Explain the Historical Relationship between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. What are their Geographical Connections? What are Their Historical Timelines?
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam belong to what theologians refer to as Abrahamic religions or Abrahamism. The three form a group of Semitic-originated religious conglomerations of faith, which lay claim to descent from ancient Israelites Judaism, and the God of Abraham worship. These religions are also referred to as monotheistic religions since they have declared their allegiance to only one God, who is unique in His nature. The three religions recognize the books of the Old Testament and most of their traditional teachings and church dogmas find relevance from its books. As a consequence, these religions share unmistakable connections based on their origins and historical timelines. However, the manner in which they perceive Jesus has highlighted their differing opinions on the matter, which is their point of departure in religious matters. Thus, in order to identify the similarities and differences of the three Abrahamic religions, it becomes paramount that one analyzes their historical timelines, origins, and their conceptions of Jesus Christ.
Historical Relationships between Judaism, Christianity and Islam
According to historical literature, the three major religions encompassing Judaism, Christianity and Islam have their cradle in the Middle East. Judaism as a religion is associated with a Biblical character known as Abraham. Spiritual texts reveal that the religion was formed in the year 2000 B.C.E in the Bronze Age during which period the existence of polytheistic Semitic religions occured (Schroder, 2017). Specifically, the formation of this religion occurred in Jerusalem, which is considered its cradle. However, the religion separated from other Canaanite religions during the Iron Age I due to its unique monolatristic worship of God (known as Yahweh by adherents of this religion). The Babylonian captivity of the 5th and 6th centuries BCE led certain sections of the exiled Judahites in Babylon to refine the pre-existing conceptions of the Covenant, divine law, election and monotheism into a clear monotheistic theology that prevailed upon the Kingdom of Judah in the ensuing centuries (Goodman, 2018). Studies also reveal that from the 6th century BC to 70 CE, Judaism morphed into the numerous theological Second Temple Judaism school of thought in addition to the diaspora’s Hellenistic Judaism.
Christianity also began in the Middle East in the 1st century as a sect within Judaism and was originally led by Jesus Christ. The religion initially started at Jerusalem and Christian presence has continuously been there. The Confession of Peter revealed that his followers viewed Jesus as the Messiah, and also viewed him as the God incarnate after his death and crucifixion (Blainey, 2014). The Christianity movement split from Judaism within a few decades after its creation. The Church, as it was known during those periods, underwent several persecutions and peace on the basis of the influence of Roman authorities under varied administrations. It finally evolved into the State church of the Roman Empire in the year 380 but has undergone numerous disintegrations since then. The Byzantine Empire made an effort to unify Christendom, which ultimately failed in the year 1054 due to the schism between the East and the West. Christianity underwent further disintegration in the 16th century due to the birth and growth of Protestantism.
Further, Islam also lays its claim to the Middle East as its cradle. The unreliability of the sources concerning the origin of the religion makes them questionable; however, most of them agree that the religion sprouted in Mecca and Medina at the beginning of the 7th century (Alkhateeb, 2017). Additionally, Muslims disagree with the belief that the religion began with Muhammad by arguing that it was the original faith of several Biblical figures such as David, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and even Jesus. Historically, Prophet Muhammad began receiving divine revelations in the year 610 CE. He migrated to Medina to spread the message of Islam in the year 618 CE after the death of his uncle. However, Alkhateeb (2017) asserts that the unity of Islam disintegrated after Muhammad’s death in the year 632 CE leading to the presence of numerous sects within the religion. The Islamic Golden Age occurred in the 8th century wherein the religion started spreading to the West of Indus River from Iberia. The religion faced further upheavals in the 13th and 14th centuries due to the Mongol Invasions and the Black Death. A majority of the Islamic world fell under the influence of European powers in the 19th and early 20th centuries, which persists to date.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam’s Conception of the Nature of Jesus
The view that the three Abrahamic religions hold concerning Jesus brings to the fore their difference of opinion. The Jewish people believe that Jesus must have been the most consequential and damaging of the entire infantry of false messiahs. According to Jewish beliefs, the Messianic Age has not yet occurred and as such, they have totally rejected Jesus as a deity or messiah (Schafer, 2017). Indeed, Judaism has refused to acknowledge any of the prophecies that Christianity has attributed to Jesus. Further, the religion also prohibits the worship of an individual as this could be interpreted as a form of idolatry. The perception comes from the central Judaist belief that God has absolute unity and singularity.
The eschatological perception of the Jewish religion holds that Messiah’s coming will occur in association with a particular series of happenstances that have not occurred yet. Chief among these beliefs entails the return of the Jewish population to their original cradle land, the reestablishment of the Temple, a comprehension during which God’s knowledge will become ubiquitous and the presence of a Messianic Age of peace (Federow, 2012). Given that the events have not occurred during Jesus’ lifetime in lieu of the Jews’ perspective, then Jesus was not the Messiah.
According to Christians, Jesus is the Messiah and his trials and tribulations that ultimately led to his resurrection make humans leads to the reconciliation of humans with God. As a consequence, Christians have the promise of salvation and eternal life through the sufferings of Jesus Christ (Schafer, 2017). Christian teachings also emphasize on the fact that the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross was indicative of his full obedience to God the Father as his agent and servant. This choice positions Jesus as a paragon of obedience and morality in the Christian world.
In addition, Christians hold the belief that Jesus appeared as both human and divine, implying that he was the son of God. Federow (2012) observes that Trinitarian Christians led by Catholics believe that Jesus appears as God the son, God incarnate, the Logos, and true man and true God, capturing the supposition that he was both fully human and truly divine. According to Christians, Jesus, having assumed humanity in every aspect, underwent the sufferings and temptations synonymous with human nature yet he did not commit any sin. Further, as a full-fledged God, Jesus vanquished death and rose from the dead to life. The Bible reveals that it was the doing of God that raised Jesus to life and made him ascent to heaven and sit at His right hand. According to Christians, Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead during judgment period.
Muslims believe that Jesus is ʿĪsā ibn Maryam, or Jesus son of Mary. They understand him as the penultimate prophet of the Lord and a Messiah that was sent to guide Israel’s children using the gospel (Akyol, 2018). Islam believes that Jesus was a prophet who did not marry and neither did he have children just like Christians. However, Islam contradicts Christianity by stating that Jesus was conceived vaginally and he is not a product of the Holy Spirit. The religion repudiates Jesus’ divinity and holds the view that he was not God’s incarnate nor was he the son of God. Therefore, while Islam considers Jesus an important prophet who came before Muhammad, they strip him of the divine powers.
Initially, each religion held a hardline position concerning the issue of Jesus. However, with globalization, such radical views have been eroded. Given that the people have interacted and have the internet to use, some views have changed drastically to the extent that Islam and Judaism have accepted certain Christian conception of Jesus Christ. As a result of globalization, religious tolerance has been achieved as shown by the view of Islam as a religion of peace by Christians. The culture of pluralism preached by globalization ensures that greater religious tolerance is engendered in various spheres of life.
In a short essay, complete the following:
Explain the historical relationship between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. What are their geographical connections? What are their historical timelines?
Analyze the historical relationship between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in order to make an argument about the similarities and differences between the three religions. Select one main example from the following list on which to focus your comparison: the nature of God, the nature of Jesus, Holy Books, or Salvation. Your analysis should span multiple paragraphs and utilize specific examples.
Conclude by examining the current relationship between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam today. How has globalization influenced or affected the current relationship?
Your paper should include an introduction and thesis that clearly states your central claim, thoughtful examples and analysis in your body paragraphs, and a conclusion to finalize your thoughts.
Writing Requirements (APA format)
Length: 1200-1400 words (not including title page or references page)
12-point Times New Roman font
References page (minimum of 6 scholarly sources)