Christianity and Judaism: Comparison Chart

Christianity has a close relationship with Judaism, both historically and theologically. Jesus, the twelve disciples, the author of most of the New Testament, and the members of the earliest Christian churches were all Jews. Jesus' family followed Jewish customs and Jesus frequently quoted the Hebrew Bible. Jesus' followers believed him to be the Messiah, a Jewish figure predicted in the Jewish Bible.

Despite its Jewish origins, it was not long before Christianity regarded itself as something other than a new Jewish sect. The first Christian council, convened by the apostles, concluded that pagan converts to Christianity did not have to follow Jewish ritual laws. Soon, converts to Christianity were almost exclusively pagans and Christianity moved further away from Judaism. Today, theological disagreements between Christians and Jews remain, but efforts are being made towards greater understanding and respect between the two great faiths. The following chart compares the origins, beliefs and practices of Christianity and Judaism.

History & Stats Christianity Judaism
date founded c. 30 CE c. 1300 BCE
place founded Palestine Palestine
founders & early leaders Jesus, Peter, Paul Abraham, Moses
original languages Aramaic and Greek Hebrew
major location today Europe, North and South America Europe, Israel, North America
adherents worldwide today 2 billion 14 million
adherents in USA 159 million 5.6 million
adherents in Canada 21 million 350,000
adherents in UK 51 million 320,000
current size rank largest 12th largest
major branches Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant Orthodox, Conservative, Reform
Religious Authority Christianity Judaism
sacred text Bible = Old Testament (Jewish Bible) + New Testament Tanakh (Jewish Bible)
inspiration of sacred text views vary: literal word of God, inspired human accounts, or of human origin only views vary: inspired human accounts or of human origin only
status of biblical prophets true prophets true prophets
status of Jewish Bible canonical canonical
status of Jewish Apocrypha canonical (Catholic);
useful but noncanonical (Protestant)
noncanonical but useful
status of New Testament canonical noncanonical, not useful
other written authority church fathers, church councils, ecumenical creeds (all branches);
papal decrees, canon law (Catholic)
Talmud, halakhah
modern human authorities pope (Catholic);
each Christian with aid of Holy Spirit (Protestant)
summaries of doctrine Apostle's Creed, Nicene Creed 13 Articles of Faith
Beliefs Christianity Judaism
ultimate reality one God, Jehovah, the God of Abraham one God, Jehovah, the God of Abraham
nature of God Trinity - one substance, three persons unity - one substance, one person
other spiritual beings angels and demons angels and demons
revered humans saints, church fathers prophets
identity of Jesus Son of God, God incarnate, savior of the world false prophet
death of Jesus death by crucifixion death by crucifixion
resurrection of Jesus affirmed denied
second coming of Jesus affirmed denied
divine revelation through Prophets and Jesus (as God Himself), recorded in Bible through Prophets, recorded in Bible
human nature "original sin" inherited from Adam - tendency towards evil two equal impulses, one good and one bad
means of salvation correct belief, faith, good deeds, sacraments (some Protestants emphasize faith alone) belief in God, good deeds
God's role in salvation predestination, various forms of grace divine revelation and forgiveness
good afterlife eternal heaven views vary: either heaven or no afterlife
bad afterlife eternal hell, temporary purgatory (Catholicism) views vary: either eternal Gehenna, reincarnation, or no afterlife
view of the other religion Judaism is a true religion, but with incomplete revelation. Christianity is a false interpretation of Judaism.
Rituals & Practices Christianity Judaism
house of worship church, chapel, cathedral, basilica, meeting hall synagogue, temple, schul
religious leaders priest, bishop, archbishop, patriarch, pope, pastor, minister, preacher, deacon rabbi, rebbe
sacred rituals sacraments mitzvot (commandments)
major sacred rituals baptism, communion (Eucharist) observing Sabbath, wearing tallit and tefilin, prayer services
head covered during prayer? generally no generally yes (especially men)
central religious holy days Lent, Holy Week, Easter Yom Kippur, Days of Awe, Passover
other holidays Christmas, saints days Chanukah, Purim
major symbols cross, crucifix, dove, anchor, fish, alpha and omega, chi rho, halo Star of David, chai, hamsa, tree

Article Info

TitleChristianity and Judaism
UpdatedNovember 10, 2015
MLA Citation“Christianity and Judaism.” 10 Nov. 2015. Web. Accessed 24 Oct. 2016. <>