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Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity

In the beginning, during the early decades of the first century CE, Judaism consisted of several sects: the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Essenes, the Zealots, followers of John the Baptist, followers of Jesus of Nazareth and many other groups. They all followed certain common practices such as celebrating the Sabbath, worshipping at the temple, sacrificing animals and lived in peace. After Jesus of Nazareth death from crucifixion a few decades later, the Roman Army destroyed the Second Temple of Jerusalem in 70 CE, which was the main focus of Jewish life. The Jews could no longer worship in the temple and their whole life was disrupted. This destruction of the temple resulted in two main movements: Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity.

Formed by a group of Pharisaic rabbis, Rabbinic Judaism is based on the beliefs that when God gave Moses the Law at Mount Sinai, he gave it in both written and oral form. It is different from Karaite Judaism because Karaite Jews do not approve the validity of the oral law. Rabbinic Jews believe that the written law consists of the Torah and the five books of Moses. The oral law, on the other hand is the word spread by mouth from the time at Mount Sinai to the time of the destruction of the temple. They also believe that written law cannot be fully understood without the oral law and so the Pharisaic rabbis eventually recorded the oral law into the Mishanh and the Gemarah.

Early Christianity on the other hand, after the destruction of the temple spread through the Roman Empire and beyond. Their early Christian beliefs were based on apostolic preaching and the New Testament. They considered Jesus Christ as the Son of God and also believed in the Trinity, which is made up of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Unlike Rabbinic Jews who still believe that the Messiah is yet to come, Early Christians believed that he had already come and looked forward for his return to judge the world and resurrect the dead.


Jesus of Nazareth Mary Magdalene: Mariamne Early Christianity
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