Christianity is Older than Judaism

Christianity is Older than Judaism

This meme has been making the rounds again, that Americans are ignorant yokels for thinking that Christianity is older than Judaism. But as is often the case with debunkeres, the debunkers are more arrogant and just as unknowledgable as the debunkee, as a great argument can be made that Christianity is, in fact, older than Judaism.

Both Christianity and Judaism are based largely on religio-legal corpora, which are called “Testaments” in Christianity and “Torahs” in Judaism. In Christnaity these corpora are the “Old Testament” and the “New Testament.” Both in their ages of composition and their internal chronology, they are seperated by the Roman occupation of Palestine — the Old takes place beforfe, the New takes place during. In Judaism these corpora are the “Written Torah” and the “Oral Torah.” While both works claim to be the same age (given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai), the Oral Torah clearly contains elements from Semetic pre-history while others date it to between the Destruction of the Temple and the middle-Dark Ages.

In other words, Christianity as a religion based on Two Testaments appears to have coalescened somewhere around AD 100. Judaism as a religion based on Two Torahs appears to have coalescend somewhere around AD 600. Christianity is half a millenium older than Judaism.

Both Christianity and Judaism are descended from an ancient religion, often called “Temple Judaism,” like early Christianity (but not like Judaism) was centered around a priesthood that controlled the teaching authority of the faith.

It is often said that most Jewish communities that existed immediately before the chrnologicla beginning of the New Testament became Christian communities. A very small number converted to Judaism instead, several centuries later.

5 thoughts on “Christianity is Older than Judaism”

  1. “This meme has been making the rounds again, that Americans are ignorant yokels for thinking that Christianity is older than Judaism.”

    Bubba says, “Yeah, that’s what I been sayin’ all along, what with the Orals n’Temples n’stuff.

  2. While “The Jews” or “The Hebrews” and their written Torah certainly existed before Jesus (who himself practiced Rabbinic Judaism), much of the Jewish liturgy used today was developed in Medieval Europe. So the argument that Christianity is older than Judaism does, in a sense, make sense, depending on how the terms are defined.

    The Oral Law was first written down circa 200AD, and the Written Law a few hundred years later. And the extensive commentary (i.e. Rashi) is also medieval.

  3. “Both Christianity and Judaism are based largely on religio-legal corpora, which are called “Testaments” in Christianity and “Torahs” in Judaism.” Not exactly, there is only one Torah, (note upper case denotation) the five books of Moses, from which commandments are taken, 613 to be precise. The haftorah, note lower case, has stories of prophets and kings, along with poetry and even prophesy but no laws. Religious law is based only from Torah, which is older than Christianity.

    ….much of the Jewish liturgy used today was developed in Medieval Europe. this is certainly true. “The Oral Law was first written down circa 200AD, and the Written Law a few hundred years later” depends on which oral law, there is more than one.

    However, the key to the argument is, how many Christians believe observe and practice their Christianity using the same Latin liturgy used by the Catholic Church during the middle ages? I seem to recall the Protestant reformation changed the way most Christians believe and practice in some very substantial ways.

    While for the most part, the services that Jews regularly participate in varies little from those done 1000 years ago. Even the service preformed by modern reformed Jews has significant and recognizable elements from that time period.

    People may change, Torah does not, nor has it for over 2000 years.

    Believe what you wish, but don’t change history.

  4. Sophie has some valid points. The Protestant Reformation did change Christianity for a minority (and still a minority) of Christians. There is an argument to equate that to what happened to the Jews. On the other hand, the leap from Temple Judiasm to Sola Tohraism is a big one to make.

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