The Info List - Judeo-Christian

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Judeo-Christian is a term that groups Judaism
and Christianity, either in reference to Christianity's derivation from Judaism
or due to perceived parallels or commonalities shared values between those two religions, which has contained as part of the Western civilization. The term became prevalent towards the middle of the 20th century in the United States to link broader principles of Judeo-Christian ethics such as dignity of human life, adherence to the Abrahamic Covenant, common decency, and support of traditional family values.[1] The concept of " Judeo-Christian values" in an ethical (rather than theological or liturgical) sense was used by George Orwell
George Orwell
in 1939, with the phrase "the Judaeo-Christian scheme of morals."[2] It has become part of the American civil religion
American civil religion
since the 1940s. The term "Abrahamic religions" is used to include Bahá'ísm, Islam, Druze
etc. as well as Judaism
and Christianity.[3]


1 History of the term 2 Theology and religious law

2.1 Inter-group relations 2.2 Jewish responses 2.3 Role of Islam

3 See also 4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links

History of the term[edit] The term is used, as "Judæo Christian", at least as far back as in a letter from Alexander M'Caul dated October 17, 1821.[4] The term in this case referred to Jewish converts to Christianity.[5] The term is used similarly by Joseph Wolff
Joseph Wolff
in 1829, referring to a style of church that would keep with some Jewish traditions in order to convert Jews.[6] Use of the German term Judenchristlich ("Jewish-Christian"), in a decidedly negative sense, can be found in the late writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, who emphasized what he saw as neglected aspects of continuity between the Jewish world view and that of Christianity. The expression appears in The Antichrist, published in 1895 and written several years earlier; a fuller development of Nietzsche's argument can be found in a prior work, On the Genealogy of Morality. Theology and religious law[edit] Further information: Biblical law in Christianity and New Covenant Christianity
inherits the notion of a "covenant" from Second Temple Judaism, in the form of the Old Testament. Two major views of the relationship exist, namely New Covenant
New Covenant
theology and Dual-covenant theology. In addition, although the order of the books in the Protestant Old Testament
Old Testament
(excluding the Biblical apocrypha) and the Tanakh
(Hebrew Bible) differ, the contents of the books are very similar.[7] The Christian Old Testament
Old Testament
is, thus, Jewish scripture, and it is used as moral and spiritual teaching material throughout the Christian world. The prophets, patriarchs, and heroes of the Jewish scripture are also known in Christianity, which uses the Jewish text as the basis for its understanding of biblical figures such as Abraham, Elijah, and Moses. As a result, a substantial amount of Jewish and Christian teachings are based on a common sacred text. Inter-group relations[edit] Further information: Antisemitism
in the United States Promoting the concept of United States as a Judeo-Christian nation based upon Judeo-Christian ethics
Judeo-Christian ethics
first became a political program in the 1940s, in response to the growth of anti-Semitism in America. Jews played a small role in that but the rise of anti-semitism in the 1930s led concerned Protestants, Catholics, and Jews
to take steps to increase mutual understanding and lessen the high levels of anti-semitism in the United States.[8] In this effort, precursors of the National Conference of Christians and Jews
created teams consisting of a priest, a rabbi, and a minister, to run programs across the country, and fashion a more pluralistic America, no longer defined as a Christian land, but "one nurtured by three ennobling traditions: Protestantism, Catholicism and Judaism....The phrase 'Judeo-Christian' entered the contemporary lexicon as the standard liberal term for the idea that Western values rest on a religious consensus that included Jews."[9] Through soul-searching in the aftermath of the Holocaust, "there was a revolution in Christian theology
Christian theology
in America. […] The greatest shift in Christian attitudes toward the Jewish people since Constantine converted the Roman Empire."[10] The rise of Christian Zionism—that is, religiously motivated Christian interest and support for the state of Israel—along with a growth of philo-Semitism (love of the Jewish people) has increased interest among American Evangelicals in Judaism, especially areas of commonality with their own beliefs (see also Jerusalem in Christianity). During the late 1940s, Evangelical proponents of the new Judeo-Christian approach lobbied Washington for diplomatic support of the new state of Israel. The Evangelicals have never wavered in their support for Israel. On the other hand, by the late 1960s Mainline Protestant
Mainline Protestant
denominations and the National Council of Churches were showing more support for the Palestinians than for the Israelis.[11] Interest in and a positive attitude towards America's Judeo- Christian tradition has become mainstream among Evangelicals.[12] The scriptural basis for this new positive attitude towards Jews
among Evangelicals is Genesis 12:3, in which God promises that He will bless those who bless Abraham
and his descendants, and curse those who curse them (see also "Abrahamic Covenant"). Other factors in the new philo-Semitism include gratitude to the Jews
for contributing to the theological foundations of Christianity
and for being the source of the prophets and Jesus; remorse for the Church's history of anti-Semitism; and fear that God will judge the nations at the end of time on the basis of how they treated the Jewish people. Moreover, for many Evangelicals Israel is seen as the instrument through which prophecies of the end times are fulfilled.[13] Great numbers of Christian pilgrims visit Israel, especially in times of trouble for the Jewish state, to offer moral support, and return with an even greater sense of a shared Judeo-Christian heritage.[citation needed] Jewish responses[edit] Response of Jews
towards the "Judeo-Christian" concept has been mixed. In the 1930s, "In the face of worldwide antisemitic efforts to stigmatize and destroy Judaism, influential Christians and Jews
in America labored to uphold it, pushing Judaism
from the margins of American religious life towards its very center."[14] During World War II, Jewish chaplains worked with Catholic priests and Protestant ministers to promote goodwill, addressing servicemen who, "in many cases had never seen, much less heard a Rabbi
speak before." At funerals for the unknown soldier, rabbis stood alongside the other chaplains and recited prayers in Hebrew. In a much publicized wartime tragedy, the sinking of the Dorchester, the ship's multi-faith chaplains gave up their lifebelts to evacuating seamen and stood together "arm in arm in prayer" as the ship went down. A 1948 postage stamp commemorated their heroism with the words: "interfaith in action."[9] In the 1950s, "a spiritual and cultural revival washed over American Jewry" in response to the trauma of the Holocaust.[9] American Jews became more confident to be identified as different. Two notable books addressed the relations between contemporary Judaism and Christianity, Abba Hillel Silver's Where Judaism
Differs and Leo Baeck's Judaism
and Christianity, both motivated by an impulse to clarify Judaism's distinctiveness "in a world where the term Judeo-Christian had obscured critical differences between the two faiths."[15] Reacting against the blurring of theological distinctions, Rabbi
Eliezer Berkovits
Eliezer Berkovits
wrote that " Judaism
is Judaism because it rejects Christianity, and Christianity
is Christianity because it rejects Judaism."[16] Theologian and author Arthur A. Cohen, in The Myth of the Judeo-Christian Tradition, questioned the theological validity of the Judeo-Christian concept and suggested that it was essentially an invention of American politics, while Jacob Neusner, in Jews
and Christians: The Myth of a Common Tradition, writes, "The two faiths stand for different people talking about different things to different people."[17] Law professor Stephen M. Feldman looking at the period before 1950, chiefly in Europe, sees religious conflict as supersessionism:

Once one recognizes that Christianity
has historically engendered antisemitism, then this so-called tradition appears as dangerous Christian dogma (at least from a Jewish perspective). For Christians, the concept of a Judeo- Christian tradition comfortably suggests that Judaism
progresses into Christianity—that Judaism
is somehow completed in Christianity. The concept of a Judeo-Christian tradition flows from the Christian theology
Christian theology
of supersession, whereby the Christian covenant (or Testament) with God supersedes the Jewish one. Christianity, according to this belief, reforms and replaces Judaism. The belief therefore implies, first, that Judaism
needs reformation and replacement, and second, that modern Judaism
remains merely as a "relic". Most importantly the belief of the Judeo-Christian tradition insidiously obscures the real and significant differences between Judaism
and Christianity.[18]

Role of Islam[edit] Further information: Abrahamic religions Advocates of the term "Abrahamic religion" since the second half of the 20th century have proposed a hyper-ecumenicism that emphasizes not only Judeo-Christian commonalities but that would include Islam
as well (the rationale for the term "Abrahamic" being that while only Christianity and Judaism
Christianity and Judaism
give the Hebrew Bible
(Old Testament) the status of scripture, Islam
does also trace its origins to the figure of Abraham
as the "first Muslim"). Advocates of this umbrella term consider it the "exploration of something positive" in the sense of a "spiritual bond" between Jews, Christians, and Muslims.[19] See also[edit]

Abrahamites British Israelism Israel–United States relations Judeo-Christian-Islamic Law and Gospel Messianic Judaism Western culture


^ "Dr. Richard Lee on 7 Principles of a Judeo-Christian Ethic - SermonCentral.com". www.sermoncentral.com.  ^ Orwell, George (2017-02-04). George Orwell: An age like this, 1920-1940. David R. Godine Publisher. p. 401. ISBN 9781567921335.  ^ Aaron W. Hughes (2012). Abrahamic Religions: On the Uses and Abuses of History. Oxford University Press. pp. 71–75.  ^ "From all I can see there is but one way to bring about the object of the Society, that is by erecting a Judæo Christian community, a city of refuge, where all who wish to be baptized could be supplied with the means of earning their bread." M'Caul, Alexander (1820–1821). "Extract of a Letter From Mr. M'Caul". The Jewish Expositor, and Friend of Israel. V: 478.  ^ Judæo-, Judeo- in the Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition. Accessed online 2008-07-21 ^ Wolff, Joseph (1829). Missionary Journal of the Rev. Joseph Wolff, Missionary to the Jews. III. London: James Duncan. p. 314.  ^ The differences are because Rabbinic Judaism
uses the Masoretic Text while Protestant Old Testaments are translations of the Masoretic Text that also incorporate the Septuagint
and other readings, for example see Isaiah 7:14. ^ Sarna, Jonathan. American Judaism, A History (Yale University Press, 2004. p. 266) ^ a b c Sarna, p. 267 ^ Brog, David. Standing With Israel. 2006.p.13 ^ Caitlyn Carenen, The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel (2012) ^ Paul Charles Merkley, Christian Attitudes Towards the State of Israel (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2007) ^ Evangelicals and Israel: The Story of Christian Zionism
Christian Zionism
by Stephen Spector, 2008 ^ (Sarna, p.267) ^ Sarna, p281 ^ Disputation and Dialogue: Readings in the Jewish Christian Encounter, Ed. F. E. Talmage, Ktav, 1975, p. 291. ^ Jacob Neusner (1990), Jews
and Christians: The Myth of a Common Tradition. New York and London: Trinity
Press International and SCM Press. p. 28 ^ Stephen M. Feldman (1998), Please Don't Wish Me a Merry Christmas: A Critical History of the Separation of Church and State ^ Aaron W. Hughes (2012). Abrahamic Religions: On the Uses and Abuses of History. Oxford University Press. pp. 57–75. 

Further reading[edit]

Bobrick, Benson. Wide as the Waters : The Story of the English Bible
and the Revolution It Inspired. Simon & Schuster 2001. ISBN 0684847477 Paula Fredriksen. From Jesus
to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Christ, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0300084573 Hexter, J. H. The Judaeo-Christian Tradition (Second Edition). Yale University Press, 1995; ISBN 978-0300045727 McGrath, Alister. In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture. Anchor Books, 2002. ISBN 0385722168.

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Judeo-Christian

Look up Judeo-Christian in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

What does 'Judeo-Christian' mean? by Dennis Prager The Episcopal-Jewish Alliance for Israel issuing from the headquarters of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts Institute for Jewish Christian
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