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Differences between Hinduism and Judaism

Hinduism vs Judaism

With hardly any common ground to share Hinduism and Judaism remain two of the more dominate yet distinct religions of our time. Hinduism dates back to almost 3000BCE while Judaism originated in 1300 BCE according to traditions. These religions happen to be two of the most well-known and historic religious with millions of followers. Geographically, Hinduism is concentrated in the Indian subcontinent which is also the birth place of the religion while Judaism is pivoted at Israel which Jews claim is the land of their forefathers. One interesting fact about Hinduism is that its inception is not credited to a particular personality which is rare; however Jews credit Abraham as the founder of their religion.

    In terms of the scriptures, Hindus refer to Vedas, Upanishad, Puranas, Gita while the Jews consider Tanakh(Jewish bible) and Torah as their Authentic religious texts. The language of the original texts is also different since Jews have their bible Hebrew and the Hindus have their primary religious texts in Sanskrit. Furthermore the two religions differ in their fundamental religious beliefs; Jews strictly believe in one God and have no exception to that believe. This idea is also expressed in Hindu texts and Hindus also claim to believe in one God, Brhama, as the creator however Hindus in practice are less particular about belief in one God and they refer to thousands of other personalities as god. Therefore Hinduism is not a monotheistic religion and the number of gods Hindus believe in varies from sect to sect. Use of statues is also a point of disagreement as Hindus extensively use carved stone and wood statues to represent their deities whereas in Judaism the use of statues to represent God or idolatry is strictly forbidden. Prophets have a special part to play in most religions including Judaism. Jews count 48 male and 7 female prophets including Moses. Unlike other religions Hinduism, rather than being prophet centered, is a god centered religion. The idea of god coming in human form in order to revitalize religion is very prevalent in Hinduism and these Avatars play the same role as prophets do in other religions i.e to reinforce the divine message. The belief is Angels, like prophets, is only found in Judaism and is non-existent in Hindu religious framework. Angels, in Jewish theology, are god’s messengers who are invisible to human eyes. There are millions of angels that occupy the world, heavens and everything between them.  
    One important common characteristic between the two religions is the concept of ‘the awaited one’. Although the concept maybe similar however, Jews await the coming of the Messiah while Hindus await the coming of the 10
th avatar of Vishnu. Moreover, the belief in life after death also is prominent in both religions but Hindus believe in 7 reincarnations before eternal salvation is achieved whereas the Jews have a concept of life after that similar to that of Christians and Muslim. The two religions manifest a distinctly unique theological framework with beliefs and practices that are poles apart.

Basic differences:

  • Geographical strong hold

  • Time of origin

  • Concept of God

  • Concept of angels and prophets

  • Statues

  • The awaited one

  • Concept of life after death

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