19.05.2018 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

Judeo-Christianity is a set of different unorthodox religious movements that arose among Christian Jews at the turn of the first and second centuries.

According to the New Testament, the first Apostolic church was Judeo-Christian.


History of origin

The Apostles were the first Judeo-Christians. As a result of their preachings in Judea, Syria and Greece their community attracted new adherents. For some, Jesus was a prophet anointed by the Holy Spirit, for others He was the Messiah and the son of the Virgin Mary. Hebrew was the sacred language and Judeo-Christians followed the Old Testament traditions, including observing the Sabbath and circumcision. Nowadays, scholars and theologians have re-discovered the Judeo-Christian tradition.

The Acts of the Apostles state that in the early Christian community the people “had everything shared”. This worked perfectly for uniting the Jews and the recently converted Gentiles.  They approved all the Holy Scriptures – initially the Old Testament since the New Testament was still to be written. Judeo-Christianity remained as a base for the Early Church at least till the end of the Apostolic Age.

Similar trends

There were various traditions throughout history (and there are still some today) that advocated transforming Christian doctrines and practices into Judaism and back. Christians sometimes use the humiliating term “Judaizers” (“Zhidovstvuyushchie”). Judeo-Christian movements are significantly diverse.

Historical tradition:

  • “Heresy of the Judaizers” (“Zhidovstvuyushchiye”) is a common name for many religious movements that are heretical according to the position of the Orthodox Church.

Modern trends:

  • Messianic Judaism is a modern religious tradition. Its adherents believe that Yeshua (Jesus Christ) is the Son of God and Savior of all mankind.
    • Christian mission “Jews for Jesus”
  • “Sacred Name Movement” tries to bring Christianity back to its roots.
  • “Jewish roots” is the Evangelical Christian movement that believes in the necessity of returning to the laws of the Torah.
  • Makuya is the Japanese movement that inclines towards Judaism.
  • Yehowist-Ilyinites is a religious organization that emerged in Russia in the 19th century among the Judeo-Christians. It denies its connections both to Judaism and modern Christianity.
  • Subbotniks (Sabbatarians) is a Russian religious movement that approves only the Old Testament. Its adherents observe the Sabbath, practice circumcision and other Jewish commandments, including migration to Israel.
  • African Hebrew Israelites are the various communities of African Americans in the USA that identify themselves with Jews and observe some Judaist practices.

Origins of the name

According to the Oxford dictionary, the term “Judeo-Christian” emerged in 1899, and the term “Judeo-Christianity” in 1910. This term referred to an Early Christian community which consisted of Jews that identified themselves as a part of the Jewish community. The term “Judeo-Christians” is referred to in the first Apostolic church before many “Hellenes” (converted Greeks) joined it, and also in the Jerusalem church led by James the Just, brother of Jesus.

Also, the term “Judeo-Christianity” is referred to in the set of moral norms that shaped the worldview of modern Western society. In the USA in the 1920s during the rise of Anti-Semitism, a practice was introduced, which created a company of pastor, rabbi and a priest in order to propagate the idea of religious tolerance and pluralism. They wanted the USA to be known not as just a Christian country but also “a country of three traditions, i.e. Protestant, Catholic and Jewish”.

Judeo-Christianity shows by its example how two religions can co-exist within one tradition. First, this meaning of the term was revealed in the New English Weekly on July 27, 1939, in the phrase “Judeo-Christian moral scheme”. Nowadays, the phrase “Judeo-Christian values” is often used in the West.

Friedrich Nietzsche contributed to the use of the concept of “Judeo-Christianity” having found an opinion about this in the word “Antichrist”.

Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis use the term “Judeo-Christianity” (“Jude-Christianity” or “Zhydo-Christianity”) to refer to Christianity in general. There is, however, an opinion among some Christians that Christianity completely substituted Judaism, so Judeo-Christianity is regarded as heresy.

This religion left neither written sources nor documents. Yet due to the research of modern scholars, Judeo-Christianity is now explored from a new perspective as another view on the origins of Christianity.