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The breaking off from Judaism
Similarities: theological contents and ethics are almost the same. Jesus’ teaching
is much Jewish. (eg. The idea of Holy Spirit.)
1)Primary differences: emphasis is different. They differ on the degree to which
Jewish laws should be applied and given priority. Christianity thinks that religious
observances could be a barrier for human relationship.
2)Major differences: the role of leader in the community. In Jewish community, the
expectation of leadership is both spiritual and political. On the contrary, Jesus
only claimed himself to be a spiritual leader.
Conversion of Paul
Background: He was born as Saul, a Pharisee. He was a cosmopolitan person
with the privileged status of a roman citizenship.
Persecutor: Before his conversion, he was a devoted Jew much concerning about
purity of Judaism. To protect the Jewish community from splitting into different
groups, he thought Christianity as a threat to the unity of Judaism. So he was a
stern Christian persecutor.
Conversion: (spiritual rebirth, accompanied by certainty of divine forgiveness and
acceptance) on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, he experienced a
personal encounter with post-resurrection Jesus. This conversion reoriented his
life and he became a Christian.
Conflicts: After the death of Jesus, there was a great conflict between Paul and
Jesus’ immediate followers. They claimed that Paul could not have the authority
as they did because he didn’t have any experience. However, Paul is a gifted
preacher. He traveled a lot and at last became an influential leader of the Christian
Architect: after his conversion, Paul contributed a lot to Christianity.
1)Paul’s letters, including both personal greetings and theological issues are the
earliest Christian literature, written before the gospels. He wrote letters to the
early scattered Christian communities to help unite the Christianity.
2)Paul extended Christianity to Gentile. He preached in the synagogues but
didn’t get good receptions at first. Then he talked with whoever would listen.
In the end he attracted many un-Jews, and the majority is Greek-speaking.
3)Paul introduced the theology about the contrasting between life “in the spirit”
and life “in the flesh”
4)Paul supported the breaking off from Judaism. He asserted that being a
Christian did not need to become circumcised or to observe doctrinal laws
New conversion did not need to practice Jewish laws.
5)Paul promoted the right of baptism, asserting that baptism is more important
than being born as a Jew. In this way, he promoted the unity of Christian
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