Israel and the Church
110 Pages
English

Israel and the Church

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"My standpoint is then one of tension, a tension that I bear in my flesh and in my intellectual and spiritual life: I heard the two voices. And it is the weight of this tension that has pressed me to think and study about it, to teach about it, and eventually to write about it. It is the Jewish-Christian tension in my flesh and in my scholarly and professional life that has given birth to this book. In echo to Israel Zangwill, I will set my questions straight: Were Jesus and Moses indeed irreconcilable? Are our theological and historical cliches in agreement with the original intention of prophetic revelation and with what indeed took place in history?"
--From the Preface: The Two Jews

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Published 18 December 2018
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ISRAEL AND THECHURCH
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ISRAEL AND THECHURCH Two Voices for the Same God
Jacques B.Doukhan
36163—Doukhan
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Wipf and Stock Publishers 199 W 8th Ave, Suite 3 Eugene, OR 97401 Israel and the Church Two Voices for the Same God By Doukhan, Jacques Copyright©2002 by Doukhan, Jacques ISBN 13: 978-1-5326-4986-8 Publication date 2/2/2018 Previously published by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2002
CONTENTS
Preface: The Two Jews
1. When They Walked Together
2. The Parting of the Ways
3. The Christian Replacement
4. Mission Impossible
Postface: The Two Witnesses
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PREFACE:
THETWO
In dream I saw two Jews that met by chance, One old, stern-eyed, deep-browed, yet garlanded With living light of love around his head, The other young, with sweet seraphic glance. Around went on the Town’s satanic dance, Hunger a-piping while at heart he bled. Shalom Aleichem mournfully each said, Nor eyed the other straight but looked askance.
Sudden from Church out rolled an organ hymn, From Synagogue a loudly chanted air, Each with its Prophet’s high acclaim instinct. Then for the first time met their eyes, swift-linked In one strange, silent, piteous gaze, and dim 1 With bitter tears of agonized despair.
JEWS
I will start with the poet Israel Zangwill, with his tension—an un-resolved tension.I will start with his dream—something irreal, for the reality is too hard, too absurd, too unbearable. He sees two Jews; they are related by nature.They bear the same suffering, carry the same hope, and share the same identity: “two Jews.” Yet, they are separated by a tension of two thousand years and stand in stark contrast to each other. One is old; he has the antiquity, the strength, and the life of the roots.The other is young; he has the charm and the face of the blos -soming branch.Around them the poet sees a “satanic dance,” as if they were going to be misused and misrepresented.Evil jumps
1 Israel Zangwill,Moses and Jesus,inDreamers of the Ghetto(New York and London: Harper, 1898), viii.
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around them, plays with them, and deceives the people about them, hiding their true faces.The sounds of music and the shouts of joy burst out “while at heart he bled.” They say to each other,“Shalom Aleichem.”“Peace on you,” a greeting of love and of hope, wishing life and happiness.Yet, there is no peace, no life, no happiness, no love,because of them.The greeting is sad; it is said “mournfully.” Two Jews were supposed to generate Two Jews were Shalom;and yet, people have taken their names to lie, to hate, and to kill. supposed to generate They do not dare to look straight at each other, less they there recognize Shalom;and yet, their own pain, their own shame, their failure: “Nor eyed the other straight people have taken their but looked askance.” The second strophe shifts brutally to names to lie, to hate, a more explicit statement: “Sudden. and to kill...”. The partners of the tragedy are denounced: the church and the syna-gogue, the Jews and the Christians, are called upon.The two peoples, the two great religions are named, each one with its prophet, each one with its spiritual pride, each one with its truth, a truth claimed loudagainstthe other truth. And, therefore, when their eyes finally meet “for the first time,” the gaze is silent.Because there is so much to say and because words have become inadequate and out of place, but also because pro-found emotion is choking them “with bitter tears of agonized despair.” This is my starting point on the Jewish-Christian drama: this sad-ness, this tension, this “agonized despair.” As a Jew, Israel means for me a history that goes far in the past with profound and venera-ble roots.The history of a God, the eternal God of the universe, who came down and spoke and saved.The history of a people,my people, who walked and struggled, a history of suffering and hu-miliation, and also a history of glories and victories.As a Jew, my heart bleeds and cries when I think of the Holocaust, and it beats and trembles when I think of Eretz Israel.Israel means for me the beauty and the truth of the Hebrew Scriptures, the revolted shouts
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PR E F A C E:
TH E
TW O
JE W S
of the prophets, the high ethical ideals, and the profound wisdom of the sages and the challenge of their questions.As a Jew, I studied these Hebrew pages, loved them to the deepest of my soul, and de-voted to them my life as a researcher and a teacher.Israel means for me a brother, a sister, a father, a mother, and a teacher with whom I learned to remember. What the church means for me, because of history, is loaded with disturbing ambiguities.But in spite of this, I have been able to dis -cover in this testimony the high values and the great truth of “the other young” sung by Zangwill.For me, the church means also dear friends with whom I am working, struggling, and dialoguing, with whom I learned to love and to hope. I know, the “two Jews” are rarely seen together.This association is either strange or suspect.One cannot redo history, and those who forget it are condemned to betray it. Yet, without forgetting, I cannot ig-My standpoint is then nore what I saw.“I felt myself to be a Jew who was a Christian, a Christian one of tension, a 2 who remained a Jew.” My standpoint is then one of ten-tension that I bear in sion, a tension that I bear in my flesh and in my intellectual and spiritual my flesh and in my life: I heard the two voices.And it intellectual and is the weight of this tension that has pressed me to think and study about it, to teach about it, and eventually tospiritual life: I heard write about it.It is the Jewish-Chris -the two voices. tian tension in my flesh and in my scholarly and professional life that has given birth to this book.In echo to Israel Zangwill, I will set my questions straight: Were Jesus and Moses indeed irreconcilable? Are our theological and historical clichés in agreement with the origi-nal intention of prophetic revelation and with what indeed took place in history? Did the Jews reject Jesus? Did Jesus reject Moses? What propelled Christianity beyond the borders of Israel? Or, to
2 Anonymous, “When the Wall Is Fallen,”The Atlantic(December 1945): 95.
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use the words of Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, “Why did Christianity be-3 come a non-Jewish religion?” Just a few years ago, this last question was hardly entertained.But today, after the Holocaust, it is no longer decent for a Christian to deny the Jewish heritage of the church.And after the creation of modern Israel on the very spot where the first events of Christian history took place, it is no longer rea-sonable for a Jew to question the Jew-After two thousand ish setting of Christianity.Jews and Christians have come to recognize years of sad history their common roots.Does that mean that we are progressing toward Jewish-and after the Christian reconciliation? Is this rec-onciliation possible? And here I do Holocaust, is not simply refer to the success of orga-reconciliation between nized meetings and to the polite smiles of professionals at interconfessional the two Jews, betweendialogues.I am thinking specifically of Moses and Jesus and what they repre-Moses and Jesus, . . . sent.Even if the tension was not their original intention, even if we can show still possible? that Jesus was at home in ancient Juda-ism and that early Christianity never intended to repudiate the law of Moses, and even if we can show that there was a time when the Jew could be Christian without any ten-sion, the question strikes today more burningly than ever: After two thousand years of sad history and after the Holocaust, is reconcilia-tion between the two Jews, between Moses and Jesus, within the hearts, minds, and lives of Christians and Jews, still possible? All other questions lead to this one; and, indeed, it is the ultimate ques-tion of this book.
3 Gilles Bernheim, “Dépasser un dialogue de surface,”Le christianisme du XXème siècle(April 1991): 12.All translations are the author’s unless otherwise indicated.
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