A theological revolution has been taking place within Christendom in the last generation which has largely remained unknown to Christian believers specifically and to the educated public generally. Like the proverbial poor Greeks who survive by taking in one another’s wash, theologians and scholars in religious studies write primarily for one another; seldom does the import of their labors have any effect on the consciousness of Christian believers or on the wider educated public. Yet the recent revolution in the study of Christianity is a profound one which may one day be a source of considerable surprise, consternation, and perhaps of upheaval.
Theology is a peculiar intellectual activity and one off-limits to many in our secular society. It is also difficult to predict what, if any, impact theological revolutions or insurrections may have more widely. The much discussed “death-of-God” movement has probably run its course, at least in the form it characteristically took. So it is also hazardous to predict the results of a newer and wider theological upheaval centering on the Christian interpretation of Judaism and the Jewish people. But one may expect that anything having to do with the “Jewish Question” will, at least in the West, have some impact. The recent and still ongoing debate among theologians and other scholars over Christian anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism should be more widely known and understood.
According to the leading participants in this reassessment of Christian-Jewish relations, two events, closely related, have led to the theological revolution: the attempt, albeit somewhat belated, to assimilate the meaning of the genocide of European Jews during what the Germans often call “die Hitlerzeit”; and the subsequent establishment of the state of Israel in the contemporary Middle East.
One might indeed expect these events, particularly the first, to have compelled all religious. teachings to undergo considerable reevaluation. The work of the Second Vatican Council (1962) demonstrated both the need for such reevaluation of the Christian-Jewish nexus and the difficulties involved. Much less publicly known efforts on the part of national and international Protestant authorities have demonstrated the same imperatives and the same obstacles. If the response of the Christian churches has been slower than that of other institutions and of secular learning, it has nonetheless begun.
The chief issue may be oversimplified in this way: does the murder of millions of Jews by ex-Christian Nazis and the passive acquiescence of millions of Christians and ex-Christians have any source in the Christian theological teaching about the Jewish people during the last two millennia? Does the restoration of a Jewish political state have any meaning in the Christian interpretation of world history? Since the Jewish people have always occupied the “secret center” of world history for many Christians, it is reasonable to expect an answer to these questions. But it is not easy to know what sort of answer to give.
Perhaps the most interesting and most audacious answer proposed is the one by Rosemary Radford Ruether in her 1974 book, Faith and Fratricide: The Theological Roots of Anti-Semitism. While Mrs. Ruether’s book is but one of several on this general subject in the last generation, it has the advantage of posing the major issues in the Christian-Jewish nexus so clearly and so provocatively that it serves admirably as “the text” for an assessment of what Christian theologians are struggling over and where they may be heading.
The best place to start a discussion of Mrs. Ruether’s thesis about the disastrous Christian maligning of the Jewish people is with Father Gregory Baum, who wrote an introspective introduction to her book. Father Baum was, in the 1960’s, the author of a book designed to deny the still somewhat “underground” allegation that the New Testament was anti-Semitic. In his book he had acquitted the New Testament of such charges with a conventional defense of Christianity as a religion of love. The poignancy in the situation is that by the time Rosemary Ruether completed her Faith and Fratricide, Father Baum had been shaken to his very depths by the theological revolution over the Christian-Jewish nexus and was now willing publicly to write that he had been mistaken. Simply put, he was now convinced by Mrs. Ruether and her fellow theological revolutionaries that anti-Semitism was as native to Christianity as mother’s milk to a new-born babe.
What was it that so struck Father Baum, an accomplished biblical scholar and theologian in his own right, about the revelations of Rosemary Ruether? What in the Christian tradition had he failed to recognize after years of study as the primary source of anti-Semitic sentiment and the primary incitement to hatred and persecution? It was simply this conclusion he drew from Mrs. Ruether’s investigation: despite the Second Vatican Council’s good will toward the Jews and its willingness to search into its Scripture for a positive assessment of the Jewish people,
what Paul and the entire Christian tradition taught is unmistakably negative: the religion of Israel is now superseded, the Torah abrogated, the promises fulfilled in the Christian Church, the Jews struck with blindness, and whatever remains of the election of Israel rests as a burden upon them in the present age.
This primary, negative assessment of the Jewish people, which Mrs. Ruether and Father Baum find embedded in the earliest Christian writings, stems from the basic view of the earliest Christians that the Jews’ reading of their own Holy Scriptures, the so-called “Old” Testament, was erroneous. The collective Jewish refusal to see, in Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ who was foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures, convinced the authors of the New Testament that the Jewish people were blind, had probably always been blind, to the demands of their God, who thereupon abandoned them for His new covenanted people, the membership of the Church of Christ. Indeed, the unbelieving Jews, the “perfidi judaei” of the medieval liturgy, were an ongoing threat to the legitimate identity of the infant Christian community. Hostility to the Jewish people, writes Mrs. Ruether, is nothing less than a grim necessity for Christian existence:
The anti-Judaic tradition in Christianity grew as a negative and alienated expression of a need to legitimate its revelation in Jewish terms. . . . It continues on in the Church Fathers, and even to this day, as an ongoing expression of this same need by the Church to legitimate its Christological midrash by insisting that this actually represents the true meaning of the Jewish Scriptures and is the divinely intended fulfillment of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets. It is not enough for the Christian tradition to hold this opinion. . . . As long as “the Jews,” that is, the Jewish religious tradition itself, continues to reject this interpretation, the validity of the Christian view is in question.
All the hatred and persecution of the Jewish people Mrs. Ruether finds explicated by this need to make the Jews finally admit that the Church is right and they wrong about the coming of the savior foretold in the Scriptures. A suffering Israel is needed by the Church for its own self-understanding and justification.
Nor is Mrs. Ruether especially sanguine about moving the Christian Church toward a more positive view of the Jewish people. “Possibly,” she writes, “anti-Judaism is too deeply embedded in the foundations of Christianity to be rooted out entirely without destroying the whole structure.” What she feels she can offer is the suggestion of a more “Jewish” view of the present age as one of “unfulfilled” rather than “fulfilled” messianism. Such an accommodation, she believes, could give the various world religions, and especially Judaism, a place for valid existence until the Second Coming institutes the true messianic age. The Jewish “No” to Christian messianic claims is thus useful in restraining Christians from the false perception that redemption has already come.
Those familiar with the Christian-Jewish nexus will recognize here the general Jewish apologia for not recognizing in Jesus the Christ and more specifically that of Franz Rosenzweig, the German-Jewish theologian, for whom Jesus had come as the messiah only for the Gentiles. It would not be too much to say that Rosemary Ruether’s sympathy with the Jewish plight has brought her around to a Jewish view of the messianic question. Indeed, some of her critics accuse her precisely of the venerable error of “Judaizing.”1
As for the second challenge to Christianity in the post-1945 era, the establishment of the state of Israel, Mrs. Ruether disposes of it rather briefly. She sees the restoration of Jewish statehood as requiring the abandonment of yet another Christian myth about the Jewish people—their condemnation to exile until they acknowledge their error and accept the once rejected Christ. Her treatment here is necessarily lame, for while the state of Israel does end the curse of exile for Jews who choose to become its citizens, Jews themselves have questioned the messianic meaning of statehood, and peace remains as elusive for Jews in Israel as in the Diaspora. The insecurities of contemporary Israeli life externally and the state’s internal problems and contradictions do not offer much obvious encouragement to any radical revision of Christian attitudes. Indeed, some might actually choose to see in the external and internal problems of the state of Israel a reflection less of Jewish redemption than of continuing unredeemedness.
But this discussion necessarily must await future developments in the Middle East. In the meantime, the experience of genocide remains a much more important motive for Christian reevaluation of the “Jewish Question.”
Central to Rosemary Ruether’s identification of the roots of theological anti-Semitism is the Christian appropriation of the Jewish covenantal relationship to God, the Lord of history. This is no mere accident. It is well known that the nascent Palestinian Church of the 1st century and the Jewish religious authorities were missionary rivals among the Jewish masses and pagan sympathizers. It has not always been realized, however, that the Church and the Synagogue remained rivals in the quest for souls for many centuries—according to one respected French scholar, Marcel Simon, well into the late 4th century. It was only the Christian Roman empire and the Muslim caliphate which put an end to the missionary work of Judaism.2
But Jews and Christians were not merely rivals, as Christians and the followers of Mani might be. For Jews and Christians, as Paul van Buren has written,
hostility was mutual and understandable. Two groups appealing to the same tradition could understandably, if regrettably, see themselves as rivals and competitors, regarding each other as apostates from the truth and wanderers from the way of the One God of whom they both claimed to be beloved.3
Christians and Jews read the same Scriptures, but differently. For the Jews, for whom the messiah had not yet come, the Scriptures revealed the basic faithfulness of Israel who, though chastened and downcast, still waited for redemption with legitimate hope. For the Christians, however, the Scriptures pointed to Jesus as the messiah. The Jewish failure to recognize him accounted for and justified all the dashed hopes of the Jews, from the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. through the defeat in the Second Jewish War under Hadrian to the final degradation of a people blinded in its rejection of the savior. To the Jews were then left only a Scripture and tradition they failed to understand, a system of law which they turned into an arid legalism without spirit, and an exile appropriate to their disobedience and rejection by God.
While some early Christians, associated with the great heresiarch Marcion, advocated the complete abandonment of the “Old” Testament (a perennial temptation of Christians exasperated with the “Jewish Question”), the “orthodox” Church finally decreed total acceptance of the Old Testament read in a corrected Christian “midrash” or interpretation. But even those in the Church who battled on behalf of retaining the Hebrew Scriptures tended to regard the Jews as having always misunderstood their own history and sacred traditions. Thus, even in revering the Old Testament, the Church was generally inclined to a semignostic repudiation of much of it and certainly of its people. Once Israel had rejected the Christ, the election of Israel became, for Christians, the accursedness of the Jewish people. Although remaining the “secret center” of all world history, Israel in this interpretation had been chosen not for faith and covenant, but for blindness and disobedience. In these traits the Jews remained of permanent significance for Christian theology.
The Christian appropriation of the Scriptures and biblical history meant that the traditional prophetic way of explicating historical events as the work of the Lord of history could be used for Christian edification only at the price of excoriating the Jewish people. The prophets of Israel had developed a particular way of dealing with the political fortunes of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Disaster was rarely explained in the light of the superior political or military power of Egypt, Assyria, or Babylon. Rather, foreign invasions were interpreted as divine warnings about Israelite moral shortcomings or as punishments. The genius of the prophetic interpretation of history was in enabling the people to endure hardship and disaster and in purging society periodically of injustice and immorality. Its danger was that it rationalized as the will of God even the most hateful of political and social reverses. A recent Jewish writer on the lessons of Auschwitz, Richard L. Rubenstein, rejects the prophetic interpretation of history because it could be used even to explain the genocide of six million Jews. The early Christians, however, were less squeamish than Professor Rubenstein; the logic of the prophetic tradition led them to see in the various Jewish catastrophes of the 1st and 2nd centuries the hand of an avenging God.
In the aftermath of the Jewish defeat in 70 C.E., various observers offered different explanations. For the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, and the Romans whose imperial mission he flattered, it was God who had condemned the Jews to catastrophic defeat, thereby proclaiming His favoring of the Romans. Jewish nationalists, Jewish apocalyptics, and Jewish Christians, though they might dispute the exact sin which lay at the heart of the Jewish defeat, all agreed that Israel had sinned and was brought low as a result. The rabbis too saw in the defeat the sin of Israel, although they were also inclined to search for a more positive message. For them the end of the Temple proclaimed the primacy of the Torah, the law, over the sacrificial cult.
For the growing Church, the fall of the Holy City was at first regarded as preparatory to the Second Coming of Christ—in the words of the Book of Acts, “to restore the Kingdom to Israel”; but the second Jewish defeat, in 135, confirmed the judgment of God on an unrepentant old Israel. The failure of apocalyptic expectations and the gradual normalization of Christian life worked to reinforce this view of the Jewish defeat as signifying the punishment of Israel by God.
It must have seemed diabolical to the rabbis that the Christians turned traditional Jewish weapons against them. For the classic Christian teaching about the reprobation of Israel came almost entirely from Jewish tradition. As the Jewish scholar Irving Greenberg has recently written:
Although the mainstream of Jews did not accept their conclusion, the Hebrew Christians were “thinking Jewish” when they interpreted [the destruction of the Temple and the failed Bar Kochba rebellion of 132-35] as being normative events with a religious message. These events confirmed the analysis—or even originated the analysis—that the old channel of salvation was stopped up and that a new channel was the valid one. It followed that a new people of God had been born. From there to the punishment and rejection theory of Jewish exile is not a big jump. Ironically enough, every step of this development had followed Jewish models and categories even if the net result was a repudiation of Judaism.4
While the Church increasingly proclaimed the reprobation of Israel, the rabbis gave no direct reply. They admitted that suffering stemmed from sin, but they steadfastly refused to accept the Church’s view. In many respects Jewish life in the Roman empire became more favorable after the final defeat of the Jewish nationalists, and there was no perceived need for the rabbis to put the destruction of the Temple into so central a role as did the Christian apologists. It was only with the establishment of Christianity as the imperial cult that the Jewish position began to deteriorate; in the non-Roman world, the Jews did not perceive their unfavorable situation clearly until the rise of Islam in the Babylonian heartland. Thus, the discussion of the woes of Israel was long a Christian, but not a Jewish, imperative.
As a normative part of Christian theology, the Christian view of Jewish defeat never lost its persuasiveness. It quite serviceably explained the mystery of Israel and became a motive for cooperating with Providence by making Jewish existence as precarious as possible. In persecuting Jews one could believe oneself in close cooperation with God’s will and judgment. The Jews and Judaism became an integral part of salvation history, with Manichean dimensions. The Jews became a necessity for Christians, who took care to moderate persecution just enough to permit the Jews to survive in an appropriately debased condition. Christendom could hardly do without the Jews in its midst—or at least, not yet.
If the Christian appropriation of the Jewish Scriptures and of the Jewish philosophy of history was indeed responsible for the demonic role ascribed to the Jewish people, one might wonder if this was inevitable. Did the Christian Church, despite its missionary rivalry with the Synagogue in the Roman empire, have any alternative?
In fact, as was mentioned earlier, there were movements within early Christianity which denied the fatal link with Jewish salvation history, sought to abandon the Old Testament, and viewed Jesus as a redeemer figure more consonant with Hellenistic mystery religions. These movements were associated, in a rather confused way, with the various gnostic sects and with the figure of Marcion of Pontus (c. 100-c. 160). Marcion sought to go much further than Paul in freeing the new covenanted people from any connection with the Jewish people. Although Marcion was eventually condemned as heretical, Marcionite and gnostic tendencies survived within Christianity. One German scholar, Walter Bauer, writes that much of even earliest Christianity, particularly in Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, had been Marcionite and gnostic before it became orthodox; that is, for many Christians in the Hellenistic East, Jesus was from the beginning seen as a mystical savior and not the flesh-and-blood Promised One of Israel.
For the Church to accept the Old Testament as authoritative gained for it many obvious’ advantages: Christianity could claim the venerable antiquity of Jewish history and wisdom in an age respectful of antiquity; Jesus as a human being born to a historical nation was preferable to the unhistorical savior-gods of Hellenistic and Oriental mythology. The danger, on the other hand, was that the Old Testament did not unequivocally foresee the type of savior that Christians believed Jesus to be. Christianity was, therefore, always in danger of lapsing into a type of Judaism. A forthright rejection of Jewish history and prophecy and Jewish claims would free the Church from an unpopular ethnic identification and an equivocal national history—from a people found everywhere in the Greco-Roman world but nowhere wholly of that world. A Marcionite or gnostic Christianity, whether arising independently of the Great Church or in opposition to it, offered many temptations to early Christians, and it continues to do so in the modern world.
When the Great Church finally decided to do battle against the gnostics and Marcionites, what was involved was a twofold process. The Old Testament, the Creator God, and the whole Jewish religious tradition had to be defended with vigor, while at the same time the Christian faith had to be clearly explained as something other than, something better than, the religion of the Jews. The defense against the “heretics” in the theological works of Tertullian, the great North African Latin churchman of the 3rd century, demonstrates that the Church could only do its job by simultaneously exalting the Jews of the Old Testament and berating the Jews of the contemporary age. The Church’s insistence on maintaining the connection with the Jewish Scriptures fatally and necessarily led it to attack the living people of Israel.
The adoption and adaptation of Jewish Scriptures, Jewish synagogue practice and rituals, and Jewish ideas as weapons against the heretics also required a vigilant defense against Christians who would go further into “Judaizing.” The most anti-Jewish writers and preachers of the Church—the originators of the venerable Adversus Judaeos tradition—were those who were most hotly engaged on the front lines in the struggle against heretics on the one hand and Judaizers on the other—and all to prove that the Church was the True Israel. St. John Chrysostom, probably the most inspired arch Jew-baiter of the ancient Christian world, was but the most famous of many. As the historian Jaroslav Pelikan has observed, “Virtually every major Christian writer of the first five centuries either composed a treatise in opposition to Judaism or made this issue a dominant theme in a treatise devoted to some other subject.”5
Ironically, while the Marcionites rejected the Old Testament, this did not automatically make them anti-Semitic in the way the Great Church was anti-Semitic. Marcion agreed with the rabbis that the Old Testament was valid for Jews, that they read it correctly, that its history was reliable, and that its moral code was appropriate to its purpose. He also agreed that the Old Testament did not foretell the coming of the messiah in Jesus of Nazareth. In wanting to organize Christian faith along purely Hellenistic lines, in having no room for a Jewish “center” of world history, Marcionism might indeed have left the Jews alone as another irrelevant religious sect in the great religious cauldron of the Middle East, a sect wholly alien to the Christian Church. Conflict is always keener when antagonists recognize their common ancestry and their close relations.
It seems clear, then, that the close family relationship of Christianity to Judaism, the very Christian-Jewish nexus, is indeed responsible au fond for the negative reading of Jewish history among Christians. The great philosopher of history in our century, Arnold Toynbee, has been the target of several bitter attacks from Jewish scholars for his biases, at once Christian, Hellenist, and universalist, against the Jews and their parochialism; yet a more careful reading of Toynbee reveals an honesty and clarity rarely achieved elsewhere:
Israel, Judah, the Jews, and Judaism did not play major parts in the history of mankind before they gave birth to the two “deviationist” Judaic world-religions. If Christianity and Islam had never been generated by Judaism’s involuntary but undeniable paternity, Judaism would be surviving today in an environment of Hellenic “paganism,” as Zoroastrianism does survive today in an environment of Hindu “paganism.” We may guess that, in that event, the Jews’ position in the world today would have been more like the actual position of the Parsees than like the actual position of the Jews themselves. The Jews would have been more obscure than they now are, but they would also have been more comfortable. The Jews’ present-day importance, celebrity, and discomfort all derive from the historic fact that they have involuntarily begotten two Judaic world-religions whose millions of adherents make the preposterous but redoubtable claim to have superseded the Jews, by the Jewish god Yahweh’s dispensation, in the role of being this One True God’s “Chosen People.”
Toynbee, far from being insensitive to Jewish concerns, willingly admitted the permanent value of Jewish life and faith and even suggested that the splits between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were unfortunate religious “schisms.” In addition, Toynbee admitted the presence of anti-Semitism within the Gospels themselves, the internal Jewish debate about the new Jewish-Christian community leading to polemical excesses which, in the hands of Gentiles, created a demonic role for the non-believing Jews. Toynbee suggested that Muslim attitudes toward the Jews lacked this particular animus because Muslims did not make dogmas out of the polemical tradition in Matthew and John.
It is too much, according to Alan T. Davies, a leading scholar of Christian anti-Semitism, to expect ordinary Christians to understand in the originally non-anti-Semitic way the negative images of the Jews in key portions of the New Testament. Believers hear and accept the New Testament’s negative evaluation of Jews literally, while theologians and scholars within the Christian tradition are particularly prone to the “danger . . . of superimposing extra-historical meanings on historical events that the facts in puris naturalibus cannot possibly justify.”6 Davies cites Berdyaev’s view that when religious insights become dogmas, anti-Semitism cannot be far behind. For Davies, only a “daring and heretical, and a true theological response to the post-Auschwitz situation” can free Church tradition from its inherent denigration of the Jewish people:
Auschwitz has altered the criteria of theology forever. The beliefs and doctrines of Christianity must be weighed not solely for their inner logic, but immeasurably more for their human ramifications. Never again, one trusts, will the church dogmatize abstractly about human themes without pre-testing its conclusions in the crucible of the flesh-and-blood world. . . .
Davies is particularly effective in cataloguing the weaknesses of Catholic and Protestant authors who sincerely have sought to defend the Jewish people against the more damning assessments from Christian tradition. The sympathy of Jacques Maritain, Jean Daniélou, and Augustin Cardinal Bea cannot effect a rethinking of the “Jewish Question,” for all these Catholic defenders of the Jews fall into the theologization of history, which cannot free the Jews from their unenviable status; nor is the charity these writers preach able to defeat ingrained hostility to ‘the Jews. Protestant biblicism may be even more damaging to the Jews, according to Davies, than Catholic traditionalism, for traditionalism at least theoretically allows for evolutionary change in doctrine, while fundamentalism is mired in rigid dogmatism. Karl Barth himself wrote more about “theological” Jews than about living members of the community of Israel. Davies finds hope only perhaps in a liberal Protestantism hardy enough to rethink Church traditions, and he seems to favor an approach to the Christian-Jewish nexus similar to that of Franz Rosenzweig.
Especially interesting in the Protestant camp is Reinhold Niebuhr, whose positive attitude toward living Jews was well known. Still, adhering as he did to a basically traditional Protestant theology, Niebuhr could theoretically express a rather unsympathetic assessment of the Jews while being willing to concede that actual Jewish behavior might be morally superior to Christian behavior. For all his personal good will, Niebuhr’s general theological position required a certain denigration of Judaism:
. . . In modern Judaism there are both legalistic and mystical tendencies but no strong forward-looking historical tendencies. The sense of history expresses itself retrospectively. In modern Jewish life messianic and apocalyptic tendencies, still surviving in the ethos of Hebraism, have been forced to find expression in secularized versions of messianism, such as the liberal idea of progress and Marxism or in slightly heterodox movements such as Hasidism. Christianity appropriated the prophetic messianic tradition. . . .7
Is Niebuhr’s exposition not an elegant way of expressing the old tradition? Israel’s mission is over, it is blind in its non-belief, its arid pursuit of the Law is of no avail.
Can a Christian believe anything different? Alan Davies insists that Christians can indeed regard Judaism positively without abandoning any “genuine Christian tenet,” yet the evidence documents how difficult indeed this has been even for the most irenic of Christians. In the last analysis, Toynbee speaks for almost all Christians and ex-Christians when he finds the universalist vision of the Jewish prophets fulfilled in the Christian dispensation, with modern Judaism reduced to a narrow segregation of the biblical faith.
But can one legitimately view Judaism as parochial and narrow, short of having fallen victim to traditional Christian misrepresentation? Some historians have indeed done so. Thus, a respected historian of antiquity, Martin Hengel, finds the deepest tragedy of the Jews squarely in what the rabbis chose as their highest task: the defense of the Torah and the separateness of Israel. According to Hengel, the failure of the radical Hellenizers among Jews and pagans in the 2nd century B.C.E.—that is, the victory of the Maccabees which Jews celebrate in the festival of Hanukkah—turned Judaism into exclusive, segregated channels. It also turned the pagan world toward a negative assessment of Judaism and the Jews. Hengel holds that the theological criticism of cult and law, from the second century B.C.E. on, was governed by the experience of radical Hellenization attempted under Antiochus Epiphanes:
Here is the profound tragedy of the reaction of Judaism to the primitive Christian movement which developed in its midst. Jesus of Nazareth, Stephen, Paul came to grief among their own people because the Jews were no longer in a position to bring about a creative, self-critical transformation of the piety of the law with its strongly national and political coloring. . . . The apologetically rigidified understanding of the Torah, which no longer measures up to the message of the prophets, was irreconcilable at that time with the universal eschatological claim of the gospel, and had to be broken.8
That Judaism did become a defense of Torah and people can hardly be doubted, although Hengel’s identification of this trend in the Maccabean period can be contested. While the early Christian diatribes against Judaism unquestionably painted a very tendentious picture, under the pressure of exile and Christian and Muslim hostility, Judaism indeed came to segregate itself from the wider environment. But can this inward movement really be found as early as the Maccabees, or even earlier with the return from Babylonian exile?
Marcel Simon’s central thesis about the antagonism between Church and Synagogue is based on a totally different evaluation of Judaism in the Roman empire. According to Simon, it was the vigor of Judaism, its cultural accomplishments, its missionary successes, and its manifest attractions for both Christians and pagans which forced the Church into taking “hostile defensive measures under the governmental authority of the Christianized empire. Religious competition between Church and Synagogue during the first four centuries of the Christian era was intense, and this rivalry explains better than any other factor the virulence of Christian anti-Semitism. Whatever nativism we may see in the Maccabean movement, it took half a millennium for Judaism to become relegated to a marginal role in world history.
Scholars are engaged in a never-ending and finally unresolvable dispute about the relative importance of pagan anti-Semitism in the Greco-Roman world compared to the anti-Semitic theology of the emergent Church. It is almost impossible to decide whether Christian anti-Semitism was merely a legacy from the ancient world given a new theological gloss or whether Christian teaching developed a virulence rarely found in the pagan world. Those desiring especially to place the responsibility squarely on Christian teaching, Rosemary Ruether and her famous predecessor Jules Isaac being examples, tend naturally to regard pagan anti-Semitism as an occasional expression of wonder and distaste at the unique features of Jewish life—a reaction tempered always by considerable philo-Semitism among large segments of pagan society. Those, on the other hand, who wish to exculpate the Church from the horrible fruits of anti-Semitism point instead to the virulence of anti-Semitism among Greeks, Egyptians, and other ancient Orientals.
One can, at least with some assurance, hold that the unique religious and social life of the Jews of antiquity did arouse both sympathetic wonder and troubled suspicions among non-Jews, whether pagan or Christian. Undoubtedly the introduction of Christian perspectives into the already troubled awareness of Greco-Roman paganism, and the Christianization of the Roman empire, contributed to the development of the particularly acute anti-Semitism henceforth characteristic of the Christian and European West. It is instructive to note that when Christianity penetrated beyond the borders of the Christian Roman empire, no Eastern counterpart of virulent state-enforced theological anti-Semitism developed. In his study of a 4th-century Christian bishop in the Persian empire, Jacob Neusner expresses considerable wonderment:
What is striking is the utter absence of anti-Semitism from Aphrahat’s thought. While much provoked, he exhibits scarcely a trace of the pervasive hatred of “the Jews” characteristic of the Greek-speaking churches of the Roman Orient, indeed of his near-contemporary John” Chrysostom. On the contrary, Aphrahat conducts the debate through penetrating criticism, never vilification. Though hard-pressed, he throughout maintains an attitude of respect. He must be regarded as the example of the shape Christianity might have taken had it been formed in the Semitic-Iranian Orient, a region quite free of the legacy of pagan Greco-Roman anti-Semitism.9
Was this different Christian-Jewish nexus due to the different linguistic and cultural environment in Persia, as Neusner implies? Or was it the minority status of Iranian Christianity which did not afford it the means to vilify the large Jewish community in its midst? Was it Constantinian triumphalism which gave to Roman Christianity its intolerance and virulence? There is no generally accepted resolution of this problem. One can only proffer the suggestion that the marriage of Christian denigration of the Jewish people with imperial authority finally brought the Jewish people and Judaism low.10
Alan Davies, among others, has noted the dangers and pitfalls in theologizing history. The Jewish people have fared very badly as the “secret center” of Christian history and theology. Impartial historical study, including biblical scholarship, might be expected to correct theological excesses, but no less a figure than Arnold Toynbee admitted the burden of the Christian Weltanschauung upon the work of Western scholars, and the very possibility of a value-free historiography has generally been exploded as naive optimism or ideological concealment. What has historical scholarship, more particularly biblical scholarship, contributed to an understanding of the Christian-Jewish nexus and Christian anti-Semitism?
An exceedingly combative Jewish observer of Christian biblical scholarship, Hyam Maccoby, takes a dim view of biblical studies. Himself the author of a very polemical book on Jesus as a political revolutionary, Revolution in Judaea: Jesus and the Jewish Resistance, Maccoby a few years ago aired some dirty biblical linen in public in a long article in the British monthly, Encounter.11 A critical rejoinder to his article by the late Samuel Sandmel, a distinguished Jewish biblical scholar, particularly infuriated Maccoby, for Sandmel chastised him for bringing the issue of the historical Jesus out into the open before a general audience which does not read professional biblical scholarship. And Maccoby was quite right in objecting to the type of self-censorship Sandmel was apparently recommending to his fellow Jews.
Maccoby’s book on the political Jesus has not found much support among scholars. Still, he has some cogent things to say about Christian and ex-Christian biblical scholars. In surveying the recent scholarship on the problem of the historical Jesus, Maccoby shows that “Christian theology always appears to be swinging between two poles: the affirmation of Christianity and its superiority to Judaism, and, on the other hand, the affirmation of the oneness of Judaism and Christianity.”
Furthermore, he finds that the various interpretations of biblical scholars demonstrate less scholarly discovery and reflection than very tendentious theological or other ideological positions. He charges biblical scholars with the sin of which he himself has been charged: the attempt to validate or defend theological positions rather than the impartial dissemination of scholarly research. Albert Schweitzer said the same thing almost a century ago. Biblical scholarship is itself totally enmeshed in the same Christian-Jewish nexus it seeks to unravel.
Immediately relevant here is an ongoing debate on the shortcomings of German Protestant biblical scholarship. No nation has contributed more to biblical scholarship and theology than Germany; since no nation in the modern world has practiced anti-Semitism with such success as Germany, the entire question becomes one of burning concern. It is becoming clear that German theology and scholarship have played a central role in the modern dilemma of Christians and Jews.
A leading figure of Conservative Judaism in the early 20th century, Solomon Schechter, made the telling remark that German Higher Criticism of the Bible was “the higher anti-Semitism.” One may discount Schechter’s perhaps overly traditional defense of Jewish non-participation in modern biblical scholarship; his remark was nevertheless exceedingly insightful and right on target. It comes as no surprise that traditionalist or conservative Christian teaching should continue the normative tradition of denigrating the Jewish people. What is surprising is the role of liberal Protestant scholarship, particularly German scholarship, in reinforcing, indeed in intensifying, the negative image of the Jews among Christian believers.
Scholars have of late been focusing with increasing sharpness on the defects of biblical criticism characteristic of the German academic establishment in the last century. The German liberal Protestant scholars projected onto Judaism what their tradition had found most objectionable in Catholicism: a religion characterized by legalism, casuistry, and the neglect of the spirit. So pervasive did this distortion of Judaism become among German Protestant scholars that persuasive modern scholarship with a more positive appraisal of Judaism never found much acceptance in Germany. In the hands of the German critics,
the frequent Christian charge against Judaism . . . is not that some individual Jews misunderstood, misapplied, and abused their religion, but that Judaism necessarily tends toward petty legalism, self-serving and self-deceiving casuistry, and a mixture of arrogance and lack of confidence in God.12
Rudolf Bultmann, who more than any other scholar has defined the parameters of biblical scholarship for much of the Christian world, may be credited with implanting into New Testament scholarship a serious, pervasive distortion of Judaism. While Jewish scholars may be somewhat perplexed about Bultmann’s contribution to the question of Jesus’ relationship to the Judaism of his day, it seems at least clear that for him and his numerous followers in scholarship, Judaism is of little interest or relevance.
The German Protestant distortion of Judaism, however, goes back considerably earlier than the work of Bultmann. The seminal work of Julius Wellhausen in the last third of the 19th century involved the critical reconstruction of the sources and redaction of the Old Testament. Wellhausen exalted the Israelite prophets of early Hebrew history; he saw in the establishment of the priesthood the antithesis of the true religious spirit. His work separated Judaism from authentic Israelite religion. Judaism became a dry legalism from which Jesus sought to rescue it. In Wellhausen’s view the Catholic Church in fact did the same thing to Jesus’ teaching that the priesthood had done to the prophets: it effected the substitution of organizational rigidity for authentic religion.
Wellhausen published his work in the 1870’s and 1880’s, when anti-Semitism was becoming particularly virulent in imperial Germany. Derived from both Romanticism and Hegelianism, Wellhausen’s denigration of organized religion bore particularly severely on the validity of the Jewish people and its historical self-understanding. According to one authority:
While there were perhaps few major Old Testament scholars of the 19th century who were explicitly and openly anti-Jewish . . ., it is sadly necessary to acknowledge that the discipline was carried on to a considerable extent under presuppositions decidedly unfavorable to a positive theological evaluation of Judaism. This was true whether the dominant influence was the rationalism of the Enlightenment, which dictated a cultured despisal of the miracles and miscellaneous crudities of the Hebrew Scriptures, or a humanism which devalued the Semitic Old Testament in favor of the Greek New Testament, . . . or a Hegelianism which at the very best relegated Judaism to a superseded stage of evolution.13
This scholar goes on to make a partial exception of Adolf von Harnack, the greatest liberal Protestant scholar of imperial Germany, whom he calls a “Marcionite” for believing that the Old Testament was an “unnecessary and expendable burden for the Christian.” This returns us to a second look at Marcionism. In his classic work on Marcion, Das Evangelium vom fremden Gott (1921), Harnack expressed the view that Marcion had not been a heretic but an intellectual wanting to adapt Christianity to contemporary realities. In his own day Harnack wanted to perform the same necessary service. He believed that the struggle against Protestant fundamentalism required the elimination of the Old Testament from the Church’s canon.
Yet while Harnack opposed the political expression of anti-Semitism in imperial Germany, his influence contributed to the low esteem in which the Old Testament and its people were held. At the same time that Harnack saw the Old Testament as an unnecessary burden on meaningful religion, “völkisch” theologians in Germany were already placing the Hebrew Scripture on a par with the ancient writings of other alien peoples whose conceptions had no direct relevance for positive, German Christianity. The possibility raised earlier that a Marcionite Christianity might have been more neutral toward the Jewish people than the Christian orthodox tradition therefore needs to be reevaluated in terms of the work of Harnack and his neo-Marcionite disciples.
The recent work of the historian Uriel Tal helps to unravel the threads of liberal Protestantism in Germany in the Christian-Jewish nexus. Tal demonstrates that German historical and biblical criticism had undermined much of the ground of traditional Christianity and required a new attitude between liberal Protestantism and liberal Judaism. The Protestant liberals identified the Jewish sources of Christianity as the most valuable, and the later “accretions” of the Christian tradition as unintelligible to modern man. Oddly, however, as liberal Protestants looked at the Jewish roots of Christianity, they became frustrated that liberal Jews, who were as ready as they to cast off medieval tradition, did not come to the same conclusions: that the proper modern religion was a Christianity true to its Jewish roots and purged of medievalism. Why, in short, did liberal German Jews not become liberal Protestants? Thus, where scholarship might have contributed to a friendlier attitude on the part of liberal Protestants toward Jews, the Jews’ insistence on their own religious integrity aroused suspicion and hostility.
The results of critical scholarship, then, were ambiguous indeed. The latest assessment of the Jews was finally as negative as ever. The German Jews evidently disappointed the Protestant liberals’ hopes, as they had disappointed Martin Luther and later the liberals of the European Enlightenment. The more Protestant scholarship uncovered the “relevant” understanding of biblical religion, the more impatient it became with the Jews in its midst. As Tal writes:
The liberal Protestants argued that modern liberal Judaism was not justified in preserving its separate existence, for by its rejection of the Halakhah it acknowledged the basic doctrine of Christianity and by making ethics the central concern of religion it accepted the basic principle of Western humanistic culture. The liberal Jews, on the other hand, contended that liberal Protestantism was not justified in asserting the superiority of Christianity over Judaism, for with the rejection of the relatively late traditions whose sources were in pagan Christianity it virtually accepted Judaism’s basic opposition to Christianity, and by reducing religion to ethics and its theological mysteries to anthropology it denied the dogmatic traditions of the Church and acknowledged the prophetic teachings of Jewish ethics. As the two liberal camps became entrenched in their respective theological positions, they began to attach great importance to the merits of their cause—which only served to inflame the growing spirit of dissension.14
Evidently, the umbilical union of Christianity to Judaism, whether interpreted by liberals or traditionalists, whether maintained or severed, guaranteed that neither Christianity nor Judaism could create a valid theological place for its wayward relation. What could more graphically illuminate the complications of the entire Christian-Jewish nexus than the experience of Christians and Jews in the midst of the academic achievements of German scholarship? Even in this endeavor Germany was the heartland of the “Jewish Question.”
The unsympathetic assessment of Judaism and the Jewish people emerging from Protestant biblical scholarship may seem light-years away from the racist anti-Semitic movement which grew in imperial Germany. After all, to want to convert the Jews to Christianity was quite different from desiring their physical elimination from German life. Yet the scholarly criticism of the biblical tradition played its part even here in the growth of an uncompromising racist position. The racist movement, finding its greatest audience after World War I, depended on the process of the secularization of German society—the growth of materialism, the devaluation of revealed religion, the substitution of anthropology and biology for theology. The achievements of German biblical scholarship, Tal observes, were part of intellectual and social movements which “struck a responsive chord in a rebellious generation, altered the traditional views of God, man, and society, and ultimately led to the pseudo-religion, pseudo-messianic movement of Nazism.” According to the harsh judgment of Karl Barth, the logical result of secularized, German Protestantism was membership in the Nazi movement.
Tal writes that despite the differences and antagonisms between Christian anti-Semites and anti-Christian, racist anti-Semites in imperial and Weimar Germany,
Christianity created the patterns of prejudice, hatred, and calumny that could readily provide a rationale to justify organized violence. The anti-Christian elements of racial anti-Semitism were interpreted in such a way that the traditional theological concepts of Christianity were not completely rejected; only their meanings were changed by using a pseudo-scientific jargon and applied to the historical realities of that day, without the salutary correction of Christian discipline and belief.
The theoretical differences between religious and racist anti-Semitism were, in practice, less important than one might think. The symbiosis between the two varieties of anti-Semitism seems to have obtained also among Catholics in Germany and Austria. The widely accepted view that the Jews were a flawed and guilty people emasculated any possible opposition to racist policy by a determined government. The woes inflicted on the Jewish people consequently could be seen less as the result of their political and social weakness than as the punishment of divine Providence.
The desire of biblical scholars to make Christianity “relevant” can be seen fulfilled, albeit in a perverse way, in the racist acceptance of Christian stereotypes of the Jews and in the attempt to de-Judaize Christianity itself. There is surely a lesson here for those who seek to bring religion “up to date.” It is hard to assess with certainty the contribution to and cooperation with racist anti-Semitism on the part of traditional Christian teaching, and scholars possessed of generosity and a desire to make historical amends have sometimes gone too far in indiscriminately making no distinction between the two varieties of anti-Semitism—the Austrian historian Friedrich Heer is an example, in two books which lack balance and judgment15 —yet it seems inescapable that the Christian tradition at least did undermine among the weak and the confused any resolution to oppose the extermination of the Jews in their midst.
The theological revolution represented so well by the work of Rosemary Ruether has elicited a number of interesting reactions. Those who have responded without rancor or fear—rancor at her lack of orthodoxy and fear for the very survival of Christianity—have at the same time welcomed her initiatives and expressed doubt about the practical results of a theological revision of the Christian-Jewish nexus. Jewish scholars and observers have applauded the good will of the theological radicals but have expressed pessimism that their work will be anything more than “an esoteric exercise restricted in its impact to an intellectual elite.”16 They also fear that any attempt to minimize the fundamental differences and antagonisms between Judaism and Christianity is unhistorical and even potentially dangerous.
Many Christian authors likewise warn that the real differences between the two biblical faiths cannot easily be reconciled, that there are certain non-negotiable central claims which must remain to some degree a source of conflict. One authority, Douglas R.A. Hare, is honest enough to say that there will always be some anti-Judaism in Christianity and some anti-Christianity in Judaism. The gains from an ecumenism which seeks to minimize real differences between beliefs and traditions are perhaps offset by the consequences of a cultural relativism which destroys all historic traditions in favor of bland mediocrity. There are thus limits to the revolution in theology.
Nevertheless, all the caveats and timidities, whether from Jewish or Christian circles, betray a certain unconscious fundamentalism about the biblical tradition. Radical theologians and historians plunge ahead toward new interpretations of the tradition in the belief that God, the Lord of history, is still speaking today as He once did in the world of ancient Israel. Edward Schillebeeckx is already in deep trouble with whatever Roman bureaucracy has replaced the Holy Office, and he sees no reason for hesitation in renewing the Church’s teaching:
. . . I do not begrudge any believer the right to describe and live out his belief in accordance with old models of experience, culture, and ideas. But this attitude isolates the Church’s faith from any future and divests it of any real missionary power to carry conviction with contemporaries for whom the gospel is—here and now—intended. Obviously, the new models will in turn be replaced by others (just as the Copernican model has already for the most part been superseded). The question is not whether we know better than the faithful of earlier times. The question is what, in view of the new models of thought and experience, we must do, here and now, to preserve a living faith which in this age and because of its truths has relevance for man, his community and society.17
From the Jewish side, the distinguished Israeli historian David Flusser is willing to lay aside traditional Jewish objections to Christian messianism and Christology; he finds that an honest investigation of Jewish speculation about the Godhead and the messiah reveals traditions which are close to those developed in Christianity.18
Along with Rosemary Ruether, perhaps the most venturesome Christian thinker is Paul Van Buren, who rejects all biblical fundamentalism to call for the continuation of the biblical process of open-ended reevaluation of recent history: just as the traditional Christian attitudes toward the Jews were based on a creative confrontation with early Christian history, modern attitudes must be developed in the full light of contemporary history. A 20th-century “midrash” or imaginative interpretation of the Jewish Question would be fully consistent with the biblical tradition:
Redaction and canon criticism . . . have helped us to see the Bible as consisting of layered reinterpretations of a sacred tradition occasioned by successive events in Israel’s history. That structure is evidently open-ended: it invites further reinterpretation in response to further events, even up to our own times, as it continually challenges our self-understanding and our reading of our own history. . . .
To view the Bible as not a fixed set of facts and beliefs but rather as a method of subjecting human life and history to God’s viewpoint and judgment may indeed seem difficult and hazardous. It has been attempted, with some success, in Krister Stendahl’s reinterpretation of St. Paul.19 Stendahl has attempted a reinterpretation of Paul’s mission to the Gentiles and his attitude toward the Jews in the light of the disastrous Christian-Jewish nexus; he abandons the interpretation of Paul developed by St. Augustine and Martin Luther in favor of seeing him primarily as concerned with how to bring the Gentiles to God. In this context, the non-belief of Israel leaves center stage for the periphery.
One may find Stendahl’s view of Paul somewhat one-sided and somewhat in contradiction to some of his Epistles, but he is taking seriously the murderous consequences of a fundamentalist interpretation of the Apostle to the Gentiles. The positive assessment of the Jewish people possible with such methods is both exciting and instructive: the overcoming of orthodox fundamentalism can indeed liberate Christians and Jews from their confrontational faiths.
The role of orthodox Christianity in the teaching and dissemination of anti-Semitism stands indicted and only convoluted special pleading can even attempt to quash the heinous charge. In a careful study of the link between Christian belief and anti-Semitism fifteen years ago, Charles Y. Glock and Rodney Stark clearly demonstrated the relationship of orthodox belief and anti-Semitic prejudice:
The causal chain that links the Christian belief and faith to secular anti-Semitism begins with orthodoxy. . . . Orthodoxy, in turn, leads to particularism—a disposition to see Christian truth as the only religious truth. Particularism produces a twofold response toward religious outsiders. On the one hand Christian particularism prompts missionary zeal: the faith is open to all mankind if only they will accept it. But when others reject the call to conversion the hostility latent in particularism is activated.
This hostility is directed against all religious outsiders whether they are of another faith or of none. Because of their historic link with Christianity, the Jews are singled out for special attention. . . .
This process—orthodoxy to particularism to religious hostility—culminates in secular anti-Semitism. Almost inexorably, those caught up in this syndrome of religious ideology are led to a general hostility toward the Jews.20
Still, to avoid complacency this judgment must be balanced by recognition of the actual and potential anti-Semitism encouraged by liberalized and secularized versions of Christian faith. It was among the 17th- and 18th-century deists that modern hostility toward the Jews probably began. The deists struggled against orthodox and obscurantist Church authorities by seeking to undermine the biblical tradition and the central role of the Jewish people. The anti-Semitic themes in the writings of Voltaire survived in the arsenal of populistic freethinkers. One can read in Hitler’s Tabletalk during World War II numerous indications of his having digested a Voltairean anti-clericalism, anti-Christianity, and anti-Semitism. Modern anti-Semitism owes at least as much to secularism and the destruction of reverence for the biblical tradition as it does to orthodox belief. And religious liberals may come to view the Jews as just as stiff-necked and just as incorrigible as did orthodox Christians. Certainly the Jewish attachment to the land of Israel is difficult for many religious liberals to accept.
Traditional Christianity places the Jews at the “secret center” of history. It gives them a place of honor in the story of human destiny, a place of honor whose obverse as a place of shame and malediction is always available. The Jews remain a “mystery” more than they remain human beings. The liberal Christian abandons the central role of election and malediction assigned to the Jews and views them as members of another religious or ethnic group. But the claims of the Jews—their traditions and their hopes—strike the liberal as absurd and misanthropic. When the liberal denies the special reprobation of the Jews and their central role in history, he also denies their special relationship to the Lord of history and makes them even more vulnerable to hostility and lack of understanding and tolerance.
There is really nothing “modern” about this Jewish plight. Already in the Greco-Roman world enlightened philosophers and writers accused the Jews—out of liberal principles, not religious prejudice—of odium humani generis (hatred of humankind). The decline of Christian orthodoxy has made the modern Jew vulnerable to a hatred that knows neither religious fanaticism nor theological denigration. But he is still hated—and more murderously so.
The current theological revolution in the Christian interpretation of the Jewish people is a work of charity and atonement. One can only wish it well. One must, however, hope that it will continue to seek to tie Christians and Jews, Christianity and Judaism, ever more closely together—that it will enmesh them together more umbilically into the Christian-Jewish nexus. Despite its tragic consequences and historical ambiguities, the Christian-Jewish nexus probably protects Christians and Jews from mutual hatred and self-hatred better than any secular ideology currently available.
1 See, for example, James Hitchcock, Catholicism and Modernity; Confrontation or Capitulation (1979); John M. Oesterreicher, Anatomy of Contempt: A Critique of R.R. Ruether's “Faith and Fratricide” (1975); and Thomas A. Indinopulos and Roy Bowen Ward, “Is Christology Inherently Anti-Semitic? A Critical View of Rosemary Ruether's Faith and Fratricide,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. XLV, No. 2 (1977).
2 Verus Israel (Paris, 1964) and, with André Benoit, Le Judaïsme et le Christianisme antique d' Antiochus Epiphane a Constantin (Paris, 1968).
3 Discerning the Way: A Theology of the Jewish Christian Reality (1980).
4 “New Revelations and New Patterns in the Relationship of Judaism and Christianity,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Vol. XVI, No. 2 (Spring 1979).
5 The Christian Tradition, Vol. I: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600) (1971).
6 Anti-Semitism and the Christian Mind (1969).
7 The Nature and Destiny of Man (1964). See also Niebuhr's “The Relations of Christians and Jews in Western Civilization,” in Pious and Secular America (1958).
8 Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in Their Encounter in Palestine During the Early Hellenistic Period (1974).
9 Aphrahat and Judaism: The Christian-Jewish Argument in Fourth-Century Iran (1971).
10 Marcel Simon does not let the modern consequences of anti-Semitism soften what he regards as the judgment of an “impartial historian.” The Church's polemic against the Jews was as legitimate a means of self-defense as the arguments of one Christian sect against another, he contends. Hatred between Jews and Christians was intense and mutual. The rabbis did not then share the view of modern liberal Jews that Christianity was an appropriate form of monotheism for the conversion of pagan man. For the ancient rabbis, Christianity was the enemy. The Jews merely lacked the means and the opportunity of persecuting Christians.
11 “Is the Political Jesus Dead?,” February 1976. See also the discussion of Maccoby's article by Samuel Sandmel, Trude Weiss-Rosmarin, Joel Carmichael, Rosemary Ruether, and a reply by Maccoby, in Encounter, April 1977.
12 E.P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism (1977).
13 Joseph Blenkinsopp, Prophecy and Canon: A Contribution to the Study of Jewish Origins (1977).
14 Christians and Jews in Germany: Religion, Politics, and Ideology in the Second Reich 1870-1914 (1975).
15 God's First Love: Christians and Jews over Two Thousand Years (1970), and Der Glaube des Adolf Hitlers (Munich, 1968). Heer, no doubt out of compassion, charity, and sorrow, delivers an intemperate attack on all the principal dogmas of Christianity and pretends to find that Hitler, in his anti-Semitism, was a consistently Austrian Catholic.
16 Jacob Katz, From Prejudice to Destruction (1980); see also Frank Talmage, “Christian Theology and the Holocaust,” COMMENTARY, October 1975, and Arthur A. Cohen, The Myth of the Judeo-Christian Tradition (1971).
17 Jesus: An Experiment in Christology (1979).
18 Foreword to Clemens Thoma, A Christian Theology of Judaism (1980).
19 Paul Among Jews and Gentiles (1976).
20 Christian Beliefs and Anti-Semitism (1966).