Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all claim that God has given humans a revelation. Divine revelation may be either of God, or by God of propositional truth. Traditionally Christianity has claimed that the Christian revelation has involved both of these. God revealed himself in his acts in history; for example in the miracles by which he preserved the people of ancient Israel, and above all by becoming incarnate (that is human) as Jesus Christ, who was crucified and rose from the dead. And God also revealed to us propositional truths by the teaching of Jesus and his church. Some modern theologians have denied that Christianity involves any propositional revelation, but there can be little doubt that from the second century until the eighteenth century, Christians and non-Christians were virtually unanimous in supposing that it claimed to have such a revelation, and so it is worthwhile investigating its traditional claim. This article is concerned with the Christian claim to have a propositional revelation. The first section describes the process by which Christians of past centuries have come to believe that certain propositions have been revealed. The second assesses alternative philosophical accounts of what constitutes a belief that such-and-such propositions have been revealed, being a ‘justified’ belief (or a ‘warranted’ or ‘rational’ one).
David M. Freidenreich
This survey of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic dietary law finds no recognition within pre-modern sources of the biblical or familial affinities implied by the contemporary term Abrahamic. The profound diversity of norms regarding animal species, blood, meat and dairy, and alcohol demonstrates that it is misleading to focus on the fact that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are rooted in a common scripture. Pre-modern sources about the food of religious foreigners, moreover, do not express a sense of Abrahamic kinship among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. These sources instead employ classificatory methods that reinforce ideas particular to each tradition’s approach to claiming superiority over foreigners. The term Abrahamic offers a convenient label for the juxtaposition of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic sources that bypasses the diverse and ideologically driven categories native to these traditions; the more one focuses on the term’s meaning, however, the less useful it becomes.
Though Jews are assumed to have a special affinity for atheism, a careful glance at the historical record suggests this hypothesis has yet to be verified. Basic terms in the languages of Judaism that refer to atheists are exceedingly difficult to pinpoint and translate. Instead, the historical sources conspire to severely diminish our ability to conclusively identify Jewish non-believers in the pre-modern and early modern periods. Christian sources pertaining to atheism, although equally difficult to decipher, are far more copious and detailed. At present, it seems safest to say that the first class of self-conscious, socially mobilized Jewish atheists emerged in the post-Marxist ferment of the late nineteenth century and crested in the middle of the twentieth.
The question “How does Judaism relate to other religions?” can be divided into five subquestions: Does Judaism believe that adherents of other religions can achieve salvation in the hereafter—“the world to come”—without converting to Judaism? Does Judaism aim at converting Gentiles? What is Judaism's eschatological vision—specifically, what is the fate of non-Jews and adherents of other religions at the end of days? Does Judaism believe that other religions are also true? If so, in what sense and to what degree? Does Judaism believe that they have value even if they are false in important respects? Does Judaism believe that interfaith dialogue, in the sense of discussion and critical assessment of one's religious tenets, and possibly appropriation of teachings of other religions, is advisable and proper? This article focuses on religious diversity from a Jewish perspective and how Judaism relates to Christianity, citing ancient texts (the Bible, Talmud, and Midrash) and writings of medieval and modern thinkers as well as legal authorities.
The intensification of religious life, and the contact with what is conceived of as a spiritual sphere, are two main general features of mysticism, present in all of the Abrahamic traditions. Intensification is nevertheless applied to different particularistic ways of religious behaviour. This chapter attempts to explore some of the common denominators of the different mystical literatures and experiences while doing justice to the specific background of the various religions within which they emerge and to interactions between these mystical traditions. In all of the Abrahamic traditions, we find the use of similar mystical techniques, such as use of the divine name, as well as the common influences of sacred scripture and Hellenistic culture. Furthermore, all of them have an intense interest in mystical union and in personal redemption.