Article excerpt

For over fifty-five years, we at CrossCurrents have moved beyond the sometimes narrow agendas of academic guilds to explore the most interesting intersections of religion and intellectual life. We have discovered when we trespass the established borders and boundaries of academic and faith communities we can enter the liminal spaces where some of the most engaging ecumenical and interfaith conversations begin.

Those of us who studied with the late John Howard Yoder remember how he taught us to transgress the status quo, or in his words, "Constantinian assumptions of contemporary theology and culture," with alternative, prophetic possibilities for re-imagining the relationships of God, world, self and other. One of his consistent themes was the Jewishness of Jesus and the early church, followed by his startling claim that the division of Christianity from Judaism "did not have to be."

Peter Ochs and Michael Cartwright have collected and published Yoder's most important explorations of the "unnecessary" Jewish-Christian splits and schisms (The Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited, Eerdmans, 2003). This collection of essays also presents Yoder's reflections on the Free Churches or Peace Churches spiritual solidarity with prophetic Judaism. Indeed, Professor Yoder contends that members of Peace Churches are in significant ways more like Jews than mainline Christians.

The incomparable Jewish scholar Daniel Boyarin also investigates the early Jewish-Christian conflicts and schisms on his recent book, Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). …


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