The Art of Dialogue: Jewish-Christian Relations in a Post-Shoah World (the Jerome Cardin Memorial Lecture)

By Krondorfer, Bjorn | Cross Currents, September 2012 | Go to article overview

The Art of Dialogue: Jewish-Christian Relations in a Post-Shoah World (the Jerome Cardin Memorial Lecture)


Krondorfer, Bjorn, Cross Currents


We wish, perhaps, that some events of the past would quietly fall into oblivion, be erased from collective memory for a fresh start. Surely, the Holocaust, or Shoah, would be such an event: The systematic attempt of Nazi Germany and its European collaborators to annihilate all European Jews and Jewish culture revealed modernity's darkest side, and it sobered the Enlightenment's belief in the steady progress of humanity toward moral improvement. The unleashing of unprecedented genocidal violence was made possible by putting modern technology and a bureaucratic apparatus into the service of a nation state ruled by a racial ideology. What started in the early years of Hitler's dictatorship as domestic terror evolved into a systematic genocidal campaign after the beginning of World War II in 1939. In hundreds of camps dotting the European map, the so-called inferior and undesirable people labored, starved, suffered, and died. The abyss of this system of terror was reached when the six extermination camps started their operations in December of 1941. The name Auschwitz is seared into our collective conscience and consciousness.

When we think about Auschwitz, the term dialogue does not readily come to mind. Auschwitz, it seems, is the antithesis to dialogue, to understanding, to reconciliation, and to life. Philosopher Theodor Adorno once wondered whether poetry can be written again after Auschwitz, and we may similarly ask whether dialogue can happen again in the face of such calamity. Auschwitz, one might say, is a negative space, a cemetery without graves, a house of death without traces--and this negative vortex cannot be mended or undone by dialogue. But Auschwitz today is no longer a death camp: It has become a memorial site, a tourist site, and a site of modern pilgrimage of millions of visitors each year. And if Ausch-witz the death camp dampens any optimism about the prospect of dialogue, Auschwitz the contemporary memorial site demands us to engage a dialogical ethics.

The importance of dialogue is the topic I want to address at this occasion. I want to show that there is an art to dialoguing, and this art calls us into an ethical commitment of relationality. I also want to show that the art to dialoguing involves, literally, the arts. In my life, I have experienced and practiced dialogue through the performance arts as well as the visual arts. The body of work that my artist friend Karen Baldner and I created over the years is one example of how the visual arts can facilitate dialogue and serve as a catalyst for restoration and transformation. Our collaborative effort (previously covered in CrossCurrents (2)) has resulted in multiple objects of installations, prints, and book art that serve as witnesses to our ongoing dialogue between a Jewish German woman and a non-Jewish German man, both of whom were raised in Germany but are now residing in the United States.

The Cardin Memorial Lecture has, over many years now, offered ample occasions to publicly reflect on aspects of Jewish--Christian relations, and so I start there as well. As much as I have emphasized in my opening words that the annihilation of European Jews must be understood as a genocidal effort of a modern secular dictatorship, it is also true that the silence and complicity of the Christian churches contributed to the utter abandonment of the Jewish communities during the Holocaust. Soon after 1945, however, this fatal neglect triggered a process of soul-searching among Christian communities and led to a thorough overhaul of Christian thinking about Judaism. Christians began to repudiate their anti-Judaic, anti-Jewish, and antisemitic traditions that have blinded and distorted their century-old views of Jews and the Jewish religion (Fig. 1).

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

In his 2011 volume on church documents of post-1945 Christian-Jewish dialogue, Lutheran theologian Franklin Sherman summarizes those changes succinctly. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Art of Dialogue: Jewish-Christian Relations in a Post-Shoah World (the Jerome Cardin Memorial Lecture)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.