Jewish Theology and World Religions

BookJewish Theology and World Religions

Jewish Theology and World Religions

Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

2012

April 5th, 2012

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Two of the most pervasive aspects of modern Jewish life are interaction with people of other faiths and exposure to their beliefs to a degree unknown in the past. Jewish thinking regarding other religions has not succeeded in keeping pace with the contemporary realities that regularly confront most Jews, nor has it adequately assimilated the ways in which other religions have changed their teachings about Jews and Judaism. Many Jews who grapple with Jewish tradition in the contemporary world want to know how Judaism sees today’s non-Jewish other in order to affirm itself. Re-examining Jewish tradition, they seek guidance in understanding their interfaith relationships in the light of a Jewish religious mission. Jewish Theology and World Religions advances this conversation, exploring critical issues that Jews and Jewish thought face when relating to Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. It also analyses the philosophical issues raised by pluralism, non-exclusive approaches to religious truth, and appreciating the religious other.
The contributors to this volume represent a range of disciplines and denominations within Judaism and share the conviction that articulating contemporary Jewish views of other world religions is an urgent objective for Judaism. Their essays show why formulating a Jewish theology of world religions is a priority for Jewish thinkers and educators concerned with reinvigorating Judaism's contribution to the contemporary world, and how it coheres with maintaining Jewish identity and continuity.

Reviews

'An indispensable title for graduate and undergraduate programmes emphasizing world religions and interfaith/interreligious dialogue . . . Highly recommended.'
R.A. Boisclair, Choice

'These skilfully edited essays are rich food for reflection and future work . . . It is this kind of creative thinking—regardless of past historical experiences and the foundational texts of the Jewish religious tradition . . . that might well prove a substantial breakthrough in both the present and the future for all religious communities in contact with each other . . . Goshen-Gottstein and Korn are to be commended for assembling the scholars initially in a conference and joining them together in this volume. One hopes that this project is only the beginning of several volumes addressing the multitude of questions, observation, and insights raised herein.'
Steven L. Jacobs, H-Judaic

'Superb . . . nothing less than a conspectus of the critical issues that Jews face when relating to Christians and Muslims—and, yes, to Buddhists and Hindus as well . . . Rare is the anthology of essays that holds together thematically, but this book is a happy exception—well organized, with the essays carefully curated. It moves seamlessly from a general discussion of Jewish philosophical perspectives on pluralism to empirical treatments of Judaism and the “Other” to a series of culminating essays on Judaism and Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism . . . breaks new ground in our understanding of other faiths from a Jewish perspective . For this contribution, theologians, halakhists, religious communal leadership, and lay readers should offer prayers of thanksgiving.'
Jerome A. Chanes, Jewish Ideas Daily

'Every so often a book comes along that clarifies something you've been thinking about but which has never presented a clear path to understanding. This is one of those happy occurrences. If you've been wondering how Judaism relates to the other great religions of the world, and how this religious pluralism affects contemporary Jews and their sense of identity, [this book] is the place to look . . . The two editors of this volume hold outstanding credentials . . . the writing is solid and the ideas accessible.'
Linda F. Burghardt, Jewish Book World

'The rich volume under review portrays theological reflections on Jewish identity, Jewish norms concerning other religions, and Jewish relations with non-Jewish “others” . . . also new perspectives are offered and there is a sincere search of possible inspiration from other religions.'
Ephraim Meir, Modern Judaism

'The rudiments of Jewish theology were established in the biblical, Talmudic, and medieval eras, yet, while the world has substantially progressed from those times, Orthodox Jewish theology has not. Goshen-Gottstein and Korn recognized this dilemma, and responded to it by compiling a thorough and much needed work of Orthodox interfaith theology that addresses twenty-first century Jews. The multiple contributors in this volume each acknowledge that interfaith relationships are profoundly different than they were in the medieval era, and have constructed interfaith theologies in accord with this new reality . . . a Jewish theology of Eastern religions had been keenly lacking, and it is presented here in a sensitive fashion.'
Daniel Ross Goodman, Religious Studies Review

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About The Author

Alon Goshen Gottstein is the founder and director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute, and director of the Center for the Study of Rabbinic Thought at Bet Morasha, Jerusalem. Eugene Korn is academic director of the Center for Jewish–Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Efrat, where he is co-director of the Institute for Theological Inquiry. He is editor of 'Meorot: A Forum for Modern Orthodox Discourse.'

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover1
Contents14
Note on Transliteration16
Towards a Jewish Theology of World Religions: Framing the Issues18
PART I: PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES ON JEWISH PLURALISM56
1. Jewish Views ofWorld Religions: Four Models58
2. Justifying Interreligious Pluralism78
3. Pluralism out of the Sources of Judaism: The Quest for Religious Pluralism without Relativism104
4. Respectful Disagreement: A Response to Raphael Jospe140
PART II: JUDAISM AND THE OTHER152
5. Can Another Religion Be Seen as the Other?154
6. The Violence of the Neutral in Interfaith Relations166
7. Jewish Liturgical Memory and the Non-Jew: Past Realities and Future Possibilities184
PART III: JUDAISM AND WORLD RELIGIONS204
8. Rethinking Christianity: Rabbinic Positions and Possibilities206
9. Maimonides’ Treatment of Christianity and its Normative Implications234
10. The Banished Brother: Islam in Jewish Thought and Faith252
11. Encountering Hinduism: Thinking Through Avodah Zarah280
12. Judaism and Buddhism: A Jewish Approach to a Godless Religion316
Concluding Reflections334
Notes on the Contributors346
Index348
A348
B349
C349
D350
E350
F351
G351
H351
I352
J353
K354
L354
M355
N356
O356
P357
Q357
R358
S358
T359
U360
V360
W360
X361
Y361
Z361