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The Relationship Between Judaism and Christianity
#1
So, the reason why I--a Catholic--am curious about this question is because the Christian way of viewing the nature of the relationship between Christianity and Judaism is as that our two religions are intertwined; and I had some questions about wanting to hear more of the Jewish perspective on this because I'd heard some differing opinions from some Orthodox Jewish rabbis. From the Catholic perspective, we see Christianity as having come from Judaism--as in, without Judaism, there would be no Christianity. There is no doubt, from our perspective, that Jesus and his followers were Jewish and lived and died as Jews.

This perspective on the nature of the relationship between the two was interrupted somewhat when I read several opinions from certain Jewish scholars who insisted that Jesus and his followers were no longer Jews--that is, the moment they took on the belief in Jesus as the Messiah, they ceased to be Jewish. Now, I'm not here to get into the can of worms that is "Messianic Judaism" because that's a huge issue in itself; but I have to bring it up because they were using the rejection of Messianic Judaism as a way to look back and retroactively declare the followers of Jesus--and Jesus himself--apostates from Judaism.

I had always thought that Jesus and his followers would not have recognised themselves as Christians but rather as Jews. The Gospels are unreliable because since the time they were originally written, it is clear that they underwent some influence by anti-semitic, gentile hands--those portions of the Gospels which remain relatively uncorrupted, however, make it clear that Jesus taught his followers to obey the Pharisees--who eventually evolved into rabbinical Judaism. In spite of this, I was in some personal conversations on this topic with an Orthodox Jewish person who told me that in spite of the fact that Jesus and his followers saw themselves as Jewish, their belief in Jesus as the Messiah cancelled that out and made them race traitors, after a fashion.

In light of that, the Christian use of the Tanakh was seen as "appropriation." I was actually kinda surprised to hear this, because the Christian perspective is that Judaism is a tree, Christianity is a branch off the tree and we Gentiles are grafted onto that branch. The metaphor of being "adopted" is huge in the writings of Paul. From the Chrisitan perspective, this may be all fine and dandy, but it's not so easy from the perspective of Jews standing outside of Christianity looking in. For one thing, the Christian belief in the Trinity (which, I will insist till my dying breath that we believe in ONE G-d) has been said by some Jewish scholars to be indicative of the fact that on top of not really being related Judaism at all, we Christians don't even worship the same G-d. The Shema prayer is part of Christianity, though--in the Gospels, Jesus prays it. In Catholicism, our prayers always close with the insistence on One G-d--a belief in HaShem.

So now I wanted to get some perspectives on this. A few concepts have been thrown out to think about are: Appropriation, apostasy, race treachery, and idolatry. Is there contiguation between Christianity and Judaism or is there a hard break?

So, that's part of the discussion I wanted to hear because, again, the Christian perspective--at least from my group of Christians--had been that we were brothers or adopted brothers; but some stuff I was reading from some Jewish scholars suggested that we're not brothers--we're not even adopted brothers: we're just a group of dudes that started saying that we were brothers without any real reason to say that. So I wanted to get even more Jewish perspectives on the nature of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity.
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#2
You've obviously put a lot of thought into this post, and I'll probably come back later and post a longer response, in order to do it justice.
 
But right now, I just want to say that your use of the terms "race traitors" and "race treachery" kind of took me aback. 
Heart !לחיים

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#3
(02-20-2019, 11:28 PM)Channalee wrote: You've obviously put a lot of thought into this post, and I'll probably come back later and post a longer response, in order to do it justice.
 
But right now, I just want to say that your use of the terms "race traitors" and "race treachery" kind of took me aback. 

Yeah, and mind you--these aren't my terms because, again, as a Catholic, I had seen Christianity as an outgrowth of Judaism. These were terms that were used by an Orthodox Jewish friend of mine to describe the disciples of Jesus and the apostle Paul. I want to assure you that I don't actually believe this myself and that the terms didn't come from me but rather from this conversation.
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#4
(02-20-2019, 11:36 PM)Jude86 wrote:
(02-20-2019, 11:28 PM)Channalee wrote: You've obviously put a lot of thought into this post, and I'll probably come back later and post a longer response, in order to do it justice.
 
But right now, I just want to say that your use of the terms "race traitors" and "race treachery" kind of took me aback. 

Yeah, and mind you--these aren't my terms because, again, as a Catholic, I had seen Christianity as an outgrowth of Judaism. These were terms that were used by an Orthodox Jewish friend of mine to describe the disciples of Jesus and the apostle Paul. I want to assure you that I don't actually believe this myself and that the terms didn't come from me but rather from this conversation.

Any conversation that veers into a discussion of race politics is something I generally find disturbing.  Thank you for your explanation, though.

I'll just attempt to sum up your topic with the questions I think you are asking, and I'll give you my answers (which are not at all to be considered "official Jewish opinion," as you may get different answers from different Jews):
 
Was Jesus a Jew?
 
Yes.
 
Were the followers of Jesus also Jews?
 
Probably some of them were, and some of them weren't.
 
Was Jesus the Messiah?
 
No.
 
Do Jews cease to be Jews the moment they take on the belief that Jesus is the Messiah?
 
They become apostates, losing many of the recognized rights and privileges of a member of the Jewish community.  But it is my understanding that the door is always left open for an apostate to return to Judaism.
 
Is Christianity a "branch off the tree"?
 
Christianity has its origins in more than just Judaism (there are scholars who believe that the pagans of the first few centuries of the Common Era incorporated their beliefs and practices into Christianity). So Christianity is not a branch that is attached to the tree of Judaism.
Heart !לחיים

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#5
And I'll do the same for a quick summation -

 
Was Jesus a Jew?
 
According to the Christian bible he was and if he was born to a Jewish mother, then yes, according to Judaism he was as well.
 
Were the followers of Jesus also Jews?
 
I'll agree with Channalee here, probably some of them were, and some of them weren't.
 
Was Jesus the Messiah?
 
Certainly not the Jewish messiah as we can see the world has not changed as the Hebrew bible explains it will when the awaited messiah arrives.
 
Do Jews cease to be Jews the moment they take on the belief that Jesus is the Messiah?
 
I'll also agree with Channalee here and add they will still be Jews but they are not practicing Judaism, which are 2 different things.
 
Is Christianity a "branch off the tree"?
 
Nope, Christians aren't "grafted" in as the Christian bible would have you believe. You will see throughout the Hebrew bible that G-d makes a clear distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles. Not that the Jews are better, they just have a different mission.

Hope that helps to answer some of your questions!
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#6
Right, the question as to whether Jesus is the Messiah isn't really of any interest to me. And yes, I knew that Jews that take on the belief that Jesus is the Messiah become apostates: what I was really getting at was whether this was applied retroactively--In other words, are the Apostles--and Jesus--apostates or is that an anachronism?

Let me try and delineate what I'm talking about a bit more:

The history of the development of Christianity--told from the Christian perspective--is that Jesus' teachings were just one school of many different opinions in Judaism and didn't constitute a hard break from Judaism and his followers were initially Jews and not apostates. It wasn't until some time later that Paul began a ministry among the Gentiles and followers became, more and more, Gentiles. So the question is whether those initial followers of Jesus would have been considered apostates or not--bearing in mind that they were still observing the Torah and Kashrut.
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#7
(02-21-2019, 12:16 AM)Jude86 wrote: Right, the question as to whether Jesus is the Messiah isn't really of any interest to me. And yes, I knew that Jews that take on the belief that Jesus is the Messiah become apostates: what I was really getting at was whether this was applied retroactively--In other words, are the Apostles--and Jesus--apostates or is that an anachronism?

Let me try and delineate what I'm talking about a bit more:

The history of the development of Christianity--told from the Christian perspective--is that Jesus' teachings were just one school of many different opinions in Judaism and didn't constitute a hard break from Judaism and his followers were initially Jews. It wasn't until some time later that Paul began a ministry among the Gentiles and followers became, more and more, Gentiles. So the question is whether those initial followers of Jesus would have been considered apostates or not--bearing in mind that they were still observing the Torah and Kashrut.

Ah, that is a much clearer question!

I would say around the time of when Jesus was supposed to have lived, there were a few different sects of Judaism. So some might have thought of them as apostates while others may not have.

Dare I say some of the sects may have even considered other sects as apostates!
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#8
A lot of the questions you asked do get to the heart of something that's a bit difficult for me to discuss, and that's the issue of brotherhood between our two religions; because, to be honest (and maybe this is a case of Christian privilege) I had always considered us to be brothers and so it initially came as a bit of slap in the face to find out that we aren't really seen that way.

There are portions of the Mass during Paschal time (Easter time) that explicitly reference our belief in this connection. The prayer, made to G-d, in part reads:

"This is the night,
when once You led our forebears, Israel's children,
from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea."

The strength of the connection is very deeply embedded in Catholicism (and in my own self-identity) which is why I need the Jewish perspective on this.
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#9
I want to thank everybody here for answering honestly. It means a lot to me that you're taking the time to understand me for and allowing me, at your leisure, to ask questions that can be difficult to answer.
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#10
(02-21-2019, 12:30 AM)Jude86 wrote: A lot of the questions you asked do get to the heart of something that's a bit difficult for me to discuss, and that's the issue of brotherhood between our two religions; because, to be honest (and maybe this is a case of Christian privilege) I had always considered us to be brothers and so it initially came as a bit of slap in the face to find out that we aren't really seen that way.

At the risk of sounding like an idealistic peace-nik, wouldn't it be cool if all peoples of all religions were to find some reason to call each other "brother" and "sister"?
Heart !לחיים

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