Christianity and Judaism Essay

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The teachings of Christianity and Judaism have an immense common background that becomes apparent just from reading and analyzing one key work from each religion. The Sermon on the Mount, found in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, and Judaism’s “Pirke Avot” or “The Chapters of the Fathers,” found in the Torah. While minor contrasts are found between the two pieces, both deal largely with the themes of the importance of the Law, character formation, and social ethics. The Law and the application of the Law are stressed thoroughly in both the Sermon on the Mount and the Pirke Avot through the minor and major commandments. The Sermon on the Mount’s references to the Law focus largely on personal reward and punishment and interactions with others. An example of this is when Matthew states, “If you forgive others of their trespasses you too will be forgiven” (Mathew 6:14). It is also strongly encouraged to not only forgive those that cross you, but to love your enemies and “ pray for those that persecute you”(Mathew 5:44). In Mathew 6:33, it states that if you strive for the kingdom, the rest will be provided for you, that if you put God first the rest will fall into place over time. It is also made clear near the end of the Sermon on the Mount that it is impossible to serve two gods and receive heavenly blessings. According to the law, you must be fully devoted to the one true lord, our God, and no other false deities. Though the Law clearly holds a prestigious spot in Christianity, the urgency of the Law and its rules are more apparent in the Pirke Avot because of the numerous times they are referenced. In the first few lines of the Pirke Avot, Simeon the Just says, “By three things is the world sustained by the law, by the service and by the deeds of loving-kindness” (Aboth 2:1). Simeon chooses the law to be of the upmost
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