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How does Christianity relate to contemporary Judaism? In this book a respected Jewish theologian learns a lesson from recent Christian theology: God's love of Christ and the church does not replace his love of Israel and the Jews. Ochs engages leading postliberal Christian thinkers George Lindbeck, Robert Jenson, Stanley Hauerwas, John Howard Yoder, Daniel Hardy, and David Ford, who argue this point in their work. He analyzes recent thinking in Christology and pneumatology and offers a detailed study of the movement of recent postliberal Christian theology in the US and UK. Ochs's realization that some Christian thinkers retain a place for the people of Israel opens up the possibility of new understanding and deepens the Jewish-Christian dialogue.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 août 2011
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781441232038
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Peter Ochs
© 2011 by Peter Ochs
Published by Baker Academic
a division of Baker Publishing Group
P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287
Ebook edition created 2011
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopy, recording—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.
ISBN 978-1-4412-3203-8
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Unless otherwise marked, Scripture and rabbinic writing translations are the author’s own.
Scripture quotations marked JPS are from the Jewish Publication Society Version. © 1917 by The Jewish Publication Society.
Scripture quotations marked KJV are from the King James Version of the Bible.
Scripture quotations marked NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com

Scripture quotations marked NRSV are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
For the Ford and Hardy families,
in deep friendship, at the lake
Contents Acknowledgments 1. Introduction: Christian Postliberalism and the Jews Part 1: American Protestant Postliberalism 2. George Lindbeck and the Church as Israel 3. Robert W. Jenson: The God of Israel and the Fruits of Trinitarian Theology 4. Arguing for Christ: Stanley Hauerwas’s Theopractic Reasoning 5. The Limits of Postliberalism: John Howard Yoder’s American Mennonite Church Part 2: British Postliberalism 6. Finding Christ in World and Polity: Daniel Hardy’s Ecclesiological Postliberalism 7. Wisdom’s Cry: David Ford’s Reparative Pneumatology 8. John Milbank: Supersessionist or Christian Theo-semiotician and Pragmatist? 9. Conclusion: Christian Postliberalism and Christian Nonsupersessionism Are Correlative Index of Subjects Index of Scripture and Other Ancient Sources
I offer warm thanks to folks at Brazos Press for their interest, encouragement, and trust in this project. Special thanks go to Rodney Clapp for his wise and patient editorial guidance and to Lisa Ann Cockrel for caring attention to every detail. The design work of Paula Gibson, marketing efforts of Jeremy Wells, and all of the work of the wider Baker Publishing Group staff are also much appreciated
Rather than thank here the many colleagues and students who have nourished this project over its many years, I have cited and quoted these conversation partners frequently on the following pages. And I hope I have been daily thanking my wife, daughters, and those who love them for nourishing what lies behind this book.
T his book introduces and tests one hypothesis: that as demonstrated through the efforts of a recent movement in Christian theology, there is a way for Christians to rededicate themselves to the gospel message and to classical patristic doctrines of the church without at the same time revisiting classical Christian supersessionism. [1]
Here supersessionism —or replacement theology —refers to a Christian belief that with the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, Israel’s covenant with God was superseded and replaced by God’s presence in the church as the body of Christ. Otherwise stated, this is the Christian belief that God’s love for the church replaced his love for Israel. Jews of the premodern period—and both Jews and Christians of the Enlightenment period—already expressed alarm at this doctrine. They argued that classical Christology was onerous because it was inseparable from supersessionism. Since the Shoah (the term is Hebrew for “Utter Destruction” and is the preferred term for the Holocaust), Christian as well as Jewish concern about supersessionism has grown more urgent. The argument is typically twofold. The first charge is that while classical supersessionism is not itself an expression of racial anti-Semitism, the doctrine has in fact engendered anti-Semitism among Christian populations. In turn, that anti-Semitism has in fact stimulated or justified Christian persecution of the Jews. The second charge is that while Nazism was itself anti-Christian, it inherited the anti-Semitism that was a de facto consequence of Christian supersessionism. Thus, whatever its formal, theological justification or nonjustification, supersessionism shows itself to be lethal as a public teaching.
After the horrible lessons of the Shoah, what should Christians do about this heritage of supersessionism? Rosemary Ruether’s Faith and Fratricide offered what I will label the prototypical response of liberal, modernist Christianity. [2] Reiterating the Enlightenment argument, she concludes that Christology itself is the problem: since it necessarily engenders supersessionism, Christians are faced with the either–or choice of affirming classical Christology or freeing themselves of the evils of supersessionism.
The premise of this book is that the movement I will label “postliberal Christian theology” offers an alternative to this either–or choice. It offers a way to reaffirm classical Christology while eliding its supersessionism. To be more precise, my basic hypothesis divides into three more detailed hypotheses.
Subhypothesis 1: There is a logic of postliberal Christian theology according to which the reaffirmation of classical Christology after modernity is inseparably associated with the rejection of supersessionism.
This first hypothesis shapes the way I have compiled the central chapters of this book. To test it, I made a list of what I consider prototypical postmodern theologians: in the United States, George Lindbeck, Robert Jenson, and Stanley Hauerwas; in the United Kingdom, David Ford and Daniel Hardy; plus those among the “next generation” of postliberal theologians who address the issue of supersessionism. [3] I then constructed a vague (not overdefined) model of the patterns of postliberal reasoning that appear in selected writings of all of these theologians. Observing that each of them also argues against supersessionism, I collected and compared their different arguments and constructed another vague model, this time of the shared features of postliberal nonsupersessionism. Finally, I observed that each of these theologians argued for postliberalism in a way that correlated 100 percent of the time with an argument against supersessionism. If the reader wonders why I have not yet defined what I mean by postliberalism , it is because I had no clear definition of it throughout the project. I used the term to label whatever appeared, by the end of the project, to be the primary characteristics of the theologians I guessed merited study. By the end of this book—in the epilogue—I shall indeed relent, sum up these characteristics, and then compare them to descriptions some scholars have offered of the “postliberal theologians” (my primary source will be the work of James Fodor). [4]
Subhypothesis 2: When evaluating a theology that claims to be “postliberal,” we can, in a vague sense, “measure” the consistency of the theology’s “postliberalism” by testing its nonsupersessionism. A theology that proves to be supersessionist will, on further inspection, prove to have been guided by some model other than postliberalism—that is, by a modern liberal or antiliberal model. Conversely, a theory that proves to be liberal or antiliberal will, on further inspection, prove to be supersessionist.
This second hypothesis offers a means of identifying “exceptions that prove the rule” of the first hypothesis, by alerting us to theologies that are postliberal except in ways that also correspond to their supersessionism (or that are nonsupersessionist except in ways that also correspond to their liberalism/antiliberalism). The hypothesis thus helps us identify persistently liberal or antiliberal tendencies within a theology that otherwise promotes a postliberal agenda: if the theology proves to be supersessionist, to that degree it will also display tendencies that work against its postliberalism.
To test this hypothesis in varieties of American Protestant postliberalism, I have added a chapter on John Howard Yoder, of blessed memory. Without explicitly naming it as such, Yoder offers his theology as an equivalent of what I call Christian postliberalism, and he associates that postliberalism with nonsupersessionism. In practice, however, his arguments about Judaism include some clearly supersessionist claims. Is this an exception to our rule? I argue that it is not, since these supersessionist claims also lead us to elements of his theology that replay liberal and antiliberal tendencies. To test the hypothesis for varieties of British postliberalism, I have added a chapter on John Milbank. Milbank’s critique of modernist and liberal postmodernist thinkers puts him self-consciously in the postliberal camp, albeit in a much more general sense. He is often critical of the others in my collection of postliberals, however, and he is unapologetic about a degree of Christian supersessionism. How then shall I account for his postliberal tendencies? Shall I accept his criticisms and reevaluate my collection as burdened by a combination of persistent liberalism and fideism? Guided by the second hypothesis, I say no, it is more likely the other way around: Milbank’s supersessionist claims lead us to elements of his theology that replay liberal and antiliberal tendencies.
Subhypothesis 3 tests the relative power of postliberal versus liberal versus a

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