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Abrahamic Religions

Abrahamic Religions (draft)

Jeff Wheeler

on 31 October 2016

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Transcript of Abrahamic Religions


Abrahamic Religions
"Submission to God"
Mono=One, single, alone
Theos=a god
Monotheism= the belief in one God
that characterizes Judaism began in ancient Israel with the adoption of
Yahweh as the single object of worship
and the rejection of the gods of other tribes and nations without, initially, denying their existence.
Basic Beliefs:

is the personal name of the god of the Israelites in the Hebrew Bible. The name “Yahweh” is a modern scholarly convention, as rendered in Roman letters it is simply “YHWH.” There is no conclusive meaning for the name among scholars, but most likely it’s something along the lines of “He Brings Into Existence Whatever Exists.”
Hebrew Bible describes Yahweh as the one true God who delivered Israel from Egypt and, through Moses, issued the Ten Commandments
. Yahweh revealed himself as a jealous god to the Israelites, who would not suffer any rivals, forbidding the worship of idols or gods of other nations. It was to be a strictly monogamous human-deity relationship. Many of the religions in the surrounding area around this time (mid-2nd millennia BCE) were polytheistic. The
Israelites were told “you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”
Nature of God:
God Exists
God is One
God is the Creator of Everything
God is Incorporeal
God is Neither Male nor Female
God is Omnipresent
God is Omnipotent
God is Omniscient
God is Eternal
God is Just and Merciful
God is Holy and Perfect
Holy Books
Holy Books
Basic Belief
"Holy Days"
Judaism is one of the oldest

and was founded over 3500 years ago in the Middle East. Its

fundamental teachings have been influential

and are the basis for more recently developed religions such as
Christianity and Islam
Jews believe
that God appointed the Jews to be his
chosen people
in order to
set an example of holiness
and ethical behavior
to the world.
Judaism was founded by Moses, although Jews trace their history back to Abraham.
Star of David
Tallit(prayer shawl)
Yahweh-"I Am That I Am"

The holiest name the Jews ever had for G-d was never spoken aloud
(except on Yom Kippur by the High Priest alone in the innermost sanctum of the Holy Temple). Since
Hebrew is written without vowels
, we don't know how precisely it was pronounced in ancient times. All we have is the consonants, in what is known as the tetragrammaton:
(Hebrew yod-heh-vav-heh).
Torah scroll
On Mt. Sinai God spoke to Moses and taught him the "Oral Torah". This was passed down for several generations until it was written down in the 2nd century C.E. inwhat is now called the Mishnah. Other commentaries, called the Gemara, were written in Jerusalem and Babylon. Together the Mishnah and the Gemara are called the Torah.
(The Law):
•Bereishith (In the beginning...) (Genesis)
•Shemoth (The names...) (Exodus)
•Vayiqra (And He called...) (Leviticus)
•Bamidbar (In the wilderness...) (Numbers)
•Devarim (The words...) (Deuteronomy)
(The Prophets):
•Yehoshua (Joshua)
•Shoftim (Judges)
•Shmuel (I &II Samuel)
•Melakhim (I & II Kings)
•Yeshayah (Isaiah)
•Yirmyah (Jeremiah)
•Yechezqel (Ezekiel)
•The Twelve (treated as one book):
Hoshea (Hosea)
Yoel (Joel)
Ovadyah (Obadiah)
Yonah (Jonah)
Mikhah (Micah)
Chavaqquq (Habbakkuk)
Tzefanyah (Zephaniah)
Zekharyah (Zechariah)
(The Writings):
•Tehillim (Psalms)
•Mishlei (Proverbs)
•Iyov (Job)
•Shir Ha-Shirim (Song of Songs)
•Eikhah (Lamentations)
•Qoheleth (the author's name) (Ecclesiastes)
•Ezra & Nechemyah (Nehemiah) (treated as one book)
•Divrei Ha-Yamim (The words of the days) (Chronicles)
is often referred to as the
, which is an acrostic of Torah,
Moses and the Burning Bush
1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight why the bush does not burn up."

4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!"

And Moses said, "Here I am."

5 "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." 6 Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

7 The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."

11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"

12 And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain."

13 Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?"

14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’"

15 God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your father's the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.

16 "Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusitesa land flowing with milk and honey.’

18 "The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God.’ 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.

21 "And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty handed.22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians."

Signs for Moses
4 Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?"

2 Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?"

"A staff," he replied.

3 The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground."

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the LORD said to him, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail." So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 "This," said the LORD, "is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathersthe God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacobhas appeared to you."

6 Then the LORD said, "Put your hand inside your cloak." So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was leprous, like snow.

7 "Now put it back into your cloak," he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.

8 Then the LORD said, "If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miraculous sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground."

10 Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."

11 The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

13 But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."

14 Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses and he said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you. 15You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it."

Exodus 3:1-4:17
The Hebrew Scriptures, referred to by Christians as the Old Testament, are called the TANAKH, which is the Hebrew acronym for the three different parts:

Torah which is the first five books,the books of Moses
The Nevi'im which are the books of the prophets; and
Ketuvim which are the remaining writings.
Jewish Views of the Afterlife
What happens after we die? Everyone asks that question at one point or another. Though Judaism does not have a definitive answer, below are some of the possible responses that have emerged over the centuries.

•Olam Ha Ba
"Olam Ha Ba" literally means "the world to come" in Hebrew
. Early rabbinic texts describe Olam Ha Ba has an idyllic version of this world. It is a physical realm that will exist at the end-of-days, after the Messiah has come and God has judged both the living and the dead.
The righteous dead will be resurrected in order to enjoy a second life in Olam Ha Ba.

•Gehenna - When the ancient rabbis talk about Gehenna, the question they are trying to answer is "How will bad people be dealt with in the afterlife?" Accordingly, they saw
Gehenna as a place of punishment for those who lead an immoral life
. However, the time a person's soul could spend in Gehenna was limited to twelve months and the rabbis maintained that even at the very Gates of Gehenna a person could repent and avoid punishment (Erubin 19a).
After being punished in Gehenna a soul was considered pure enough to enter Gan Eden.

•Gan Eden In contrast to Gehenna,
Gan Eden was conceived as a paradise for those who lived a righteous life
. Whether Gan Eden - which means "The Garden of Eden in Hebrew" - was intended as a place for souls after death or for resurrected people when Olam Ha Ba comes is unclear. Exodus Rabbah 15:7 states, for instance: "In the Messianic Age God will establish peace for the nations and they will sit at ease and eat in Gan Eden." Numbers Rabbah 13:2 makes a similar reference and in both cases, neither souls nor the dead are mentioned. Nevertheless, author Simcha Raphael suggests that given the ancient rabbis' belief in resurrection, Gan Eden was likely a place where they thought the righteous would go after they were resurrected for Olam Ha Ba.

In addition to overarching concepts about life after death, such as Olam Ha Ba,
there are many stories that talk about what might happen to souls once they arrive in the afterlife.
For instance,
there is a famous midrash (story) about how in both heaven and hell people sit at banquet tables piled high with delicious foods, but no one can bend their elbows. In Hell everyone starves because they think only of themselves. In Heaven, everyone feasts because they feed each other.
1.Christianity: 2.1 billion

2.Islam: 1.5 billion

3.Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion

4.Hinduism: 900 million

5.Chinese traditional religion: 394 million

6.Buddhism: 376 million

7.primal-indigenous: 300 million

8.African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million

9.Sikhism: 23 million

10.Juche: 19 million

11.Spiritism: 15 million

12.Judaism: 14 million

13.Baha'i: 7 million

14.Jainism: 4.2 million

15.Shinto: 4 million

16.Cao Dai: 4 million

17.Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million

18.Tenrikyo: 2 million

19.Neo-Paganism: 1 million

20.Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand

21.Rastafarianism: 600 thousand

22.Scientology: 500 thousand
Judaism sets aside certain
and days of remembrance as
holy days
. These holy days are scheduled
according to the Jewish calendar
The Jewish calendar is not based on the earth's revolutions around the sun, as the secular calendar is. Instead, the Jewish calendar is
made up of moon cycles
each month beginning with the time of the new moon
. Jewish holidays fall each year on different dates according to the secular calendar, but on the same date according to the Jewish calendar.
Rosh Hashanah
- Jewish New Year’s Day (“Head of the Year”)
Yom Kippur
- Day of Atonement
- An eight-day celebration of religious freedom.
-Passover- A spring festival celebrating the Exodus from Egypt when the Jews were led out of slavery and into freedom.
- Celebrates the beginning of summer and the day the Torah was given to Moses on Mount Sinai.
Two modern holidays:
Yom Hashoah
is a memorial for the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis
Yom Ha’atzmaut
is Israel's Independence Day
(Sabbath)- From sundown on Friday night until sundown on Saturday night, observant Jews set aside time to pray and study. Sabbath is a day to refrain from work and every day cares.
Christianity is currently the
most popular religion
in the world
based on the number of aherents
found throughout the world. While this
religion developed from Judaism, there are
several key differences
in its teachings.
Founder-Jesus of Nazareth and his disciples who helped spread his teachings.
Currently Practiced-Christianity is the dominant religion in North America, South America, Europe, and Russia.
Patriarchal Covenant
of Judaism

•The central organizing concept in Judaism is the Patriarchal Covenant or “berith” in Hebrew meaning
. The life of the Jews began to be defined by the
special contractual relationship into which Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses entered into with God.

Terms of the Covenant:
•God is to oversee the
of the people descended from Abraham. All those who are party to the covenant become known as the ‘people of Israel.’
•God (Hashem) demands
complete obedience
from the Israelites – to worship him only rather than many gods.
promised the land of Canaan
to Abraham and his descendants.
•Under Moses, the Hebrews could
conduct their lives according to
the absolute laws, established by God in the
Ten Commandments
, in order to live as a peaceful and faithful people.

The history of Judaism is inseparable from the history of Jews themselves. The early part of the story is told in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).

It describes how God chose the Jews to be an example to the world, and how God and his chosen people worked out their relationship.

It was a stormy relationship much of the time, and one of the fascinating things about Jewish history is to watch God changing and developing alongside his people.
The Old Testament
The Bronze Age
Jewish history begins during the Bronze age in the Middle East.

The birth of the Jewish people and the start of Judaism is told in the first 5 books of the Bible.

God chose Abraham to be the father of a people who would be special to God, and who would be an example of good behaviour and holiness to the rest of the world.

God guided the Jewish people through many troubles, and at the time of Moses he gave them a set of rules by which they should live, including the Ten Commandments.
The birth of Judaism
This was the beginning of Judaism as a structured religion The Jews, under God’s guidance became a powerful people with kings such as Saul, David, and Solomon, who built the first great temple.

From then on Jewish worship was focused on the Temple, as it contained the Ark of the Covenant, and was the only place where certain rites could be carried out.
The kingdom declines
Around 920 BCE, the kingdom fell apart, and the Jewish people split into groups.

This was the time of the prophets.

Around 600 BCE the temple was destroyed, and the Jewish leadership was killed.

Many Jews were sent into exile in Babylon. Although the Jews were soon allowed to return home, many stayed in exile, beginning the Jewish tradition of the Diaspora - living away from Israel.
Rebuilding a Jewish kingdom
The Jews grew in strength throughout the next 300 years BCE, despite their lands being ruled by foreign powers. At the same time they became more able to practice their faith freely, led by scribes and teachers who explained and interpreted the Bible.

In 175 BCE the King of Syria desecrated the temple and implemented a series of laws aiming to wipe out Judaism in favour of Zeus worship. There was a revolt (164 BCE) and the temple was restored.

The revolt is celebrated in the Jewish festival of Hannukah.
Roman Times
For a period the Jewish people governed themselves again and were at peace with the Roman Empire. But internal divisions weakened the Jewish kingdom and allowed the Romans to establish control in 63 BCE.

In the years that followed, the Jewish people were taxed and oppressed by a series of "puppet" rulers who neglected the practice of Judaism.

The priests or Sadducees were allied to the rulers and lost favour with the people, who turned increasingly to the Pharisees or Scribes. These were also known as Rabbis, meaning teachers.
Year 1: CE
What is nowadays called the 'Current Era' traditionally begins with the birth of a Jewish teacher called Jesus. His followers came to believe he was the promised Messiah and later split away from Judaism to found Christianity, a faith whose roots are firmly in Judaism.
1 CE - 70 CE: Rabbinic Judaism
The Rabbis encouraged the Jewish people to observe ethical laws in all aspects of life, and observe a cycle of prayer and festivals in the home and at synagogues.

This involved a major rethink of Jewish life. Although the Temple still stood, its unique place as the focus of Jewish prayer and practice was diminished. Many synagogues had been founded in Palestine and right around the Jewish Diaspora.

Great teaching academies were founded in the first century BCE with scholars discussing and debating God's laws. The most well known of the early teachers were Hillel, and his contemporary Shammai.
70 - 200 CE: The destruction of the Temple
This was a period of great change - political, religious, cultural and social turmoil abounded in Palestine. The Jewish academies flourished but many Jews could not bear being ruled over by the Romans.

During the first 150 years CE the Jews twice rebelled against their Roman leaders, both rebellions were brutally put down, and were followed by stern restrictions on Jewish freedom.

The first revolt, in 70 CE, led to the destruction of the Temple. This brought to an end the temple worship and is still perceived by traditional Jews as the biggest trauma in Jewish history. It is marked by the fast day of Tisha B'av (meaning the ninth day of the month of Av).

A second revolt, in 132 CE, resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of Jews, the enslaving of thousands of others, and the banning of Jews from Jerusalem
200 - 700 CE: The Mishna and Talmud
Between 200 and 700 CE Judaism developed rapidly.

Following the twin religious and political traumas, the academies moved to new centres both in Palestine and in the Diaspora. A sense of urgency had taken hold and it was considered vital to write down the teachings of the Rabbis so that Judaism could continue.

Around 200 CE, scholars compiled the Mishna, the collection of teachings, sayings and interpretations of the early Rabbis.

The academies continued their work and several generations of Rabbis followed. Their teachings were compiled in the Talmud which expands on the interpretations of the Mishna and established an all-encompassing guide to life.

The Talmud exists in two forms. The first was finalised around the 3rd century CE in Palestine, and the second and superior version was completed during the 5th century CE in Babylon.

During this period Jews were allowed to become Roman citizens, but later were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to marry Christians.

In 439 CE the Romans banned synagogue building, and barred Jews from official jobs.
The Golden Age — The Jews in Spain
The years either side of 1000 CE were the golden age of the Jews in Spain.

Co-existing happily with the country’s Islamic rulers the Jews developed a flourishing study of Science, Hebrew literature and the Talmud.

Despite an attempt to forcibly convert all Jews to Islam in 1086 CE, this golden age continued.

At around this time the first Jews are recorded in Britain.
The Crusades
The next Millennium began with the Crusades, military operations by Christian countries to capture the Holy Land.

The armies of the first Crusade attacked Jewish communities on their way to Palestine, especially in Germany.

When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem they slaughtered and enslaved thousands of Jews as well as Muslims.

Following the example of the Romans earlier, they banned Jews from the city.

In Britain, the Jewish population increased, benefiting from the protection of Henry I.
The bad times return
The 1100s were a seriously bad period. Jews were driven from southern Spain by a Berber invasion. Serious anti-Jewish incidents began to occur in Europe:

•in France Jews were accused of ritually murdering a child
•in England Jews were murdered while trying to give gifts to the King at Richard I’s coronation
•150 Jews were massacred in York
•in 1215 the Catholic Church ordered Jews to live in segregated areas (ghettos) and to wear distinctive clothes.
In England the Jews faced increasing restrictions during the Thirteenth Century, and in 1290 they were all expelled from England.

Shortly afterwards the Jews were expelled from France.

In 1478 the Jews in Spain suffered under the Spanish Inquisition, and in 1492 Jews were expelled from Spain altogether. The same thing happened in Portugal in 1497.

50 years later in Germany, Martin Luther (founder of Protestant Christianity) preached viciously against the Jews.
Scholarship, literature, and mysticism
But it wasn’t an entirely bad period for Judaism. Scholarship and literature flourished, with figures like Rambam, Luria, Levi ben Gershom, and Eleazar ben Judah.

The Jewish form of mysticism, known as Kabbalah reached new heights with the publication in Spain of the Book of Splendour, which influenced Jewish Spirituality for centuries.
Jews return to Britain
This was a period of Jewish expansion.

Jews were allowed to return to England and their rights of citizenship steadily increased.

In 1760 the main representative organisation for British Jewry, The Board of Deputies of British Jews, was founded.

Jews were first recorded in America in 1648.
Poland and Central Europe saw the creation of a new Jewish movement of immense importance - Hassidism.

It followed the example of the Baal Shem Tov (1700-1760) who said that you didn’t have to be an ascetic to be holy; indeed he thought that the appropriate mood for worship was one of joy.

The movement included large amounts of Kabbalic mysticism as well, and the way it made holiness in every day life both intelligible and enjoyable, helped it achieve great popularity among ordinary Jews.

However it also led to divisions within Judaism, as many in the religious establishment were strongly against it.

In Lithuania in 1772 Hassidism was excommunicated, and Hassidic Jews were banned from marrying or doing business with other Jews.
Persecution in Central Europe
Towards the end of the 1700s Jews began to suffer persecution in central Europe, and in Russia they began to be restricted to living in a particular area of the country, called The Pale.
The birth of Reform Judaism
In the 19th Century another new movement appeared in Judaism.

This was Reform Judaism, which began in Germany and held that Jewish law and ritual should move with the times, and not be fixed.

It introduced many changes to worship, and customs, and grew rapidly into a strong movement. It continues to flourish in Europe and the USA.
Good news and bad news
As the 19th century continued many countries gradually withdrew restrictions on Jews—the UK allowed its Jewish citizens the same rights as others by 1860s.

But at the same time Jews came under increasing pressure in central Europe and Russia. There were brutal pogroms against Jews in which they were ejected from their homes and villages, and cruelly treated. Some of this persecution is told in the musical show Fiddler on the Roof.

In Israel, Jewish culture was having a significant rebirth as the Hebrew language was recreated from a language of history and religion into a language of everyday life.
UK and USA
In Britain and America this was the century of Jewish immigration, with great numbers of Jewish people arriving to escape the pogroms in Poland and Russia.

The Jewish population of Britain increased by 250,000 in 30 years. It was at this time that the East End of London became a centre of Jewish life in Britain. However in 1905 the UK passed a law that slowed immigration to a mere trickle.
The birth of Zionism
The Zionist movement, whose aim was to create a Jewish state, was rooted in centuries of Jewish prayer and yearning to return to the land of Israel.

Political Zionism began in the mid-19th Century and towards the end of the century it gained strength as many Jews began to feel that the only way they could live in safety would be to have a country of their own.

In 1917, in the Balfour Declaration, the UK agreed that a Jewish state should be established in Israel and, following the First World War, the British governed the region in preparation for a permanent political arrangement.

Over the next few years Jewish immigration increased and important institutions were founded such as the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, and the Hebrew University.
The Holocaust
Jewish history of the 1930s and 1940s is dominated by the Holocaust, the implementation on an industrial scale of a plan to wipe the whole Jewish people from the face of Europe.

The plan was carried out by the Nazi government of Germany and their allies.

During the Holocaust 6 million Jewish people were murdered, 1 million of them children.

The events of the Holocaust have shaped Jewish thinking, and the thinking of other people about Jewish issues ever since. War crimes trials of those involved in the Holocaust continue to this day.

The tragedy affected much of the religious thinking of Jews, as they try to make sense of a God who could allow such a thing to happen to his chosen people.
The State of Israel
The second defining Jewish event of the century was the achievement of the Zionist movement in the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

There had been strong and paramilitary opposition to British colonial rule for many years, and in 1947 the United Nations agreed a plan to partition the land between Jews and Arabs. In May 1948 the British Government withdrew their forces.

Immediately, the surrounding Arab States invaded and the new Jewish State was forced to fight the first of several major wars. Notable among these were the 6-day war in 1967 and the Yom Kippur war in 1973.

The first steps towards a permanent peace came when Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979, and with Jordan in 1994.

For most of its history Israel has had an uneasy relationship with the Arab states that surround it, and has been greatly sustained by the help and support of the USA, where the Jewish community is large and influential.

The 21st century began with great political uncertainty over Israel and its relationship with the Palestinian people, and this continues.
How did Christianity develop from Judaism?
Christianity developed out of Judaism in the 1st century C.E. It is founded on the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and those who follow him are called "Christians."
Christianity has many different branches and forms with accompanying variety in beliefs and practices. The three major branches of Christianity are Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism, with numerous subcategories within each of these branches.
Roman Catholics:
The Roman Catholic Church denomination is the largest Christian group in the world today with
more than a billion
followers constituting about
half of the world's Christian population
Eastern Orthodoxy
260 million
people worldwide are Orthodox Christians.
There are approximately
800 million Protestants
in the world.
Traditional Christian beliefs include the belief in the one and only true God, who is one being and exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the belief that Jesus is the divine and human Messiah sent to save the world. Christianity is also noted for its emphasis on faith in Christ as the primary component of religion.
Comparing the beliefs of Catholics and other christian denominations:
•Authority Within the Church

- Catholics believe the authority of the church lies within the hierarchy of the church; Protestants believe the authority of the church lies within the believer.

- Catholics (as well as Lutherans, Episcopalians/Anglicans and some other Protestants) believe that Baptism is a sacrament that regenerates and justifies, and is usually done in infancy; Most Protestants believe Baptism is an outward testimony of a prior inward regeneration, usually done after a person confesses Jesus as Savior and obtains an understanding of the significance of Baptism. Visit About.com's Catholicism site to understand more about the Catholic Sacrament of Baptism.

The Bible
- Catholics believe that truth is found in the Bible, as interpreted by the church, but also found in church tradition. Protestants believe that truth is found in Scripture, as interpreted by the individual, and that the original writings of the authors of the Bible are without error.

Books of the Bible
- The Catholic Church includes the same 66 books of the Bible as do Protestants, as well as the books of the Apocrypha. Protestants accept only the 66 books of the Old and New Testament.

Clergy Selection
- The Roman Catholic Church appoints all male, and almost all unmarried clergy. Protestants elect mostly male, single or married clergy.

Forgiveness of Sin
- Catholics believe forgiveness of sin is achieved through church ritual, with the assistance of a priest in confession. Protestants believe forgiveness of sin is received through repentance and confession to God directly without any human intercessor.

- The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia defines hell in the strict sense, as "the place of punishment for the damned" including limbo of infants, limbo of the Fathers, and purgatory. Similarly, Protestants believe hell is a real physical place of punishment which lasts for all eternity, but reject the concepts of limbo and purgatory.
•Immaculate Conception of Mary -
Roman Catholics are required to believe that when Mary herself was conceived, she was without original sin. Protestants deny this claim.

•Infallibility of the Pope
- This is a required belief of the Catholic Church in matters of religious doctrine. Protestants deny this belief.

•The Lord's Supper (Eucharist/Communion)
- Catholics believe this sacrifice is Christ's body and blood physically present and consumed by believers ("transubstantiation"). Most Protestants believe this observance is a meal in memory of Christ's sacrificed body and blood, and it symbolizes only His life now present in the believer. They reject the concept of transubstantiation.

Mary's Status
- Catholics believe the Virgin Mary is below Jesus but above that of the saints. Protestants believe Mary, though blessed, is just like all other believers.

- Catholics believe in praying to God and also praying to Mary or a saint to intercede on their behalf. Protestants believe prayer is addressed to God and not to saints.

- Catholics believe purgatory is a state of being after death in which souls are cleansed by purifying punishments before they can enter heaven. Protestants deny the existence of Purgatory.

•Right to Life
- The Roman Catholic Church teaches that ending the life of a pre-embryo, embryo or fetus cannot be allowed, except in very rare cases where a life-saving operation on the woman results in the unintended death of the embryo or fetus. Individual Roman Catholics often take a position that is more liberal than the official stance of the Church. Conservative Protestants differ in their stance on abortion access. Some permit it in cases where the pregnancy was initiated through rape or incest. At the other extreme, some believe that abortion is never warranted, even to save the life of the woman.

- Catholics believe the sacraments are a means of grace. Protestants believe they are a symbol of grace.

- Much emphasis is placed on the saints in the Catholic religion. Protestants believe that all born again believers are saints and that no special emphasis should be given to them.

- The Catholic religion teaches that salvation depends on faith, works and sacraments. Protestant religions teach that salvation depends on faith only.

•Salvation (Losing Salvation)
- Catholics believe that salvation is lost when a responsible person commits a mortal sin. It can be regained through repentance and the sacrament of confession. Protestants usually believe, once a person is saved, they cannot lose their salvation. Some denominations teach that a person can lose their salvation.

- Catholics give honor to statues and images as symbolic of the individual saints. Many Protestants consider veneration of statues to be idolatry.

Visibility of the Church
- The Catholic Church recognizes the hierarchy of the church, including the laity as the "Spotless Bride of Christ." Protestants recognize the invisible fellowship of all saved individuals. Only God knows the exact makeup of the church.
Nature of God:
We believe (I believe) in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages. (God of God) light of light, true God of true God. Begotten not made, consubstantial to the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven. And was incarnate of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary and was made man; was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried; and the third day rose again according to the Scriptures. And ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, and shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose Kingdom there shall be no end. And (I believe) in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father (and the Son), who together with the Father and the Son is to be adored and glorified, who spoke by the Prophets. And one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We confess (I confess) one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for (I look for) the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen."
Nicene Creed (381AD)
God exists and is eternal
God is the Creator of everything
God is One in three parts:
God, the Father
God, the Son
God, the Holy Spirit
God is omnipotent, omniscient,
and omnipresent
God the Father and the Holy Spirit are incorporeal and have no gender, but Jesus was both divine and human
Christian beliefs about the afterlife vary between denominations and individual Christians, but the vast majority of Christians believe in some kind of heaven, in which believers enjoy the presence of God and other believers and freedom from suffering and sin. Views differ as to whether those of other faiths or none at all will be in heaven, and conceptions of what heaven will be like differ as well. A slightly lesser majority of Christians believe in the existence of hell, where unbelievers or sinners are punished. Views differ as to whether hell is eternal and whether its punishment is spiritual or physical. Some Christians reject the notion altogether. Catholic Christians also believe in purgatory, a temporary place of punishment for Christians who have died with unconfessed sins.
primary sacred text
of Christianity is the
. Its name is derived from the Latin word biblia, which simply means "books." The Christian Bible is made of
two parts: the Old Testament
, which is almost
identical to the Jewish Bible
; and the
New Testament
, a collection of
Christian writings
that includes
biographies of Jesus and the apostles
letters to new churches
, and an
apocalyptic work
. The names given to these two parts of the Bible are significant. The
word testament means "covenant,"
so the notion of old and new testaments reflects the Christian perspective that the Church is the successor to Israel as God's chosen people. The Old Testament is viewed as foundational, authoritative, and relevant, and is read and cherished by Christians along with the New Testament, but it is also regarded as having been super-ceded and fulfilled by the new testament (covenant) God has made with the Church.
Catholic and Orthodox Bibles include the Apocrypha
, while most Protestant Bibles do not. The Apocrypha ("hidden books") is a group of 13 Jewish books written between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Following the pattern of the Greek version of the Old Testament (the Septugint), the
Apocrypha was included in all Christian Bibles until the Reformation. The reformers rejected the Apocrypha because it was sometimes used as a basis for certain Catholic doctrines
and because the Jews have never included it in their biblical canon.
The first bible was written in Greek (285 AD) and later translated into Latin (405 AD), German (1534 AD), and English (1611 AD). Many other translations have been completed since. The full Bible has been translated into 450 languages. Portions of the Bible have been translated into nearly 2,000 languages.
New Testament:
The Four Gospels:
Acts of the Apostles
Pauline Epistles
General Epistles
Holy Days
- The 40 days preceding Christmas considered a time of preparation for the birth of Christ.

- Celebration of the birth of Christ.

- Celebration of the arrival of the Magi

12 days after CHRISTMAS. The Magi, as is currently beleived, didn't arrive until maybe two years after Jesus' birth.

- The 40 days preceding EASTER are a time of fasting to prepare for Christianity's most important holy day. MARDI GRAS (Fat Tuesday) preceeds ASH WEDNESDAY

- Includes:
, when Jesus entered Jerusalem one week before his crucifixion.
(MAUNDY THURSDAY), the date of the Last Supper.
, the day Jesus was crucified and was buried.
, the day Jesus was in the tomb.
, the day Jesus was resurrected.

- the day Jesus ascended into Heaven.

- the day the Apostles were visited by the Holy Spirit and given the "gifts of the Spirit" and began to spread the good news about Jesus Christ to the world. It is considered the birthday of the Church.

-this is an old feast day to celebrate the martyrdom of Christian saints. The day preceding ALL SAINTS is HALLOWEEN or ALL HALLOWS EVE.
•Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

•Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.

•Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.

•Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.

•Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

•Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.

•Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

•Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Albrecht Dürer painted his grand Landauer Altarpiece, the Adoration of the Trinity by All the Saints in 1511
605. The Crucifixion.
Peter Paul Rubens
Sermon on the Mount
and Sacramentals
Consecration of the Eucharist
Holy Orders
Extreme Unction
all christians
Catholics and Orthodox
Almost all christians
Catholics, Orthodox, and some Protestant denominations
Catholic, Orthodox and some Protestant denominations
Catholic and Orthodox and some Protestant denominations
Catholic and Orthodox
Islam influenced by Judaism and Christianity
The anchor represents stability in a storm.
Dolphins represent resurrection.
Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, signifying that God is "the beginning and the end," or eternal.  "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (Rev 1:8, NIV)
Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God, symbolizes Christ as the sacrificial lamb. The lamb represents Jesus. Standing with a banner, the lamb represents the risen Christ triumphant over death

The fish is thought to have been chosen by the early Christians for several reasons: the Greek word for fish (ICHTUS), works as an acrostic for "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior". The fish would not be an obvious Christian symbol to persecutors. Jesus' ministry is associated with fish: he chose several fishermen to be his disciples and declared he would make them "fishers of men."
Butterfly representing the resurrection of Christ.
The Chi-Rho (pronounced "KEE-roe") is a Christian symbol consisting of the intersection of the capital Greek letters Chi (P) and Rho (X), which are the first two letters of "Christ" in Greek (XPIETOE, Christos). The Chi-Rho can represent either Christ or Christianity and is also known as a Christogram.
Fluer de lis, or the flower of the lily, is the symbol of The Holy Trinity to the Roman Catholic Church. It is also associated with France since Joan of Arc carried a fluer de lis banner into battle with God's blessing and assurance of victory.
The Holy Spirit symbolized by the dove. The Holy spirit descends from heaven as a dove when bringing peace, compassion, and sympathy. This particular dove has a halo to signify it is the Holy Spirit, the third part of the Holy Trinity.
The All-Seeing Eye: The single eye was a well-established artistic convention for an omniscient, omnipresent Deity in the medallic art of the Renaissance.
The IHS is a symbolic monogram of Christ. This monogram consists of the Greek letters iota, eta, and sigma, the first three letters of the name Iesous (Greek for Jesus), the letters of which are also used to spell out the Latin phrase “Iesous Hominem Salvator,” “Jesus, savior of man.”
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