Christianity has a close relationship with Judaism, both historically and theologically. Jesus, the twelve disciples, the author of most of the New Testament, and the members of the earliest Christian churches were all Jews. Jesus' family followed Jewish customs and Jesus frequently quoted the Hebrew Bible. Jesus' followers believed him to be the messiah, a Jewish figure predicted in the Jewish Bible.
Despite its Jewish origins, it was not long before Christianity regarded itself as something other than a new Jewish sect. The first Christian council, convened by the apostles, concluded that pagan converts to Christianity did not have to follow Jewish ritual laws. Soon, converts to Christianity were almost exclusively pagans and Christianity moved further away from Judaism.
In the 2,000 years of history since Jesus, the relationship between Christianity and the ancient faith in which it is rooted has often been strained. Christians have criticized Jews for rejecting Jesus as their messiah, and Jews have criticized Christians for corrupting the concept of one God and following a false messiah. The New Testamant reports that Jews were the first to persecute Christians, and after Christians became the more powerful group, they frequently persecuted Jews.
Today, theological disagreements between Christians and Jews remain, but efforts are being made towards greater understanding and respect between the two great faiths. The following chart compares the origins, beliefs and practices of Christianity and Judaism.
History & Stats Christianity Judaism
date founded c. 30 AD c. 1300 BC
place founded Palestine Palestine
founders & early leaders Jesus, Peter, Paul Abraham, Moses
original languages Aramaic and Greek Hebrew
major location today Europe, North and South America Europe, Israel, North America
adherents worldwide today 2 billion 14 million
adherents in USA 159 million 5.6 million
adherents in Canada 21 million 350,000...