Jewish Theology and World Religions

Edited by Alon Goshen-Gottstein and Eugene Korn

£45.00
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ISBN: 9781906764098

Publication: April 5, 2012

Series: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

In the USA? Buy the Hardback US edition
Two of the most pervasive aspects of modern Jewish life are interaction with people of other faiths and exposure to their beliefs to a degree unknown in the past. Jewish thinking regarding other religions has not succeeded in keeping pace with the contemporary realities that regularly confront most Jews, nor has it adequately assimilated the ways in which other religions have changed their teachings about Jews and Judaism. Many Jews who grapple with Jewish tradition in the contemporary world want to know how Judaism sees today’s non-Jewish other in order to affirm itself. Re-examining Jewish tradition, they seek guidance in understanding their interfaith relationships in the light of a Jewish religious mission. Jewish Theology and World Religions advances this conversation, exploring critical issues that Jews and Jewish thought face when relating to Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. It also analyses the philosophical issues raised by pluralism, non-exclusive approaches to religious truth, and appreciating the religious other.

The contributors to this volume represent a range of disciplines and denominations within Judaism and share the conviction that articulating contemporary Jewish views of other world religions is an urgent objective for Judaism. Their essays show why formulating a Jewish theology of world religions is a priority for Jewish thinkers and educators concerned with reinvigorating Judaism's contribution to the contemporary world, and how it coheres with maintaining Jewish identity and continuity.

Alon Goshen Gottstein is the founder and director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute, and director of the Center for the Study of Rabbinic Thought at Bet Morasha, Jerusalem.

Eugene Korn is academic director of the Center for Jewish–Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Efrat, where he is co-director of the Institute for Theological Inquiry. He is editor of 'Meorot: A Forum for Modern Orthodox Discourse.'

Notes on Contributors
Note on Transliteration

Preface
Eugene Korn

Introduction: Towards a Jewish Theology of World Religions: Framing the Issues
ALON GOSHEN-GOTTSTEIN

Part I Philosophical Perspectives on Jewish Pluralism
1 Jewish Views of World Religions: Four Models
ALAN BRILL
2 Justifying Inter-Religious Pluralism
AVI SAGI
3 Pluralism out of the Sources of Judaism: The Quest for Religious Pluralism without Relativism
RAPHAEL JOSPE
4 Respectful Disagreement: Reply to Raphael Jospe
JOLENE S. KELLNER and MENACHEM KELLNER

Part II Judaism and the Other
5 Can Another Religion Be Seen as the Other?
STANISLAW KRAJEWSKI
6 The Violence of the Neutral
MEIR SENDOR
7 Jewish Liturgical Memory and the Non-Jew: Past Realities and Future Possibilities  
RUTH LANGER

Part III Judaism and World Religions
8 Rethinking Christianity: Rabbinic Positions and Possibilities
EUGENE KORN
9 Maimonides’ Treatment of Christianity and its Normative Implications
DAVID NOVAK

10 The Banished Brother: Islam in Jewish Thought and Faith
PAUL FENTON
11 Encountering Hinduism: Thinking Through Avodah zarah
ALON GOSHEN GOTTSTEIN
12 Judaism and Buddhism: A Jewish Approach to a Godless Religion
JEROME (YEHUDA) GELLMAN

Concluding Reflections
ALON GOSHEN-GOTTSTEIN

Index

'The rudiments of Jewish theology were established in the biblical, Talmudic, and medieval eras, yet, while the world has substantially progressed from those times, Orthodox Jewish theology has not. Goshen-Gottstein and Korn recognized this dilemma, and responded to it by compiling a thorough and much needed work of Orthodox interfaith theology that addresses twenty-first century Jews. The multiple contributors in this volume each acknowledge that interfaith relationships are profoundly different than they were in the medieval era, and have constructed interfaith theologies in accord with this new reality . . . a Jewish theology of Eastern religions had been keenly lacking, and it is presented here in a sensitive fashion.'
Daniel Ross Goodman, Religious Studies Review
 

'The rich volume under review portrays theological reflections on Jewish identity, Jewish norms concerning other religions, and Jewish relations with non-Jewish “others” . . . also new perspectives are offered and there is a sincere search of possible inspiration from other religions.'
Ephraim Meir, Modern Judaism
 

'Every so often a book comes along that clarifies something you've been thinking about but which has never presented a clear path to understanding. This is one of those happy occurrences. If you've been wondering how Judaism relates to the other great religions of the world, and how this religious pluralism affects contemporary Jews and their sense of identity, [this book] is the place to look . . . The two editors of this volume hold outstanding credentials . . . the writing is solid and the ideas accessible.'
Linda F. Burghardt, Jewish Book World
 

'Superb . . . nothing less than a conspectus of the critical issues that Jews face when relating to Christians and Muslims—and, yes, to Buddhists and Hindus as well . . . Rare is the anthology of essays that holds together thematically, but this book is a happy exception—well organized, with the essays carefully curated. It moves seamlessly from a general discussion of Jewish philosophical perspectives on pluralism to empirical treatments of Judaism and the “Other” to a series of culminating essays on Judaism and Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism . . . breaks new ground in our understanding of other faiths from a Jewish perspective . For this contribution, theologians, halakhists, religious communal leadership, and lay readers should offer prayers of thanksgiving.'
Jerome A. Chanes, Jewish Ideas Daily
 

'These skilfully edited essays are rich food for reflection and future work . . . It is this kind of creative thinking—regardless of past historical experiences and the foundational texts of the Jewish religious tradition . . . that might well prove a substantial breakthrough in both the present and the future for all religious communities in contact with each other . . . Goshen-Gottstein and Korn are to be commended for assembling the scholars initially in a conference and joining them together in this volume. One hopes that this project is only the beginning of several volumes addressing the multitude of questions, observation, and insights raised herein.'
Steven L. Jacobs, H-Judaic
 

'An indispensable title for graduate and undergraduate programmes emphasizing world religions and interfaith/interreligious dialogue . . . Highly recommended.'
R.A. Boisclair, Choice
 

Format: Hardback

Size: 235 x 155 x 33 mm

360 Pages

ISBN: 9781906764098

Publication: April 5, 2012

Series: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

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