What World Religions Teach

By E. G. Parrinder | Go to book overview

Chapter 17
JUDAISM: (1) HISTORY AND PPOPHECY

Most readers of this book will have some knowledge of the Bible. They have studied it in courses on "Scripture," "Religious Knowledge," or "Religious Instruction." They have struggled with lists of the kings of Israel and Judah and with the journeys of Paul. It is not proposed to discuss these dull topics again here. Those who are ignorant of Hebrew history are referred to the many books on the subject. Here our concern will be to see Judaism, and then Christianity, in the light of the other great religions of the world.

The modern encounter of the great religions can be a stimulus and a challenge. That there are certain parallels with our own faith need not be surprising, for if God is a universal God it is to be expected that he has revealed himself "at sundry times and in divers manners." To find a link with an Asian faith can strengthen belief in the spiritual nature and destiny of man. On the other hand, there are some clear differences. If anything emerges from the study of other religions it is the fact that all religions are not the same. Their differences are as striking as their similarities. A new kind of apologetic is needed which, in all fairness, will welcome the religious insights of other faiths, and also stress the distinctiveness of the Biblical revelation.

Judaism is "the mother of us all," the religious fount from which Christianity, and to a lesser extent Islam, derive their view of God and the universe. Here some of the great teachings of the Old Testament will be discussed in the new light of other religions. Then later Judaism, of which most people are ignorant, will be studied and its life and teachings examined.

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