The Ten Commandments for Jews, Christians, and Others

The Ten Commandments for Jews, Christians, and Others

The Ten Commandments for Jews, Christians, and Others

The Ten Commandments for Jews, Christians, and Others

Synopsis

Foreword by Peter W. Ochs
Afterword by Richard John Neuhaus

In this book eminent Jewish and Christian scholars come together to illuminate the Ten Commandments. Roger Van Harn has arranged the volume so that writers from both traditions dialogue over each of the Ten Words. A Christian or a Jew writes a penetrating essay about one of the commandments, followed by a shorter response from a member of the other tradition -- all done, remarkably, without sacrificing either Jewish or Christian identity.

Unique for its authentic interfaith dialogue on dogmatic matters, The Ten Commandments for Jews, Christians, and Others offers pertinent guidelines for believing Jews and Christians today, with the goal of stimulating deeper conversation between the two groups. As Van Harn says, "Listening to one another may hold pleasant surprises that open us to new possibilities."

Excerpt

Peter W. Ochs

On the North Shore of Long Island in the 1950s, Jewish-Christian relations remained largely at the stage of asking questions about how or whether to integrate “exclusive” neighborhoods and country clubs. At least that is how I remember it. As the only Jewish child in my culturally Protestant grade school, the central question of “Jewish-Christian dialogue” was one I asked myself: “Will her mom let her date a Jew?” the social histories I have since read suggest that my childhood memory may not be far off the mark. in those days in those places, the questions were about social etiquette and, sometimes, ethics.

This very dear and profound volume shows us how far we have come: so far that the book’s central dialogue is not between Jews and Christians but between some very fine readers of Scripture — both Jewish and Christian scholars — and the God who declared “You shall have no other gods before me!”

The essays of this volume bear the fruit of many layers of maturation since those early dialogues of the 1950s. First, there is the opening of Christian theologians, in the decades after the Holocaust, to reconsider and then acknowledge the people Israel’s enduring covenant with the God of Israel. It then took some decades of care from a widening circle of Christian colleagues before Jewish theologians opened themselves, in response, to address topics of Christian theology without defensiveness. During these

1. One mark of this opening was “Dabru Emet: a Jewish Statement on Christians and Christianity,” which appeared in 1991 along with the accompanying book, Christianity in Jewish Terms, ed. Frymer-Kensky et al. (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1991). The Ten Commandments for Jews, Christians, and Others deepens, extends, and expands this earlier opening.

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