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Reply To: Did any of the similarities or differences between Christian and Jewish theology surprise you? If so, which/why?

Katherine Helmick

It surprised me most that Jewish theology differs from Christianity on the sin nature of humanity, because I had always understood the doctrine of original sin as rooted in the Old Testament. The disparity made me wonder how this doctrine developed, if not from the Jewish tradition. Is it found in Paul’s letters, if not the teachings of Christ in the Gospels? How do Jewish tehologians interpret the fall of Adam and the curse on his seed, if not as a corruption of our moral nature and the loss of our freedom to obey God? Though I had heard before that liberal Jews departed from tradition in their attitude towards the Torah and rules like keeping the Sabbath, I hadn’t realized how closely they resembled liberal Christians in their inclusivity (other nations can choose the covenant) and subordination of scriptures to human reason. On the question of original sin, however, they and traditionalist Jews concur. I’m curious to understand how the Christian doctrine diverged.