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Preaching the Gospels without Blaming the Jews: A Lectionary Commentary Hardcover – July 19, 2004
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About the Author
Clark M. Williamson is Indiana Professor of Christian Thought Emeritus at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. He is a member of the church relations committee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and has long been committed to interreligious dialogue.
Top Customer Reviews
At the time when the various documents of the New Testament were being written, here was increasing animosity between the Jews and those Jews who followed Jesus – it isn’t correct to contrast ‘Christians’ and ‘Jews’ – those terms came later.
The trouble is that those documents were set in aspic, as it were, so when preachers talk abut the passage for the day they tend to cast all Jews in a bad light. Ultimately, this had led to anti-Semitism, whether intended or not.
Despite high-sounding and pious proclamations from the mainstream churches, very few seminaries deal with this issue, so anti-Jewish preaching continues.
This book tries to set the record straight – if only busy preachers would take time to consult it.
The first purpose of the commentary to bring out the Jewishness of the Gospel texts, by pointing out how they reflect Jewish traditions, concepts, practices, and institutions, whether prior to or contemporaneous with the New Testament. In some cases the authors also refer to later rabbinic discussions on similar issues. The commentary thus enables preachers or other interpreters of the text to stress the dependence of Christianity on its Jewish matrix and the continuity between the two traditions. The second purpose is, as the authors state, "to reflect critically on points at which the lections caricature Jewish people, practices, and institutions." They urge interpreters to place such polemic in historical context, thereby undercutting any tendency to consider it universally relevant, and when necessary to engage in a vigorous moral and theological critique of the very texts upon which they may be preaching.Read more ›
Never fear! This is one of the more user-friendly commentaries I have ever come across for preachers. It really is designed with this intention in mind -- scholars with find it interesting if not entirely rigourous; general readers may also find this interesting, to see what their preachers each week are dealing with in terms of issues (or, indeed, what they are not dealing with...).
This is a commentary with an agenda and a context. The agenda is to reduce the not-always-latent tendency toward supersessionism in North American pulpits. This might require some explanation -- supersessionism is a 'big word' not many have encountered. Supersessionism in this context refers to the tendency of looking at Judaism and the Jews of the pre-Christian times as simple prelude and precursors to Christianity -- that the only 'value' of Judaism and studying, tolerating, etc. Jewish texts and ideas is as it relates to (and leads to) Christian texts and ideas.Read more ›