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SIDIC Periodical XXXIV - 2001/2
A Blessing To One Another. To Edward Idris Cardinal Cassidy In Gratitude. (Pages 7-13)

Other articles from this issue | Version in English | Version in French

A Different Future: Can Jews and Christians Learn from History?
Kessler, Edward


The title of this address is important because, in the words of Martin Luther King, “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” Jews and Christians are, in my opinion, inextricably linked. I would also suggest that the traumatic history of Jewish-Christian relations is illustrative of much of human history. Perhaps it is too bold a claim, but I hold the view that if Jews and Christians can successfully build “a different future”, our work together will help nurture the tender shoots upon which the peace of the world may depend.
Can we learn from history? Or, another way to ask this question: Can the uneasy historical relationship between Christians and Jews ever be redeemed?


I begin with consideration of toleration for, irrespective of our religious convictions, toleration must be the bedrock of our society. Toleration is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as allowing the difference in religious belief or practice without discrimination. If we are honest we will admit that it has come slowly, haltingly and disturbingly recently to the world of monotheistic faiths.
Elements of toleration may be discerned in the early sources of both Judaism and Christianity. It is perhaps auspicious for Jewish-Christian dialogue that the one acknowledged rabbinic quotation that occurs in the New Testament is Gamaliel I’s judgment on the followers of Jesus: “…leave them alone. If this idea of theirs or its execution is of human origin, it will collapse; but if it is from God, you will never be able to put them down, and you risk finding yourselves at war with God.” (Acts 5:38-39)

However, for the most part tolerance cannot honestly be applied to Jewish-Christian relations. In fact, it is only in the last 50 years or so that toleration has begun to be taken seriously. Why view it as such a recent development? Was not John Locke, who lived towards the end of the seventeenth century, the first proponent of religious toleration? Locke was not prepared to tolerate Roman Catholics and atheists. His arguments are primarily those of expediency since he held that (and only that) which does not threaten the State should be tolerated. Also from this period is Quaker leader William Penn (1644-1718) who wrote his “great Case of Liberty of Conscience” from Newgate prison in 1670 but made sure that only Christians were eligible to vote or hold office in his colony of Pennsylvania. In the United Kingdom it was only in 1858 that Catholics and Jews were able to vote. One could go on.

In Jewish-Christian relations the relationship was, to heavily understate the position, traumatic. Historically, there may have been the occasional debate, but more often there were confrontations. At best, two parties engaged in monologue in each other’s presence; at worst (and more often), the majority party simply imposed their views on the minority. Dialogue did not take place; indeed, the very concept was not understood.

The Last Fifty Years

In order to consider the impact of history on the future of Jewish-Christian relations, we need to take into account the great changes which have taken place in recent times. These have occurred as a result of the Shoah (and the growing awareness of the Christian contribution to its creation) and the establishment of the State of Israel.
The Shoah resulted in a general awareness of the immensity of the burden of guilt which the Church carried not only for its general silence, with some noble exceptions during 1933-45, but also because of the “teaching of contempt” towards Jews and Judaism which it carried on for so many centuries. As Jules Isaac showed immediately after the war, it was this that sowed the seeds of hatred and made it so easy for Hitler to use antisemitism as a political weapon. Although no one would deny that Nazism was opposed to Christianity, it is well-known that Hitler often justified his antisemitism with reference to the Church and Christian attitudes towards Judaism.

As a result of the soul searching which took place after 1945, many Christians began the painful process of re-examining the sources of the “teaching of contempt” and repudiating them. From a Christian perspective this meant that, before dialogue could take place, the history of the Church and its attitude towards the Jews had to be publicly acknowledged. This involved a proper appraisal of antisemitism and documents such as We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah1 illustrate a willingness to tackle this subject. Most Christian theologians involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue have acknowledged that the slaughter of 6,000,000 Jews would not have been possible were the roots of antisemitism not deep within the Christian tradition. The Shoah not only caused Christianity to reassess its relationship with Judaism but also stirred greater Jewish interest in Christianity. Jonathan Sacks spoke for many when he stated that “Today we meet and talk together because we must, because we have considered the alternative and seen where it ends and we are shocked to the core by what we have seen.”

The need to tackle such issues as the Shoah in Jewish-Christian dialogue is self-evident, but there are dangers if they are not conducted in perspective. Fackenheim’s proclamation that the Shoah resulted in a new commandment, the 614th, which stressed that it was incumbent upon Jews to survive as Jews, is a case in point. According to Fackenheim, one remained as a Jew so as not to provide Hitler a posthumous victory. However, as a result, Jewish identity became Shoah centered, and at the same time Jewish-Christian dialogue became Shoah centered. The danger is that by focusing solely on the Holocaust Jews and Christians will gain a distorted view. For example, a young Jew will construct a negative Jewish identity which, without the positive side of Judaism, will not be a value to be handed down over the generations. A young Christian will come away with an exclusive picture of the Jew as victim without an awareness of the positive aspects of Jewish culture. If the Jew disappears from the horizons from the end of the biblical period and only reappears again in 1933, where is the Jew and what is Jewish-Christian dialogue?

It is a result of the emphasis on the Shoah and antisemitism that Jewish-Christian dialogue sometimes appears to consist of an attempt to educate Christians about Judaism in order to prevent, or at the very least, to reduce Christian antisemitism and to prevent its breaking out in churches in the future. Although Jewish-Christian dialogue has proceeded at many levels one should realise that, whilst reaction to the Shoah is an important driving force, a theology of dialogue can not be built solely on responses to antisemitism and Christian feelings of guilt. Indeed, no healthy and enduring relationship between people is built on guilt. If recent Christian soul-searching in the aftermath of the destruction of European Jewry leads to a new approach and a revision of traditional anti-Jewish teaching, so much the better. However, the future relationship cannot be built on the foundations of guilt. The sense of guilt is transient and does not pass to the next generation; moreover, it is unstable, inherently prone to sudden and drastic reversal.

A second key issue in the dialogue is the establishment of the State of Israel. There is little doubt that whilst the Church has for many years been grappling with issues related to Christian antisemitism, attitudes towards the Land and State of Israel have, from the theological perspective, proved more difficult to tackle. Theological difficulties have made a Christian reorientation to Israel problematic. Simply put, it has been easier for Christians to condemn antisemitism as a misunderstanding of Christian teaching than to come to terms with the re-establishment of the Jewish State. As a result, the subject of Israel has probably caused as much disagreement and division within the Church as any other topic in Jewish-Christian dialogue.

The Christian reluctance to accept the implications of the new State in the Jewish-Christian relationship only served to reinforce its centrality in discussion. The fact that first, Israel is the only State in which Jews form the majority also has important consequences for the Jewish-Christian relationship. For example, all the Christian holy places are now in Israel or in Israeli controlled territory, which means that the entire Christian world takes a close interest in the developments. This has led to strong reactions, both of a favorable and unfavorable nature. However, the very existence of this spotlight shining so strongly on Israel, and especially on Jerusalem, gives particular importance to any attempt at mutual understanding between Christian and Jew, inside Israel. The controversies over the Nazareth mosque are a good example of this phenomenon. At the same time there is always the potential hope of a future meeting with the other great monotheistic faith, Islam.

However, there are a number of dangers with basing a theology of Jewish-Christian dialogue primarily on Israel. There is great danger in arguing that what was once an interpretation about the nature of the biblical word and promise is now in the situation of Israel concretized in a contemporary event. The challenge to the dialogue as a result of an emphasis on fulfillment of biblical prophecy can be seen in the writings of some evangelical Christians as well as fundamentalist Jews. What happened a hundred years ago to the Jews outside of Israel is considered by some as historically remote compared to biblical events, which are viewed as almost contemporary. The present becomes transformed into biblical language and geography, which leads to the danger of giving metaphysical meaning to geographical places. The fundamentalist Jew in Israel interprets the ownership of the Land of Israel in terms of a divine gift. This creates a great danger of bestowing divine importance to Israel and the vocation of the Jew becomes a dedication to the existence and the restoration of the cosmic state. Thus, the return to the Land is a fulfillment of the divine promise and reflects a return to the original fullness. However, the biblical promises do not define the same borders and by choosing the widest ones the fundamentalist abuses the idea of the promise, which is related to the Land.

The dangers of Israel-based dialogue are also illustrated by those who, in the name of dialogue, move from a position of commitment for the well-being of Israel to one of almost Israel can do no wrong. This is not conducive to dialogue for it is not an honest and sober conversation firmly related to present realities. Nevertheless, the 1994 Vatican recognition of the State of Israel marked a significant moment in Jewish-Christian relations as did the moving and successful visit of John Paul II to Israel in March 2000. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak spoke for many when he welcomed the Pope, stating that he has “done more than anyone else to bring about the historic change in attitude of the Church towards the Jewish people…and to dress the gaping wounds that festered over many bitter centuries.”2

Current Concerns

The Pope’s visit to Israel illustrates what has been achieved in the last 50 years of Jewish-Christian dialogue: open and direct consultations have taken place, formal declarations and guidelines have been issued. Yet, there is something missing – not perhaps for the few actively involved in the dialogue but for the average everyday Christian and Jew. I am not talking about the fact that Jewish-Christian dialogue has not yet seriously begun in Eastern Europe – even with the changes in 1989 – particularly with the Orthodox Church; nor that the dialogue is constantly in danger of being hijacked for conversionist or political purposes; nor that in its fullest sense it is probably beyond the reach of fundamentalists amongst both Jews and Christians; nor that it is a tender shoot.

My concern is that for many of us, dialogue has simply become conversation. Many at interfaith meetings seem to think that a casual conversation – basically a loose restatement of entrenched theological positions – is the same as dialogue. It is too easy to claim that any communication between persons of differing religious views is a dialogue. Dialogue requires face to face contact and more effort than communication by phone, fax or e-mail. It is used as an umbrella term to cover many related activities that are good in themselves. Some of them may even provide a framework for dialogue, but are not equivalent to it. The term “Jewish-Christian relations” is, at times, adopted as synonymous with dialogue. You can have good or bad relations, but relations in themselves are not the equivalent of dialogue. Nor is the comparative study of religions. Dialogue involves serious study of the religion of others and requires understanding before it can begin.

The biblical prophets were experts in personal communication. Isaiah in a famous passage urges Israel to enter into a personal relationship with God: “Come now let us reason together” (Is 1:18). Lev 19:33-34 provides an insight into dialogue as well: “When a stranger lives with you in your land, do not ill-treat him…Love him as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Dialogue entails a respect that takes the other as seriously as one demands to be taken oneself: an immensely difficult exercise. Only then can true dialogue be said to have taken place.
Another concern is directly related to this: Can Christians view Judaism as a valid religion in its own terms (and vice versa)? A question from the Jewish perspective needs to be: What was the purpose behind the creation of Christianity? Does the fact that Jesus was a Jew have any implications for Jews? It is well known that we Jews are very proud of the Albert Einsteins, the Heinrich Heines and the Sigmund Freuds; yet, Israel’s most famous Jew is generally ignored. Now, in the freer climate of Jewish-Christian relations, is it not time that there was a greater Jewish interest in the Jew, Jesus?

From the Christian perspective there is need for reflection on the survival of the Jewish People and of the vitality of Judaism over nearly 2000 years. For Christians, the question of the validity of Judaism challenges some of the proclamations of Christian triumphalism. What we need to ask is whether Christianity can differentiate itself from Judaism without asserting itself as either opposed to Judaism or simply as the fulfilment of Judaism. Many Christian theologians have turned to the arguments of Paul who stated that God has not forsaken the people of Israel (Rom 11:25-26). As a result, the call for Christianity to abandon its historical animosity and misleading caricature of Judaism has been overwhelming. These are now admitted as wrong. Their full and public rejection was necessary for dialogue to be possible. Christianity needed to shift from what was, for the most part, an inherent need to condemn Judaism to one of a condemnation of Christian anti-Judaism. This process has not led to a separation from all things Jewish but, in fact, to a closer relationship with “the elder brother”. It is possible to trace the gradual emergence of this insight with increasing clarity and emphasis in the primary Church documents: Nostra Aetate (1965), the 1975 Notes, and the 1985 Guidelines.3 In sum, in our times we are witnessing the occurrence of a demonstrable shift from a Christian monologue about Jews to an instructive (and sometimes difficult) dialogue with Jews. A monologue is being replaced by a dialogue.

A Lesson of Biblical Proportions

In the earlier stages of the 20th century dialogue, Christian re-acquaintance with Judaism resulted primarily in an increased awareness of the Jewish origins of Christianity. However, more recently, there is a growing realization that for nearly two thousand years – not only the first 100 years – living Judaism has interested and influenced Christians and Christianity in one way or another. Paul described this as “the mystery of Israel” and it is the significance of this mystery that has continued to challenge and engross Christians.
From a Jewish perspective the issue is more complicated. At first glance, there is no theological nor other imperative to view the relationship with Christianity as more special than the Jewish relationship with any other faith group. This view is reinforced by the popular assumption that the influence was wholly one-way: Judaism influencing the development of Christianity. However, this assumption is inaccurate. Christianity has affected Judaism in a number of ways, most significantly by influencing the development of Rabbinic Judaism. It is well known that after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire the position of the Jewish communities became more and more precarious. What is not so well known is that the rabbis allowed, consciously or unconsciously, Christian ideas or interpretations to enter into Jewish thought and life. This happened because dialogue was part of the mainstream of Jewish life.

This development is particularly important because both Orthodox and Progressive Jews view Rabbinic Judaism as the cornerstone of Judaism today. One example of the Christian influence on Rabbinic Judaism can be seen in exegetical encounters, which took place between Jewish and Christian interpreters. These encounters were based on a shared textual tradition – the Hebrew Bible – even though each faith community interpreted these writings in different ways. The rediscovery of this interaction, from the Jewish perspective, will prove significant to the Jewish contribution to Jewish-Christian dialogue.
A new reading of the rabbinic writings offers an insight into these exegetical encounters. They illustrate not only awareness of Christian teaching but also a rabbinic willingness to listen, learn and incorporate those teachings and traditions, which were deemed relevant to Jewish life. Jewish-Christian dialogue is, therefore, not a modern phenomenon. If Jews and Christians examine post-biblical interpretations they will discover a shared emphasis on the importance of certain biblical texts as well as a willingness to be open to, and influenced by, some of each others’ teachings. The exegetical encounters, which took place so long ago, can point the way forward.

One example of the exegetical interaction between the classical rabbinic and patristic traditions can be seen in the interpretations of the Akedah, the Binding of Isaac (Gen 22). One of the most well-known stories of the Bible, it has been important for Judaism and Christianity from an early period. Its focus concerns Abraham’s relationship with God and how his faith in, and commitment to God is demonstrated by his willingness to sacrifice his long awaited son at God’s command. Little attention is given to Isaac. Both the rabbis and the Church Fathers reflected a great deal on the story. In the rabbinic writings, Isaac is no longer portrayed as a peripheral figure but becomes equal, if not superior, to Abraham. The rabbis portray Isaac as the willing martyr who volunteers to give up his life for his people. Indeed, such is the merit of Isaac’s action (zecut avot), that Israel benefits from his actions in the future.

The rabbinic portrayal of Isaac parallels a number of aspects of the Christian understanding of Jesus. Like Jesus, Isaac was willing to give up his life.4 Like Jesus, Isaac was not forced by human hand to carry the wood for the burnt offering but carried it freely. Like Jesus, Isaac was not forced to offer himself as a sacrifice but willingly gave himself up to his father.5 Like Jesus, Isaac was described as weeping bitterly when told by Abraham that he was being sacrificed.6 Like Jesus, Isaac shed blood.7 Like Jesus, Isaac is depicted at the gates of Hell (gehinna).8 In a similar way to Paul’s assertion concerning baptism the Akedah was described as atoning for all, Jew and non-Jew.9 Finally, and perhaps most remarkably, Isaac is described as having died and having been resurrected.10
Another example provides further evidence that rabbinic interpretation of the Akedah was influenced by Christian teaching. A particularly striking comment among the interpretations is the rabbis’ discussion about Isaac carrying the wood for the sacrifice on his shoulders: “‘And Abraham placed the wood of the burnt-offering on Isaac his son.’ Like a man who carries his cross (tzaluv) on his shoulder.”11 The reference to a cross is clearly influenced by the Christian description that Christ carried his cross to the crucifixion.12 The unnamed interpreter decided that the comparison between Isaac carrying the wood and a man (Jesus) carrying a cross to his execution was valuable. The editors/redactors of Genesis Rabbah concurred since they did not censor the comparison in the final redaction.13 Thus, Jewish interpretations of Isaac at the Akedah cannot be properly understood without reference to the Christian context. Indeed, they are more easily understood when viewed as illustrating an exegetical encounter since the rabbis were not only aware of Christian exegesis but were influenced by it.

These exegetical encounters between Jews and Christians in bygone times should inspire Jewish-Christian dialogue in the future. Since the writings of the rabbis and the church fathers provide the cornerstone for Christianity and Judaism today, a study of Jewish and Christian biblical interpretation should become a pillar of Jewish-Christian dialogue in the future. A study by Jews and Christians will highlight a number of similarities between Jewish and Christian approaches to Scripture, such as an insistence on the harmony of Scripture and an emphasis on the unity of the text. Consequently, Jewish and Christian interpretations were understandable to many adherents of both religions. This overlap existed, not only at the beginning of Christianity but continued over many centuries. Thus, it is not surprising that Christian exegetes, such as Origen and Jerome in the patristic period, or Nicholas Lyra and Aquinas in the medieval period, turned to Jewish contemporaries for help in their translation and understanding of biblical texts.

It might be argued, however, that although Judaism and Christianity share some of the same scriptures, these writings form part of a larger canon: the Old Testament and the New Testament for Christians; the Written and Oral Torah for Jews. Such arguments are overstated because discussion between Christians and Jews was centered upon the interpretation of Scripture. These interpretations can be likened to an electric cable or plug, which has a number of wires, each of them isolated but, together, capable of conducting spiritual and creative energy of great intensity. When the different features of biblical interpretation are brought together a connection is made; when left independent, they remain isolated; combined, they provide light; left alone, their contribution is limited. My suggestion is that an understanding of both Jewish and Christian interpretations of the Bible can serve to increase the intensity of that light. This means that Christians and Jews can help each other reach a deeper meaning of the biblical text when they consider each other’s biblical interpretations.

In addition, these studies will build on the two major changes outlined above. For example, those Christian participants, who are in no way responsible for what was said and done in the time of their grandparents, will succeed in accepting the burden of their legacy and yet also maintain hope for the future. Indeed, hope in the future is well grounded only if one takes responsibility for the past. For example, Lutherans cannot have the satisfaction of the 95 Theses without the burden of On the Jews and their Lies; admirers of John Chrysostom cannot have the inspired exhortations, liturgies and homilies without the abhorrent Against the Jews. The same is true of all other great classical church fathers including Augustine who suggested that the Jews are not the children of Abraham but of Cain.

Nothing is better, I think, than for Christians to study Jewish texts and, let me be clear, for Jews to study Christian texts. Such endeavors will help Christians recover the reverence the first Christians entertained towards the Scriptures. Surely it is significant that the first Christians did not know the term “New Testament” or “Second Covenant” but simply called the Scripture graphai (Writings) which is a Greek equivalent of Tanach. This will not only bring Christians closer to Jews in an appreciation of their common heritage but will ensure that the Hebrew Bible is taken as seriously by Christians as by Jews. If Christians concentrate less on the “inferiority” of the Old Testament compared to the New Testament – and thus avoid the resulting problems associated with supersessionism and triumphalism – but accept the graphai for what they are – sacred scripture – they may begin to interpret the texts in a refreshing and stimulating way, one which is responsive to the sensitivities of the Jewish-Christian relationship. This surely will enable us all to look to the future with optimism.


What is the way forward? The future of dialogue, the future of Jewish-Christian Relations depends upon education; not only an education of the elite but an education of all. How should this be achieved?
It means that Jews should examine the writings of the church and be willing to examine these writings in a new light. We Jews cannot escape our obligations in the new framework and this includes an examination of our education concerning Christians and Christianity. The yeshiva doors need to be opened to the winds of change blowing through. To achieve this we need Jewish scholars who can offer a theology of Christianity, who are willing to put dialogue back into the mainstream. I call upon Jewish thinkers to face the world of contemporary Christian ideas, for a Jewish theology of Christianity. Although it is understandable that some Jews look upon dialogue with an element of mistrust, perhaps viewing it as a veiled attempt at Christian conversion, our Christian partners are beginning to say, “We have made many changes and offered new thinking; isn’t it your turn now to respond?”

On the Christian side it means that Christian seminaries should not only offer courses in Judaism, but should consider rabbinic interpretations of Scripture. The results of these studies must find their way not only into the classrooms of seminaries, universities and teacher training colleges. They must also be discussed in the churches as well as the synagogues. Only then shall we truly begin to discover the significance of a shared textual tradition. New attitudes are of little use if they are confined to an elite and the true test is the extent to which they have affected teaching at all levels. We have to tackle the subject of the Pharisees, the relationship between Jesus and the Jews, the two covenants; how to deal with polemical texts. We have to tackle the fact that the plain text of the New Testament and the teachings of the churches leaves the Jews in a position of inferiority and will induce feelings, if not of genocide, than at least of scorn.

The serious study of Judaism as a living faith, and its relationship with Christianity are an essential non-marginal part of Christian formation today. A Vatican directive states: “Christians must strive to acquire a better knowledge of the basic components of the religious tradition of Judaism; they must strive to learn by what essential traits the Jews define themselves in the light of their own religious experience.”1414 Similar pronouncements have been made by the Anglican and Free Churches. Some seminaries and theology departments are addressing these needs, but hardly anywhere is the new theology on Jews and Judaism effectively integrated into the curriculum.
The Bible is a good place to start. Let us together develop a new series of biblical commentaries, which consists of profound and insightful interpretations offered by Christians and Jews over many centuries. Let us make Jewish and Christian biblical interpretation accessible to both our communities and let us bring the Bible back into the synagogue and the church in a way that is sensitive to the Jewish-Christian relationship. Let us remind our communities that dialogue should be at the forefront of our religions.

Let me end with one final thought. Some people are afraid of war. Not I. I am not afraid of war. I do not believe that war simply “breaks out”. I am afraid of people, because it is they who begin wars. I fear people who put doctrine, religious or political, before the needs of people, who talk of love and concern but who see others only as potential converts to their own way of thinking. These are the people whose misguided zeal turned the Middle Ages into a byword for fanaticism and oppression. Even now they are ready to head us back along the same path to an age made darker still by the gifts of modern science and technology. Peace itself and the future of humankind hang upon the success of the interfaith exercise. Is this too bold a claim?


* Dr. Edward Kessler is executive director of the Centre for Jewish-Christian Relations in Cambridge.
1. Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, Mar. 16, 1998.
2. Address by Ehud Barak, Yad Vashem, Mar. 23, 2000.
3. Vatican Council II, Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions Nostra Aetate (No. 4) Oct. 28, 1965.
Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate (No. 4) Dec. 1, 1974.
Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Notes on the Correct Way to Present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church, June 24, 1985
4. Lamenatations Rabbah Proem 24.
5. Fragmentary Targum 22:10: “In that hour the angels of heaven went out and said to each other: Let us go and see the only two just men in the world. The one slays, and the other is being slain. The slayer does not hesitate, and the one being slain stretches out his neck.”
6. Midrash composed under the Holy Spirit, p 65.
7. Mekhilta de Rabbi Ishmael, Pisha 7.
8. Song of Songs Rabbah 8:9.
9. Leviticus Rabbah 2:11: “whosoever, Jew or Gentile, man or woman, slave or maidservant, reads this scriptural text…the Lord remembers Isaac’s Akedah”, and Gal 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free; there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ.”
10. Pirkei de Rabbi Eliezer 31.
11. Genesis Rabbah 56:3. Some modern Jewish commentators have suggested that this interpretation merely explained why Abraham did not place the wood on the donkey. Cf. Moses Mirkin Midrash Rabbah Vol. 2, Heb. (Tel-Aviv Yavneh, 1980) 286, offers two suggestions – firstly, that it enabled Abraham to fulfill God’s command in every way and secondly, that condemned men carry their stake to their own execution. However, such explanations fail to explain why such a clear reference to Christianity was retained by the midrash.
12. Jn 19:17.
13. Cf. Irving Jacobs, The Midrashic Process (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995) 17.
14. Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate (No. 4), op. cit., Preamble.


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