Complexities of current Jewish-Christian dialogue highlighted

By agency reporter
January 9, 2013

Core religious issues of Jewish-Christian relations intertwine with complex current political realities, says Dr Clare Amos, programme coordinator for inter-religious dialogue and cooperation at the World Council of Churches (WCC).

The just-published issue of Current Dialogue, 53, edited by Amos, explores the ramifications of Jewish-Christian dialogue for Christian self-understanding.

The issue has been developed from papers offered in June 2010 in Istanbul, at a consultation organised by Amos’s predecessor, the Rev Dr Shanta Premawardhana, who now serves as president of the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education in Chicago, United States.

The meeting itself, its introduction recounts, “brought together Protestant and Catholic theologians from Germany, other parts of Europe, and the USA who work intensively on Jewish Christian dialogue concerns, to engage in conversation with Middle Eastern and Orthodox theologians. In a significant and unusual development, there were also three Jewish observers present.”

It was also apparent during the course of the gathering that theological reflection by Christians in this field cannot be entirely separated from political pressures and concerns relating to the Middle East, said Dr Amos, and the publication reflects that reality.

Moreover, says Clare Amos, “there is the fundamental question of the relationship between Christianity and Judaism – what can briefly be summed up as the question of ‘supersessionism’ or ‘replacement theology.’ It was obvious at our meeting that the Christian world does not yet speak with one voice on this issue.”

Along with Amos and Premawardhana, feature contributors include Philip A. Cunningham, Bernd Schröder, Robert O. Smith, Demetrios E. Tonias, and Jesper Svartvik, as well as a host of specific denominational and regional perspectives.

* The issue is available online at www.oikoumene.org/current-dialogue.

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