BC Theologian Taking Part in Jewish-Christian Initiative

BC Theologian Taking Part in Jewish-Christian Initiative

Asst. Prof. Rabbi Ruth Langer (Theology) was among more than 160 Jewish rabbis and scholars to sign a landmark statement on Jewish-Christian relations this month that stressed ties between the two religions and said Christianity should not be blamed for Nazism.

The statement, "Dabru Emet," written by four Jewish theologians and released by the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies in Baltimore, ran Sept. 12 in full-page advertisements in the New York Times and The Sun of Baltimore. Signers included rabbis and scholars from the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform wings of Judaism.

Rabbi Langer, a specialist in Jewish studies who has been active in ecumenical dialogue, said the statement was intended to break silence by Jewish scholars on their relationship with Christians.

"While many important Christian groups have made formal statements rejecting anti-Judaism and defining their new and positive understandings of Jews and Judaism, there has been no comparable movement by any group of Jews," she said.

"Much of this can be attributed to the lack of centralized [or] doctrinally authoritative leadership in the Jewish community - there really isn't anyone who can make such a statement in ways parallel to these churches."

So while "Dabru Emet" is "a statement of the individual signatories representing only themselves," she observed, "most of the central and active players in Jewish-Christian dialogue at the academic or national level have signed."

She added the statement has been "extremely well-received among our Christian dialogue partners, and it may well enable discussions to move forward in creative and positive ways."

The text of "Dabru Emet" may be read at the World Wide Web site of Rabbi Langer's Boston College Center for Christian-Jewish Learning.

-Mark Sullivan


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