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

Alexandra Adair

Definitely. I came into the class with the knowledge that the main difference was that Jewish theology asserts that the Messiah hasn’t come yet, while Christian theology believes in Jesus. I didn’t understand that the theologies begin with two different ideas about man (as in the article). A Christian believes that man is fallen and therefore cannot perform the acts of worship and good deeds required in the Torah to please the Lord, and that belief is all man can do. This is followed by good deeds, but not to the extent that these deeds are required for salvation. Jewish theology states that man is great because he can keep the Torah, and obeying God helps him connect with God. I had just followed the Christian line of thinking when trying to understand Jewish theology by thinking that the Jew thinks of himself as fallen as well, and therefore endures the struggle of keeping the Torah in order to become great. This way of thinking makes Christian theology seem much wiser because it assumes that Christians realize it is impossible to keep Torah, as opposed to Jews who miserably “keep trying.” Now that I’ve learned about this fundamental difference, I’m able to understand the wisdom behind Jewish theology, as well, and challenge the foundation of my thinking.