General Outline Of The Abrahamic Faiths


@aaronbw recently asked a question about the relationship between the various Abrahamic faiths here Need opinions on a discussion I had? I've seen this question enough to warrant writing a myTake about it so I can just link to it in the future. As this will be used for a wide array of questions it's going to cover a few different topics and not be a direct response to his question. The information from which I derive my points will be from the links provided below.

General Outline Of The Abrahamic Faiths



Judaism is typically said to have begun with Abraham around 2000 BC.

Christianity obviously around 1AD (a few years either direction and one odd one 100 years prior)

Islam is typically dated to the 7th century AD


Judaism claims its founding with Father Abraham and follows the lineage of his second son Isaac.

Christianity claims the same tradition, but their religion really begins with Jesus and did away with much of the OT law and succeeded mostly among gentiles.

Islam traces it's roots back to Abraham's first born son Ishmael who was cast out by Abraham.

Perspectives On The Other Two


On Christianity: As will be par for the course for the rest of this myTake the views of the other religions varied over time so I'll just try to address some of the key things I'm aware of. Early Jewish beliefs about Christianity are rather hard to come by as we don't have really any extant text referencing Christians or Jesus. Some try to point to Josephus or Tacitus and Pliny, but they're highly contested and not really helpful for this. Rabbi Abbahu (Talmudist) is one of the earliest references certain references we're aware of adding commentary on Isaiah 44 "“‘I am the first,’ for I have no father; ‘and I am the last,’ for I have no son, ‘and beside Me there is no God,’ for I have no brother.”" As there's not much to go on from early Jewish texts we can look at the Bible for some, but it's all got to be taken with a grain of salt as it's from a biased source. I think the best chapter to read to see the controversy of early Jewish response is in Acts 23. Acts 23 shows disagreement between two sects of Jews (Sadducees v Pharisees). The Sadducees are said to be in vehement opposition, but the Pharisees response was largely ambivalence "9“We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”"

On Islam: When Islam originated it was quite difficult for Jews to deal with it as the polytheist argument levied at the Christians was not effective against the blatant monotheism of Islam. The typical response was a misunderstanding that Muslims were idolaters, but this was combated by some Torah scholars like Maimonides. These dissenters would sometimes argue that Islam prepares the way for people to later accept the truth of Judaism. Maimonides and other Jewish scholars did stipulate however that should the decision between converting to Islam and living or remaining a Jew and dying they should remain a Jew and die.


On Judaism: Christians and Jews have always had an interesting dynamic in that they both claim the same history until Jesus. For sake of brevity for the initial Jewish Christian relations I'll just point to Paul's epistles. Galatians 1&2 explicitly state that Paul was called to preach to the gentiles and Cephas, James and John to the pro-Jewish (circumcised) sect. The circumcised groups were advocating for remaining underneath the mosaic laws and Paul for not having to do so. The general belief of the Christians at the time however was that the Jews would be saved so long as they believed in Jesus thus receiving god's mercy, ie Romans 11 "20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble." As time went on anti-jewish sentiment within Christian circles began to rise as the Jews were being collectively blamed for the crime of deicide. Augustine is one of the first writers to demonstrate this trend, “not by bodily death shall the ungodly race of carnal Jews perish. For whoever destroys them in this way shall… bring upon himself the sevenfold penalty under which the Jews lie for the crucifixion of Christ. So to the end of the seven days of time, the continued preservation of the Jews will be a proof to believing Christians of the subjection merited by those who… put the Lord to death.” (Contra Judaeos) There was argument back and forth about the treatment of Jews and eventually in ~1200 there was the Fourth Lateran Council which instated discriminatory laws against Jews (and Muslims) requiring a special dress code so they could be distinguished from Christians, and denying them the ability to run for office. There was a Papal decree which attempted to stop Christians from harming Jews, but as can be seen from the multiple persecutions and expulsions in the Middle Ages this was only sporadically effective. Another Papal Bull was then given in 1555 Cum Nimis Absurdum or "Since it is absurd and utterly inconvenient that the Jews, who through their own fault were condemned by God to eternal slavery" which forced Jews into ghettos and again forced them to wear specific clothes to distinguish them and removed property rights. The protestants also called for a pogrom against the Jews. This anti-semitic rhettoric continued throughout the remaining history of Christianity throughout the 20th century until we're where we're at today. Some blame the Church for the Holocaust but as that's a lot to go into I'll just link to an earlier piece about it- Catholic Church/ Pius XII And Hitler

On Islam: The Christian's initial response to Islam and Mohammed were basically that Mohammed was a charlatan and his followers deceived. Nicetas' writings on the subject are perhaps the best summary of Christian beliefs at the time, "In short, Muhammad was an ignorant charlatan who succeeded by imposture in seducing the ignorant barbarian Arabs into accepting a gross, blaspheming, idolatrous, demoniac religion, which is full of futile errors, intellectual enormities, doctrinal errors and moral aberrations." (Goddard) ~800AD Islam/ Muslims began to quickly fill a power vacuum and eventually took the "holy city" of Jerusalem. This resulted in several centuries of crusades back and forth between Christians and Muslims coming to a head with the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453 which spread further fear that Islam would take over all of Europe and the conflicts worsened. Some would argue that this conflict hasn't stopped to this day. Others argue that this was solely politically motivated and not religiously motivated. I won't try to go too much into this now as it's getting far too long.

A History of Christian-Muslim Relations- Goddard


* I'm running out of time and as such this will be far more slapdash and I may try and edit today, sorry.

* I covered what I'm willing to cover of the history of conflict between Muslims and Christians above, so here I'm going to just stick with the Quran and Hadiths.

On Christianity: The general belief of Muslims is that Christians are polytheists worshiping the prophet Jesus as God. They find this to be a damnable offense. Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet and in fact quote Jesus extensively in the Quran. They just believe that Jesus was not god and did not die on the cross.

On Judaism: They share the same tradition as the Jews until Abraham cast Ishmael (first born son) out of the camp in preference of Isaac. As such they share many of the same stories and laws from Adam&Eve, Moses, Abraham (until a point), etc. They however think that the Jews are worshiping the wrong god as a result of following the wrong son.

Both: Islam typically groups both the Jews and Christians together as people of the book and states that they are to be tolerated in the "Meccan Period", but during the "Medina Period" the toleration is far less Quran 9 " 29. Fight those who do not believe in God, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden, nor abide by the religion of truth—from among those who received the Scripture—until they pay the due tax, willingly or unwillingly.

30. The Jews said, “Ezra is the son of God,” and the Christians said, “The Messiah is the son of God.” These are their statements, out of their mouths. They emulate the statements of those who blasphemed before. May God assail them! How deceived they are!" Prior to Mohammed the Quran teaches that the Christians and Jews would go to paradise, Quran 2:62 "Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] - those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness - will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve." Now however since they are denying the Quran they will face Allah's wrath Quran 2:89 "And when there came to them a Book from Allah confirming that which was with them - although before they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieved - but [then] when there came to them that which they recognized, they disbelieved in it; so the curse of Allah will be upon the disbelievers."

Alrighty sorry for the rush at the end, if I have time I'll try to beef up the ending later. As always I appreciate input.

General Outline Of The Abrahamic Faiths
7 Opinion