Stars in the Night:  Abraham Geiger and Leo Baeck as Precursors of Jewish-Catholic Dialogue

Karl Cardinal Lehmann, President of the German Catholic Bishops' Conference, reviews recent developments in the Christian-Jewish dialogue and explores its indebtedness to two leading figures in Reform Judaism in Germany, Abraham Geiger and Leo Baeck.

Stars in the Night: Abraham Geiger and Leo Baeck as Precursors of Jewish-Catholic Dialogue

Karl Cardinal Lehmann

Address upon receiving the Abraham Geiger Prize from Abraham Geiger College (rabbinical seminary),
University of Potsdam
Berlin, March 20, 2006




Seldom have I been so surprised and honoured as by the decision to award me

the Abraham Geiger Prize. All the greater is my gratitude to those responsible for

the decision, above all the Abraham Geiger College at the University of Potsdam

and its principal, Rabbi Dr. Walter Homolka. I am pleased to be able to briefly

explain what this honour means to me.


Let me begin with the name of the man for whom the prize is named. Abraham

Geiger, who was born on 24 May 1810 in Frankfurt am Main and died on 23

October 1874 in Berlin, is mainly known for his efforts to give shape to liberal

Judaism that arose in the course of the 19th century. He grew up in an orthodox

family and received a traditional Talmudic education. While pursuing his

education, mainly at Bonn University, he showed a growing inclination to

adapt Judaism to the modern age. For him this did not mean a rejection of

Judaism as it had existed in the past, but rather a rediscovery of original

tendencies that he saw in its monotheism and ethics. While the Greeks had

contributed the spirit of philosophy to Western civilization, the Jews had

given the Western world the “religious spirit,” which had provided a firm

foundation for ethics. He was also convinced that over the centuries this

living faith had lost some of its strength as a result of the strict Talmudic focus

on the law. This basic attitude had been cemented by the ghetto imposed on

the Jews through Christian intolerance. We know that Abraham Geiger had

noted such basic attitudes in the conflict between the Pharisees and the

Sadducees.1 Geiger was convinced that the Pharisees had interpreted the Bible

in the spirit of their time, while the Sadducees were caught up in the letter of

the Bible.


Abraham Geiger showed a decided preference in the liturgy for the German

language. Despite a somewhat brusque manner – as shown in his criticism of the

dietary laws, for example – he always adopted a moderate attitude to his own

tradition. “Within the reform movement Geiger occupied a middle-of-the-road

position, mediating between the more radical endeavours of Samuel Holdheim

and Kaufmann Kohler on the one hand, and the conservative, proto-nationalist

groupings represented by Zacharias Frankl and Heinrich Graetz, on the other.”2

Finally, Abraham Geiger was an extremely capable historian, whose research gave

fresh impetus not only into rabbinical Judaism, but also into early Christianity.

Nor is his significance confined to these fields. His works demonstrating the

influence of rabbinical literature on the text of the Koran have just been

reissued. 3 In his view, Islam was not the product of heretical Christian groups,

but a product of Judaism. Judaism, not Christianity, was the foundation of

Western civilization.


In Abraham Geiger’s eyes, Jesus was a liberal Pharisee. He did not see Jesus as

expressing any new ideas. He did not discard any elements of Judaism.

Christianity only really began when Paul obscured the exemplary monotheism of

Jesus’ words and actions by the adoption of heretical thinking. Whatever one

may say about these conclusions today, it cannot be denied that Abraham

Geiger broke significant ground toward research into the historical Jesus –

especially in the context of contemporary Judaism – which has given food

for thought not only to today’s researchers, but also to those engaged in the

Jewish-Christian dialogue.4


Abraham Geiger was an archetypical founding figure who provided a host of

inspiration. This applies particularly to the effect of his prayer book, which

became the basis of the liturgy in Reform communities worldwide. He was

firmly convinced that Judaism had to face up unreservedly to the modern age in

order to survive. It is quite certain that this courage to preserve the past by

engaging in creative dialogue with the present made him one of the great

shapers of Reform Judaism. Hence it was only logical that in 1871, after a long

period of suspicion, he should have been appointed to a post at the Hochschule

für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin. And today it is only right that the

Abraham Geiger College, as that institution's heir, should bear his name. I should

like to close this section by quoting Rabbi Leo Trepp: “It must be emphasized that

Geiger backed his own reforms to the hilt, regarding them as essential to Jews’

survival... Geiger [was] an enthusiastic Jew whose reforms were designed to

reinvigorate Judaism and dissuade Jews from conversion.” 5



The Abraham Geiger College and the Abraham Geiger Prize have manifold links

with the name of one of the greatest rabbis and scholars. I refer to Leo Baeck,

who was born on 23 May 1873 in Lissa (Posen Province) and died on 2 November

1956 in London. Albert Friedlander described him as a “paradigm of German

Judaism in the 20th century.” 6 In the period between the Kaiser’s Germany

and the Nazi dictatorship he was in many respects a figure of paramount

importance, as a rabbi, a scholar and, finally, as a pastor for many who suffered

political persecution. His work Das Wesen des Judentums (The Essence of

Judaism),7 seen mainly as a riposte to Adolf von Harnack’s Das Wesen des

Christentums (The Essence of Christianity),8 established him as an outstanding

interpreter and spokesman of a modern, self-confident Judaism.


Baeck’s life and importance as a scholar cannot be examined in detail here. His

brilliant apologia for the Jewish faith not only gave the Jewish minority cultural

self-confidence in the face of the temptation to convert under the pressure of

anti-Semitism, but also declared Judaism the “religion of the future” by referring

to its religious and ethical superiority. This basic text of 20th century Jewish

liberalism seeks to explain why Judaism became such a great force in world

history and how the latter is inconceivable without it. It is not a particularist

religion of laws, but a profoundly universalist faith. “At the heart of the Jewish

religion there is neither dogma nor religious inwardness, but the moral deed as

a response to God’s will as revealed in the commandment and aimed at justice

in the world.”9 Sometimes Leo Baeck’s focus on the viability of Judaism in

everyday life has been misinterpreted as a fading out of the spiritual. But he was

very well aware of the necessary dimensions of devotion and prayer, the

observance of feast days, and all forms of religious life. Admittedly, he was

imbued with confidence that the fulfilment of God’s will was a real possibility.

Thus Das Wesen des Judentums ends with a rousing call for its “preservation.”

He is concerned with the preservation of Jewish identity, but also with leading

an exemplary life in keeping with the moral and religious ideal upon which alone

this identity rests. “And so indeed Judaism was, and continued to be: the non-antique

in the ancient world, the unmodern in the modern world. Such was to be

the essence of the Jew: history’s great non-conformist, its great dissenter. That

was what he was there for. This was why his struggle for his religion had to be

a struggle for his self-preservation. There was no notion of power in this, but of

the antithesis of power – it was a question not of power, but of individuality, of

personality as laid down by the Eternal Will. It was a question not of power, but

of strength. Jewish existence lived in the world as strength, and strength was


This greatness was demonstrated by Leo Baeck in a very special way when

Germany entered the darkest period in its history. In January 1943 he was

deported to Theresienstadt, where he devoted himself entirely to pastoral tasks.

Until the liberation in 1945 he helped by means of numerous lectures to

strengthen the inmates’ will to survive. It was a unique form of resistance

against the inhumanity of the Nazis. In Theresienstadt he also wrote a book

called Dieses Volk. Jüdische Existenz (This People: Jewish Existence), frequent

revisions of which held up its publication until 1955. It told of the path taken by the Jewish people throughout history and, while painfully aware of the suffering undergone, nevertheless ended with a chapter entitled “Hope.” He could only

reach this conclusion because he believed that God’s covenant with his chosen

people continued to thrive. Its leitmotiv was: “This people is part of a covenant

that embraces all peoples on earth.” The clear conclusion is that Leo Baeck has

a place in the history of 20th century Judaism that can hardly be overestimated.

And yet I have not said anything of his numerous public functions after the war

in London, where he spent the remainder of his life. His great biographer Albert

H. Friedlander writes: “Right from the start Leo Baeck was for me the central

figure who decisively influenced my understanding of Judaism... he became a

witness of how the German Jews descended into the depths of Hell. More than

just a teacher and academic... he was, and remained, a star in the night.”11 Thus

Leo Trepp writes: “Through his steadfastness and courage in the Nazi period Leo

Baeck (1873-1956) has earned an immortal place in Jewish history.”12 Hence it is

only natural that the Central Council of Jews in Germany has been awarding the

Leo Baeck Prize for 50 years, that the headquarters of the Central Council should

be called the “Leo-Baeck-Haus,” and that we are now celebrating the setting up

of the Leo Baeck Foundation, which is to make an important contribution in

support of the Abraham Geiger College.



Leo Baeck has also been a source of inspiration for the Jewish-Christian

dialogue on many different levels. 13 He repeatedly referred to the Jewish roots of

Christian thinking, recognizing Jesus as an important Jewish figure and seeing

the gospels as a part of Jewish history. His characterization of Judaism as the

“classical” and Christianity as the “romantic” religion is a classification which I

am not alone in finding inadequate. But the area marked out by these two terms

is still a wide one. More important and longer-lasting is the inspiration he gave

for a close examination of Christian roots in the context of the Jewish soil from

which they sprang, an inspiration felt even to this day.

Christianity itself is inconceivable without its origins in the people of Israel. One

need only think, for example, of John 4:22: “For salvation is of the Jews.” And the

well-known passages in chapters 9-11 of the Epistle to the Romans which state

quite clearly: “Thou bearest not the root, but the root thee” (Romans 11:18).

Incidentally, one can neither delete nor ignore the New Testament passages that

are critical of the Jews. They need careful interpretation today. The Holocaust

undeniably opened our eyes once more to anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism.

It changed the perception of biblical texts, thus exerting an important

hermeneutical function in the process of interpreting these texts. The whole

history of the estrangement between the Church and Judaism is a burden which

today’s churches cannot simply shake off. The weight of history is too great.

Anti-Semitism remains a problem.

Despite many birth pangs the Second Vatican Council succeeded in issuing an

epoch-making text on the relationship between Judaism and the Church in its

declaration entitled Nostra Aetate. In the period following the Second World War

and the horrors of National Socialism there was an urgent need for a change of

course by the Church and it was undeniably the popes themselves who pushed

ahead with this project. On Good Friday 1959, John XXIII had offensive words

deleted from the so-called “Great Intercessions.” Anti-Semitism was to be

condemned for its Christian roots in an admission of guilt by the Church; a

positive doctrinal statement was to put an end to the Church’s ignoring of Israel.

At the same time there was no denying the fundamental difference whereby

the Christians believed the Messiah had already come in the person of Jesus,

whereas the Jews still awaited his coming.

A wide range of intensive activities was undertaken, not least in Pope John Paul

II’s great admission of guilt in the year 2000. This also applied to the

German-speaking area, a fact which is well documented. The dialogue needs to

be systematically continued, although I cannot go into any more detail on this

now. 14

The pre-eminence of the Jewish-Christian dialogue is explained by the reasons I

have already given. The Jews are our elder brothers. We cannot forget what Christians have done to them. That is the reason why – quite apart from the ecumenical movement within the church – this dialogue continues to enjoy a

high priority in the debate between faiths. I believe that the Second Vatican

Council’s reform of the liturgy has been a great help here. The Great Intercessions

for Good Friday now say: “Let us also pray for the Jews, to whom God, our Lord,

first spoke. May He preserve them in the allegiance to His covenant and in the

love of His name, so that they may reach the aim to which His will shall lead

them... hear the prayer of Thy Church for the people which Thou first chose as

Thine own: Grant that it attain the fullness of redemption.”


I have already mentioned the Council Declaration Nostra Aetate, although I

cannot deal with it in any greater detail here. 15 It was followed by many similar

declarations, such as the Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the

Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate, Article 4 of 1 December 1974 and Notes on

the Correct Way to Present Jews and Judaism in Teaching and Preaching in the

Catholic Church of 24 June 1985, both issued by the Vatican Commission for

Religious Relations with the Jews. I should also like to draw attention to three

documents from the German-speaking area: Unsere Hoffnung (Our Hope),

Resolution of the Joint Synod of Dioceses in the Federal Republic of Germany, 22

November 1975 (Part IV. 2); Theologische Schwerpunkte des jüdisch-christlichen

Gesprächs (Key Theological Issues of the Jewish-Christian Dialogue), working

paper of the Jewish-Christian Forum of the Central Committee of German

Catholics, 8 May 1979; Über das Verhältnis der Kirche zum Judentum (On the

Church's Relationship to Judaism), Declaration of the German Bishops, 28 April

1980.16 In these texts, 17 which also include a declaration by the French bishops

from the year 1973, the above-mentioned perspectives are repeated, confirmed and reinforced. The Church no longer defines its own existence polemically in opposition to Israel or from a position of aloofness. It recognizes the origins of

its own faith and its own election in the patriarchs, Moses and the prophets.

There is frequent resort to the image of the olive tree (cf. Romans 11). The image

of the peace of Christ from Ephesians, chapter 2, where Christ reconciles Jews

and heathens into one body by the cross, plays a major role. In future there can

be no religious or theological self-definition of the Church at the expense of the

people of Israel, but only the recognition of a fundamental and enduring

“spiritual bond.” Despite their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah, the Jews are still

loved by God. It cannot be concluded from the fact that the Church sees itself as

the “new people of God” that the Jews have been rejected or cursed by God. The

errors arising out of vulgar theology are being put right. The Church deplores all

outbursts of hatred and manifestations of anti-Semitism. Mutual acquaintance

and esteem must be deepened by theological studies and a dialogue between

brothers. Jews and Christians are joined by their orientation towards the future.

Together with the prophets, the Church awaits the Lord’s Day, which is known

only to God and on which all peoples shall praise and call upon God with one

voice. There is an increasing tendency to discuss the Catholic Church’s own share

of guilt. It is not just a question of expressing regret, but of really condemning

what went wrong.


In recent years the German bishops have supplemented these aspects, the

absence of which has often been deplored. Allow me to quote the bishops’

statement on the relationship between Christians and Jews issued on 20

October 1988, the 50th anniversary of the pogroms of November 1938 (a joint

publication of the Berlin Bishops’ Conference, the German Bishops’ Conference,

and the Austrian Bishops’ Conference on 20 October 198818). The 50th

anniversary of the end of the Second World War in 1995 provided an occasion to

recall many of the prejudices and hostile attitudes which led to the catastrophe.

In January 1995, a declaration on the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the

Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was published, which corresponded

to a declaration of the Polish Bishops’ Conference on the same date. These

declarations left no doubt as to the complicity of Christians and the Church. The

relationship between Christians and Jews was placed in a larger context in the

statement of the German bishops of 24 April 1995 commemorating the end of the Second World War fifty years earlier. Some key issues were reaffirmed and summarized in an ecumenical declaration issued jointly with the Evangelical

Church in Germany (EKD) on 8 May 1995. Similar utterances are to be found in

numerous declarations issued on 8 May 2005.


Reference was made deliberately to an “initial breakthrough,” which applied –

and continues to apply – to many fields and disciplines. Hence one may proceed

on the assumption that a genuinely new epoch has been entered into, with no

possibility of returning to what preceded it. Undoubtedly, a lot still has to be

done to consolidate and expand this initial breakthrough. I am quite convinced

that in the course of the reception process – not across the board but in

isolated cases – there will be stagnation, and perhaps occasional setbacks even.

Of course we will have to go more deeply into the question of how far the

churches were complicit in the terrible events of the Shoah. The overall

situation will have to be described in a more nuanced way than has been

possible hitherto. Oppression and persecution are not the inevitable products

of interpreting the Holy Scriptures. But the actual chain of historical events

strengthened the disposition to hate Jews. “In this way anti-Semitism is a

treasured souvenir of Christianity even in places where Christianity has been

rejected, and the consequence of this for us is that, in pursuit of its political

aims, the Nazi regime was well able to exploit the anti-Semitism practised and

disseminated by Christianity for centuries, while not hesitating to undermine the

Church and those who had faith in it and to oppress them in their turn.”19


Fundamental theological issues remain, such as a more subtly differentiated

definition of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. The

traditional definitions are scarcely adequate to describe the changed

relationship between Judaism and the Church. Here we have Erich Zenger to

thank for providing important pointers. 20 A more precise theological clarification

of the relationship between Israel and the Church raises difficult questions. How

are we to speak of them both? They certainly are not just two institutions. Nor

can they be understood in terms of a permanent opposition. What is the

special task of the Jewish people in God’s plan? One cannot just talk of two

parallel paths to salvation. All this moves some, especially in evangelical circles,

to pose the question of the “Jewish mission.”21 Finally it should be mentioned that the Jewish-Christian dialogue has also led to a new form of cooperation based on biblically inspired ethics, which basically concerns the themes of

justice and the preservation of creation, peace and care for life, and especially

support for human rights.


There are still a number of key issues that have not been gone into with

sufficient thoroughness. Let me mention just three complexes: the Messiah

question, the unique nature of Jesus as the son of God, and the question of law.22


The “initial breakthrough” has certainly enabled us to be more relaxed about

making critical remarks in a way that would not have been possible in the past.

In the face of growing secularisation we would wish for us all to take part in an

intensive debate on the question of God. It goes without saying that we can

neither gloss over the prehistory of Auschwitz nor can we take refuge in the end

of history in order to relativise Auschwitz. Here it really is a matter of “theology

after Auschwitz.”23 This brings us to a discussion of the meaning of religion



I should like to close with a quotation on the “common path of Jews and

Christians” from a document issued in 1979 by the Central Committee of German

Catholics under the title “Key Theological Issues of the Jewish-Christian

Dialogue.” This document seems to me to be ground-breaking with regard to

both substance and method: “The mutual respect for the path of the other is

thus inseparably bound up with considerable divergences in the view of Jesus –

whether or not he was the Messiah of God. But this forces neither Jews nor

Christians to dissolve the fundamental bonds imposed by God’s will once one

has heeded His call. For this reason Jews and Christians are fundamentally

barred from trying to persuade each other to be untrue to the call of God they

have heard. This denial is not just based on tactical considerations. Nor is it

just a matter of humane tolerance or respect for religious freedom. The most

fundamental reason is that Jews and Christians feel themselves called by the

same God. Christians’ faith does not allow them to refrain from bearing witness

to Jesus as the Christ even in dealings with Jews. Jews’ faith does not allow them to refrain from stressing the fact, even in dealings with Christians, that the Torah cannot be superseded. This gives rise to the hope that this witness could

reinforce the other’s faithfulness to the call of God and thus deepen mutual

understanding. On the other hand, it should not include the expectation that the

other should take back or modify his affirmation of the call.”24


An intensification of the Jewish-Christian dialogue, such as we hope to see in

our country following the recent setting up of the Rabbis’ Conference, will not

only support and reaffirm the common biblical witness, but may stimulate a new

interest in some topics concerning the Holy Scriptures and our faith-based

communities. So far, mainly because of the efforts of the two major churches,

the focus has been on the inner-Christian ecumenical dialogue. This was

absolutely necessary and must, of course, continue. But it may be that this

concentration has allowed some aspects of the common biblical tradition to

be relegated to the background. I am thinking, for example, of the fruitful

preoccupation with the major issue of justification. But now, in view of this

document, it is surely time for us to occupy ourselves once again with the

questions of the Decalogue and the law, of God’s edict as the path to life. We

shall impoverish ourselves if we fail to do so. The same applies to the issues of

creation and peace. They also help us to anchor faith in an appropriate manner

in everyday social reality. A recurrent theme of the discussions with Franz

Rosenzweig and Emanuel Levinas was the important and positive – as I would

call it – observation that the dialogue between Christianity and Judaism can

also save Christianity from surrendering to gnosis.25


To intensify the dialogue we now have an important document in the shape of

a Jewish commentary on Christians and Christianity entitled "Dabru Emet – Speak

the Truth", published in the USA on 11 September 2000.26 This document could

become an important guide as the dialogue gains in intensity.


Under the leadership of its principal, Rabbi Dr. Walter Homolka, the Abraham

Geiger College has been pursuing a broad programme of cooperation for some

time now. This includes symposia – to be held in October 2006 in Rome – on

the questions of the origin and function of law in biblical religion, and the

appointment of a Catholic theologian – Professor Heinz-Günther Schöttler from

Bamberg – as Ephraim Veitel lecturer in homiletics at the Abraham Geiger



It is in the context of these promising moves that I see today’s presentation of

the Abraham Geiger Prize. I thank you once again for this award, which I regard

as both an honour and an obligation. I can find a place for myself among the

efforts that are being made. Permit me to conclude with a quotation from the

Jewish religious philosopher Emil L. Fackenheim, who was awarded the prize in

2002: “Do the gentiles understand? Some do, and therein lies hope, not only for

Israel, but also for the nations.” 27



  1. Cf. his main work: Urschrift und Übersetzungen der Bibel in ihrer Abhängigkeit von der inneren Entwicklung des Judenthums, Breslau, 1857, 2nd ed. Frankfurt, 1928; cf. esp. L. Geiger, Abraham Geiger. Leben und Lebenswerk, Berlin, 1910, reprinted Berlin, 2001; Susannah Heschel, Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus, Chicago, 1998 and the same author’s Abraham Geiger, in Metzler Lexikon jüdischer Philosophen. Philosophisches Denken des Judentums von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, edited by A. B. Kilcher et al., Stuttgart, 2003, pp. 244-247 (bibliography).
  2. S. Heschel, Abraham Geiger, p. 246.
  3. Cf. Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthum aufgenommen? Edited and with an introduction by F. Niwöhner, Berlin, 2005 (originally published in Wiesbaden, 1833); see also the extensive review by A. Kilcher in the Neue Züricher Zeitung of 20 August 2005 (No. 193), p. 47, entitled “Jüdische Quellen des Korans. Eine philologische Pionierarbeit aus dem 19. Jahrhundert”.
  4. Cf. E. L. Ehrlich und der christlich-jüdische Dialog, ed. by R. Vogel, Frankfurt, 1984.
  5. Geschichte der deutschen Juden, Stuttgart, 1996, p. 153.
  6. Cf. the Werke in six volumes edited by A. H. Friedlander (Gütersloh, 1996-2003); also A. H. Friedlander, Leo Baeck. Leben und Lehre, Stuttgart, 1973; E. L. Ehrlich, Leo Baeck, in H. Erler/E. L. Ehrlich (eds.), Judentum verstehen. Die Aktualität jüdischen Denkens von Maimonides bis Hannah Arendt, Frankfurt, 2002, pp. 147-167; W. Homolka, Leo Baeck. Jüdisches Denken – Perspektiven für heute, Freiburg i. Br., 2006 (cf. also bibliographical references on p. 149); Chr. Wiese, Leo Baeck, in Metzler Lexikon jüdischer Philosophen, pp. 328-332. See also the individual editions of L. Baeck, Das Wesen des Judentums, 6th ed. Wiesbaden (n.d.); Epochen der jüdischen Geschichte, Stuttgart, 1974; Aus drei Jahrtausenden, Berlin, 1938, Tübingen, 1958.
  7. Darmstadt, 1905, revised ed. 1921; reprint of the 6th ed. Wiesbaden (n.d.)
  8. Leipzig, 1900. Regarding the later editions see that of Claus-Dieter Osthövener, Tübingen, 2005, and W. Homolka, Jüdische Identität in der modernen Welt. Leo Baeck und der deutsche Protestantismus, Gütersloh, 1994; W. Licharz (ed.), Leo Baeck – Lehrer und Helfer in schwerer Zeit, Frankfurt, 1983.
  9. Chr. Wiese, Leo Baeck, p. 330.
  10. Das Wesen des Judentums, p. 291 et seq.
  11. A. H. Friedlander, Das Ende der Nacht. Jüdische und christliche Denker nach dem Holocaust, Gütersloh, 1995, p. 137 et seq.
  12. Geschichte der deutschen Juden, p. 216. For the larger context cf. W. Stegmaier (ed.), Die philosophische Aktualität der jüdischen Tradition, Frankfurt, 2000.
  13. In addition to the quoted literature cf. R. Mayer, Christentum und Judentum in der Schau Leo Baecks, Stuttgart, 1961; M. A. Meyer, Antwort auf die Moderne. Geschichte der Reformbewegung im Judentum, Vienna, 2000; L. Baeck, Zwischen Geheimnis und Gebot. Auf dem Weg zu einem progressiven Judentum der Moderne = Herenalber Forum, Tagungsband 19, Karlsruhe, 1997; W. Jacob, Christianity Through Jewish Eyes: The Quest for Common Ground, Cincinnati, 1974.
  14. Cf. H. Heinz (ed.), Um Gottes willen miteinander verbunden. Der Gesprächskreis “Juden und Christen” beim Zentralkomitee der deutschen Katholiken, Münster, 2004; E. Dirscherl/W. Trutwin (eds.), Redet Wahrheit – Dabru Emet. Jüdisch-christliches Gespräch über Gott, Messias und Dekalog, Münster, 2004 (see especially the bibliography on p. 131 et seq.).
  15. Cf. e.g. Vom Vorrang des jüdisch-christlichen Gesprächs im interreligiösen Dialog, Address to the state parliament of Rhineland-Palatinate in cooperation with the Speaker of the Parliament and the Jewish community, Mainz, 30 June 2005; Die katholische Kirche und das Judentum – 40 Jahre nach Nostra Aetate. Paper given on the occasion of the anniversary “Nostra Aetate – Ein folgenreicher Konzilstext. Die Haltung der Kirche 40 Jahre danach”, marked on 28 October 2005 in the August-Pieper-Haus in Aachen and organized by the Episcopal Academy of the Aachen diocese in cooperation with the “Fragen des Judentum (Questions of Judaism)” working group of the Ecumenical Commission of the German Bishops’ Conference. Both texts are being printed.
  16. Klemens Richter (ed.), Die katholische Kirche und das Judentum. Dokumente von 1945-1982. With commentaries by Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich and Erich Zenger, Freiburg, 1982.
  17. See also: Hanspeter Heinz (ed.), Um Gottes willen miteinander verbunden. Der Gesprächskreis “Juden und Christen” beim Zentralkomitee der deutschen Katholiken, Münster, 2004; and Zentralkomitee der deutschen Katholiken (ed.), Juden und Christen in Deutschland. Verantwortete Zeitgenossenschaft in einer pluralen Gesellschaft. Declaration of the Jewish-Christian Forum of the Central Committee of the German Catholics, 13 April 2005, Bonn (n.d.) (2005).
  18. Cf. the publication of the joint text in No. 43 of the Veröffentichungen der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, Bonn (n.d.)
  19. Leonard H. Ehrlich, Fraglichkeit der jüdischen Existenz, Freiburg, 1993, p. 173 et seq.
  20. Erich Zenger, Das Erste Testament. Die jüdische Bibel und die Christen, 4th ed., Düsseldorf, 1994; Erich Zenger, Der Neue Bund im Alten. Zur Bundestheologie der beiden Testamente = QD 146, Freiburg, 1993.
  21. Heinz Kremers / Erich Lubahn (eds.), Mission an Israel in heilsgeschichtlicher Sicht, Neukirchen, 1985.
  22. Cf. Clemens Thoma, Das Messiasprojekt. Theologie jüdisch-christlicher Begegnung, Augsburg, 1994.
  23. Franz Mussner, Dieses Geschlecht wird nicht vergehen, cf. pp. 175 -184; Gabriele Niekamp, Christologie “nach Auschwitz”. Kritische Bilanz für die Religions-didaktik aus dem christlich-jüdischen Dialog, Freiburg, 1994. Cf. K. Lehmann, Über die Einzigartigkeit des Holocaust. Anmerkungen zu einem Schlüsselthema im deutsch-jüdischen und im jüdisch-christlichen Gespräch. Address to a ceremonial session of the Akademie gemeinnütziger Wissenschaften zu Erfurt, Erfurt, 11 June 2005.
  24. Rendtorff / Henrix (eds.), Die Kirche und das Judentum, p. 257.
  25. Cf. Zeitgewinn. Messianisches Denken nach Franz Rosenzweig, ed. by G. Fuchs and H. H. Henrix, Frankfurt, 1987, pp. 163-183.
  26. See the text and commentary by H. Frankemölle (ed.), Juden und Christen im Gespräch über Dabru Emet – Redet Wahrheit, Paderborn/Frankfurt, 2005 (esp. pp. 39-44); and H. Frankmölle (ed.), Christen und Juden gemeinsam ins Dritte Jahrtausend, Paderborn/Frankfurt, 2001. I would also draw attention to the numerous contributions to the “Freiburger Rundbrief (Freiburg Circular)” in recent years; cf. also E. Dirscherl/W. Trutwin (eds.), Redet Wahrheit – Dabru Emet. Jüdisch-christliches Gespräch über Gott, Messias und Dialog = Forum Christen und Juden 4, Münster 2004; E. Dirscherl et al. (ed.), Einander zugewandt. Die Rezeption des christlich- jüdischen Dialogs in der Dogmatik, Paderborn, 2005; H. H. Henrix, Gottes Ja zu Israel. Ökumenische Studien christlicher Theologie, Aachen, 2005, and Judentum und Christentum. Gemeinschaft wider Willen, Kevelaer, 2004.
  27. Was ist Judentum? Eine Deutung für die Gegenwart, Berlin, 1999.




Editorial remarks

Karl Cardinal Lehmann is Bishop of Mainz and President of the German

Bishops' Conference of the Roman Catholic Church