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

Kaitlyn Renfer

After listening to Dr. Gerald McDermott’s lecture and reading Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s article, “Why Aren’t We Christians?”, one difference that surprised me between Christian and Jewish theology was each religion’s view of human nature. According to Kaplan, Christians tend to view man as innately sinful and unable to perform good works or save himself apart from belief in Jesus’s sacrificial death while Jews focus on man’s ability to be good and follow the Torah. Kaplan says that Jews believe that God would not have given them the Torah if they were not able to obey its commands. Christians on the other hand believe that it is impossible for man to keep the law and that the law acts as a mirror, pointing out man’s sinfulness and need for a savior. While I was familiar with the Christian view of human nature, I didn’t know that the Jewish view was so different. Understanding these differences (and similarities) between Christian and Jewish theology is beneficial in establishing a foundation for more effective Jewish-Christian relations.