Israeli institute gets $2.2 million to help Christians study Jewish thought

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President of the Herzl Institute Yoram Hazony. Photo courtesy of the Herzl Institute

President of the Herzl Institute Yoram Hazony. Photo courtesy of the Herzl Institute

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(RNS) “This is completely new dialogue, where we look at Old Testament text and rabbinic texts, and Christians are willing to look at Judaism and the Jewish text through Jewish eyes with Jewish lecturers," says Yoram Hazony of the Herzl Institute.

  • Susan

    This is long overdue. Too long Christians have treated Judaism as if the “Old Testament” was the sum total of Judaism and have completely ignored the Midrash, commentary, and Talmud that followed from the Torah. Judaism was seen as being superseded by Christianity and there was nothing to learn from Jewish texts. I think this is an important step. Although I hope that they also continue their learning from non-Orthodox rabbis in Israel or America.

  • david

    Try the website for info on religion.

  • This is wonderful. Much of my teaching and writing centers around what Christians need to know about Judaism. My only concern is that what Christians are learning here seems to be dominated by Orthodox Judaism, which is the minority of the Jewish people worldwide. We need liberal Jews reaching out and building alliances of learning: we represent the vast majority of the Jewish people.

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  • Through our book, Rainbow Covenant: Torah and the Seven Universal Laws, our newsletter, Covenant Connection, website, 1stCovenant, and – one day soon, we hope – programs through our bricks and mortar center here in Michigan, we help students of ALL religious backgrounds become more conscious servants of HaShem. (We’re big fans of Herzl, z’l, and still feature articles from Yoram Hazony’s Shalem Center.)

  • Jack

    This is excellent, but let me add that neither side — Christian or Jewish — fully understands what they’re getting themselves into — ie the revolutionary implications of serious dialogue for both church and synagogue. Both sides have a vested interest in preserving their odd 20-century-old relationship — a kind of unwritten and unspoken agreement which keeps Christians away from adult discussions about their Hebraic roots and Jews away from adult discussions about the Jesus question.

    Real dialogue, in other words, will lead to uncomfortable questions that will threaten both Christianity and Judaism.

  • Jack

    David, the fact that something is a web site doesn’t give it automatic credibility. The idea that Jesus never existed is based on a confusion about what constitutes historical evidence. It’s based on an ignorance of the way historians go about determining what actually happened in the past and what didn’t.

    Simply stated, the view that Jesus never existed is based on a faulty methodology which, if applied to all questions of history, would lead us to question whether almost anyone from the past really existed.

  • Jack

    Let me add that it won’t threaten the core of Christianity or Judaism. What it will do is threaten some of the cherished beliefs of each religion as it developed over the centuries and millennia.

    In other words, if this leads to honest dialogue, both religions will be left standing at the end, but both will have to do some major reassessments.

  • Jack

    The value of non-Orthodox rabbis is, for starters, to debunk the view that Judaism is a complete monolith that began with Moses and went through no changes at all until the modern era. Christians need to understand this.

    But Jews need to understand the same about Christianity.

    The truth is that both religions have gone through many changes — not in their core, but regarding some very important matters nonetheless.

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