Introducing World Religions

A Christian Engagement

Materials available for professors by request only


7. Judaism

Discussion Questions

  1. Discuss the role of covenants in the identity of the ancient Jews. What were the covenants and why were they important?
  2. How do the Jewish rituals help to provide meaning and identity for Jews throughout the year? For instance, how do Jewish rituals help Jews to remember their history and identity?
  3. Compare and contrast the role and identity of a Jewish rabbi and that of a Christian pastor and priest.
  4. Discuss the various Jewish modern movements (e.g., Orthodox Judaism, Reform Judaism) and whether there might be comparisons between these movements and the various Christian branches or denominations. For instance, how does each understand their relationship to scripture, gender, society, and political engagement?
  5. Discuss why kabbalah, the mystical component of Judaism, has been so attractive recently. How would you compare kabbalah with Christian forms of mysticism?
  6. What do you think of “Christian Zionism”? Try to argue for and against the perspective of Christian Zionism. What biblical, theological, and political sources will you use to support or challenge this view?
  7. Some scholars suggest that Jesus never intended to start a new religion (i.e., Christianity). Reflect on this idea and discuss how Christianity is continuous and discontinuous with Judaism. What implications are there for our understanding of the relationship between Christianity and culture?
  8. Discuss the impact of the Holocaust on Jewish identity and religion. What transformations do you see in the Jewish community? Do you see comparisons with how Christian communities have dealt with trauma?
  9. What are some of the reasons why Judaism started its reform movements?
  10. The Israel-Palestine conflict has been a major event in modern history. How do you make sense of the conflict and what would you recommend as a solution?