Jewish Perspectives on Jewish-Christian Dialogue Over Five Decades

in European Judaism

From the Christian perspective the Second Vatican Council's 1965 declaration, Nostra Aetate, is understood as having transformed Jewish–Christian relations. Fifty years on it is appropriate to consider the Jewish reactions. This article summarizes, analyses and compares the early responses to the Vatican Council's efforts by Joseph Soloveitchik and A.J. Heschel. Drawing on the work of Jewish scholars in the interfaith field who see themselves as building on the contributions of these seminal figures, the article highlights the tension between the two approaches championed by Soloveitchik and Heschel and posits a reason for the difference. It also considers the impact of the statement Dabru Emet on the theological status of Jewish–Christian relations as they have developed into the twenty-first century by reviewing the arguments of its supporters such as David Rosen and its critics such as Jon Levenson. The article concludes with a reflection on where we might go from here.