Mystical traditions

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Religion & Theology ・APA ・2 Sources

Mystical traditions are methods of living that a group of people follow in an effort to uncover hidden truths through personal encounters, dramatic visions, direct communion with the divine, hermit lifestyles, or arduous spiritual pursuits. Mysticism is therefore the process of establishing this connection with the supernatural being. Religion plays a significant role in promoting the understanding that people have agency and can choose how to conduct their lives. The most potent mystical tradition is religion, which instructs its adherents on how to conduct their daily lives. Traditions offer direction in the form of laws and guidelines that must be strictly adhered to. According to scholars, all mystics tend to speak the same language since they originate from the same country. Although some mystical traditions do encourage direct communication with the source, some are known to refer their followers to intermediaries who consequently deliver their requests to the deity. The following paper explores the existing differences and similarities between two mystical traditions: Christianity and Judaism.

Judaism is among the World’s oldest region which dates back to 2000 BC. Judaism is thought to have originated from the time Abraham was called upon by God to leave his home and follow him. God made promises to Abraham in the form of covenants which were later revealed through the Old Testament which ends with the Israelites waiting for the promised Messiah. Both Christians and the Jews are in agreement up to this point. According to Federow (2012), the differences between Judaism and Christianity are being bridged by the fact that there is a rise of Christian missionary groups which refer to themselves as Messianic ""Jews."" This has made the lines between the Judaism and Christianity less distinct making it easier to convert Jews to Christianity (Federow, 2012). In addition, the bridging of the two traditions are likely to give rise to Judeo-Christian Tradition which does not include the Rabbinic Judaism which has been the primary definition of Judaism over the years (Bokser, 1982).


There are a lot of similarities between Christianity and Judaism despite the obvious differences in terms of beliefs. Both share a lot of heritage especially based on the fact that Jesus was Himself a Jew. Both traditions believe in the existence of God whom they regard as holy, just, righteous and loving (Bokser, 1982). They also regard Him as the creator of the universe. In addition, both traditions have the same set of promises in the Bible for mankind after he falls out with God. Another similarity between Judaism and Christianity is on the person of Jesus Christ. Both traditions believe in the existent and the need for a Messiah to rescue God’s people and also restore God’s kingdom. Furthermore, both traditions have a similar view of the Bible especially the Old Testament as God’s revealed word.

Both Christianity and Judaism also define sin as a form of rebellion to God. Therefore, both mystic traditions recognize the importance attached to constantly seeking for forgiveness through sincere prayers and turning away from sins. Both traditions also believe that failure to heed to God’s commandments leads to consequences (Federow, 2012).


Both Christianity and Judaism are two different mystical traditions in terms of their teachings and beliefs. For instance, a key difference between the two religious beliefs is the person of Jesus Christ. According to the Christian teachings, Jesus Christ came as a fulfillment of the promises made in the Old Testament by prophets who foretold of the coming of the Messiah who will be the savior of the world (Isaiah 7:14). On the contrary, Judaism purports that Jesus Christ is a good teacher and also a prophet of God. However, it does not recognize Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah. This is contradictory to the popular Christian belief that Jesus Christ is God with a human form. Another difference between Judaism and Christianity based on the person of Jesus Christ is that while Christians suggest that He sacrificed His own life in order to save the entire world, Judaism denies the existence of such a sacrifice (Federow, 2012).

Also, based on the person of Jesus Christ, Jews and Christians differ on the roles of the Messiah. According to the Jews, the Messiah will come in human form as a non-divine person. His main role will be the restoration of the physical kingdom of Israel, bringing peace to the world and rebuilding the temple of Jerusalem (Federow, 2012). On the contrary, Christian belief is different from that of the Jews. They believe that Jesus has already fulfilled all the promises God made to mankind and has already ushered in the new relationship which was intended between God and mankind. Christianity also acknowledges that although Jesus has already paid the price for mankind, we still fall short of God’s glory and we have to keep chanting a path to make our relationship with God better (Federow, 2012).

There are also differences in between Christianity and Judaism in terms of how these mystical traditions are organized. For instance, Christianity has three major subdivisions which include Protestants, Roman Catholic and Orthodox. The Orthodox in Christianity believes in a set of doctrines believed by the early Christians. Roman Catholism is another branch of Christianity with a sophisticated theology as well as an elaborate organizational structure which is headed by the papacy (Federow, 2012). Protestants are Christians who have developed as a result of the Protestant Reformation. On the contrary, Judaism has several divisions which are different from Christianity. They include Conservative, Hasidic and Reform Judaism.

Another key difference existing between Judaism and Christianity is on the sin and atonement after man’s disobedience to God and the means which are necessary to achieve forgiveness. In the ancient Jewish traditions, the people were required to offer sacrifices in the temple and prayers of repentance in order to receive forgiveness for their sins (Federow, 2012). In addition, the people had to turn away from the sins. However, after the crucifixion of Jesus as well as the destruction of the temple by the Romans, some aspects prayers such as making burnt sacrifices were abolished. Therefore, Jews believe that sincere prayers of repentance are enough for one to be forgiven. On the other hand, Christians base their prayers through Jesus since they believe that He was the only person on earth who obeyed God’s commandments fully (Federow, 2012). Since He did not deserve the punishment set forth by the people, His death of the cross marked the final sacrifice which was sufficient to pay the price for all the sins of mankind.


Bokser, B. (1982). The Jewish Mystical Tradition. Pilgrim Press.

Federow, S. (2012). Judaism and Christianity: a contrast. Bloomington, Ind. : iUniverse Inc.

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