Discuss some of the historical events (e.g. Jewish revolt in Jerusalem) that led to the differentiation
between Christianity and Judaism.
Historical events that led to the differentiation between Christianity and Judaism
From a historical as well as theological point of view, Christianity and Judaism have a lot in
common. Christianity has strong roots in Judaism and this is seen in the structure of the Bible.
Judaism is based on the Old Testament of the Bible, a holy book Christians also use. Despite this
similarity in origin, the two faiths have experienced a sustained split leading to Judaism and
Christianity becoming two distinct faiths. Several events in history contributed to this fact
The rejection of Jesus as the Messiah by the Jewish establishment is one of the main precursors
to the split between Judaism and Christianity (Levine, 2014). For many Pharisees and teachers of
the law, Christianity was more of a sect misleading Jews than a fully-fledged legitimate faith.
This was based on the connotation of the Messiah being a political savior from Roman rule,
something Jesus was not (Snyder, 2013).
Paul’s conversion was another factor that led to the split between Judaism and Christianity. Prior
to his conversion, Paul dedicated his life to prosecuting Jews who practiced Christianity, his
conversion made him dedicate his life to furthering Christianity and spreading the gospel to non-
Jews. This helped to give Christianity a different identity from its Jewish roots as it became more
cosmopolitan affair. This coupled with the difference in doctrine between a belief in inward
transformation against Judaism’s emphasis on several tangible aspects such as circumcision and
the strict following of Jewish practices further led to the split with Christians being keen on
setting themselves apart as a unique group from the faith that had been in existence before
(Atkinson, 2012). Prosecution and sustained opposition by Jewish religious leaders only gave the
Atkinson, A. C. (2012). Pauline conversion and the resurrection narrative (Doctoral dissertation,
Levine, A. J. (2014). The Misunderstood Jew. HarperCollins e-Books.
Snyder, H. G. (2013). 9 Early Christianity. The Cambridge Companion to Ancient