How to Do Comparative Theology

By Francis X. Clooney; Klaus Von Stosch | Go to book overview

8 Comparative Theology
After the Shoah:
RISKS, PIVOTS, AND OPPORTUNITIES
OF COMPARING TRADITIONS

Marianne Moyaert

The Shoah, insofar as it forms the climax of a longstanding tradition of anti-Jewish discrimination, contains one of the most important inducements for the revolutionary change in the Church’s attitude vis-à-vis Israel. After the Shoah, the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), and in particular the promulgation of the document Nostra Aetate, brought about a turning point in Jewish-Christian relationships. Later such documents as the Guidelines (1974), Notes (1985), We Remember (1998), and The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible (2001), together with various dialogical initiatives, affirmed the Church’s determination to break away from the “teaching of contempt” (Isaac 1964). This determination was once again affirmed in the recently released document The Gifts and the Calling of God Are Irrevocable (2015). Today, fifty years after Nostra Aetate, we can say that of all interreligious dialogues, Christian-Jewish dialogue is probably the most advanced.

From a Christian perspective, the greatest challenge is to formulate a non-supersessionist theology that recognizes the intrinsic and lasting significance of Judaism (von Stosch 2003) in God’s plan of salvation. In this area, a lot of work has already been done by post-Shoah theologians who are intent on freeing Christian theology from its anti-Jewish ideology (Williamson 1998: 46). Most theological discussions have focused on doctrinal questions related to both Christology and ecclesiology. In effect, one could say that the dialogue between Christians and Jews has become a locus theologicus to reconsider some of the central Christian beliefs.

In this chapter, I argue that comparative theology—understood as the “the rereading of one’s home theological tradition … after serious engagement in the reading of another tradition” (Clooney 1993: 3)—may

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