Tuesday, January 31, 2006

God's Covenant with the Jews II

The current issue of First Things has an exchange of letters about Avery Cardinal Dulles' article about Jews and the covenant, discussed in this post.

As someone mentioned in a comment last week (how'd he get his copy so soon?), Alan Mittleman has a great letter and Dulles begins his response with "Alan Mittleman has rightly understood the intent of my article." Mittleman points out that "minimally, dialogue is about understanding the other as the other understands himself" -- an excellent point. And Dulles replies that he was trying to describe Jews as Catholics see them and not as they see themselves.

Some other letter-writers demanded that Dulles change the Catholic position and Michael Wyschogrod goes so far as to offensively (at least to me, and I'm not Catholic!) argue that Dulles is wrong about Christian theology.

Dulles seemed to have it right: I hold what I hold and I'm not letting another religion tell me what I should believe. But then, bizarrely, in the middle of his response he changes course. "Jews as well as Christians can no doubt revise their theological judgments and find new areas of commonality." No! We aren't changing our religion just because Christians don't like it and we don't expect you to change yours either.

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