Judaism and the Early Church Introduction


Christianity started out as a breakaway sect of Judaism. [1] The two religions have a long history together. Judaism certainly had a lot of influence upon the formation of Christianity, especially among the first generation of “Christians” or followers of Christ. Many of the traditions, beliefs and practices of the early church (Christianity) centered on the values of Judaism. In the first three centuries of early church, Jews and Christ followers got along well together. In fact, churches and synagogues were sometimes built next to each other, as many members of the early church also regularly attended synagogue. Even in the Fourth Century Judaism and Christianity shared protected status as an “old religion” under Roman law.[2] Only after Jewish rabbis denounced Christianity as a new religion did much conflict arise. Roman persecution ensued upon the denouncement and the two “religions” were at odds with each other and began to split apart.[3] The key difference of understanding revolves around one man, Jesus Christ.

[1] Ed Hindson and Ergun Caner, eds. The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics: Surveying the Evidence for the Truth of Christianity.( Eugene, Or: Harvest House Publishers, 2008),300.

[2] F.F Bruce, "The Early Church in the Roman Empire," The Bible Student (Bangalore, India), 56

(March-April 1933): 30-32.

[3] Ibid