"Jerusalem in Slavery:"
Christians, the Bible, and Contemporary Israeli/Palestinian Politics
F. Michael Perko, S.J.
Prof. Perko is Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Christianity and Culture at Loyola University of Chicago. This paper, posted with the author's kind permission, was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Israel Studies, April, 2003.
Recent research into the culture of fundamentalism has given rise to a clearer understanding of the dynamics by which people claiming to be traditionalists nonetheless utilize normative religious texts in highly innovative ways that find expression in specific forms of political activity.1 Within the Middle East, such activity is visible both in fundamentalist Islamic movements and in various forms of right-wing religious Judaism. In both of these instances, non-traditional use of religious texts provides a rationale for claims to the land that bring both communities into conflict, as well as serving as a rationale for political activity to press these claims forward. Thus, right wing religious Zionists have used "proof texts" drawn from the Hebrew Scriptures to justify the creation and expansion of settlements in the Occupied Territories while Islamists have rooted territorial claims in Koranic texts.
Little attention, however, has been paid to the variety of Christian biblical interpretations that drive how Christians view such questions as the place of the contemporary State of Israel in Gods providence, how the Palestinian Question is to be understood, and the role of both external and indigenous Christians in Middle Eastern politics. This lack is understandable, given that most Christians are only indirectly actors within regional politics. Even in the case of Palestinian Christians, their numbers are so small that the political influence they exert, at least directly, is minimal.
However, the indirect character of Christian influence ought not to obscure its importance in the dynamics of contemporary politics in Israel/Palestine. Especially in the case of American Christians, the pressure they are capable of exerting upon national governments is not to be underestimated. Moreover, the financial resources that Christian groups provide both to Israeli settlements and the tourist economy on the one hand, and to Palestinian Christian churches on the other, constitute important, albeit indirect, influences on situations in both Israel proper and the Territories.2 For both political and economic reasons, then, an understanding of the ways in which such groups use particular theological understandings rooted in Scripture to develop their denominational policies about the contemporary State of Israel and the question of Palestine are highly relevant to a comprehensive understanding of the religious element in contemporary geopolitics in the region.
Christian positions, like Jewish ones, are rooted in theological positions that, in turn, frequently are founded on biblical texts. An examination of such perspectives might be done utilizing several modes of categorization. One would be to look at various Christian groups in terms of their place on the liberal/conservative political spectrum. Denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention, for example, are demonstrably more conservative in their secular political positions than are liberal groups like the Episcopal or Presbyterian Churches. The difficulty with using this taxonomy is that it fails to speak directly to the biblical/theological issues that lie at the heart of the question. Another would be to assess Christian groups based on their theological perspectives. Here, critical issues would be how they understand the end-times and, as a result, their view of Jews and Judaism in this context. A major concern would be whether they believe that Israel literally needs to be restored to the land before Jesus can come again and the world can end as a result. A final taxonomy might be that of how, more generally, the individual religious group goes about dealing with biblical texts. For fundamentalist and many other conservative Protestants, Scripture is interpreted literally. Texts are to be taken as directly divinely inspired and, as a result, are to be understood as being literal truth. For liberal Protestants and Catholics, on the other hand, the Bible is to be interpreted according to the textual-critical method developed by late nineteenth and early twentieth century German philological and biblical scholars. Thus, texts are seen as divinely inspired but not necessarily literal truth. Rather, they are to be understood within the contexts in which they were founded and composed. An illustrative example would be understanding of the creation narrative in Genesis. For Christian biblical literalists, the world was indeed made in seven days, and humankind directly created by God. The possibility of geophysical and anthropological evolution is unthinkable. For those following a textual/critical method, on the other hand, these texts are seen as affirming that God ultimately was responsible for the creation of the world and humankind: the manner in which that occurred is not set out in the actual texts.
Here, our analysis will be in terms of a combination of the latter two categories. While some religious groups insist that only Scriptural and not theological considerations drive their understandings, this simply is never the case. Scripture, in fact, is intimately related to theology, whether the latter is clearly articulated or not. In many instances (perhaps all), Scripture provides both the ground of theology and, turn, is interpreted in light of such reflection. Thus, our taxonomy will be created on the basis of the specific biblical texts that emerge as important, the ways in which these are interpreted, and the theological positions that emerge, both explicitly and implicitly, from such considerations.
Conservative Christian Zionists
Conservative Christian Zionists literal interpretation of biblical texts, together with its resultant theology, makes them highly supportive of the most conservative elements in Israeli politics, as well as of the concept of a Greater Israel. Much of their theology is rooted in the New Testament text, Luke 21.24 ff, in which Jesus makes apocalyptic predictions about the days to follow that seem to include a restoration of Israel in the days preceding the end of the world.3 For these groups, then, support for the present State of Israel is critical to its survival and ultimately, to advance the second coming of Jesus as the Messiah who will be acknowledged by the whole world. Their interest, then, is not so much an indication of support for the Zionist enterprise as such, especially in its secular manifestations, but rather as an expression of the desire to hasten the final coming of Jesus in whatever ways possible. As one commentator has noted, "That for the first time in more than 2,000 years Jerusalem is now completely in the hands of the Jews gives the student of the Bible a thrill and a renewed faith in the accuracy and validity of the Bible."4
One of the first Israel-based organizations to espouse this theology was Bridges for Peace, founded in 1980. Its interpretation of Is. 58. 25 has led it to help repair housing for the poor and elderly in Israel. In that same year, however, a highly visible organization was established that became the primary agency in Israel for Christian Zionism. This is the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem. Rooted in a literal interpretation of Is. 40. 1-2, it has taken as its primary mission support for the State of Israel in virtually all of its political positions.6 It has also been highly active in promoting Christian tourism and Jewish aliyah. A special feature of its support is a lavish demonstration mounted each year at Succot, a feast which it sees as an appropriate occasion for gentile support as a result of the prophecy contained in Zech. 14. 16.7 Micah 4. 1-28 with its universalist vision is also cited as an illustration of the desired relationship between Christian Zionists and Israel.
A concomitant denigration of Palestinian rights is also rooted in their scriptural interpretations. In several Christian Zionist Congresses, they insisted that, since God has granted the Arab nations their own promises, they necessarily must allow Israel to live in the territory given to it by God, including Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.9 This position was justified by the use of biblical texts such as Gen. 17. 2010 and Is. 19. 24-25.11
Similar positions are held by other Christian Zionist organizations such as the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel, Voices United for Israel, the Religious Roundtable, and a community of German Protestant religious sisters, the Evangelical Sisters of Mary of Darmstadt. One organization, Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, provides economic support for several settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.12 It is unsurprising that these groups and others like them have become the darlings of successive Israeli governments, especially those of the right wing. Their activities are routinely attended by high-ranking politicians who acknowledge their importance to the Zionist enterprise. Some years ago, for example, Prime Minister Begin gave the Jabotinsky Medal to the Rev. Jerry Falwell, at that time a highly visible and influential Southern Baptist leader.13
Conservative Christian anti-Zionists
A smaller but fairly visible group consists of evangelical Christians who, based on their particular biblical interpretations, are unsupportive of, and frequently, opposed to, the activities of the contemporary State of Israel. One of the most important of these, Gary Burge, consistently uses Lev. 25. 2314 to insist that the Land belongs to God alone, and that Israel is only one among several tenants. Similarly, he interprets Heb. 3-5 with its many references to the Land as having a metaphorical rather than literal meaning. Thus, "land" is simply a metaphor for discipleship in his view, and so, the strongest contemporary claims on it are those of Christians, and not Jews. Similarly, Don Wagner, an American religious scholar, insists that the term "people" has to be interpreted as well. In his view, since Jesus never promises the restoration of a Jewish State, Christians ought to view the contemporary State of Israel as a purely secular entity with no biblical justification.15
The position taken by these conservative Christians is more like that of liberal mainstream Protestants. While they may not subscribe to the textual/critical method of interpreting the Bible, they nonetheless argue that the "proof texts" utilized by Christian Zionists need to be interpreted in a metaphorical and not literal fashion. Even though their theologies generally are more congruent with those of their fellow conservatives, their use of scriptural sources is methodologically different and leads them to variant understandings of biblical texts.
Liberal, or "mainline," Protestant denominations view the bible through the lens of historical/textual criticism. As a result, "proof texts" are not used to provide a foundation for theological and political positions. Even a cursory examination of the policy statements of these denominations reveals, at best, neutrality toward the question of Israels right to the land and, at worst, support of competing Palestinian claims. The United Church of Christs 1990 statement is typical:
We do not see consensus in the United Church of Christ or among our panel on the covenantal significance of the state of Israel. We appreciate the compelling moral argument for the creation of modern Israel as a vehicle for self-determination and as a haven for victimized people; we also recognize that this event has entailed the dispossession of Palestinians from their homes and the denial of human rights.16
American Lutherans likewise opined that "It seems clear that there is no consensus among Lutherans with respect to the relation between the chosen people and the territory comprising the present State of Israel,"17 while Presbyterians take a pro-Palestinian chance and distinguish themselves from Christian Zionists.18 Another liberal Protestant denomination, the worldwide Anglican Communion, as recently as 14 April 2003, in a press release concerning the bombing of St. Philips Church and Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza by IDF forces, articulated its long standing position: "officials at Al Ahli Hospital condemn violence on all sides and seek peace and justice for all Holy Land residents."19 However, another church organization, the Episcopal (American) Fellowship of Reconciliation, issued in statement in February, 2003, calling on the State of Israel to cease efforts to build and expand settlements,20 a clear rejection of the biblical notion of a Greater Israel.
In all of these cases, the theological/policy stances are the result of a textual/critical approach to biblical texts which is viewed as either neutral toward or unsupportive of, a scriptural Jewish claim to the Land. It is also worth noting that at least two of these churches, the Lutheran and Anglican, have indigenous congregations in Israel/Palestine. Indeed, both of these have produced Arab Christian theologians whose work is widely known in Europe and the United States and whom this essay will later treat in some detail. The immediate experience of Palestinian congregations within these denominations, coupled with the absence of a biblical theology that would support univocal Jewish claims to the Land, has produced policies that are either neutral or oppositional to the contemporary Israeli state.
The history of the Roman Catholic Churchs relations with the Zionist movement and, subsequently, the State of Israel, is one that has been characterized by changing policy as well as the Holy Sees wider diplomatic concerns (e.g., the situation of Catholic minorities in Middle Eastern societies).21 The Vatican II document Nostra Aetate of 1965 represented a sea change in Romes attitudes toward Judaism as a religion. Subsequent documents dealing sympathetically with Jews, Judaism, and the Shoah, along with the Holy Sees 1993 formal recognition of the State of Israel, however, have not translated into a policy that defends Israels existence on the basis of biblical texts. In fact, the Vatican has taken great pains to insist that its diplomatic policy is rooted in realpolitik rather than the transcendent. The fact that the Holy See signed an agreement with the Palestinian Authority in 2000 that is a virtual clone of the one with Israel is an obvious manifestation of this, as a noted Israeli commentator has pointed out.22
Two official Catholic statements articulate clearly and directly the Churchs attitude toward contemporary Israel as a religious entity. The first is the "Statement on Catholic-Jewish Relations" of the National (U.S.) Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1975. This states that
In dialogue with Christians, Jews have explained that they do not consider themselves as a church, a sect, or a denomination, as is the case among Christian communities, but rather as a peoplehood that is not solely racial, ethnic or religious, but in a sense a composite of all these. It is for such reasons that an overwhelming majority of Jews see themselves bound in one way or another to the land of Israel. Most Jews see this tie to the land as essential to their Jewishness. Whatever difficulties Christians may experience in sharing this view they should strive to understand this link between land and people which Jews have expressed in their writing and worship throughout two millennia as a longing for the homeland, holy Zion. Appreciation of this link is not to give assent to any particular religious interpretation of this bond. Nor is this affirmation meant to deny the legitimate rights of other parties in the region, or to adopt any political stance in the controversies over the Middle East. . .23
The Vatican picks up the American bishops themes in its 1985 "Notes on the Correct Way to Present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis of the Roman Catholic Church." Here, citing the American document, it states that "The existence of the State of Israel and its political options should be envisaged not in a perspective which is in itself religious, but in their reference to the common principle of international law."24 To be noted here is the addition of the notion of the governing power of international law, an essentially secular diplomatic position.
The worlds largest Christian denomination, then, resists biblical interpretations that see the land as belonging to anyone other than God. It does this for several reasons. While its theology has become more irenic with respect to Judaism, it has not gone so far as to translate this into support for the secular Israeli state. Catholic biblical interpretation, like that of mainline Protestants, is rooted in the textual/critical method. As a result, scripture is not seen to have governing authority with respect to Jewish or Arab rights to the land. In addition, the Holy Sees long-standing political concerns for the situation of indigenous Catholics in Arab lands, as well as for free access to the Christian holy places in Israel proper, encourage the Church either to remain neutral to Israel from a religious perspective, or to lean somewhat in the Palestinian direction.25 In any case, in its official statements, the Catholic Church has eschewed taking any stand on the religious significance of the contemporary State of Israel, while remaining critical of its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
Palestinian Liberation Theologians
The most radically left theological/political perspective is that taken by two Palestinian theologians, who situate themselves within the movement called liberation theology. This is a mode of theological reflection and analysis that emphasizes the experience of the oppression of the poor, and casts Jesus in the role of political as well as spiritual liberator. While the movement originated in Latin America, it has proponents in other marginalized societies, among them Indonesia and Palestine.
The most articulate of these Palestinian liberation theologians is Mitri Raheb, a pastor who serves the Lutheran parish in Bethlehem. Rahebs theological education in Germany is evident as he addresses the issue of how the bible is to be understood with respect to the issue of Palestine. Arguing that the bible is Gods word in human words, he goes on to insist that the scriptures did not fall from the heavens, and is in continual need of interpretation. Additionally, he contends that a central element of biblical interpretation is that it needs to be seen as a whole, including both the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament.26
In terms of the interpretation of specific texts, Raheb points out that such passages as Gen. 23. 1-2027 and Judges 1. 2128 indicate that, even after Israel came into the land, there were other people living among them there.29 Moreover, texts such as Lev. 25.2330 support the understanding that, ultimately, the only real owner of the land is God and not any of its human inhabitants.31 Similarly, he notes that Amos 9.732 relativizes the story of the Israelites exodus by indicating that God worked similar wonders for other peoples.
For Raheb, the Exodus narrative lies at the heart of his theology. Indeed, he argues, the Palestinian story is fundamentally that of the Exodus. Thus, "In Exodus, we see Moses and Aaron standing before Pharaoh; we see the people as they start to move. At the same time, we see Pharaohs attitude: obstinate, unmoved, inflexible. . .He can only answer no to Moses demand for freedom and independence. No to freedom, no to independence, and no to a state of their own."33 He goes on to speak of how Pharaohs response is mirrored in that of Israeli Prime Ministers like Yitzak Shamir to Palestinian claims, from the obdurate answer of "no" to the use of military force to maintain hegemony. He concludes,
The need to recall the time of suffering in Egypt as the basis for life in the promised land could perhaps provide an essential starting point for a dialogue between Christian Palestinians and Jews. If the first task of the church is to order Pharaoh to grant freedom to oppressed people, then its second task is to help the liberated people preserve their freedom. Liberation from oppression aims at a liberation to a life of righteousness. The teaching and preaching of the church awakens people to hear Gods call to be free and to live accordingly.34
Raheb, then, utilizes biblical texts to support his understanding of the legitimate claims of both Jews and Palestinians to the land. Furthermore, he interprets the story of the Exodus as one that is foundational not only to Jews but to Palestinian Christians in their search for political liberation.
As impassioned, and marginally more radical, is the biblically-rooted theology of the Palestinian Anglican priest Naim Ateek. Ateeks theology, developed during his graduate education in the United States, is rooted in an attempt to reconcile the seemingly contradictory religious claims of justice and biblical texts. Given that Palestinian Christians view the bible as partial and discriminatory, the question becomes one of interpretation. For Ateek, "Liberation comes through the application of this hermeneutical key."35
He goes on to explicate three biblical themes. These are rooted in texts that do not deal directly with the question of the land, but that provide a biblical ground for theological reflection on the general situation of Israel/Palestine. The first of these has to do with the story of Naboth in 1 Kgs. 21.36 Abstracting from the story, Ateek argues that Israel has acted like King Ahab in seizing Palestinian lands unjustly, and that, like Ahab, Israel will receive retributive punishment from God as a result. The second is rooted in 1 Kgs. 22.37 Here, Ateek compares the ecstatic prophets anxious to curry favor with the king by telling him what he wants to hear with contemporary Israeli policy advisors who do the same thing, in spite of the consequences. Those who prophesy the truth displease "the establishment" and are frequently punished for their efforts. The final theme is grounded in Ps. 42 and 43.38 Ateek sees these as indicating that God does hear the cries of the oppressed, that Palestinians should live in trust and hope grounded in faith, and that, if they do that, a just outcome, though not yet visible, is assured.39
In the New Testament, he points to two texts that show a broader Christian understanding of the relation of Israel with the nations. In Mt. 1.1-18, the symbolic genealogy of Jesus is provided. This contains three foreign women (Ruth, Raheb, and Bathsheeba) that Ateek takes to be an indication that Israel can no longer be seen to have an exclusive claim on salvation. This theme is picked up in the preaching and action of Jesus in the gospels in which Jesus reminds his hearers that, though there were lepers in Israel, Elisha chose to cure Naaman the Syrian40 and in which, despite prohibitions, he carries on a conversation with a Samaritan woman.41 All of these texts, in Ateeks view, point to a broader understanding of where Gods love and care are to be found. In contrast,
What is clear from a Palestinian Christian point of view. . . is that the emergence of the Zionist movement in the twentieth century is a retrogression of the Jewish community into the history of its very distant past, with its most elementary and primitive form of the concept of God. Zionism has succeeded in reanimating the nationalist tradition within Judaism.42
As an antidote to these tendencies, Ateek proposes a focus on the concept of the earth as belonging only to God contained in Lev. 25.2343 and Jos. 24.13.44 It is only in 1 Sam., according to Ateek, that the first mention of Eretz Yisroel is made, and the phrase occurs only six times in all of the Hebrew Scriptures.45 In his view, correct exegesis of the totality of relevant texts from the Hebrew Scriptures renders problematic any territorial claim by the contemporary State of Israel based on biblical sources. Allied to this is a plea that contemporary Israel move to a more universalistic understanding of God rooted in texts like the later chapters of Isaiah and away from the narrow concept of a nationalistic God.46
These Palestinian liberation theologians both utilize different texts than Jewish and Christian Zionists, and exegete them differently. Noteworthy is the fact that many are drawn from either the historical or prophetic books of the Neviim rather than the Torah. Thus, Gods special care for Israel is always balanced by critique of the nations actions from its own members. Moreover, the later texts paint a more universalistic picture of God than those written earlier.
Allied to this is a different way of interpreting those texts that are examined. Rather than see them as literal expressions of the divine will, both Raheb and Ateek view scriptural sources as metaphorical, designed to convey broader universal meanings. Viewed from this perspective, the experience of Israel in being brought from slavery to freedom in their own land by a loving God, the Exodus experience, can be appropriated by the Palestinians as their own story. Interpreted in this fashion, biblical texts take on a meaning which is directly opposite that espoused by religious Jewish and Christian Zionists. In the contemporary world, the Palestinians become the new Israelites, and the Israeli political leadership, Pharaoh and his court.
A survey of the manner in which Christian groups utilize biblical texts in developing theologies and formulating public policy reveals considerable differences within the Christian community. Christian Zionists tend to be uncritically supportive of the policy of the contemporary State of Israel, and especially of right-wing governments understanding of the concept of Greater Israel, including all of Judea and Samaria, as well as support of Jewish settlements in these areas. Their position, which frequently involves lobbying of the U.S. government on Israeli-related issues as well as encouragement of tourism and financial support of settlement activities, is rooted in a literal interpretation of biblical texts promising the land to the Israelites, and a theology that believes that the restoration of a Jewish state needs to happen before the end-times and the ultimate return of Jesus can take place.
Within the evangelical sector, however, there are also non (and anti-) Zionists. These subscribe to a less literal interpretation of biblical texts, especially in the Torah, and root their theologies instead in a more metaphorical understanding of scripture as well as a concentration on the prophetic sections of the Neviim.
The stance taken by mainline liberal Protestants and by Roman Catholics is similar to that of the non-Zionist evangelicals. However, understandings of scripture among these groups are even less oriented toward literalist interpretations, opting instead for textual/critical analysis grounded in historical methods developed in late nineteenth century German universities. The result has been a concentration on broader themes exhibited in biblical literature, such as God as creator and sustainer (Gen.), as well as deliverer from oppression and danger (Ex.). Such groups also eschew interpretations of the end-times that talk in terms of literal events that will precede it, rejecting the considerable literature attempting to view contemporary Middle Eastern events through a biblical lens. These stances, together with a focus on the prophetic sections of the Hebrew Scriptures and on the New Testament, generally have resulted in theologies that are unsupportive of biblical claims to the land by the contemporary Israeli state, and, in fact, are critical of that states treatment of Palestinians. The public policy expressions of these theologies tend either to entail a "pox on both your houses" approach to current Palestinian/Israeli strife, or to be pro-Palestinian. The Vatican, however, has espoused an approach that might be termed "pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian."47 This has found expression in comparable agreements with both the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to ensure religious rights.
Finally, Palestinian theologians have carried the positions of the mainstream of their religious denominations one step further. Utilizing an adaptation of textual/critical method of biblical exegesis common in their churches, coupled with a theological hermeneutic derived from Protestant and Catholic liberation theologians, they have articulated theologies that see Palestinians, especially Christians, as the lineal successors of the Israelites of the Exodus. Thus, they insist that God is supportive of Palestinian efforts to liberate themselves from foreign oppression and reclaim the land. In their typologies, the roles of the Jewish state and the Palestinians are inverted, with the former seen as a modern-day Pharaoh and the latter as the true Israel.
In each of these instances, the interpretations leading to public policies are founded in two interlocking religious variables. The first is the manner in which scriptural texts are studied and understood. Literalist interpretations yield one set of conclusions, while textual/critical ones move in a different direction. These interpretations, in turn, are integral to the development of contrasting theological positions. For literalists, there is a marked tendency to focus on the end-times and the final coming of Jesus. This is frequently seen as requiring the restoration of the Jewish state as a precondition for its fulfillment. For those with more nuanced hermeneutics, the focus is more on broad biblical themes drawn from both the Hebrew Scriptures and the teachings of Jesus. The resultant theologies are more oriented toward the pursuit of peace and justice in the contemporary world rather than concern with its end. From that perspective, the State of Israel is more the object of critique than support.
What is clear even in this brief survey is the degree to which choice of texts, modes of interpretation and successive theologies influence the public stances taken by Christian religious groups. For Christians at least as much as observant Jews, particular understandings of biblical sources not only inform internal theologies but also external public stances, belying the post-Enlightenment tenet of separation of religion from the public sphere as well as the Enlightenments perception of religion as largely irrelevant to civic discourse. For better and ill, Christians as well as religious Jews remain significant actors in attempts to formulate contemporary Middle Eastern political policy.
Marty, Martin E. and Appleby, R. Scott, The Glory and the Power: the fundamentalist challenge to the modern world (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992).
According to one author, the contribution of white evangelical American Protestants to the Israeli tourist economy is around $250,000 annually. Cf. Elliott Abrams, Faith or Fear? (New York: Free Press, 1997), p. 67.
"For great distress shall be upon the earth and wrath upon this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." [Quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures are taken from the Jewish Publication Societys edition of the Tanakh. Those from the New Testament are taken from the Revised Standard Version.]
Paul Charles Merkley, Christian Attitudes towards the State of Israel (Montreal: McGill University Press, 2001), p. 41.
"Men from your midst shall rebuild ancient ruins, you shall restore foundations laid long ago. And you shall be called Repairer of fallen walls, restorer of lanes for habitation."
"Comfort, oh comfort My people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and declare to her that her term of service is over, that her iniquity is expiated."
"All who survive of those nations that came up against Jerusalem shall make a pilgrimage year by year to bow low to the King LORD of Hosts and to observe the Feast of Booths.
"In the days to come, the Mount of the LORDs House shall stand firm above the mountains; and it shall tower above the hills. The peoples shall gaze on it with joy, and the many nations shall go and say: "Come, lt us go up to the Mount of the LORD, to the House of the God of Jacob; that He may instruct us in His ways, and that we may walk in His paths." For instruction shall come forth from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem."
Merkley, pp. 175-76.
"As for Ishmael, I have heeded you. I hereby bless him, I will make him fertile and exceedingly numerous. He shall be the father of twelve chieftains, and I will make of him a great nation."
"In that day, Israel shall be a third partner with Egypt and Assyria as a blessing on earth, for the LORD of Hosts will bless them, saying "Blessed by My people Egypt, My handiwork Assyria, and My very own Israel."
Cf. Merkley, pp. 178-82.
Ibid., p. 202.
"But the land must not be sold beyond reclaim, for the land is Mine; you are but strangers resident with Me."
Merkley, pp. 187-91.
"A Message to the Churches," Theological Panel on Jewish-Christian Relations, United Church of Christ (May, 1990), p. 3, quoted in Abrams, p. 59.
"The American Lutheran Church and the Jewish Community," in ed. Harold H. Ditmanson, Stepping Stones to Further Jewish-Lutheran Relations (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1990), p. 74.
Abrams, p. 60.
Cf. F. Michael Perko, "Towards a "Sound and Lasting Basis:" Relations between the Holy See, the Zionist Movement, and Israel, 1896-1996," Israel Studies 3 (1997), pp. 1-21, for a detailed account of this topic.
Meron Benvenisti, "The Theology of an Agreement." Haaretz, 17 February 2000.
National Conference of Catholic Bishops, "Statement on Catholic-Jewish Relations,1975." p.4.
Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, "Notes on the Correct Way to Present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis of the Roman Catholic Church" (Vatican City: 1985), p. 18, no. 33.
F. Michael Perko, "Recent Vatican Diplomacy in the Middle East," Israel Studies Bulletin 16, 2 (2001), pp. 29-30.
Mitri Raheb, I am a Palestinian Christian (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995), pp. 59-64.
This is the story of Abrahams purchase of the Cave of Machpelah from Ephron the Hittite.
"The Benjaminites did not dispossess the Jebusite inhabitants of Jerusalem; so the Jebusites have dwelt with the Benjaminites in Jerusalem to this day."
Raheb, p. 74.
"But the land must not be sold beyond reclaim, for the land is Mine; you are but strangers resident with Me."
Ibid., p. 76.
"True, I brought Israel up from the land of Egypt, but also the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir."
Raheb, p. 90.
Ibid., p. 91.
Naim S. Ateek, Justice, and only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation (New York: Orbis Books, 1989), p. 82.
The story basically has to do with King Ahabs attempt to obtain the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, his collaboration in Naboths judicial murder, and Elijahs prophetic judgment against him as a result.
This story concerns King Jehoshaphats consultation of the ecstatic prophets about whether he ought to go to war against Aram or not. While these prophets are uniform in their support of his policy, the prophet Micaiah insists that this will result in Israels ruin. For his prophecy, which proves to be true, Micaiah is struck in the face by one of the ecstatic prophets and imprisoned on bread and water. Jehoshaphat goes to war against Aram anyway, and is killed.
Psalm 42 is a hymn of trust in God despite the evils that have befallen the psalmist. Psalm 43 is a plea to God to vindicate the psalmist that ends with his conviction that God will come to his aid.
Ateek, pp. 88-93.
Lk. 4. 27.
Jn. 4. 1-26.
Ateek, p. 101.
Cf. note 30.
"I have given you a land for which you did not labor and towns which you did not build, and you have settled in them; you are enjoying vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant."
Ateek, p. 105.
I am indebted to Dr. Eugene Fisher of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for suggesting this phraseology.