Commentary Magazine


The Theological Approach

To the editor:

The fine scholarly articles on Jewish-Christian theological relationships (as well as the letters dealing with them) which have appeared in your magazine in recent months illustrate the great thirst for a true understanding of Judaism. The approach here is not the social one of inter-faith; it is the theological approach, which allows for similarities and differences. This does not mean, of course, that those who have different theological outlooks must needs find no point of meeting on a social level. . . .

Otto Newman
Bronx, N. Y.

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To the editor:

Mr. Robert E. Fitch’s “The Bond Between Christian and Jew” (May) is to be commended as an attempt to promote a sympathetic understanding between Christians and Jews. It cannot be emphasized too often that Christian ethics are Jewish ethics.

As regards Mr. Jacob Taubes’s article in the December 1953 COMMENTARY, Mr. Fitch, in my opinion, seems to miss the point. Mr. Taubes is not of the opinion that the relations between Jews and Christians ought to be determined by what divides them. Mr. Taubes was stressing religious differences, not social relations. Mr. Fitch states: “It is Christian teaching that Jesus the Christ was the son of God. . . .” He thus confirms the contention of Mr. Taubes and reaffirms a Christian dogma which no Jew can accept and remain a Jew. Mr. Taubes, on the other hand, stresses the fact that the Jewish religion is based on the Halachah. Judaism is not a religion of dogma or ethics only. It is also a way of life. When Abraham destroyed his father’s idols and proclaimed God as the Creator of the universe he did not by this act alone become a Jew. He also had to submit to the rite of circumcision to become one. In addition to the adherence to the moral and ethical precepts of the Torah, the Jewish religion also demands of the Jew the observance of 613 commandments, which are codified in the Halachah.

Certainly, the differences between the Jewish and the Christian religions (and for that matter the differences between all religions) should not be an occasion for the denial of human brotherhood, as Mr. Taubes, as well as all other Jews, would of course agree.

Harry Bradley
New York City

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