Christians & Jews—Faith to Faith: Tragic History, Promising Present, Fragile Future

A book from Jewish Lights, SkyLight Paths’ sister imprint

This probing examination of Christian-Jewish relations looks at the major issues facing both faith communities to guarantee that recent hard-earned achievements, constructive relationships and mutual respect will not be lost in the tumultuous years ahead.

Rabbi James Rudin

6 x 9, 288 pp | 978-1-58023-717-8

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We now have the potential to end two thousand years of hostility.Will we succeed?

With keen wisdom and a masterful understanding of history, Rabbi James Rudin, an acclaimed authority in the field of Jewish-Christian relations, provides the context necessary for Christians and Jews to recognize the critical challenges posed by the past—and the future—of their two religions.

Spanning twenty centuries of controversy, horror and promise, Rudin’s narrative examines:

  • The sources of both conflict and commonality between the two religions
  • The need to address and redress past wrongs
  • The agenda required to create a shared future free of bigotry

It includes proven approaches for successful interreligious dialogues, including tips on session organization, project ideas and a discussion guide to enhance Christians’ and Jews’ knowledge of each other.

“Rabbi Rudin has written the best guide to Jewish-Christian dialogue that I have ever seen. Popular but sophisticated, sobering but hopeful, it provides a searching analysis of the vocabulary and history of Christian-Jewish relations, reminding us why these relations are so difficult and why they are so important.”

Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president, Union for Reform Judaism

“Offers us all a Jewish 'take' on our times, allowing us to see and hear the news with the eyes and ears of Jews. Here also is a clear-eyed understanding for both Christians and Jews of the evils of establishment, religion and state coupled together, predicated upon replacing suspicion with respect and apathy with empathy. Urgently needed!”

The Rev. Dr. James M. Dunn, professor of Christianity and public policy, Divinity School at Wake Forest University

“Does not dodge any of the painful issues.... [A] rewarding, always stimulating book.”

Peter Steinfels, co-director, Fordham University Center on Religion and Culture; former New York Times religion correspondent and columnist

“This is a must-have for anyone interested in the vital story of Christian-Jewish relations. Rabbi Rudin’s polished prose and sharp observations guide the reader on a stimulating journey through time, and provide invaluable insights into the future of one of the world’s most complicated religious relationships. Indispensable for academics, interfaith activists and general readers interested in religion and its impact on world history.”

Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, director, Department of Interfaith Affairs, Anti-Defamation League

“A vibrant, timely study by one of America’s distinguished leaders and shrewd analysts of the Jewish-Christian encounter. Rudin succeeds brilliantly in laying bare the past and illuminating the present so Jews and Christians may wisely and respectfully press forward to model a more authentic relationship for the good of the other and the future of all humanity.”

Marvin R. Wilson, PhD, Ockenga Professor of Biblical Studies, Gordon College

“Absolutely the most convenient panoramic analysis of the Jewish-Christian retrospect and prospect I’ve seen.... A masterpiece by the Jewish dean and most seasoned veteran of Jewish-Christian deliberations ... penetratingly clear and accessible for all readers.... A clarion call lest gains of recent decades lapse or even dissipate.”

Rabbi Michael J. Cook, PhD, Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati; author, Modern Jews Engage the New Testament: Enhancing Jewish Well-Being in a Christian Environment

“A comprehensive overview of a half century of Christian-Jewish relations. Rudin brings his long central involvement in the Christian-Jewish dialogue to bear in insightful ways on the major theological and political issues central to that conversation.”

John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, PhD, director, Catholic-Jewish Studies Program, Catholic Theological Union (Chicago)

“This thorough, engaging and accessible [resource] on Jewish-Christian relations examines the complex history of two formidable faith communities and makes concrete suggestions for action. Rudin’s rich experience in Jewish-Christian dialogue is apparent from beginning to end.”

Rabbi David A. Teutsch, PhD, Wiener Professor of Contemporary Jewish Civilization; former president, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

“Rabbi Rudin has brought his wealth of experience and uncommon wisdom to shed light on the complex world of interreligious relations. Important and useful.”

Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, American Jewish Committee

Acknowledgments xi
1. What's in a Name? Hebrews, Israelites, or Jews? 1
2. The Ancient Big Three: Jews, Greeks, and Romans 7
3. The World's Longest Running Religious Debate Begins 17
4. Saul, Call Me Paul: The Controversial
Apostle to the Gentiles 43
5. The Partings of the Way: Jews and Christians
Take Separate Paths to God 57
6. Why "Old Testament" Is Not a Term of Endearment 65
7. Anti-Judaism and Anti-Semitism: The Poisoned
Branches of Paulճ "Good Olive Tree" 83
8. Mission, Witness, and Conversion 113
9. O Jerusalem! Three Faiths but Only One Jerusalem 133
10. Why There Is Only One Holocaust 149
11. The Meaning of Modern Israel for Christians and Jews 167
12. Proceed with Caution: Interreligious Relations
Is Now a Three-Way Intersection 183
13. We Are Prisoners of Hope 215
14. A Userճ Guide to Christian-Jewish Relations 225
Discussion Guide 233
Notes 237
Suggestions for Further Reading 253
Index 262