Similarities Between Judaism and Catholicism

Updated February 21, 2017

Judaism and Catholicism are different religions with different traditions, customs, beliefs and ceremonies. However, these two religions have many similarities in that both claim to worship the same God and accept the teachings of the same early prophets. The religions share basic tenets of salvation, an afterlife and evil , but the specifics and details of these beliefs differ. While the differences are many between the religions, and between the different sects within each religion, they show basic similarities in their diverse teachings.


Judaism and Catholicism both trace their roots to Abraham and share the prophet Moses. Catholics and other Christian churches are sister religions to Judaism. Catholicism began within the Jewish community, sharing the same God and observing the same religious traditions and festival days until the Jewish people rejected Jesus as a false prophet. Catholicism then split from Jewish tradition to follow the teachings of Jesus and his follower, the Apostle Paul. Catholics slowly began to develop their own traditions and holy days separate from Jewish customs.

Sacred Texts

The holy texts of the Catholic Church include many Jewish scriptural books. Both religions accept the Old Testament of the Catholic Bible as sacred with the exception of Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiaticus, Baruch, 1 & 2 Maccabees and sections of the books of Daniel and Esther. These books were not written in Hebrew, so Jewish scholars did not include them in the Jewish canon. The New Testament begins with the birth of Jesus and includes his teachings, so Judaism, with the exception of the Messianic Jews, rejects these religious texts Catholics revere.

Liturgical Language

The liturgical language of Judaism is Hebrew, and the language of Catholicism is Latin. All or portions of the sermons are offered in the liturgical language and the religions encourage followers -- in some cases, require -- to learn the appropriate language. These accepted languages serve to unite the followers of the religions. Regardless of the location and daily language of the follower, they all share the common religious language. They can pray and worship together and be understood in their shared language around the world.


The religious leaders in both Judaism and Catholicism are teachers and administers with advanced religious training. The rabbis and priests preside over the worship service and offer sermons to aid the congregation in understanding religious texts. Rabbis and priests must be male, and they receive strict training before becoming ordained as religious teachers.

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About the Author

Chasity Goddard has been writing poetry, fiction and nonfiction since 1996. Her work has appeared in "Backspace" magazine, "Sepia Literary Magazine" and the "Plowman Press." Goddard holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing with a specialization in women's studies from the University of Tennessee.