Christianity in Jewish Terms

By Tikva Frymer-Kensky; David Novak et al. | Go to book overview

Suspicions of Suffering

ROBERT GIBBS

In the Jewish community today, there is little patience with a theology of suffering. Our communal suffering, particularly the Shoah, makes us intolerant of any description or theological justification of suffering. Indeed, we turn our backs on justifications of the suffering of our people, and all the more on a theology of the redemptive value of an individual's suffering. But the word "today" may be a little overemphasized. Despite the pleas of the prophets and the interpretations of the sages, the theories of the medieval philosophers, or the charismatic leadership of the Chasidim, it is not clear that Jews have ever had patience with suffering and its theology. I am not a historian of Jewish popular attitudes, but I suspect that in every generation, Jewish suffering has met with despair, anger, and a refusal to dignify it with redemptive theories. What I do know is that in synagogues when I try to present contemporary accounts of suffering by leading Jewish thinkers, I am met with at least the suspicion that those thinkers are betraying our experiences in this century.

I am thinking most of all of Emmanuel Levinas (but we could substitute Hermann Cohen, or Martin Buber or Franz Rosenzweig, or others) and his discussion of how my responsibility for the other person, the one nearest to me, makes me hostage for the other, persecuted for the other, and responsible for the other, to the point of atoning for the other. 1 When most Jews hear such views, they object that such a theory of suffering and responsibility is Christian, and not Jewish. It does not seem to matter that such a theory of suffering for the other arises from Isaiah, or that the long tradition of Jewish exegesis and reflection on martyrdom lies behind it. Today (and again I hesitate to see our time as an anomaly) an elevation of suffering, even a reflection on suffering, seems un-Jewish. It would be, we Jews often think, something that Christian thinkers do. They praise suffering; they imagine expiation. We have had enough of it.

-221-

Notes for this page

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 book

This book 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 book

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

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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 page

Bookmark this page
Christianity in Jewish Terms
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

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?

Help
Full screen
/ 444

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.