Jewish-Christian Dialogue Today

Yehudah Mirsky, Jewish Ideas Daily, Feb.21, www.jewishideasdaily.com/content/module/2011/2/21/main-feature/1/jewish-christian-dialogue-today

How do today’s Jews and Christians encounter one another? The most obvious way is in the countless interactions of Jewish and Christian colleagues and acquaintances in a host of daily settings, including exchanges on their respective religious attitudes and experiences. More specifically, there are the ties of many evangelical and other Christian groups with the state of Israel. Then there are the formal and by-now common meetings between clergy of the two religious traditions, as well as higher-level institutional ties that resemble a kind of ongoing ecclesiastical diplomacy. There are also collaborations and/or friendly debates among communal representatives on issues of shared concern.

No such meeting would be conceivable without the modern sea-change in Christian attitudes toward Jews. True, the 19th and early-20th centuries saw burgeoning forms of Jewish-Christian amity and even philo-Semitism, aided on the Jewish side by the ground-breaking ideas of Franz Rosenzweig, for whom Judaism and Christianity constituted distinct but also complementary revelations. But it was the Holocaust that compelled many Christians fundamentally to rethink historical attitudes and teachings.

The major turning point was the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), where, after much deliberation and negotiation, the Catholic Church formally renounced the millennial charge that “the Jews” were responsible for the crucifixion; condemned anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish discrimination generally; and affirmed “the community of all peoples” as God’s creatures. While the declaration did not go as far as many Jews had hoped, it triggered waves of what came to be known as Jewish-Christian dialogue.

Read the complete article here.