T. Frymer-Kensky, D. Novak, P. Ochs, D. F. Sandmel and M. A. Signer, eds., Christianity in Jewish Terms

T. Frymer-Kensky, D. Novak, P. Ochs, D. F. Sandmel and M. A. Signer, eds., Christianity in Jewish Terms. Boulder, Colorado, and Oxford, England: Westview Press, 2000

Christianity in Jewish Terms

Edited by Tikva Frymer-Kensky, David Novak, Peter Ochs, David Fox Sandmel, and Michael A. Signer.

Westview Press (Boulder, Colorado, and Oxford, England), 2000. xxii+438 pp., $30.00 or £21.99

A volume edited by the authors of Dabru Emet: A Jewish Statement on Christians and Christianity. The book is divided into ten chapters, each of which features an essay by a Jewish scholar that explores a particular aspect of Christian thought from a Jewish point of view. Following each essay are responses by a second Jewish scholar and by a Christian scholar. See full Table of Contents below.

Over the past few decades there has been a dramatic and unprecedented shift in Jewish and Christian relations. Throughout the nearly two millennia of Jewish exile, Christian theologians and clerics have tended to characterize Judaism as a failed religion or, at best, a religion that prepared the way for Christianity and that is completed in and replaced by Christianity. In the four decades since the Holocaust, however, Christianity has changed dramatically. Both individual theologians and, then, an increasing number of official church bodies, both Catholic and Protestant, have made public statements of their remorse about Christian mistreatment of Jews and Judaism over the last two millennia. These statements have declared, furthermore, that Christian theologies, liturgies, and Bible teachings can and must be reformed so that they acknowledge God’s enduring covenant with theJewish people and celebrate the contribution of Judaism to world civilization and to Christian faith itself.

Most Jews have experienced the profound social consequences of this change in Christian beliefs, but few Jews are aware of the religious sources of the change, and even fewer seek to assess its impact on Jewish life today and in the future. The Jewish authors and editors of this book believe it is high time to acknowledge these recent changes in Christianity and to examine their implications for Jewish life in the Western world. In this volume, we begin the process of examination by taking a careful second look at Christian religious belief – as it has been since the early centuries of the Christian era and as it has become in the last few decades.

From the Preface

Review by William S. Campbell, University of Wales

Précis by Jay Cooper Rochelle, Allentown, Pennsylvania


1. Introduction: What to Seek and What to Avoid in Jewish-Christian Dialogue, David Novak

2. Christian-Jewish Interactions over the Ages, Robert Chazan

3. The Shoah and the Legacy of Anti-Semitism

Judaism, Christianity, and Partnership After the Twentieth Century, Irving Greenberg

Christian Theology After the Shoah, Christopher M. Leighton

4. God

The God of Jews and Christians, Peter Ochs

A Jewish View of the Christian God: Some Cautionary and Hopeful Remarks, David Ellenson

God as Trinitarian: A Christian Response to Peter Ochs, David Tracy

5. Scripture

Searching the Scriptures: Jews, Christians, and the Book, Michael A. Signer

The Writings and Reception of Philo of Alexandria, Hindy Najman

Postmodern Hermeneutics and Jewish-Christian Dialogue: A Case Study, George Lindbeck

6. Commandment

Mitsvah, David Novak

Another Jewish View of Ethics, Christian and Jewish, Elliot N. Dorff

Christian Ethics in Jewish Terms: A Response to David Novak, Stanley Hauerwas

7. Israel

Judaism and Christianity: Covenants of Redemption, Irving Greenberg

Israel, Judaism, and Christianity, David Fox Sandmel

Israel and the Church: A Christian Response to Irving Greenberg’s Covenantal Pluralism, R. Kendall Soulen

8. Worship

Jewish and Christian Liturgy, Lawrence A. Hoffman

Liturgy and Sensory Experience, Ruth Langer

Christian Worship: An Affair of Things as well as Words, Robert Louis Wilken

9. Suffering

On the Suffering of God’s Chosen: Christian Views in Jewish Terms, Leora Batnitzky

Suspicions of Suffering, Robert Gibbs

The Meaning and Value of Suffering: A Christian Response to Leora Batnitzky, John C. Cavadini

10. Embodiment

Judaism and Incarnation: The Imaginal Body of God, Elliot R. Wolfson

The Christian Doctrine of the Incarnation, Randi Rashkover

Embodiment and Incarnation: A Response to Elliot Wolfson, Susan A. Ross

11. Redemption

How Ought a Jew View Christian Beliefs About Redemption? Menachem Kellner

Redemption: What I Have Learned from Christians, Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer

A Christian View of Redemption, Clark Williamson

12. Sin and Repentance

"Turn Us to You and We Shall Return": Original Sin, Atonement, and Redemption in Jewish Terms, Steven Kepnes

Exile and Return in a World of Injustice: A Response to Steven Kepnes, Laurie Zoloth

The Lamb of God and the Sin of the World, Miroslav Volf

13. Image of God

The Image: Religious Anthropology in Judaism and Christianity, Tikva Frymer-Kensky

Tselem: Toward an Anthropopathic Theology of Image, David R. Blumenthal

The Image of God in Christian Faith: Vocation, Dignity, and Redemption, William Schweiker

Epilogue: Concluding Visions

What of the Future? A Christian Response, George Lindbeck

What of the Future? A Jewish Response, Tikva Frymer-Kensky, David Novak, Peter Ochs, David Fox Sandmel, Michael A. Signer

Note: a companion volume, Irreconcilable Differences?, also co-authored by Jewish and Christian scholars, is a learning resource designed for college and university courses and adult learners.

Editorial remarks

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 served as 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 the University of Notre Dame