Christianity In Jewish Terms (Radical Traditions (Paperback))

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Press: Basic Books; Reprint edition (March 16, 2002)
Publication Date:2002-3
Author Name:Frymer-Kensky, Tikva/ Ochs, Peter/ Novak, David/ Singer, Michael/ Sandmel, David Fox


Over the past few decades, there has been a dramatic and unprecedented shift in Jewish–Christian relations, including signs of a new, improved Christian attitude towards Jews. 
Christianity in Jewish Terms is a Jewish theological response to the profound changes that have taken place in Christian thought.
The book is divided into ten chapters, each of which features a main essay, written by a Jewish scholar, that explores the meaning of a set of Christian beliefs.
Following the essay are responses from a second Jewish scholar and a Christian scholar.
Designed to generate new conversations within the American Jewish community and between the Jewish and Christian communities, Christianity in Jewish Terms lays the foundation for better understanding.
It was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 2001.

About the Author

Tikva Frymer-Kensky is Professor of Hebrew Bible at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago.David Novak holds the J. 
Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto.Peter Ochs is the Edgar Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies at the University of Virginia.David Sandmel is the Jewish Scholar at the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies in Baltimore.Michael A.
Signer is Abrams Professor of Jewish Thought and Culture in the Department of Theology at University of Notre Dame.


Religion & Spirituality,Judaism,Theology,Religious Studies,Comparative Religion

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Comment List (Total:10)

  •     This is a very provacative and timely book. It's sure to upset many but it may also do some good in getting both Jews and Christians to acknowledge the overlaps in their...
  •     Good quality
  •     This book is frustrating because of the special pleading that Jews be exempt from the sina qua non of Christianity of Missionizing. The various Jewish contributors, despite trying to write respectfully about Christianity, ultimately are not able to promote a sincere dialogue due to their refusal to take seriously the historicity of Christian ideas.You can save yourself money and a lot of time wading through the turgid academic writing style by recognizing that this book has two main premises:(1) Although Jesus was a false Messiah (or at best a failed Messiah), Christianity has done many good things in the world.(2) Christians should be encouraged by Jews to continue doing good things in the world with one proviso: that they leave Jews alone because Jews already are in right standing with God via their observance of the Torah and because whatever Messiah Jews are expecting certainly is not the false Messiah Jesus of Nazareth.There now, I have saved you enormous amounts of time and effort!The really annoying thing I found in this book is that its authors ingratiate themselves to church officials even as they denigrate Jesus. This is a very dishonest kind of discourse. Robert Chazzan of NYU really butchers the history of Jewish Christians relations as he continually attributes the frequent murderous attacks against Jews throughout the period from the Middle Ages to the present to Christian rabble, while bending over backwards to exonerate the church leaders for trying to control this violence.Nothing could be further from the truth, as this masterful book by Professor Robert Michael makes abundantly clear: this book ends up distorting everything about Christianity: the legitimate Messianic credentials of Jesus of Nazareth and the appalling record of officially sponsored Christian anti-Semitism throughout the ages. The book is obsequious and fawning, like a desperate plea by Jewish scholars that the church leave them alone to wallow in their narcissistic ignorance. BU scholar Paula Fredriksen has similarly ingratiated herself to the Roman Catholic hierarchy by writing that Augustine was not anti-Semitic when in fact he was virulently so, again in an insincere and intellectually bankrupt effort to fawn to church officialdom: my extensive reading of Christian history, only one Christian church emerges as truly philo-Semitic, and that is the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Even Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses bear some taint of anti-Semitism (for example the effort of JWs in NAZI Germany to explain that their exemption from military service should in no way be construed as opposition to the NAZI regime.)See these links on Mormon-Jewish connections: overwhelmingly comes across from this book is that Jews wish to be regarded as "Chosen People" without presumably doing anything to deserve that accolade.They seem to wield Chosenness as a privilege rather than a responsibility.They come across as spiritual narcissists who are so in love with themselves that they forget that God chose them to be a blessing to mankind, not to extort accolades from them!And above all the Jewish claim that Christians falsely deify Jesus is exposed as a shallow subterfuge for the fact that Jews deify themselves and demand from Gentiles the prerogatives that only God and Jesus deserve.Any Jewish person who wonders if Christianity might be a true faith should ask himself what Judaism really offers to the world. Yes, we have all heard about the wonderful Jewish Nobel Prize winners, but those achievements were done for purely selfish motives of fame and fortune and self seeking.Jesus Christ laid down His life for all man and women that they might have life more abundant.What comparable kind of supreme altruism can you find in Judaism?_____________________________________________________Here's my letter to the editors and contributors:Dear Sirs,As a Jewish convert to Christianity, I was very encouraged to see your book in the Judaica section of our local college library. I think you all are very brave to address this difficult topic, and for the most part I was pleased by what I read.I would like to forward to you the following comments and questions for your consideration. I will be delighted to receive any feedback you might be willing to offer.First, I take strong exception to what is written on page xviii that "Christianity is not a viable option for Jews." Surely you know that hundreds of thousands of Messiainic Jewish believers today have elected to follow Jesus Christ as their Messiah! This doesn't even include Jews who have joined mainstream Christian denominations. Your statement is both patronizing and ignorant: Rosh Hashanah 5775 Aliyah Blessing!Second, I was puzzled by the statement that the most important theological event for Jews since the Holocaust is the founding of the State of Israel. I don't understand why American Jews, the vast majority of whom are Reform, so revere Israel when they are not even recognized as a viable branch of Judaism by the Orthodox power brokers there?! It also saddens me that for so many American Jews their religious identity seems to be so vicarious, in that they refuse to move permanently to Israel and are content instead to venerate her from the sidelines, similar to how Catholics regard the Vatican. If Israel is so vital to Jewish identity, why don't American Jews choose to live there?I disagree with your statement on page xix that NAZIsm was not a Christian phenomenon. I think this book by Robert Michael makes perfectly clear that NAZIsm was not so much an aberration but rather the logical culmination of 2000 years of ferocious anti-Jewish invective by the leading theologians of the organized church, Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant alike: Holy Hatred: Christianity, Antisemitism, and the Holocaust Oct 3, 2006 by Robert MichaelIndeed, from my study of Christian history, anti-Semitism appears to be endemic to every Christian denomination and sect apart from Mormonism.Likewise I felt that your claim that Christians need to stop evangelizing to Jews and to recognize that Jews can be faithful to the Torah is false for the following reasons:(1) Post 70 AD, it is not possible to fulfill the vast majority of mitzvoth.(2) Jesus and Paul teach that even those mitzvoth that can be performed are not done so with sincerity of heart and thus require an atonement.(3) I believe that the changes introduced by the rabbis post 70 AD make Judaism a de-facto form of Christianity. See this: Salvation for Jews and ChristiansI found many objectionable statements in the first chapter by David Novak. For example:(1) He writes on page 3 that "Indeed for some Jews, Judaism means nothing more than not being Christian." Since the vast majority of world Jewry are secular, if not atheistic, I would say that this form of negative self-identification is not for "some Jews" but rather for almost all Jews!(2) On page 4 Novak asks Jews and Christians involved in interfaith dialogue to avoid "Relativism." But then he immediately contradicts himself and indulges in exactly that! Novak writes about Christian doctrines that -- as far as Jews are concerned -- concerning the Incarnation of Jesus "it never happened" and concerning the Trinity "it seems absurd." Christianity is based on firm historical evidence for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. We do not discount anything in the Old Testament (despite a paucity of historical evidence; see this for example: Appeal to Jewish Experts in Tim Mahoney's film Patterns of Evidence The Exodus ). However here Novak is relativizing the historicity of the Christian faith by simply refusing to consider its evidence. Could there be a statement more disparaging of objective truth than his puerile and unsubstantiated "it never happened"?I also found many objectionable statements in the chapter by Robert Chazzan providing an overview to the history of Judeo-Christian relations:(1) On pages 13ff Chazzan seems to bend over backwards to placate the Church leadership regarding the perpetration of anti-Jewish atrocities throughout European history. Chazzan ignores all the evidence so masterfully assembled by Robert Michael. He prefers to attribute anti-Semitism to the Christian rabble rather than to the dangerous demeaning and defamatory rhetoric emanating from the leading theologians of the church almost since its conception!(2) He repeats this disingenuous claim on page 17, where he writes that the "church leadership decried both the stereotypes ... and the assaults" against Jews. I can only wonder why Chazzan is determined to be so obsequious and insincere to the doyens of Christendom whose hands literally are soaked with Jewish blood.(3) He repeats this insincere flattery on page 22, writing of the "restraining voice of ecclesiastical leadership" vis a vis anti-Jewish violence.(4) On page 23 he writes that Jews welcomed the schism between church and state in the Enlightenment. I don't know to which Jews he refers, but Orthodox and Chassidic groups did no such thing. Indeed the luminaries of Chassidism supported the Tsar in his conflict with Napoleon precisely because they opposed the French Enlightenment.Irving Greenberg also makes some peculiar comments.(1) While he calls the reestablishment of the State of Israel the central Jewish theological event post-Holocaust, he fails to account for the fact that the State of Israel is overwhelmingly secular, so just what kind of theology does he believe it represents?(2) He also seems oblivious to the crucial role evangelical Christians, in both the US and UK, played in bringing about Zionism. See for example this book: Allies for Armageddon: The Rise of Christian Zionism(3) On page 34 he laments that Christianity placed redemption "beyond history". British theologian N T Wright would agree:Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the ChurchSimply Good News: Why the Gospel Is News and What Makes It Good(4) On page 35 he writes that Bar Kochba was a failed Messiah but not a false Messiah. I thought normative Judaism considers him very much a false Messiah! Also, why does Judaism not repudiate the legacy of Akivah, whose endorsement of B"K led to the most ruinous calamity for Jews in ancient times?MESSIAH JESUS VS. RABBI AKIVANoahides = No-Hides and Nowhere to HideMy own humble effort to formulate a paradigm for the relationship between Judaism and Christianity may be seen here:ATOMIC PARADIGM FOR JUDEO-CHRISTIAN RELATIONSSalvation for Jews and ChristiansI also recommend looking at this essay that attempts to explain some of the mystical features of the Holocaust: A TORAH PERSPECTIVE ON THE HOLOCAUSTShalom baShem Yeshua - Peace in the Name of Jesus!
  •     This is one of the most important books available, not just for those already initiated into J/C relations.
  •     I wish I could give this book six stars. I can't remember the last time a work of Jewish-Christian dialogue seized my mind, challenged me, and opened up new avenues to understanding. It's a series of essays penned by Jewish scholars, each of which is followed by a pair of response-essays, one by another Jewish specialist, the other by a Christian. Topics include the law and ethics, salvation history and covenantal pluralism, liturgy and worship, suffering and martyrdom, incarnation theology, and redemption -- all explicated in Jewish and Christian terms, but with a focus on Jewish origins.All contributors (thirty-two, by my count) steer clear of the common errors which poison religious dialogue: triumphalism, proselytization, syncretism, relativism. (1) Triumphalists believe that no commonalities can be found between the two religions, Jews claiming that Christianity is a deviant form of its parent faith, Christians that Judaism was only a precursor to (and is now superseded by) its successor faith. The authors affirm many commonalities between the two religions, and that denying them is as much a distortion of one as the other. (2) Proselytizers use Jewish-Christian dialogue as a venue by which to persuade the other side to "convert". The authors, while allowing that either side might naturally wish for the conversion of others, do not approve of using dialogue to realize this hope. (3) Syncretists attempt to construct a new religious reality out of various elements of Judaism and Christianity. The authors reject this as idolatrous and trivializing. (4) Relativists deny that some things are true everywhere for everyone. The authors, while recognizing commonalities between the two religions, also know that the ultimate truth claims of Judaism and Christianity are different and thus mutually exclusive.The dynamic interactions throughout this book show that authentic Jewish-Christian dialogue can succeed without both sides offending the other and (equally important) without both sides becoming one. As an orthodox Jewish theologian puts it, "True dialogue is dialogue that respects difference and is animated by it." This is essential reading material for any who are actively involved in Jewish-Christian relations, or for any who have an abiding interest in the Jewish origins of Christianity.
  •     In September 2000 at the time of the Jewish High Holidays, the editors of this book published a statement in the New York Times titled, "A Jewish Statement on Christians and...
  •     Rabbi Neusner once told me, "Only brothers can have such a prolonged and passionate fight." The brothers are the synagogue and the church.
  •     A+++++
  •     Very concise about the Jewish roots of Christianity. Most Western believers misunderstand the importance of knowing where their beliefs came from and how to apply them. The Holy Spirit open my spiritual eyes over 8 yrs ago about going back to the foundation of my faith. Once I started , He open up the wrong theology I had on some major subjects. I now have better knowledge of Yahweh's Word and no longer in religious bondage. I highly recommend this book and other that deals with the Jewish roots of Christianity!
  •     This was a required book for a course. It was delivered as requested.

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