25 January 2009

Professor Ratzinger and Professor Neusner

I may have missed comments, but I haven't noticed much discussion in the Blogosphere of an interesting interview (from Il Riformista) with Rabbi Jacob Neusner, the distinguished American Jewish scholar and student of first century Judaism and Christianity. The text can be found in the blog Palazzo Apostolico. Readers will recall that our Holy Father based the substance of his treatment of the Sermon on the Mount in Jesus of Nazareth on a book by Neusner. They may even recall that I from time to time urged people to read Neusner even before Professor Ratzinger went public as a neusnerophiliac.

Briefly: Neusner singles out Benedict XVI 'in particolare' among modern popes for what he has done for Jewish-Christian dialogue, and curtly dismisses the claim of the Chief Rabbi of Venice that, in 'reintroducing' the 1962 Missal (with a Good Friday prayer for the Jews) the Church has dumped fifty years of progress. Neusner points out that 'gli ebrei pregano per l'illuminazione dei gentili e non avviene niente di diverso nella controparte cattolica'. He thinks relations are progressing well, especially in the academic field, and hopes the Pope will visit the Holy Land and make, at Yad Vashem, 'un eventuale gesto di lutto e di memoria'.

A few weeks ago I found myself sitting at lunch with a 'Roman Catholic' enthusiast for interfaith relations, who told me that, after years of progress under JP II, the whole landscape had been ruined by Benedict XVI. The plain fact is that, despite everything that this kindly, gentle, and very clever man has done, there are still too many people around whose mindset was formed by the vicious media campaign against Cardinal Ratzinger and who have closed their bigoted minds against anything he says or does.

5 comments:

Presbyter said...

Did not the Pope say in Paris that "to be anti-semitic is to be anti-Christian"?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Yes, intellectual and theological integrity and clarity are the means to worthwhile dialogue and movement forward. Fudge, merely produces meaningless chatter.

rev'd up said...

Breaking News...

JESUS DECLARED ANTI-SEMITE!

Jesus of Nazareth stated earlier today, "the children of the kingdom (that is: Jews) shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

The Pope has been advised of Jesus' anti-Semitic gaff while disciplinary actions are being called for by rabbis. Jesus is expected to make public penance for this heinous act of anti-Semitism and holocaust denial. Stay advised for developments.

Coming up next: Local Rabbi says "Gospel of John" anti-Semitic...

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

I do not share the views, nor approve the tone, of comments on my blog which give an impression of holocaust-denial. I do not think people should be imprisoned for denying any of the many holocausts that have happened throughout history, because I am a passionate believer in free speech. Like many Jews, I regard the policies of the Zionist state towards the Palestinians as appalling and worthy of investigation as war crimes. I do not believe that we should all be made to feel guilty for the crimes committed against Jews by other people in other ages. But I regard as totally reprhensible any and all attitudes which criticise, insult, or smear all Jews simply on the ground that they are Jews or on the ground of what some Jews have done. I believe that it is no less wicked to kill a Jew by firing a Hamas rocket than it is to kill a Palestinian by phosphorus ... and no more.

JH said...

Well said, Father.