Soloveitchik's 'No' to Interfaith Dialogue

in European Judaism
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Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, one of the outstanding figures of modern Orthodox Judaism in the twentieth century, was opposed to interfaith dialogue and more particularly, to theological dialogue with the Catholic Church. In guidelines laid down in his paper 'Confrontation' in 1964 he proposed that Jews and Christians should discuss social and ethical problems together, but not matters theological. Since he was personally well acquainted with non-Jewish secular learning and had a philosophically sophisticated understanding of the role of halakhah, there has been much speculation as to why he sought to restrict dialogue in this way. Fifty years after 'Confrontation' was issued, it may be useful to re-examine his reasons and motivation in this matter and consider what relevance it has for contemporary interfaith relations.