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Title: Jewish-Christian Polemics
Authors: Berger, David
Eliade, Mircea
Keywords: Jewish- Christian polemics
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: Macmillan
Citation: Berger, D. Jewish-Christian Polemics. In Mircea Eliade, (Ed.),The Encyclopedia of Religion (2nd ed., Vol. 9, pp. 7230-7236). Macmillan
Series/Report no.: Encyclopedia of Religion;Vol. 9
Abstract: The intensity, persistence, and significance of Jewish- Christian polemics are in large measure a function of the peculiar combination of intimacy and divergence that marks the relationship between the two faiths. It is not merely the fact that Christianity emerges out of Judaism; it is, further, the combination of the continuing centrality of the Hebrew Bible for Christians together with the profundity of the theological differences that separated Christians from Jews. In these respects, a comparison with Islam is particularly instructive. It too arose in large measure out of Judaism, but because it lacked the other crucial characteristics, polemic between Jews and Muslims, however important it may sometimes have been, never played the same role as did the Jewish- Christian debate. Muslims revered the Hebrew Bible; Muslims did not, however, elevate it to the position that it held in Christianity, and they expressed the most serious reservations about its textual accuracy. Moreover, Islamic monotheism left no room for the creative rancor that produced the philosophical dimension of Jewish-Christian discussions, which addressed such issues as trinitarianism and incarnation. Moses Maimonides (Mosheh ben Maimon, 1135/8– 1204), who has sometimes been accused of inconsistency in his attitude toward the two other faiths, was accurately portraying a complex situation. On the one hand, he described Islam as a religion of “unblemished monotheism,” an accolade he would not bestow upon Christianity; on the other hand, he maintained that teaching Torah to Christians can be a fruitful enterprise, while doing the same for Muslims is, from a Jewish point of view, an exercise in futility. (from Introduction)
Description: Encyclopedia entry
ISBN: 0029094801 (set)
Appears in Collections:Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies (BRGS): Faculty Publications

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