Rightly Explaining the Word of Truth (Appendices)

Guidelines for Christian Clergy and Teachers in their use of the New Testament with reference to the New Testament's presentation of Jews and Judaism. 9 November 1994

Rightly Explaining the Word of Truth

Guidelines for Christian Clergy and Teachers in their use of the

New Testament with reference to the New Testament's

presentation of Jews and Judaism




Part One

The Problem
Identifying the Texts
Interpreting the Texts
Trial and Death of Jesus
The "New"and The "old"
The Pharisees
The Expression "The Jews"
      in the Fourth Gospel

Jesus' Judaism and the Torah

Part Two

Appendix A
     What Happened Next?
Appendix B
     Annotated Bibliography


Appendix A

Judaism: What Happened Next?

At some time between the years 29 and 36 Jesus died beneath the ironic and menacing multi-lingual inscription "the King of the Jews". We know something about his murderer. The prefect Pontius Pilate arrived in Judea in the year 26 and quickly demonstrated that his Jewish subjects would be treated with cruelty and contempt. Pilate ignored the religious status quo that allowed Jerusalem to be free of pagan images. From his palace in coastal Caesarea he commanded his soldiers to carry their legion's standards and shields through the streets of Jerusalem despite the fact that they bore the face of the Emperor. He robbed the Temple Treasury to pay for the aqueducts that brought water into Jerusalem, murdered those who demonstrated against him and boldly imprinted pagan religious symbols on his coins, knowing that this could cause offence and confusion. Pilate's aggression extended beyond the Jews. On Mt Gerizim he massacred Samaritans who had gathered in hopeful excitement to salute a would-be Messiah. Pilate returned to Rome in the year 37 to face serious charges of maladministration and was saved only by the sudden death of the Emperor Tiberius Augustus and the accession of the deranged Caligula. Judea and the millions of Jews in the diaspora faced tragic decades of turmoil that led to the first full-scale ill-fated rebellion against Rome in the year 66.

In the past three decades archaeology has opened windows into the life of the Jewish people in the first centuries of the Common Era. These developments include the restoration of the ancient fortresses of Massada and Herodian and the 1968 discovery of the bones of a 26-year-old Jerusalemite, who had been crucified with a nail and wood still attached to his skeleton. Pilgrims can now climb the ancient steps into the Temple upon which Jesus must have walked. The development of a park in Jerusalem has revealed the inscribed ossuary and family grave of the High Priest Caiaphas. A major excavation of the city of Sepphoris (Zippori), which lies just five kilometres north of Nazareth, has introduced the historian to the Galilean urban environment of two thousand years ago. Archaeology has also revealed beautiful Galilean synagogues and the remains of the church built around the house of St Peter at Capernaum. An unseasonable drought resulted in the recovery of an intact 2000-year-old fishing boat that lay just beyond the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Excavations south and west of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem have revealed the design, the gates and the appearance of the place that Jesus called "my Father's House". The thousands of scroll fragments and artefacts found in the crevices and caves around the Dead Sea have become a complicated and demanding field of independent scholarship that has brought Jewish and Christian scholars together in a common quest.

As our knowledge of the vital events of first and second century Judaism grows we can now confront some ancient historical myths. Forty years elapsed between the death of Jesus and the Roman destruction of the Temple. Those decades were filled with tumult and discontent in Judea and we now understand that the early Church must have been deeply affected by the approaching storm. For centuries the legend of "the wandering Jew" held that the destruction of the Temple brought about the exile of the Jewish People. We now understand that long before the days of Jesus more Jews lived outside the Land of Israel than within it. Most Christians know about the Jewish centres of Asia Minor from the travels of St Paul. There were major Jewish communities in Egypt and North Africa, and the ancient Jewish community in Mesopotamia remained in close touch with the Jews of Judea and Galilee. However, the Jews constituted a major segment of the population within the Land of Israel for the first six hundred years of the Common Era. During this time Judaism did not stand still. It was forced to endure persecution and discrimination. Judaism was also confronted by the rise of Christianity, its sister religion that cherished the same Scriptures but dealt with them differently. Out of these early centuries major Jewish religious books, biblical translations and commentaries, law codes and collections of legend emerged.

The Jews rebelled against Rome for a second time in the year 132. It was an act of political desperation and must have been motivated by deep eschatological longings. Almost miraculously, the military leader, Shimon bar Kochba held out against the Romans for three years and a desperate populace hailed Bar Kochba as the Messiah. As a consequence of the Bar Kochba rebellion the Romans banned the practice of Judaism. Circumcision was forbidden and the study of the Torah was made an offence worthy of death. Though the bans were later lifted, the aftermath of this Hadrianic persecution on the course of Jewish history was devastating. These two disastrous rebellions against Rome must have eliminated the Ebionite Jerusalem Church and its Jewish practices from the subsequent history of Christianity. Despite all odds Judaism remained an active missionary religion until the Christian conversion of the Roman Empire.

We know that the young Christian Church parted company with Judaism some time between the year 100 and the Bar Kochba rebellion. Traces of these historic links remain within the New Testament, in the use of Midrash, in textual discussion of legal matters concerning divorce and the observance of the Sabbath, and in the emerging liturgy of the Church.

With the collapse of the Bar Kochba rebellion the Romans renamed Jerusalem Aelia Capitolina (Aelia commemorates the Emperor Hadrian's family name and Capitolina, the god Jupiter Capitolinus) and Judea was to be called "Syria-Palaestina", recalling the Philistines who had vanished from history a thousand years before. It is therefore tendentious and inaccurate to describe by the name "Palestine" the land that Jesus knew. Roman control of Judea was absolutely vital for the integrity of the Empire. Judea was (and still is) the land bridge linking Asia Minor with Europe and Africa. Its coast controls the Eastern Mediterranean. Until its repeated devastation by war and neglect its hills and valleys were fertile and highly productive. The western edge of the Parthian Empire lay within a few kilometres east of the River Jordan and the success of the Jewish rebellion would have cut the Roman Empire in two. The war was therefore not the foolhardy venture that it may now seem given the benefit of hindsight. In the first century at least one-tenth of the population of the Roman Empire was Jewish or sympathetic to Judaism. The Temple of Jerusalem was one of the wonders of the ancient world. Millions of Jews throughout the Empire paid an annual tax to maintain the Temple and all would have hoped to visit Jerusalem on pilgrimage at least once in their life. There is no doubt that the Judean rebellion placed the Empire itself in jeopardy.

With the destruction of the Temple the Jewish people entered a new era. The development of the synagogue took the place of the Temple in Jerusalem. The title "rabbi" was introduced in order to designate a new authority structure in which the teachers of tradition replaced the ancient priestly hierarchy. Prayer took the place of the Temple and its sacrificial cult and the daily services of the synagogue were given the names of the sacrifices. The Jewish sectarian movements such as Zealots, Sadduceans and Essenes vanished. Only the Pharisees, the interpreters of the tradition of the Oral and Written Torah, survived. The centre of the Jewish world literally shifted. It moved first to Yavneh and to the academy to the south west of Jerusalem, then to Galilee and, finally, to Babylonia which was beyond the reach of Rome. Hellenistic Judaism, divorced from its Hebrew sources, and persecuted by the Romans, ceased to be a creative part of the evolving Jewish religious civilisation.

In the first years of the third century, Judah the Prince, the head of the academy of Galilee, edited the Mishnah, a massive six-volume collection of rabbinic tradition, law and legend that spanned four centuries of accumulated wisdom and which added to the process of Biblical legislation. The Mishnah would, in turn, become the basis for the extended debates that constitute the Talmud. With the rise of Christianity the open teaching of the Biblical text became fraught with danger. The early sermons of the synagogue were preserved in the Midrash which often deals with the theological issues between the two faiths in a discreet but thoughtful manner. The extensive literature generated by rabbinic Judaism in those early centuries often includes ancient material.

The tractate Pirke Avot, a section of the Mishnah, preserves the teaching of Hillel who was one of the most famous teachers of the first century.

Hillel taught:

Be one of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace like him and pursuing peace like him, loving your fellow human beings and bringing them nearer to the Torah.

A fool cannot fear sin. An ignorant person cannot be pious. A bashful person cannot learn nor an impatient person teach.

A name made great is a name destroyed. He who does not increase his knowledge decreases it. He who makes worldly use of the crown of the Torah shall perish.

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am for myself alone, what am I? And if not now, when?

Do not separate yourself from the community. Do not trust yourself until the day of your death. Do not judge your fellow until you are come into his place. Never say 'When I have leisure I shall study. Perhaps you will never have leisure!'

A more comprehensive treatment of this period is to be found in Peter Connolly, Living in the Time of Jesus of Nazareth, published by Steinmatzky Ltd (P.O. Box 1444, Bnai Brak 51114, Israel). It is a brilliant, clear and illustrated text book for middle high school students.

ContentsJohn S. Levi (Rabbi)

Appendix B

Annotated Bibliography

This bibliography is by no means exhaustive. It is limited, in the main, to those works whose authors exhibit some understanding of the types of issues raised in the Guidelines and who have attended to them.

The reader's attention is drawn, in particular, to the section entitled "Recent Church Statements on Jewish and Christian Relations". These documents, which emanate from individual churches, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, as well as from ecumenical bodies, suggest, by their world-wide provenance, that the matters dealt with in the Guidelines are of the utmost importance.

The final section refers the reader to more extensive bibliographies than the one presented here. The one compiled by Eugene Fisher is without parallel.

Jesus, Judaism and Torah

Charlesworth, James H. Jesus within Judaism. New Light from Exciting Archaeological Discoveries. New York: Doubleday, 1988.

Sub-titles like this are off-putting and offen misleading. This is another important contribution to "Jesus of history" research and few scholars are better equipped than Charlesworth to introduce the reader to the raw material of that research. There is an introductory chapter on the scholarly work in this area in the eighties. This is followed by overviews of what may be learnt from the O.T., Pseudepigraphia, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi Codices, and Josephus. There is an Annotated Bibliography of works published since 1980.

Charlesworth, James H. (ed). Jesus' Jewishness. Exploring the place of Jesus in Early Judaism. New York: Crossroad, 1991 .

This work contains essays by both Jewish and Christian scholars, among them, Geza Vermes ("Jesus the Jew"), John P Meier ("Reflections on Jesus-of-History research today"), Ellis Rivkin ("What crucified Jesus?") and Hans Küng ("Christianity and Judaism"). This is merely a sample of the richness of this volume.

Lee, Bernard J. The Galilean Jewishness of Jesus. Retrieving the Jewish origins of Christianity. New York: Paulist Press, 1988.

The author is a systematic/philosophical theologian who has put his mind to the question of the relatedness of Jesus to the Judaism into which he was born and which he continued to cherish throughout his life. Fr Lee sees Jesus essentially as "the anointed eschatological prophet". This understanding, while putting at risk many traditional Christian interpretations, does offer the possibility of a non-supersessionist Christology.

Sanders, E.P. Jesus and Judaism. London: SCM Press, 1985.

Sanders' intention is to place Jesus firmly within the Judaism of his day; to determine what it is that may confidently be said of Jesus in light of the available evidence; to discern what it was that constituted the intention and programme of Jesus; and why it was that he was put to death. For Sanders there must be a causal connection between the last two. These are all central issues in "Jesus research" and this contribution is essential reading.

Sanders, E.P. Jewish Law from Jesus to the Mishnah. Five studies. London/Philadelphia: SCM Press/Trinity Press International, 1990.

No non-Jewish scholar, certainly in the English-speaking world, is as conversant with the relevant Rabbinic literature as is E.P Sanders. Indeed, very few Christian New Testament scholars evince any sound knowledge of first-century C.E. Judaism let alone expertise in Rabbinic writings. Of particular importance in this contribution of Sanders is the opening chapter, "The Synoptic Jesus and the Law: Conflicts and agreement in comparison with other contemporary debates". By placing the issue of Jesus' attitude to the Torah in the context of the "other contemporary debates", i.e. on Torah interpretation and practice, Sanders is able to make a distinction between those matters where Jesus' disagreement with his contemporaries was of consequence and those where it was not. This is essential reading, not least for scholars.

Vermes, Geza. Jesus the Jew. A Historian's Reading of the Gospels. London: Fontana/Collins, 1976.

Vermes is determined that it is possible to gain insights into the Jesus of history if all the materials available to the historian are utilised. Christian readers may wish to say something more about Jesus than they are presented with in this learned work by the oxford Jewish scholar, Geza Vermes, but they will appreciate the contribution that he has made to this burgeoning part of new Testament (and related) studies.

The Trial and Death of Jesus

Cohn, Haim. The Trial and Death of Jesus. New York: KTAV 1977.

In this exhaustive work by a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel, there is an analysis of both the Jewish and the Roman legal material that bears on the issue. Cohn sees no evidence to support the claim that Jesus was brought before a formal Jewish court. Though difficult to procure, this book is essential reading for anyone who wishes to analyse what it was that did happen and who it was that were responsible.

Rivkin, Ellis. What Crucified Jesus? London: SCM Press, 1984.

No charge against Jews has had a more disastrous effect than that which accuses them of being "Christ-killers" and/or "deicides". "Who killed Jesus?" is not the question, says Rivkin, but rather what was responsible. He answers this in terms of "the Roman imperial system". The procurator was appointed by the Roman Emperor; the High Priest was an appointee of the procurator and it was he who convened the court of trial. Within the space of 80 pages Rivkin pursues this divisive issue eruditely and dispassionately.

Rowland, Christopher. Christian origins. An Account of the Setting and Character of the Most Important Messianic Sect in Judaism. London: SPCK, 1985.

The section on "The arrest and trial of Jesus" is a small part only of this informative book (11 pages in 327). But it raises the central issue of how to read and interpret the varying gospel accounts which contain material written from a later point of view to meet changed circumstances.

The Pharisees

Rivkin, Ellis. The Hidden Revolution. The Pharisees' Search for the Kingdom Within. Nashville: Abingdon, 1978.

This is a necessary corrective to the long transmitted and near intransigent caricature of the Pharisees which has stemmed from an uncritical reading of the New Testament. Rivkin analyses evidence for the Pharisees in the New Testament, the works of Josephus (Jewish historian of the first century C.E.) and the Rabbinic literature.

Schurer, Emil. The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ. Vols I, II and III, 1 and 2. Revised and edited by Geza Vermes, Fergus Millar and others. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1973-1987.

Originally published in 1885 this monumental work on what the author and his contemporaries conceived to be Spätjudentum (Late Judaism) was seen as that hitherto noted religion's epitaph. The anti-Judaistic, if not anti-Jewish bias, has been removed and the whole work thoroughly revised and updated by leading scholars in the field. There is an invaluable Index in III. 2. The section on the Pharisees is in Volume II, pages 381 to 403. The "New Schurer" is an indispensable tool for any serious student of the period.


Callan, Terrance. Forgetting the root. The emergence of Christianity from Judaism. New York: Paulist Press, 1986.

Christianity was born within Judaism. How it emerged from it and finally, and irrevocably, broke with it is a long and complex story. Terrance Callan sees the process as hinging on two crucial points viz. "first, the church's decision that Gentile Christians need not keep the Jewish law; and second, the eventual decline of Jewish membership within the church". This is a small book packed full of scholarly information and interpretation.

McGarry, Michael B. Christology after Auschwitz. New York: Paulist Press, 1977.

McGarry sees the "main condition for fruitful dialogue" as the Christian repudiation of the supersessionist theory, i.e. that the mission of the Jewish people has been taken over by the Church. He subjects Vatican statements to scrutiny in the light of this position. Though written prior to Notes... (1985) this is still a valuable contribution to the attempt to formulate a Christology that is not at the expense of Judaism.

Siker, Jeffrey S. Disinheriting the Jews. Abraham in Early Christian Controversy. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991.

The figure of Abraham, accepted by both Jews and Christians as the father of 0th, is used by Professor Siker to show the way in which the church, step by step, moved away from its initial Jewish setting. Particularly instructive is the closing chapter, "From Gentile inclusion to Jewish exclusion".

Antisemitism and Anti-Judaism

Cohn-Sherbok, Dan. The Crucified Jew. Twenty Centuries of Christian Anti-semitism. London: Harper/Collins, 1992.

A sensitive and informed reading of the history of the church in its western European setting will dispel any doubts about the veracity of the sub-title of this important scholarly survey of the topic. This is the most exhaustive one-volume treatment of the nature, rise, and development of antisemitism.

Flannery, Edward H. The Anguish of the Jews. Twenty-three Centuries of Antisemitism. (Revised and updated). New York: Paulist Press, 1985.

First published in 1964 and now thoroughly revised and updated this is a seminal work. Father Flannery writes of antisemitism as "a tragedy in which Jesus participates, crucified again in the person of His people at the hand of many baptised in His name". So far as Christians and the churches are concerned this book is hard-hitting, precisely because it needs to be. Nothing less than a "change of heart" (Flannery) is necessary.

Klein, Charlotte. Anti-Judaism in Christian Theology. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1978.

A generation or two of Christian priests, ministers and educators have been influenced by the work of such leading European (mainly German) scholars as Dibelius, Schurer, Grundmann, Bultmann, Bornkamm, Noth, Jeremias and von Balthasar. In this work the late Sister Charlotte Klein N.D.S. pinpoints those places where their writings evince clearly misreading and damaging statements on Judaism and Jews. These were made in ignorance, often from bias, and have been absorbed, perpetuated and promulgated. Fortunately, Christian theological scholarship is becoming aware of these distortions but the process needs to be expedited.

General New Testament Studies

Beck, Norman A. Mature Christianity. The Recognition and Repudiation of the Anti-Jewish Polemic of the New Testament. London/ Toronto: Susquehanna University Press/Associated University Press, 1985.

In this important work a noted American Lutheran biblical scholar calls for a cessation to the use of the New Testament which fails to treat seriously the context in which it arose. It is compulsory reading if this issue is to be grappled with seriously.

Charlesworth, James H. Jews and Christians. Exploring the Past. Present, and Future. New York: Crossroad, 1990.

Each paper (with one exception) in this collection was delivered at a gathering of scholars in Philadelphia in May 1987 and is accompanied by discussion. Contributors include J.C. Beker ("The New Testament view of Judaism"), D. Moody Smith ("Judaism and the Gospel of John"), Hans J. Hillerbrand ("Martin Luther and the Jews") and Robert Tosborn ("The Christian blasphemy: A non-Jewish Jesus"). The volume contains some of the best available scholarly work on topics central to Jewish-Christian relations.

Kingsbury, Jack Dean. Conflict in Luke. Jesus. Authorities. Disciples. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991 .

A leading specialist in synoptic gospels studies here presents a literary or narrative approach to Luke. The gospel is a story, central to which, of course, is Jesus. But intertwined with this are the stories of conflict with the Jewish authorities and the (Jewish) disciples. The major conflict is with Israel, the religious authorities at the heart of which is the issue of authority. Towards the end of the gospel this conflict intensifies to the point where Jesus is presented as "taking over" the Temple for the purpose of his teaching. Meanwhile the authorities plot his death. The reading of Kingsbury's work is enhanced if this statement of his is born in mind "...Luke tends to stereotype them [the authorities] as a single group, and his portrait of them is strongly polemical" (p. 105).

Richardson, Peter(ed.). Anti-Judaism in Early Christianity. Vol. I Paul and the Gospels. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 1986.

Wilson, Stephen G. Anti-Judaism in Early Christianity. Vol. 2. Separation and Polemic. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfred Laurier Press, 1986.

These two volumes contain papers delivered at a series of seminars on 'Anti-Judaism in Early Christianity" under the auspices of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies. Volume I contains articles on the state of the question (William Klassen), Paul and the Law in Gal. 23 (Lloyd Gaston), the trial of Jesus (C.P Anderson), anti-Judaism and the passion narrative in Luke - Acts (Gaston) and in the Fourth Gospel (David Granshaw), among others. Volume 2 takes up issues such as anti-Judaism in Hebrews (Klassen), Marcion and the Jews (Stephen Wilson) and Judaism, Christianity and Gnosticism (Alan P Segal). It concludes with Gaston's "Retrospect" which singles out the main topics and attempts to summarise the findings on each.

Sanders, E.P. Paul and Palestinian Judaism. A comparison of Patterns of Religion. London: SCM Press, 1977.

Early in this work Sanders takes to task those influential scholars, among them Bousset, Schurer, Bultmann, Conzelmann and their heirs, who have received uncritically and passed on to their students and readers a view of Judaism which sees it "as a religion of legalistic works-righteousness". This is followed by an examination of the Tannaitic literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls and certain Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphical writings (viz. I Enoch, Jubilees, the Psalms of Solomon and IV Ezra) which provide an understanding of Judaism in terms of what Sanders calls "covenantal nomism" in which "the gift and demand of God were kept in a healthy relationship with each other: i.e. not as in the Christian theological caricature". The second section of the book is devoted to a study of Paul and an examination of where and why his view and that of Judaism differed.

Sanders, Jack T. The Jews in Luke - Acts. London: SCM Press, 1987

On the question of the New Testament presentation of Jews and Judaism attention has mainly centred upon the Fourth Gospel and that of Matthew. It has often been assumed that Luke requires no such specific examination. In this volume Sanders clearly indicates that such is not the case. Luke's presentation of the Pharisees is much more nuanced than that of Matthew and the motive that lies behind that must be scrutinised. Sanders understands the anti-Jewish polemic in Luke - Acts as arising not from the experience of Jewish persecution which he sees, in whatever form it took, as belonging to a time prior to Luke. With Etienne Trocme (though not without certain differences) he holds that the polemic arises over the issue of the inclusion of Gentiles. This arouses the ire of non-Christian Jews and leads to a display of hypocrisy on the part of the Christian Jews. Both are attacked by Luke, for Christianity, though originating in Judaism, is now a Gentile religion.

Stanton, Graham N. A. Gospel for a New People. Studies in Matthew. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1992.

This important work by an authoritative scholar contains several chapters in which issues pertaining to the general area of relationships between Jews and Christians are dealt with, particularly "The Gospel of Matthew and Judaism" (Five) and "Aspects of early Christian-Jewish polemic and apologetic" (Ten). Stanton presents Matthew's community (in Syria?) as seeing itself as a "beleaguered sect" acting with anger and frustration against continued "Jewish rejection of Christian claims" and "Jewish hostility towards the new community". The process of separation of the two is not yet complete. For specialists in N.T studies this will continue the debate about methodology, Redaction Criticism, recent advances in literary and rhetorical criticism and the contribution of the social-scientific perspective. For all readers it will raise the issue of why the gospel is in its present form.

Williamson, Clark M. and Ronald J. Allen. Interpreting Difficult Texts. Anti-Judaism and Christian Preaching. London/Philadelphia: SCM Press/Trinity Press International, 1989.

The authors acknowledge that anti-Judaism has been a frequent ingredient in Christian preaching and that it can be traced back to certain texts within the New Testament itself. Failure to come to terms with this perpetuates teaching and attitudes that continue to be harmful to Jews and to Judaism. The final chapter is entitled "Eliminating Anti-Judaism from Worship". This is a practical contribution to an age-old problem and is essential reading, not least for preachers.

Studies in the General Area of Jewish and Christian Relations

Braybrooke, Marcus. Time to Meet. Towards a deeper Relationship between Jews and Christians. London/Philadelphia: SCM Press/Trinity Press International, 1990.

If you have not read anything in the area of Jewish-Christian relations this is where to begin. The former General Secretary of the British Council of Christians and Jews offers commentary on the major church documents followed by perceptive treatment of all the central topics. This is essential reading.

Fisher, E.J. and Leon Klenicki. In our Time. The Flowering of Jewish-Catholic Dialogue. New York: Paulist Press, 1990.

Contains the official Vatican statements (1965, 1974 and 1985) with an Appendix showing development and clarification since "Nostra Aetate" (n.4). Of great value is an annotated bibliography of works in the field compiled by Eugene Fisher.

Pawlikowski, John T. What are they saying about Christian-Jewish relations? New York: Paulist Press, 1980.

No one is better equipped to answer the question posed by the title than Fr John Pawlikowski. All the major issues are there, and treated with the author's accustomed perceptiveness, though the material now needs to be brought up to date. An annotated bibliography attends to works written up to 1978.

Saperstein, Marc. Moments of Crisis in Jewish-Christian Relations. London: SCM Press, 1989.

The four delineated moments of crisis are: Late Antiquity, the High Middle Ages, the Age of the Reformation, and the modern period up to the Holocaust. A fifth is the present with its "Burdens and opportunities". This is eighty pages of essential reading from an eminent Jewish scholar.

Shermis, Michael and Arthur E. Zannoni (eds). Introduction to Jewish-Christian Relations. New York: Paulist Press, 1991.

Leading scholars in the field write on various topics including the Holocaust a tragedy of Christian history, intermarriage of Jews and Christians, antisemitism or anti-Judaism?, the Land Israel in the dialogue and the theology of religious pluralism. Especially important is Michael Cook's essay on the New Testament and its impact on Jewish-Christian relations.

Wigoder, Geoffrey. Jewish-Christian Relations since the Second World War. Manchester & New York: Manchester University Press,1988.

The General Editor of the Encyclopedia Judaica and an expert in this area has provided here the keenest Jewish commentary on the various church statements.

Wilson, Marvin R. Our Father Abraham. Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith. Grand Rapids, Michigan: WB. Eerdmans, 1989.

It is only in the last decade that the evangelical (or biblically conservative) wing of Protestantism has formally entered the arena of Jewish-Christian relations. Marvin Wilson, Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Gordon College, Wenham, Mass. is at the forefront of this new venture. What he has produced here must be of immediate interest to evangelicals, and must be attended to by them, but its reading public should include Christians of all persuasions. The questions for discussion at the end of each chapter provide an added bonus.

Recent Church Statements on Jewish and Christian Relations

Brockway, Allan & others (editors and commentators). The Theology of the Churches and the Jewish People: Statements by the World Council of Churches and its Member Churches. Geneva: WCC Publications, 1988.

This collection of church documents ranges over the period, 1948 to 1987. An unfortunate omission is the Church of Scotland General Assembly's "Christians and Jews Today" (May 1985). The commentaries are very helpful. Marall>

Croner, Helga (ed.). Stepping Stones to Further Jewish-Christian Relations. London/New York: Stimulus Books, 1977.

Contains almost all the documents issued by the churches, Roman Catholic, Protestant and ecumenical (WCC), from the Second World War to 1975.

Croner, Helga (ed.). More Stepping Stones to Jewish-Christian Relations. New York: Paulist Press, 1985.

This is an updating of Stepping Stones...(1977) and includes documents issued from 1975 to 1983 plus two omissions from the earlier collection. However, with the exception of the statements which emanate from the Vatican, the status of each is unclear. This is an indispensable work for those interested in what has been and is being said on the various topics.

(See also the collection here at this site).


Dacy, Marianne (ed.). Pathways to Understanding: A handbook on Christian-Jewish relations. Melbourne: Victorian Council of Churches, 1994.

Pages 149 to 161 contain the more extensive bibliography upon which this one is based.

Fisher, Eugene J. and Leon Klenicki (eds). In our Time. the Flowering of Jewish-Catholic Dialogue. New York: Paulist Press, 1990.

Chapter V contains an excellent annotated bibliography of works appearing from 1975 to 1989 compiled by Eugene Fisher. It is without equal.

See also

Fisher, Eugene J. "Jewish-Christian Relations 1989 -1993: A Bibliographic Update" in CCAR Journal: A Reform Jewish Quarterly, Winter 1994, pp. 5-33, (and here. New update to summer 1999).

Shermis, Michael. Jewish-Christian Relations. An Annotated Bibliography and Resource Guide. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1988. This comprehensive volume is the definitive work of its kind in the area of Jewish-Christian relations.

Editorial remarks

© Copyright 1994 The Council of Christians and Jews, Victoria