marriage
Holy Orders - comes from the Priesthood of Jesus Christ
Anointing of the Sick - comes from Jewish deathbed confessions

Sin - comes from the Jewish understanding of voluntary sin and involuntary sin
Hell - comes from the Jewish belief that very grave sins do not get you out of Gehenna
Purgatory - comes from the Jewish belief that souls go to Gehenna to be purified before entering Heaven
Heaven - comes from the Jewish understanding of Paradise
Death - comes from the Jewish belief in judgment after death

Pope - comes from the Nasi and the infallibility of Jewish sages

God - comes from the Jewish understanding of the Oneness of God
Christ - comes from the Jewish belief in the Messiah and in the Word of God
The Holy Spirit - comes from the Jewish understanding of the Spirit of the Lord

Feel free to correct me if I have erred :slight_smile:

It is far FAR more than this. If you could read the gospel with Jewish eyes you would be astounded. If you subtract the statements that Jesus made about himself PERSONALLY, then what he basically taught was bet Hillel Judaism. Most Christians are unaware of the rivalry between two schools of pharisees, bet Hillel and bet Shammai, and that bet Shammai ruled the Sanhedron during the ministry of Jesus. Knowing this makes perfect sense out of his run-ins and arguments with the bet-Shammai Pharisees of the Sanhedrin, or the sympathetic friendships of other bet-Hillel Pharisees such as Nicodemus or Simon or Aramethea. Such arguments between the two schools are recorded in the Talmud as well. You would be surpised to see many of the things Jesus said which you think unique recorded in the Talmud as an ancient saying, such as “The sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath.”

Much of your liturgy comes not only from Scripture, but it swiped whole hog from JEWISH liturgy. For example, the Sanctus was originally sung in Hebrew as the Kadosh, part of the Amidah, the standing prayer, the oldest part of Jewish liturgy.

Speaking of the Amidah, or standing prayer, it was quite common during the time of Jesus for rabbis to compose an additional prayer for their own disciples to say at the end of the Amidah. This is what Jesus disciples were referring to when “after prayers” they said to Jesus, “teach us to pray as John taught his disciples.” The “Our Father” is meant to be a prayer tacked on to the end of the Amidah.

One more little ditty and I’ll call it quits for the day. The hemorraghic woman reaches for the FRINGES on Jesus garment. These are his TZITZIT, they are special fringes on the four corners designed to remind Jewish men of their covenant, that they should keep all the commandments of God. So this woman didn’t just grab hold of Jesus. She reached for the one sacred thing that reminded her of everything she was – her covenant with God…

I am not Jewish so it is not for me to “correct” but simply to suggest what I think, perhaps erroneously, and therefore would welcome any correction.

Yes, we owe very much to the Jewish people and religion: that is the root branch from which Christianity srung. The scholar Gaza Vermes I believe more than any other scholar emphasized Jesus’ Jewishness.

Having said that, on the Eucharist, it is a big step to have Jesus Christ become the new sacrificial lamb.

On Hell, Purgatory, Heaven and Death, most people I think would stress that in the Tanakh, our Old Testament, very little mention is made of it. The afterlife was not the main concern of the writers of the Tanakh. It is in the New Testament where the afterlife comes to the fore of Christian theology. Indeed, at the time of Jesus, the Sanhedrin seems to have been most controlled by the Sadducees who did not believe in the afterlife like the Pharisees. On top of this add the concept of reincarnation in the afterlife advocated by some Hasidim today who may follow the Kabbala and Zohar (some Lubavitchers), then one can see that there is no uniform, universal belief in how the afterlife unfolds in Judaism (which is NOT to say that Christianity itself does not have differences between Catholics and Protestants but no mainstream church has ever argued for reincarnation).

On the Messiah, Jesus Christ does not fit into Judaism’s understanding of who the Messiah was to be. The closest contemporary example that I can give you of how Judaism might have foreseen its messiah is Simon Bar Kokhba who led the Jewish revolt against Rome in 132 A.D. The most learned Rabbi of the day Akiva believed Kosiva (Bar Kokhba) was the messiah. The idea of a dying messiah “hung from a tree” and suffering in agony in front of all was perhaps inconceivable to many Jews living at the time.

On God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, I’m not so sure. With Judaism’s strict monotheism there is no room for any talk of a “Son of God” equal with the Father. One may be able to draw analogies between the Holy Spirit and the Shekinah but I think they only go so far.

This is my rudimentary reply and I hope not to cause any offense and am willing to learn from any of our elder brothers or experts on this subject, as long as this thread does not disintegrate into some of the other threads on this topic I’ve seen where each poster chooses bigger letters and fancier colors to play gotcha on the Catholic/Jewish dialogue. Is it possible to have a reasonable discussion on this subject? Please God. :slight_smile:

I thought that was derived from ruah - the ‘breath’ of God.

I don’t know I am here pondering this; the sacraments and these in bold did not come from Jewish belief’s Jesus fulfilled and revealed the Jewish belief into what we have in bold above. Marriage? came from the Hebrew text of Genesis of Adam and Eve not Jewish marriage, of which Jesus returned Marriage to what God originally intended it to be and elevated Marriage to a sacrament.

Thanks for the answer Kaninchen. It appears you’re right and Shekinah may also be a precursor. Check out this Vatican link on this subject from the Vatican’s official website urging Catholics to learn of Jewish beliefs.
God Bless!

p.s. just on marriage: Jesus did have arguments with the Pharisees with respect to divorce.
On marriage, however, I once heard a Jewish commentator assert that some Sephardic Jewish men had perfectly legitimate polygamous relationships and such practice was not condemned by their rabbinate in their area earlier in history. Would you happen to know if this is true? Probably more a historical question so not sure you would know.

p.s.s. Thanks for helping! :slight_smile:

I think it’s a problem with the some of the Sephardi and Yemenites who immigrated from Muslim countries and ran into the fact that the results of such ultra-traditional interpretations are illegal in Israel.

You are correct in pointing out that the afterlife is not a main concern for Jews. God is not obeyed in order to “get something” out of it. He is obeyed simply because he is God and we are his creation. That said…

Gehenna and Purgatory are almost indistinguishable. It is a place where those destined for the World to come are purified. It is traditional to assume a soul will spend 11 months in Gehenna, which is why Jews pray Kaddish for eleven months after someone has passed.

Jews believe that AFTER the messianic age will come the resurrection, and the World to Come. Both Jews and the Righteous of the Nations will have a share in the World to Come.

Heaven is where God dwells.

Those souls which are too wicked for the world to come do NOT go to eternal punishment, but are simply destroyed.

Jews believe in the transmigration of souls, a concept similar to reincarnation but without the idea of karma which Hindu’s attach to it. Rather, a soul continues to transmigrate, progressively becoming more obedient to God. This is NOT JUST a belief of the Chasidim, but of all Orthodox Jews. When you read in your gospels of people thinking that John the Baptist was Elijah, this is what they meant.

The point is that God is a God who wants to see us learn, NOT who wants to see us destroyed or punished. Destruction of the wicked is a last resort for those who are ruined beyond repair, and is not a punishment so much as a necessity. Gehenna itself, while painful, is also not “punishement” but again is for purification and growth and learning.

The Sadducees are an irrelevancy. They were a heretical sect that existed in the past.

It is true that the Reform and Conservative do not necessarily hold to the same beliefs in the afterlife. But then, when people reject that the Torah is from God, everything else that was Orthodox goes along with it, and suddenly everything is permissable as well. A Reform Jew is certainly a true Jew, but Reform Judaism is no more Judaism than Universal Unitarianism is Christianity.

On God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, I’m not so sure. With Judaism’s strict monotheism there is no room for any talk of a “Son of God” equal with the Father.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent
No offense, but there is just no way for Jews to get around that. You guys have been trying for 2000 years to convert the Jews and it hasn’t happened and won’t happen.

I think Catholic/Jewish dialogue needs to focus on Catholics coming to understand the Jewish roots of their own faith. I’ve noticed that the more any Christian understands their Hebrew roots, the less anti-Semitic they are. I’m all in favor of less Jewish deaths.

There are Yeminite Jews who have more than one wife who have made aliyah to Israel. They are, of course, allowed to keep their wives. And it is, of course, highly unusual. These Jews are not under the same rabbinic authorities as, say, the Ashkenazim.

It shouldn’t be forgotten, of course, that the religion of the Sumerians spoke little of the afterlife either - they believed in some sort of ‘shadow’ existence after death - so it’s not exactly surprising that the local desert tribes were also rather vague on the subject.

Whose you guys? Me? I didn’t start this post to convert Jews. Indeed, I’ve never tried to in my whole life even when one of my best friends in University, a Jew, in discussing one subject stated “Andrew, there’s only one God”…and for a split second I realized all the history involved in that one simple affirmation. The Pope tells us not to attempt to convert the Jewish people and I take that seriously. Just as Paul in Romans left the whole question to God. Attempting to convert or insult brings no side benefit. The OP started this whole thread wishing to learn more of Catholic/Jewish similarities and differences and I post as well to learn.

On the belief in Transmigration of souls that you state is shared by all Orthodox Jews, I am not entirely sure those mainstream Orthodox who followed Rabbi Soloveitchyk, a very learned man, hold that as a point of belief. I am not even sure that the Mitnagdim and followers of the Vilna Gaon ever preached belief in transmigration. The Vilna Gaon was very much against what he perceived to be the Hasidim’s mysticism.

Indeed, Maimonedes’ 13 Principles of the Jewish Faith, which is the closest Judaism has to a creed, makes no mention of a belief in transmigration of souls just resurrection.

I mean just on the topic of the Lubavitchers there is great internal debate on whether Rabbi Menachem Schneerson was the messiah.

The Hasidim and their incredible respect for the Baal Shem Tov and his charisms were not shared by all the Orthodox.

There always has been this mystical vs. rational dynamic to Judaism: Maimonedes vs. Nahmanides, today’s Reform and Conservative vs. those who analyze and preach the Zohar and the Tanya.

Still, as I stated in another thread, there simply is no other people under the Sun whose history can compare to that of the Jewish people.

God Bless! :slight_smile:

Don’t most Christians (or at least most Catholics) know that the first Christians were Jews? That this was a Jewish sect?

I think that Baptists, until very recently, played down this Jewishness. I say that, because when I mentioned that the first Christians were Jews, a few Baptists jumped all over me, telling me that I was dead wrong. But maybe that was just a southern thing?

But of course we don’t subtract what Jesus said about himself. :wink:

As for Rabbi’s Gershom’s ban on polygamy and the reasoning behind it,2488/Is-polygamy-still-allowed-today.html

Of course the concept of marriage as a contractual relationship endowing rights not only to the man but also to the woman as well as the ability to end the contract is different than in Catholicism.

I know I’m reacting to just one sentence in a rather long and complicated post but I can’t help asking: when did the Pope tell Catholics not to convert Jewish people? I thought there was only one way to the Father and it was through Christ?

I think both Popes JP2 and Benedict warned against actively proselytizing among the Jewish people and both consider(ed) them our “elder brothers”. Here are some links on your question:

God Bless:)

Thanks for the link chosenpeople…I am learning much.

Bless you! :slight_smile:

Andrew, neither of those links confirms what you’re saying. The first one is an appeal from a rabbi to the Pope to stop proselytizing Jews. The second is a news article that describes changes to the Good Friday prayer with respect to language that Jews may find offensive, but it doesn’t say Catholics are instructed not to proselytize them; I believe it says the opposite, in fact.

If you’re going to make the claim that Popes Benedict and John Paul II warned us not to proselytize Jews, I’m going to have to ask for a precise citation to their actual words. I’m having a hard time believing either one would say that.

Sorry tomarin…I have to go back to work for a couple of hours so can’t find articles right now off my fingertips. What I can say is that the Pro Judaeis prayer is only in the updated Latin Easter liturgy and not in the NO mass which most attend.

From the journal First Things current issue in an article on “Jewish Survival in a Gentile World”, on the Latin Judaeis prayer: “…the cardinal responsible for Catholic-Jewish relations, Walter Kasper, averred that the prayer expresses an eschatological hope rather than a conversion campaign…” I’d post a link but you need a subscription to read the article.

Or I’ll cite a personal example of how Pope John Paul II dealt with the Jewish people. The Pope made a Jewish man the conductor of the Vatican’s orchestra and both built a strong friendship. When asked on Larry King on whether the pope ever attempted to convert him or his family, the Jewish conductor said on the contrary, HH Pope JP2 always reinforced in the conductor’s children that they must remain faithful Jews. If the Pope dealt this way with Jewish people known to him on a personal level, are we to somehow be different and actively seek conversion in our Jewish acquaintances? Gotta go for now.:slight_smile:

Now THAT is great to know! It makes me love Pope John Paul the Great all the more.

Of course, not one of them said that explicitly and I can see now that my wording was sloppy in a post from last night. What I was attempting to say was that neither seems to adamantly encourage it, as in what I’ve written above with respect to HH Pope JP2’s personal relationships with Jewish people and not even he feeling the obligation to attempt outright to convert them but, on the contrary, encouraging the conductor’s children to practice their Jewish faith.

From HH Pope John Paul the Second’s Crossing the Threshold of Hope in his chapter on Judaism, JP first quotes Nostra Aetate 4:

The Church of Christ, in fact, recognizes that according to the divine mystery of salvation the origins of the Church’s faith and election are already found in the Patriarchs, Moses, and the Prophets…The Church, then, can forget neither that it received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God, in his ineffable mercy, made the Ancient Covenant, nor can the Church forget that it draws sustenance from the root of that good olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles…Therefore, since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is so great, this Sacred Council recommends and promotes a mutual understanding and respect, which can be obtained above all through biblical study and fraternal discussion

His Holiness then added his personal thoughts: "This extraordinary people (the Jews) continues to bear signs of its divine election. I said this to an Israeli politician once and he readily agreed, but was quick to add: 'If only it could cost less!..The time when the people of the Old Covenant will be able to see themselves as part of the New is, naturally, a question to be left to the Holy Spirit. We, as human beings, try only not to put obstacles in the way. The form of this ‘not putting obstacles’ takes is certainly dialogue between Christians and Jews, which, on the Church’s part, is being carried forward by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Sorry, the underlining is mine. Hope this helps. It is the Pope speaking after all. God Bless!:slight_smile:

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