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The Gifts and the Calling of God Are Irrevocable

Commission for Religious Relationships with the Jews

Henry Wansbrough

In a paper given at the Von Hügel Institute in Cambridge the author introduces the document recently issued by the Vatican, ‘The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable’. He outlines the streak of anti-Semitism in the Christian Church from its beginning, and the determined efforts made since 1960 by the Catholic Church to correct this bias, both by teaching documents and by personal friendship and cooperation. This has been a particular emphasis of Pope Francis, who stresses that Judaism is the elder brother of Christianity. Most significant has been the 2001 document of the Papal Biblical Commission, outlining the dependence of so many Christian doctrines on the revelation of God in the Hebrew Bible. Pope Benedict insisted that the Jewish reading of the Hebrew Bible was, though not a Christian reading, a valid reading. The present document explains that for Christians the Jews are still the Chosen People of God, not superseded by Christianity.