Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Interfaith Dialogue V

The Commentator published an essay by the late R. Dr. Walter Wurzburger about interfaith dialogue (here). Here are some interesting excerpts:

While the belief in the Trinity - classified by the Halakhah as Shituph - may not be regarded as downright prohibited to the non-Jew, we still cannot recommend it as the ideal way in which the non-Jew should relate himself to God.

We should point out that we regard belief in the Trinity as such an aberration that we would rather have a Jew remain an agnostic or atheist than accept these doctrines which for a Jew would involve apostasy or idolatry...

Matters of religious faith do not lend themselves to negotiation where in order to arrive at a mutually agreeable settlement both sides are ready to make concessions. Christians, especially after Auschwitz, may have compelling moral reasons to reconsider the propriety of theological tenets which resulted in the "teaching of contempt" with all its disastrous implications. But Jews have no corresponding legacy of theological hatred which they have to revise, and it is difficult to see, no matter how positive Christians become in their evaluation of Judaism, how Jews can go beyond this stage where Trinitarian belief is tolerated for non-Jews as an advancement over paganism. It is inconceivable that Jews should compromise on their eschatological ideal that all of mankind would ultimately accept the pure faith in a living God that is shown [shorn? -GS] of all such distortions as contained in the Christian doctrine of Incarnation or Trinity...

It must also be remember[ed] that with the notable exception of a few theologians (Tillich, Niebuhr, James Parkes, Roy Eckardt, etc.) the mainstream of Christian thinking still retains the hope for the ultimate conversion of the Jews. For that matter, many liberal Christian theologians maintain that the very kerygmatic character of Christianity would be compromised if the eschatological hope for conversion of the Jews would be surrendered.

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