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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q17.8 TOC Sect. 18 >

Question 17.9:
Do the majority of Jews recognize the basis for the Christian God as arising from the same basic God, despite the inherent differences?



There are more than fifty synonyms for the term God in Hebrew. This is because the concept of God is the most important factor in the culture. Each term refers to a different aspect of the understanding of God. The first book in the Torah has two terms for the word "God", Adonai, and Elohim. The Midrash Rabbah explained this saying that Adonai refers to the aspect of mercy, and the Elohim refers to the aspect of judgment. The rabbis went on to explain that both were needed for creation, because if there were justice alone, since there is so much evil in the world, it would have to be destroyed. If there were mercy alone, there would be no deterrence for evil doers.

What Christianity did,. for the most part, is to take this concept, and to select three of the aspects. Thus, an appropriate representation of the Trinity is that relating to the three forms of the Deity is like looking at a diamond and viewing different facets. Traditional Judaism is based on the premise of a creator deity who has a will and has the capacity to communicate that will to humankind. That capacity was executed at a moment in time, namely Sinai, and its content is the Hebrew Scriptures. It is therefore perfect and immutable. Further, traditional Judaism is committed to the belief that there is an authoritative body of interpreters of that revelation, namely the rabbinate.

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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