I was looking for sources demonstrating Christianity as a test for Jews. My search began when I was reading Rambam in Mishneh Torah (Laws of Kings 11:4; English):

[...] Can there be a greater stumbling block than Christianity? [...] the intent of the Creator of the world is not within the power of man to comprehend, for His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts, our thoughts. Ultimately, all the deeds of Jesus of Nazareth and that Ishmaelite who arose after him will only serve to prepare the way for Mashiach's coming and the improvement of the entire world, motivating the nations to serve God together [...]

Are there sources with the view that Christianity is something like a test for Jews?

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    Why can;t I find these words in the original? (Hebrew?) – Danny Schoemann Nov 24 '14 at 10:24
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    @DannySchoemann, censorship. The Mechon Mamrei site has the full text. – Yishai Aug 15 '16 at 2:38

After rereading Rambam a couple of times, I think I disagree with your interpretation of his writing. The part you cut out reads:

"Can there be a greater stumbling block than Christianity? All the prophets spoke of Mashiach as the redeemer of Israel and their savior who would gather their dispersed and strengthen their observance of the mitzvot. In contrast, Christianity caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnants to be scattered and humbled, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to err and serve a god other than the Lord."

It isn't that Christianity is itself a test for Jews, it's that the effects of Christianity caused tremendous difficulties for Jews.

The second paragraph (which you quoted) then goes on to assure the reader that, for lack of a better phrase, "everything is in the hand of heaven" - even the negative things which he mentioned in the previous paragraph are all part of the ultimate plan and leading to the ultimate salvation.

I apologize if I'm splitting hairs (and I did try to fit this in a comment and failed), but I don't think Rambam is saying that Christianity is a test for Jews.

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  • If you except the 1805 version of Toldos Yeshu, as some esteemed rabbis did, then you have the interesting question about the role Simon/Peter played in secret for the rabbis in intentionally turning the early Christian church into something far less Jewish than it had been before. – Bruce James Nov 25 '14 at 19:54
  • Would you say that the Rambam would regard him as a false prophet? If so Devarim 13:4 "... G-d is testing you ..." – Yishai Nov 25 '14 at 20:33
  • It seems like the OP wasn't suggesting the Rambam is saying it is a test. I think he was wondering if, as an alternative to the Rambam, anyone says that it is a test. (Perhaps editing out the word "other" from the question made that point clearer.) – Y     e     z Nov 25 '14 at 22:51
  • @Yishai: You got that right! In fact, this is precisely my point. I was just wondering if there are any sources towards Christianity in general. – Renato Grun Nov 26 '14 at 1:27

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