Early Christianity surely inherited theology from Judaism. In particular, at least some of God's characteristics as taught by Judaism. After all, Jesus and the apostles were Jews. Did they ever teach against the theology of Judaism at the time? In other words, are there parts of first-century Jewish theology they didn't inherit, and instead replaced with contrary beliefs?

The apostles wouldn't believe things that aren't from the Torah, nor things that were against the Torah, right? The Jews didn't teach polytheism, for example. Where can I find empirical evidence that shows they knew and understood the teachings of first century Judaism? It's useful to know if the teachings of the early church contradicted the nature of God according to the existing teachings of Judaism.

I'm looking for evidence that, aside perhaps from their beliefs about Jesus, the apostles weren't otherwise heretical in their beliefs about God, in the context of Judaism of that time (so, God is God as presented by the Torah).

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    This is a very vague question. In short, Christianity inherited the entirety of the Old Testament. Are you specifically asking about beliefs in addition to those from the OT?
    – Zenon
    Jan 17, 2019 at 14:53
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    If you want help editing the question to get it within site guidelines, just say so. Could you elaborate a bit on what you're looking for? Do you want to know what teachings about God in the early church came from Judaism but not from the Old Testament?
    – Zenon
    Jan 21, 2019 at 15:21
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    Alright, I've submitted a substantial edit that integrates those comments into your question.
    – Zenon
    Jan 21, 2019 at 17:28
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    I've further edited as it appears you are asking about the apostles, not the "early church" (which is typically understood to be the period following the apostles and ending around AD 500). Jan 21, 2019 at 20:36
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    Apart from the not so unimportant statement about God allegedly being the Father of a co-eternal, sentient being (a theoretically possible -but by no means obvious or necessary- interpretation of, say, Proverbs 8:22), they are not known to have otherwise diverged from the traditional Judaism of their day, insofar their doctrine of God is concerned.
    – user46876
    Oct 31, 2019 at 4:02

1 Answer 1


A great deal of early Christianity is anti-thematic to Judaism at that time.

In Judaism G'd is considered non-corporeal. So a son coming down, being human, dying (human trait), and rising, are all outside of Judaism at the time. Evidence of this belief in Judaism includes that Jews were called "atheists" by other groups of people at that time for their insistence that G'd doesn't have a body nor any worldly presentation.

In Judaism the existence of three G'd presentations, one being human, is borderline worship of idols (a human as a G'd). It's why belief in Jesus by a Jewish person, makes them an ex-patriot to Judaism. It put them outside Judaism and they'd have be make teshuva (repentance) to return.

In Judaism, sins are only the responsibility of the sinner, and can only be forgiven by the actions of the sinner to repent and change. There is no original sin taught in Judaism in any of the sacred or study texts (such as Talmud) which reflect beliefs from the turn of the millennium. Since you aren't born with original sin, there is no need for saving from it.

In Judaism, the messiah will bring peace on earth and an end to all suffering. There is no 2nd coming concept. It's also not a particularly important concept in the 2 millennia since. At the time, during the fight with the Roman's it was a hopeful idea being talked about. The messiah is supposed to come from the house of David, be a descendant of King David. Jesus is not. Others at the time were considered for the title, such as Bar Kokhba who lead one of the most successful rebellions against the Romans, and was thought to be by Rabbi Akkiva. When it was unsuccessful, it was considered a mistaken idea. It's thought that Bar Kokhba met more of the criteria than Jesus. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/rabbi-akiva

A site with a lot of the basic concepts in Judaism is http://www.jewfaq.org. Reading through, one can see how concepts differ from Christianity.

There are also similarity in how G'd is taught. The idea of one g'd for all the world, being all powerful, was different than the beliefs of others around the Jews, and Christianity continued that belief.

Early Christianity borrows a lot from the pagans around it. However, it used that virtually rather than literally. For example, some local communities sacrificed live people to save their communities from sin. There is much debate how much of that borrowing is by the original apostles, and how much is from later interpretations.

Judaism had considerable elements that were intentionally the opposite of the communities around them. For instance, the belief that someone else can't die to save you from anything. With that, the idea in kosher laws around blood, are opposite to the drinking of blood to gain power that was used around them.

There are books written on the topic. I don't remember the names of ones I read parts of, but there are good sources on these concepts from early Christianity.

  • "In Judaism G'd is considered non-corporeal" You realize this is one of the premises of the Incarnation of God, right? How could they be opposed? Sep 9, 2019 at 12:50
  • Jesus takes on human body. That is outside of Judaism's view of G'd as without human body (non-corporeal). I don't know what Incarnation of G'd states about Jesus having a body.
    – curls
    Sep 9, 2019 at 14:20
  • Those who believe in the Incarnation don't believe God has a body. That's the very point of an incarnation. There would be no incarnation if God had a body. Sep 9, 2019 at 14:38
  • At some point during the incarnation process G'd takes on human form. That is opposite to the Jewish concept in non-corporeal that G'd doesn't take on human form. You need to address the human body of Jesus during this process, in order for us to discuss this, and so far haven't talked about. If he has a body and you believe it's not a body but he has a body form, that is opposite to Judaism's belief of non-corporeal. That's all there is to it. Believing it's not a body while it has body form, makes it outside Judaism's non-corporeal belief.
    – curls
    Sep 9, 2019 at 15:10
  • For God to take on a human form in the incarnation isn't God's nature transforming into a body ("God is man"), but God assuming a body for Himself, instead of for a mere mortal. God no more 'turns into' the body of Jesus any more than He turns into the the Temple building.Those prophets who saw God, saw some image God assumed, inasmuch as one cannot see God and live. When He does this in the incarnation, He doesn't become His temple or image, the humanity of Jesus: He assumes it as His own, for Himself, without turning into it. You'd need to ignore that in order to keep raising this objection. Sep 9, 2019 at 18:36

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