Healing the Jewish-Christian Rift: Growing Beyond Our Wounded History

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How did a Jewish teacher, healer, sage and mystic become the vehicle for so much hatred and harm directed against his own people?

“Dialogue is demanding and difficult. It is often painful. It entails deep listening, letting others define themselves and being willing to confront and transform deep-rooted prejudices in ourselves. It requires the courage to re-envision absolutely everything we tend to cherish and protect, and to relinquish our entrenched vainglorious ego attachments, our inflated sense of ‘I, me and...

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Healing the Jewish-Christian Rift: Growing Beyond Our Wounded History

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Overview

How did a Jewish teacher, healer, sage and mystic become the vehicle for so much hatred and harm directed against his own people?

“Dialogue is demanding and difficult. It is often painful. It entails deep listening, letting others define themselves and being willing to confront and transform deep-rooted prejudices in ourselves. It requires the courage to re-envision absolutely everything we tend to cherish and protect, and to relinquish our entrenched vainglorious ego attachments, our inflated sense of ‘I, me and mine.’ This challenge to grow beyond tribalism, to approach others in a fair and reasonable way, is an essential step in our human evolution.”
—from the Invitation to the Reader

Judaism and Christianity have had a volatile relationship in their two-thousand-year history. Anger, rivalry, insensitivity, bloodshed and murder have marred the special connection these two Abrahamic faiths share. In the last several decades, scholars, activists, laypeople and clergy have attempted to expose and eliminate the struggles between Jews and Christians.

This collaborative effort brings together the voices of Christian scholar Ron Miller and Jewish scholar Laura Bernstein to further explore the roots of anti-Semitism in Christian faith and scripture. In a probing interfaith dialogue, Miller and Bernstein trace the Jewish-Christian schism to its very source in the first book of the New Testament, the Gospel of Matthew. Illuminating the often misunderstood context of Matthew’s gospel—a persecuted Christian minority writing some sixty years after Jesus’s death—this examination of a foundational Christian text discerns the ways in which the Jewishness of Jesus was forgotten and Jews and Judaism became Christianity’s foil. More important, it takes a renewed look at Matthew with contemporary retellings that present a new and better future of conciliation and compassion between the two faith traditions.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This book ambitiously aims to contribute "to a much needed healing of the two-thousand-year rift between Christians and Jews." To achieve that bold objective, Miller and Bernstein focus on analyzing the Gospel of Matthew, asserting that "it is paradoxically the most Jewish and the most anti-Jewish book in the Christian Testament." Miller, a former Jesuit priest who chairs the religion department at Lake Forest College in Illinois, uses his own translation of Matthew in 36 brief chapters. Bernstein, who spent five years in rabbinical studies, offers her commentary followed by Miller's discussion of her analysis as well as his own exegesis. Each chapter concludes with three questions, intended for use by small groups of Jews and Christians that the authors ask readers to organize. The topics range from messianism and the Lord's Prayer to sin, peace, identity, miraculous birth and Jewish renewal, among others. Bernstein's controversial conclusion calls for Jews to pay heed to Jeshu, as the authors call Jesus, and to welcome this "rebbe" as a revered teacher. While some may see the book's aim as grandiose, the authors tackle an enormous and bitter problem in a concrete, helpful way. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594731396
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/1/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Bernstein, a Jewish scholar, is active in interfaith ministry. She has published articles and essays on spiritual practice, led interfaith groups in sacred chant and meditation, and spent five years in rabbinical studies at the Hebrew Seminary of the Deaf in Skokie, Illinois.

Ron Miller is the chair of the Religion Department at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois, where he has taught for thirty years, and co-founder of Common Ground, an adult education group for interfaith religious study and dialogue since 1975. Miller is the author of many books and articles, including The Gospel of Thomas: A Guidebook for Spiritual Practice, named one of Spirituality & Health's 50 Best Spiritual Books of the year; The Hidden Gospel of Matthew: Annotated & Explained and Healing the Jewish-Christian Rift: Growing Beyond Our Wounded History (all SkyLight Paths). His website is www.ronmillersworld.org.

Dr. Beatrice Bruteau has pioneered the integrated study of science, mathematics, philosophy, and religion. She is the editor and author of many books, including Jesus Through Jewish Eyes and The Holy Thursday Revolution.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
"All will be well"
1 What is a messiah? 7
2 A miraculous birth? 14
3 A homicidal Jewish king 22
4 A maverick mentor 29
5 The message and the messenger 36
6 A program for Jewish renewal 44
7 A master of metaphor 53
8 Continuity and discontinuity 59
9 Anger, adultery, and divorce 65
10 Opposing evil without emulating it 72
11 The most challenging practice 78
12 The Lord's Prayer 84
13 True treasure, true vision, and true worth 92
14 A golden rule and a narrow path 101
15 Teaching with authority and healing 105
16 Those wonderful Romans! 111
17 Redeemer or reminder? 117
18 Sin as paralysis 122
19 The wrong sort of people 128
20 How new is this wine? 135
21 Good news? 139
22 Enemies at the door 147
23 A challenging kind of peace 153
24 Mixed messages 161
25 Jeshu the lawbreaker? 167
26 Those terrible Pharisees! 173
27 Jews seek signs 180
28 What makes us unclean? 185
29 Identity issues 193
30 Jeshu the rabble-rouser? 198
31 Jews as rotten tenants 203
32 A damning diatribe 209
33 Christianity's greatest lie 220
34 A final meal 225
35 The unbearable curse 231
36 Worse than liars 238
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