Judaism and Christianity Page 15...

A signally important work for anyone seriously concerned with Judaism or Christianity. It may prove to be a seminal work, a work that is interesting to both Jews and Christians. No doubt, it has faults, but a lack of nobility is not one of them.

6 Judaism and Christianity What is Christianity? Baeck’s thought was polemical from the beginning, and the central theme from begin-ning to end is his polemic against Christianity. It might be fashionable to slur over this truth and to misrepresent the facts ever so slightly by saying that he wanted to reopen a dialogue between Judaism and Christianity, as if he had wanted to restore Judaism to the role of an equal partner. With his staggering polite-ness, he might even have put the matter that way him-self. It is told that in his homiletics class he would of-ten begin his comments on a trial sermon: “ It was wonderful.” But after some generous compliments he would proceed, “ If I may say just one thing”— and rip the sermon to shreds. Baeck’s point was not that Judaism was not inferior to Christianity but rather that Judaism was distinctly superior. It is one of the oddities of our time that this view is scarcely ever discussed in public. Yet it would be very strange if it were not shared by most Jews; and Christian theologians must surely take for granted that this is at the very least the position of practically all rabbis. Most Christians are convinced of the immeasur-able superiority of Christianity over all other religions, and quite especially over Judaism; but it is polite to grant that the Jew, of course, considers his religion the equal of Christianity; and it is the acme of liberalism to grant that, theoretically at least, he might be right. The view, however, that Christianity is inferior to Judaism is simply ignored. The Essence of Judaism could still be read as pri-marily a work of apologetics. The essays in the present volume are thoroughly militant in spirit, though so polite that those who merely browse in them might miss that fact. It would be a pity if they did. For whether   C h a p t e r Home  | T O C For use on stand- alone, non- institutional computers only. To purchase Scholar PDF version with advanced functionality, go to www. publishersrow. com

Judaism and Christianity


About Book Judaism and Christianity

Front MatterTitle PageCopyright PageA NOTE TO THE READERCONTENTSJUDAISM AND CRISTIANITYLEO BAECK: A Biographical Introduction by Walter Kaufmann1 THE SON OF MAN2 THE GOSPEL AS A DOCUMENT OF THE HISTORY OF THE JEWISH FAITHPREFACETRADITIONSTHE EVENTSTHE SAYINGS AND THE PARABLESTHE PARABLES3 THE FAITH OF PAUL4 MYSTERY AND COMMANDMENT5 ROMANTIC RELIGIONROMANTICISMPAULTHE EXPERIENCE OF FAITHCULTURE AND HISTORYTHE SACRAMENTTHE ROMANTIC CHURCHROMANTIC TRUTHTHE COMMANDMENT AND THE DEEDETHICSTHE SENTIMENTALCASUISTRYHUMANITYREDEMPTIONTHE MESSIANIC IDEA
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