Over 700,000 copies of the original hardcover and paperback editions of this stunningly popular book have been sold. Karen Armstrong's superbly readable exploration of how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force. One of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, Armstrong traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From (...) classical philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one compelling volume. (shrink)
The novelty in Rosenzweig’s new ways of thinking lies in the fact that, unlike the traditional view, in his thought philosophy is the discipline containing a subjective element, whereas religion is more objective since it is founded on revelation. These complementary differences help the philosopher rethink Judaism and Jewish identity in the context of the spiritual crisis of the secularized Judaism of his time. Starting with the analysis of this reconstruction of philosophy, this text attempts to present a (...) balanced perspective on Rosenzweig’s vision of the relation between Judaism and Christianity. We will not single out the common elements or those that separate these two monotheist religions; setting Judaism and Christianity on the same level is considered to be a compensatory gesture towards Judaism and Jewish tradition. There is in Rosenzweig a significant moment of approach toward Christianity, especially to a Christianity without Christ, but Rosenzweig opts for a different solution, that of building a new philosophy based on Judaism. Moshe Idel’s analysis suggests that it is the Kabbalistic mysticism that Rosenzweig redefines in order to propose a new way of thought based on both philosophy and religion. Thus, Rosenzweig gives new meaning to the balance of divine and human in the field of religion. (shrink)
In one of the essays in his recent book on Christianity, La déclosion (2005), Nancy discusses the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. Nancy opens this discussion with a reference to Lyotard’s book on this relationship: Un trait d’union (1993). Both Lyotard and Nancy examine a very early figure in the emergence of Christianity from Judaism—whereas Lyotard focuses on the epistles of Paul, Nancy reads the epistle of James. Lyotard concludes that the hyphen in the expression (...) ‘Judeo-Christian’ actually conceals ‘the most impenetrable abyss within Western thought’. With this abyss, Lyotard refers to the point of departure of Judaism: the event in which a Voice has left behind letters, inaugurating an interminable work of interpretation. For Nancy, however, it is rather Christianity, and therefore, Western culture, which is deconstructive in nature. Its composition is co-original with a decomposition, and therefore, with an openness. In James, Nancy finds an emphasis on praxis, in such a way that existence is to be understood as transcendent within itself. With this reading of James, Nancy seems to deny that there is a fundamental difference between Judaism and Christianity. In order to clarify the differences between Lyotard and Nancy, it is shown that, in Lyotard’s view, an unsublatable alterity comes with aisthèsis, whereas in Nancy’s view, alterity comes with existence as such. (shrink)
This paper attempts to analyze the place that Christianity occupies within the framework of Martin Buber’s thought and to present some of the arguments brought by Buber in order to support his conception regarding Christianity. There is a great number of books, articles and studies belonging to Buber that touch, on different levels, the topic proposed, nevertheless, the most significant for this paper is Buber’s book Two types of faith, intended as a comparative analysis of Judaism and (...)Christianity. Buber’s perception on Christianity is characterized by the dualistic perspective that defines his whole philosophy. The two paradigms that represent the basis of Buber’s entire thought (the world of Thou and the world of It) are to be found at the basis of “the duality of faith” he postulates. Thus, the analysis will be carried on two different levels, which, however sometimes share common elements. (shrink)
This work focuses on Latin Judaica and Biblical interpretation with a primary emphasis on texts that were found in the library of Archbishop Narcissus Marsh of Dublin. This remarkable collection of Latin Judaica, Polyglot Bibles, and other works sheds light on the way in which the Protestant Reformation dealt both with Jews, and the Bible, the Jewish Kabbalah and religious toleration or intolerance. The articles contained herein will be of especial interest to historians of religion and philosophy, and those (...) dealing with Jewish-Christian relations and the manner in which Biblical interpretation was changed as a result of seventeenth-century influences. The articles also weave a new approach to the broad history of religious toleration. Philosophers, political thinkers, religious clerics, and budding anthropologists look at Judaism, Christianity, Kabbalah, and the Bible under a new and vastly more modern lens. (shrink)
Many studies written about the Jewish-Christian relationship are primarily historical overviews that focus on the Jewish background of Christianity, the separation of Christianity from Judiasm, or the medieval disputations between the two faiths. This book is one of the first studies to examine the relationship from a philosophical and theological viewpoint. Carefully drawing on Jewish classical sources, Novak argues that there is actual justification for the new relationship between Judaism and Christianity from within Jewish religious tradition. (...) He demonstrates that this new relationship is possible between religiously committed Jews and Christians without the two major impediments to dialogue: triumphalism and relativism. One of the very few books on this topic written by a Jewish theologian who speaks specifically to modern Christian concerns, it will provide the groundwork for a more serious development of Jewish-Christian dialogue in our day. (shrink)
From a social science perspective, a major purpose of religion is to organize the behavior of the community of believers in order to maximize its success as a collective. The underlying premise of this lecture is that religious authority will sanction violence and aggression when they are assessed to be an effective means of realizing the goals of the collective. Conversely, when violence and aggression become unhelpful or counter- productive for realizing community goals they are forbidden. This phenomenology of religion (...) and violence is applied to the history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to demonstrate that none of these religions is inherently more or less apt to engage in violence. Their use of belligerent and irenic behaviors are more profoundly influenced by historical context and social needs than by theology. (shrink)
Fourteen essays by leading scholars from around the world explore the theological, philosophical, and historical connections between the three Abrahamic faiths and ethics. Timely reading for students of religion, philosophy, and ethics.
The Intellectual Foundations of Christian and Jewish Discourse is a unique and controversial analysis of the genesis and evolution of Judeo-Christian intellectual thought. Jacob Neusner and Bruce Chilton argue that the Judaic and Christian heirs of Scripture adopted, and adapted to their own purposes, Greek philosophical modes of thought, argument and science. Intellectual Foundations of Christian and Jewish Discourse explores how the earliest intellectuals of Christianity and Judaism shaped a tradition of articulated conflict and reasoned argument in the (...) search for religious truth and focuses especially on methods of discourse in the Judaic and Christian intellectual and literary traditions. (shrink)
The article is dedicated to the politico-theological critique of Judaism from the position of Christianity. It shows the affinity of Marx’s early critique of liberal state and of Hannah Arendt’s criticism of formal legalistic thinking in the contemporary judicial treatment of Nazism (and of similar international political crimes). Marx’s critique of nation-state finds its unlikely continuation in Arendt’s critique of international law. The politico-theological argument is explicit in Marx and implicit in Arendt, but both develop the Hegelian criticism (...) of liberal state which shows its reliance on the abstract law, on the one hand, and on the egotistic abstract individual, on the other. The theological undercurrent of the argument is both sign of its limitations, and of the subsisting relevance of the politico-theological framework, even in the similarly novel circumstances of the twentieth century. It is only within and through the theological critique and critique of theology that these issues would stand a chance of resolution. (shrink)
impermissibly favorable to Jews? -- Humanist origins -- Humanism at court -- Discovery of Hebrew -- Johannes Pfefferkorn and the campaign against Jews -- Who saved the Jewish books? -- Inquisition -- Trial at Rome and the Christian debates -- The Luther affair -- As if the first martyr of Hebrew letters.
Over the past generation, forgiveness has entered the political sphere in countries all over the globe that are addressing the past injustices of war, dictatorship, genocide, and the maltreatment of native peoples. Among the international community, however, the practice is controversial, criticized as unjust for burdening victims and foregoing deserved punishment. This essay argues that forgiveness is not contrary to justice but rather reflective of it if justice means restoration of right relationship, a concept embedded in the scriptures and traditions (...) of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Conceived of in this way, forgiveness can avoid the potential injustices with which it is charged and contribute positively to the reconstruction of political orders. (shrink)
Workplace spirituality research has side-stepped religion by focusing on the function of belief rather than its substance. Although establishing a unified foundation for research, the functional approach cannot shed light on issues of workplace pluralism, individual or institutional faith-work integration, or the institutional roles of religion in economic activity. To remedy this, we revisit definitions of spirituality and argue for the place of a belief-based approach to workplace religion. Additionally, we describe the construction of a 15-item measure of workplace religion (...) informed by Judaism and Christianity – the Faith at Work Scale (FWS). A stratified random sample (n = 234) of managers and professionals assisted in refining the FWS which exhibits a single factor structure (Eigenvalue = 8.88; variance accounted for = 59.22%) that is internally consistent (Cronbach's α = 0.77) and demonstrates convergent validity with the Faith Maturity Scale (r = 0.81, p> 0.0001). The scale shows lower skew and kurtosis with Mainline and Catholic adherents than with Mormons and Evangelicals. Validation of the scale among Jewish and diverse Christian adherants would extend research in workplace religion. (shrink)
The notion that appeal to the Judaism contemporary with the writing of the New Testament documents will help solve exegetical problems has characteristically taken the form of an appeal to a Judaism that never existed; the practice should be abandoned.
The Islamic philosophical tradition was the privileged site for the study and continuation of the Classical philosophical tradition in the Middle Ages. An initial chapter on the history of Islamic philosophy sets the stage for sixteen articles on issues across the Islamic, Jewish and Christian traditions. The goal is to see the Islamic tradition in its own richness and complexity as the context of much Jewish intellectual work. Taken together, these two traditions provide the wider context to which Latin Christian (...) intellectuals would turn. The articles are grouped under six topics relevant both to the period and to current philosophical interest: the Islamic philosophical context, the nature of philosophy in the Middle Ages, Neoplatonism and the activity of the soul, creation, virtue, and the Latin reception. Since the nineteenth century Islamic and Jewish philosophy have been neglected in the standard histories of medieval philosophy. The time is right to begin to write a more balanced history of medieval philosophy. In order to begin to write this history, this book focuses on the Islamic, Jewish, and Christian use of - and reaction to - Classical philosophy during the Middle Ages. (shrink)
With the passing of disputations between Jewish and Christian thinkers as to whose tradition has a more universal ethics, the task of Jewish and Christian ethicists is to constitute a universal horizon for their respective bodies of ethics, both of which are essentially particularistic being rooted in special revelation. This parallel project must avoid relativism that is essentially anti-ethical, and triumphalism that proposes an imperialist ethos. A retrieval of the idea of natural law in each respective tradition enables the constitution (...) of some intelligent common ground for ethical cooperation in both theory and practice between the traditions. This essay also suggests how the constitution of this common ground could include Muslims as well. The constitution of this common ground enables religious ethicists to present more cogent ethical arguments in secular space, but only of course, when those who now control secular space are open to arguments from members of any religious tradition. (shrink)
Erasmus of Rotterdam was the greatest Christian humanist scholar of the Northern European Renaissance, a correspondent of Sir Thomas More and many other learned men of his time, known to his contemporaries and to posterity for subtlety of his thought and the depth of his learning. He was also, according to some modern writers, an anti-Semite. In this complete analysis of all of Erasmus' writings on Jews and Judaism, Shimon Markish asserts that the accusation cannot be sustained. For Markish, (...) to ask whether Erasmus was a friend or enemy of the Jews is to ask a modern question of a sixteenth-century man, whose attitude can best be called "asemitism." Erasmus' chief preoccupation was with the future of "the true philosophy of Christ"; he had little interest in the Jewish community of his own time. Erasmus and the Jews discusses Erasmus' critique of Mosaic law and his view of the conflict between "Judaism" as legalistic morality and Jesus' teaching; his judgment on the Pharisees of Jesus' time; his emphasis on the importance of the study of Hebrew; and his opinions of sixteenth-century Jews. This meticulous analysis reveals an Erasmus who defended his vision of true piety by rejecting "Judaizing" Christians more than Jews and who saw the Old Testament as integral to the Christian worldview. As a Christian, he regretted nonbelief and pitied unbelievers, without vicious hostility toward any single people. His theological opposition to a form of religious thought which he identified with Judaism was not translated into crude prejudice against actual Jews. In general, his calm consideration of the strange and the foreign and his willingness to restrict his judgments to the philosophical realm were, Markish argues, early and significant steps toward enlightened toleration. Markish's discussion of Erasmus is supplemented with an Afterword by theologian and philosopher Arthur A. Cohen, who offers a variant interpretation of Erasmus' writings and attitudes. The juxtaposed arguments of the two scholars make this an especially illuminating work for any student of Erasmus and his influence. Erasmus and the Jews also gives a necessary clarity to our understanding of the meaning of anti-Semitism and the history of religious toleration. Markish's profound knowledge of Erasmus allows him to demonstrate the fundamental importance of putting arguments and terminology in the context of a thinker's work and his own time. (shrink)
pt. 1. lecture 1. Philosophy and religion as traditions ; lecture 2. Plato's inquiries ; lecture 3. Plato's spirituality ; lecture 4. Plato and Aristotle ; lecture 5. Plotinus ; lecture 6. The Jewish scriptures ; lecture 7. Platonist philosophy and scriptural religion ; lecture 8. The New Testament ; lecture 9. Rabbinic Judaism ; lecture 10. Church Fathers ; lecture 11. The development of Christian Platonism ; lecture 12. Jewish rationalism and mysticism (six cassettes) -- pt. 2. lecture (...) 13. Classical theism-proofs and attributes of God ; lecture 14. Medieval Christian theology-nature and grace ; lecture 15. Late-medieval nominalism and Christian mysticism ; lecture 16. Protestantism-problems of grace ; lecture 17. Descartes, Locke, and the crisis of modernity ; lecture 18. Leibniz and theodicy ; lecture 19. Hume's Critique of religion ; lecture 20. Kant-reason limited to experience ; lecture 21. Kant-morality as the basis of religion ; lecture 22. Schleiermacher-feeling as the basis of religion (five cassettes) -- pt. 3. lecture 23. Hegel-a philosophical history of religion ; lecture 24. Marx and the hermeneutics of suspicion ; lecture 25. Kierkegaard-existentialism and the leap of faith ; lecture 26. Nietzsche-critic of Christian morality ; lecture 27. Neo-orthodoxy-the subject and object of faith ; lecture 28. Encountering the biblical other-Buber and Levinas ; lecture 29. Process philosophy-God in time ; lecture 30. Logical empiricism and the meaning of religion ; lecture 31. Reformed epistemology and the rationality of belief ; lecture 32. Conclusion-philosophy and religion today (five cassettes). (shrink)