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Sample Thesis

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Christianity was very much an outgrowth of Judaic tradition and beliefs, with the addition of belief in the Messiah – the Son of God sent by Yahweh to save the Chosen People.[1] However, Christianity expanded the “etherialized” concept of a single, all-powerful creator-god of Judaism to include a Trinity in which three manifestations of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) were present.  From the outset, the followers of the Christ understood Him as the Son of God and yet as of the same being as the Father; the Holy Spirit was a third manifestation of this triune God. This “division,” so to speak, of Yahweh into three equal co-beings was not accepted by Jews.

Both religions share the prophetic tradition and are revealed religions. Each traces trace their lineage to the patriarch Abraham, to whom the single god spoke and who became the first of the prophets.[2] Both Christians and Muslims trace the origins of their religious belief systems to Abraham and the other prophets who followed.  All three religions are focused on revelation – or the understanding that knowledge regarding their god has been literally revealed by god through the prophets.  As a Christian chant sung in Byzantine Catholic Churches says, “He spoke through the prophets.”  Mohammed, of course, was the specific prophet through whom the god of Islam spoke, whereas the Israelites had many prophets who “spoke” at God’s behest in times of particular spiritual or material crisis.

Fisher notes that Jews and Christians are known as “people of the book” because they each have a set of revealed scriptures from which the basic tenets of the faith are derived.[3] The Jews turn to the Old Testament or the Hebrew Bible, the Christian to this set of scriptures and to the New Testament which reveals the life of Christ and the “New Covenant” created by the sacrifice of Christ.  Though both groups have “added to” these basic scriptural sources to create dogma and doctrine or laws that must be followed by the faithful, their faith rests on the belief that the fundamental truths of their religion were revealed to specific humans known as prophets and these truths are codified in identifiable texts.

[1] Mary Pat Fisher, op cit., p. 285.

[2] Homer Smith, op cit., p. 65.

[3] Mary Part Fisher, op cit., p. 267.

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