I have been interested in learning about Judaism to get a better perspective, if you will, on Catholicism. Is this a good idea? Has anyone pursued this? If so, I don’t know where I would start. If just studying the Old Testament in depth, or studying the ancient judaism, or modern Judiasm, or both. Thoughts?
[quote=Oren]I have been interested in learning about Judaism to get a better perspective, if you will, on Catholicism. Is this a good idea? Has anyone pursued this? If so, I don’t know where I would start. If just studying the Old Testament in depth, or studying the ancient judaism, or modern Judiasm, or both. Thoughts?
IMO it’s an excellent idea. Go where your interests take you.
One book I’ve found very informative is this one. My only criticisms of it would be, that there is a typo or two in the indices.
You might consider looking at the Jewish Publication Society TaNaKh of 1985 - to us, the OT (minus the deuterocanonical parts & books). It’s very interesting to see the OT from a Jewish perspective.
The 1901-06 Jewish Encyclopedia is online at -
But the person you really ought to ask is stillsmallvoice, as he’s an Orthodox Jew. ##
Judaism is the mother of Catholicism. I was kind of immersed in Judaism as I grew up in a Jewish area, and took some courses in Judaism in college, read my books by Leon Uris and Chaim Potok, among others, and finally married a wonderful Jewish girl.
That background helped to set the tone for me, as I read the Jewish Scriptures, Pseudepigripha and even some Talmud.
I have to say, however, that Judaism is determinedly non-Christian. One of the astonishing discoveries I made is that the Old Testament is one large foreshadowing of Christ and the New Testament salvation process. Judaism is immersed in foreshadowings of Christianity, yet after centuries of persecution and murder of Jews by Christians, the Jewish perspective is so “off” on the subject of Christianity that it is almost impossible to get a Jewish person to sit down and hear how thoroughly Christ and the salvation process is foreshadowed miraculously in their own Scriptures. Doing so is shattering, and seems blasphemous to Jews, beginning with Subject “A,” Christ. They regard the Christian God, incorporating Christ as one of three “persons” in the one God, as an abomination.
Peace be with you all,
I think the more we know, as Christians, about Judaism the more we know about our own faith. Remember, Salvation is from the Jews.
Peace, Love and Blessings.
Studying Judaism is what made this atheist become a Catholic. So long as you’re grounded in your faith, you will find nothing but treasures in Judaism. In my opinion, it is the only other “true” religion in the world; its error is in what it lacks, not in what it possesses. It is a true pursuit of God based on true faith and true scripture/tradition. So long as you keep it in perspective of the Messiah Jesus, there’s nothing but beauty in the Jewish faith.
In addition to the Tanakh, you should also check out the Talmud, which is the other key work in the Jewish faith. The Talmud is very much like the Catechism of the Catholic Church in that it both contains extra-Scriptural Sacred Tradition and comments on it. It’s VERY important to understanding Judaism, and more than a little in it actually points to Catholicism. For more information on that in particular, I recommend “Salvation is from the Jews” by Roy Shoeman. You can also check out the Association of Hebrew Catholics for a Jewish Catholic perspective. Another website and book is Second Exodus.
The Jewish faith is the Tree of Life that Catholicism grows out of. I don’t even count Catholicism as something seperate from Judaism at all, but rather as the very Jewish recognition of Jesus as the Messiah. If you study Judaism, you will see how this is the case, and you will see that even Jews recognize something like the Church as possibly arrising with the the coming of the Messiah, they just don’t think he’s come yet. According to them we’ve jumped the gun, and according to us they’re slow to get on board. We are the same tradition of faith, however, and the founders and early members of the Catholic Church were all very devout Jews. Modern Judaism is pretty much the Pharisees carried into modern times, post-Temple. If Judaism can even truly be called “heresy”, it’s purely heresy of omission. I prefer to think of it as the earliest schismatic movement
Like I said, I was an atheist who studied Orthodox Judaism and became Catholic. It’s really good stuff. Benedict XVI even specifically reaffirmed our connection with Jews and Judaism in his inaugural homily.