The radical changes in attitudes of the Catholic Church to the Jewish people brought about by Nostra Aetate can only be welcomed. This latest document, ‘The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable’, continues the process but raises questions as to how far Jews can recognize themselves in these attempts at a new theological interpretation of Judaism. For example, the document argues that for Christians the ‘New Covenant’ ‘can only be understood as the affirmation and fulfilment of the “Old”‘. Yet by defining the ‘Old’ as the ‘Abrahamic Covenant’ alone, it fails to recognize that it is the ‘Sinai Covenant’ that is an essential part of Jewish self-understanding. The document indicates how much further the process of mutual understanding needs to be explored by both partners in this dialogue.
Rabbi Professor Jonathan Magonet is Emeritus Professor of Bible at Leo Baeck College, author of Talking to the Other: Jewish Interfaith Dialogue with Christians and Muslims, and editor European Judaism.