Sunday, September 30, 2007

Judeo-Christian (or Judaeo-Christian) is a term used to describe the body of concepts and values which are thought to be held in common by Judaism and Christianity, and typically considered (sometimes along with classical Greco-Roman civilization) a fundamental basis for Western legal codes and moral values. In particular, the term refers to the common Old Testament/Tanakh (which is a basis of both moral traditions, including particularly the Ten Commandments); and implies a common set of values present in the modern Western World.
Compare with Ebionites and Judaizers.

Judeo-Christian Historical background
The first-known uses of the terms "Judæo-Christian" and "Judaeo-Christianity", according to the Oxford English Dictionary, are 1899 and 1910 respectively, but both were discussing the emergence of Christianity from Judaism. The term was first used with its current meaning in 1938, and was then used during World War II[3] to as an alternative to using the term 'Christian civilization' in light of Hitler's attacks on Jews and Judaism. Some argue that the term was invented in the United States in an attempt to create a non-denominational religious consensus or civil religion that, by embracing Judaism, avoided the appearance of anti-Semitism.
The term is now commonly used in popular culture as a shorthand for the predominant religious influences upon Western culture.

Etymological background
Supporters of the Judaeo-Christian concept point to the Christian claim that Christianity is the heir to Biblical Judaism, and that the whole logic of Christianity as a religion is that it exists (only) as a religion built upon Judaism. In addition, although the order of the books in the Christian Old Testament and the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) is different, the books are the same. The majority of the Old Testament is in fact Jewish scripture, and is used as moral and spiritual teaching material throughout the Christian world. The prophets, patriarchs, and heroes of the Jewish scripture are also known in Christianity, and unlike Islam which uses their identities but changes their actions and lives, Christianity uses the Jewish text as the basis for its understanding of Judaeo-Christian patriarchs, prophets and heroes such as Abraham, Elijah and Moses. As a result a vast chunk of Jewish and Christian teaching is based on the same inspiration.

Judeo-Christian Basis of a common concept of the two religions
In the legal case of Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983), the Supreme Court of the United States held that a state legislature could constitutionally have a paid chaplain conduct legislative prayers "in the Judeo-Christian tradition." In Simpson v. Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors, No. 04-1045 (4th Cir. 2005), the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Supreme Court's holding in the Marsh case permitting legislative bodies to conduct prayer in the "Chesterfield County could constitutionally exclude Cynthia Simpson, a Wiccan priestess, from leading its legislative prayers, because her faith was not "in the Judeo-Christian tradition." Chesterfield County's Board included Jewish, Christian, and Muslim clergy in its invited list.

See also

Abrahamic religions — an umbrella term used to refer to the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well as sometimes indicating smaller, related religions such as Baha'i Faith and Samaritans .
Christo-Islamic — term used to refer to common elements in Christianity and Islam
Judeo-Christo-Islamic — a term used to describe common elements in Judaism, Christianity and Islam; this is normally called Abrahamic.
Judeo-Islamic — term used to refer to the common cultural elements and backgrounds of the two religions

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