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This question is very controversial. As a result, the answers have been split between those who believe that Jesus differed from Judaism and discuss those differences and those who believe that Jesus did not differ from Jewish teachings and their reasons:

Jesus Differed From Judaism

Answer 1: He Claimed He Was God

Jesus did start by teaching basic Torah (holy Jewish text). For example, 'love thy neighbour' can be found in the Torah thousands of years before Jesus was even born.

At that time there were many small sects on the fringes of Judaism. They were mostly led by charismatic young preachers, many of whom claimed to be the 'messiah'. Assuming that Jesus existed, he was undoubtedly one of these preachers.

But Jesus then did start to teach and claim things that totally violated Judaism. Apparently he claimed to be 'God', and this is blasphemy for Jews. No human being is ever divine, and God never takes human form, in Jewish belief.

So Jesus effectively left Judaism. This didn't matter because he was never a central personality at that time; indeed, the majority of Jews didn't even know who he was. It was long after the Romans crucified him that Jesus became deified and declared by Christianity as being 'god incarnate'.

The Romans were crucifying thousands of innocent Jews at that time. They charged Jesus with 'sedition'.

Answer 2: He Added Gnosticism

One radical move Jesus made was the introduction of Egyptian gnostic teachings in his sermons to the Jewish people.

Answer 3: Explicit Examples of Jesus' Torah-Level Violations

There are several Torah-Level Commandments that Jesus actively violated (all quotes from the NIV). This list is not exhaustive:

  • Matthew 15:11: "That goes into someone's mouth does not defile them; but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them." -- This is a blanket denial of some of the laws of ritual purity and all of the Laws of Kashrut, which tell us foods to eat and which foods not to eat in Leviticus ch. 11. This is an abrogation of the Law.
  • Matthew 19:8-9: Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman, commits adultery." -- Jesus specifically rebukes the Mosaic Law and denies the permissibility of divorce which is expressly permitted according to Deuteronomy ch. 24.
  • Matthew 19:29: "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." -- Jesus actively supports the break-up of families, which runs counter to an entire tradition of family unity and tribal unity throughout Israelite and Jewish history. This also runs counter to the Messianic Prophecy that the Messiah will bring bickering families back together in Malachi 4:6.
  • Mark 1:43-44: Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: "See that you don't tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them." & John 18:20-21: "I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said." -- These verses show that Jesus lies (not to mention the issue with absconding truth in parables). If he said everything openly, he would not tell people to be quiet and secretive about who he was. Lying is prohibited in Leviticus 19:11. The Law being clear and accessible, not secretive, is stated in Deuteronomy 30:10-14 and Deut. 31:9-13.
  • Mark 14:24-25: "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them. "Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God." -- The consumption of blood is specifically forbidden in the Torah because it is the life-source of all creatures. This is made clear in Leviticus 17:10-12.

Jesus Did Not Differ From Judaism

Answer 1: Jesus was a Member of Gnostic Judaism

Bible scholars believe that "John the Baptist" and "Jesus" as they are called by orthodox Christians were members of a gnostic Jewish sect that had been around for quite a while. In that sense, the teachings of Jesus were entirely consistent with the kind of Judaism he was raised with.

There are gnostic sects in all religious paths. Gnosticism merely means knowing; and gnostics believe that "the redeemer who died" and other aspects of the mythical life of "Jesus" were overlaid to create a "Christianity" that would shore up a collapsing at God. Knowledge is innate, it must merely be recognized. Jesus' teachings are definitely gnostic in nature.

There is also historical evidence that the "blame it on us" passage that accuses the Jews of "murdering Jesus" was intentionally added to the gospels to foster anti-semitism and discredit the Jews.

Answer 2: Jesus Did Not Teach Anything Contrary To Judaism

Jesus DID NOT teach anything contrary to Judaism. One only has to be familiar with the Torah (first five books of the Tanach /Old Testament) to see that all that he ever taught was in total agreement with the Torah.

Answer 3: Jesus Is Within The Ambit of Judaism

It would take much time and space to derail all of the misrepresentations and misinformation related to the real mission of Jesus. Nonetheless, His teachings did not differ or stray from Judaism. To be sure, there were many "Judaisms" in the 1st century. Nonetheless, His doctrine seems to favor the Pharisaic school of thought. It takes much study to uncover all the falsehoods. However, if you're really seeking the truth, it will be revealed. Some good books to read on this subject include "Jesus the Pharisee" by Hyam Maccoby, and "The Misunderstood Jew" by Amy-Jill Levine.

Answer 4: He Was the Messiah As Foretold

There can be different interpretations of the Bible concerning this subject. Ultimately what it came down to is that Jesus said He was the Messiah and the Jews did not believe that the Messiah arrived yet. That angered some of Jews of the times, especially the Sadducees (the makers of Jewish law at that time). So basically the Romans crucified Him as the Jews insisted. And yes all of this was foretold in the book of Isaiah several hundred years before it actually happened. The rest is History.

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Q: In what ways did the teaching of Jesus differ from Judaism?
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