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Home : Faith/Spirituality : The Question Box
2/7/2012 8:13:00 AM
Is Christianity a continuation of Judaism?

Deacon Owen Cummings


Q —Is Christianity best understood as a continuation of Judaism, or as something new?
A — What an interesting question! The answer is best approached in terms of both-and rather than either-or. 
Judaism is the tradition out of which Christianity emerged in the first century A.D., and it is impossible to understand Christianity without an appreciation of the Old Testament/Judaism. 
This is particularly true, most obviously, of the writings of the New Testament. It is also true of ways of interpreting the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the moral code and ritual practices of early Christianity. At the same time, something “new” happened in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
In Christian belief the revelation of God witnessed in the Old Testament reaches its climax in the person of Jesus Christ, and this fullness of revelation represents a new development.
Q — My sister who became a Catholic at Easter 2011 found an article on the Internet advising that women are supposed to cover their heads when they are in church. 
I thought this was a requirement in one of St. Paul’s letters, but was no longer the case. Please advise!
A — You are entirely right! In 1 Corinthians 11:3-6 St. Paul talks about women covering their heads in the liturgical assembly. Biblical scholars discuss various possible explanations behind this practice. 
Because of reverence for the Scriptures this practice was maintained for a long time, and still is maintained by some. However, there is no requirement to do so in the contemporary Catholic Church.
Q —Is Christianity best understood as a continuation of Judaism, or as something new?
A — What an interesting question! The answer is best approached in terms of both-and rather than either-or. 
Judaism is the tradition out of which Christianity emerged in the first century A.D., and it is impossible to understand Christianity without an appreciation of the Old Testament/Judaism. 
This is particularly true, most obviously, of the writings of the New Testament. It is also true of ways of interpreting the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the moral code and ritual practices of early Christianity. At the same time, something “new” happened in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
In Christian belief the revelation of God witnessed in the Old Testament reaches its climax in the person of Jesus Christ, and this fullness of revelation represents a new development.
Q — My sister who became a Catholic at Easter 2011 found an article on the Internet advising that women are supposed to cover their heads when they are in church. 
I thought this was a requirement in one of St. Paul’s letters, but was no longer the case. Please advise!
A — You are entirely right! In 1 Corinthians 11:3-6 St. Paul talks about women covering their heads in the liturgical assembly. Biblical scholars discuss various possible explanations behind this practice. 
Because of reverence for the Scriptures this practice was maintained for a long time, and still is maintained by some. However, there is no requirement to do so in the contemporary Catholic Church.




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