About the Thinking Theologically about Jewish-Christian Relations: Towards a Positive Spirituality course
Towards a Positive Spirituality
Anti-Judaism is sadly embedded into many Christian theologies, from St John Chrysostom to St Augustine and Martin Luther.
Negative characterisations of Judaism can simmer under the surface of much contemporary spirituality, often unconsciously creeping into preaching and teaching in the church. The Holocaust, however, revealed the extreme and horrific dangers of anti-Judaism and antisemitism. Since the 20th Century, churches have made significant steps in thinking theologically about positive Jewish-Christian relations, where Judaism is not presented as a negative ‘other’.
This course will explore some of these responses, from a variety of different Christian traditions (including Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox). It will raise the questions which we need to grapple with to move forward into dialogue with Judaism, to foster better relations. This includes questions around what covenants and election mean, and how the Person of Christ relates to the people of Israel. It will explore the theology of some of the leading figures of the modern period from Christian theology, referencing Karl Barth, Sergei Bulgakov, Mother Maria Skobtsova, and Karl Rahner, alongside leaders in Jewish-Christian relations such as James Parkes and Rosemary Radford Ruether. It will also highlight some of the key ecclesial texts regarding Jewish-Christian relations, such as ‘God’s Unfailing Word’, and ‘Nostra Aetate’.
This course aims to inspire participants to engage with a fascinating and vital theological relationship, working towards fruitful (rather than harmful) understandings of Judaism.
About the Tutor
James Roberts is the Senior Programme Manager at the Council of Christians and Jews, where he is lead on education for Christian clergy. He is also completing a DPhil at the University of Oxford on a modern Russian Orthodox theologian, Mother Maria Skobtsova (1891-1945). Skobtsova was a Russian émigré to Paris who rescued Jews from the Nazis during WW2. She was killed in the Holocaust and is remembered as a Righteous Among the Nations. Studying Skobtsova opened up the world of Jewish-Christian encounter for James, and ever since joining CCJ, he has been fascinated by the theological relationship between Christianity and Judaism, and how Christians can navigate this in a respectful way to foster healthy dialogue.