Despite the Jewish origins of specific theological ideas, the proximity of concepts that appear to have become central to Christian faith raises a measure of theological uneasiness and concern if not fear among many Jews. There is a real apprehension, perhaps as one of my teachers, Rabbi Moshe Berger said, of being assimilated spiritually and losing one’s identity. In any case, unintentionally perhaps, the theological topics that seem too Christian, become, if not taboo, then relegated to the domain of scholars where the impact is rarely felt.
About the book
This reality presents a unique opportunity that goes far beyond exploring and discussing topics in Jewish studies that may not be typical. It raises the opportunity to consider Christianity and Judaism in a different light. I regularly come across individuals who were either born Jewish and have converted to Christianity or vice versa, individuals who come from Christian backgrounds and have converted to Judaism. There is often an unfortunate link between some of them. Many of them hold incredibly angry sentiments against their previous religious traditions and community. Now at first glance, that might make sense.
Some people do not convert to another religion unless something significant happens to cause them to look elsewhere. However, the animosity and the rancor that many such individuals maintain is disturbing. It does nothing to fight Antisemitism, specifically in Christian sectors, nor does it do anything to promote the general welfare of spiritual communities. Christianity and Judaism are seen as evil or deceptive by either side. Age-old accusations often surface as if nothing has occurred in the post-Shoah world. However, much has changed, though much remains to be done in combating misconceptions about either group.
Now, all that being said, why should any Jew in their right mind wish to consider or perhaps reconsider Christianity from a different vantage point? It is a fair question. There are potentially many reasons. Intellectual honesty is an important one, I believe. A reactionary approach to Christianity may bode well from an emotional and even historical perspective. It may even justify a rejection of Christianity, theologically.
That does not mean as Gabriele Boccaccini has pointed out that the house itself is Jewish. My interpretation of Boccaccini’s approach is that Christianity is a Judaic system bereft of Jewishness.
This book seeks to explore alternative approaches to Christianity that permit Jews to consider it as something else besides idolatry without abandoning traditional Jewish theology.
However, does it do justice to the reality that many of the theological bricks that Christianity is constructed on are “Jewish bricks”?
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A fascinating work on a critical issue of tremendous importance.
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