This volume contains essays dealing with complex relationships between Judaism and Christianity, taking a bold step, assuming that no historical period can be excluded from the interactive process between Judaism and Christianity, conscious or unconscious, as either rejection or appropriation.
: Hagar and Ishmael have been portrayed in Jewish sources in an increasingly negative way, even before the rise of Islam. The culmination of that negative portrayal constitutes the story of the expulsion of mother and son as rendered by Pirke de rabbi Eliezer. This story in its basic pre-Islamic form, functioning as a midrash interpretation of the Bible relating Hagar’s expulsion and the twofold visit of Abraham to Ishmael, was to serve as the point of departure for Islamic stories (...) about Hagar. The first Islamic source for the story of Hagar, ʿAbd al-Razzāq, had already transformed the Jewish story into a highly positive account of Hagar as trusting in God and worthy of miracles. Simultaneously, this Islamic version harmonized the story with Qurʾānic statements about Abraham building the House, connected it to an utterance of Muhammad and buttressed the ritual of the Saʿy, the running between the two hills in Mecca, thereby refuting pagan associations as secondary deviations. As for Ishmael, he becomes associated with the pure Arabic tribe of the Jurhum. The story of the two wives of Ishmael, which serves in the Jewish version as a an exegesis of Gen 21:21 by adducing a derogatory statement on the Moabites and ending in a reconciliation between Abraham and Ishmael, is transformed into a foundation story of the Arabic offspring of Ishmael who marries into the Jurhum tribe. Whereas the Islamic stories, transmitted by al-Ţabarī and Bukharī, can be traced back two generations earlier than the latter, namely to ʿAbd al-Razzāq, his isnad in turn proves to be reliable up to Ibn Jubayr. Ibn Jubayr’s debate about different versions of the story took place around 700 C.E., an attribution that can be trusted, hence corroborating Harald Motzki’s overall but careful thesis about the reliability of the isnad. The integration of the Hagar story into the Qurʾānic story of Abraham building ‘the House’ together with Ishmael dates, at the latest, from 700 C.E. (shrink)
A comparison between the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Notes on the Correct Way to present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching in the Roman Catholic Church by the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, demonstrates the seriousness of the Cathechism's effort to take into account Jewish selfdefinition. Jesus' positive attitude to the Law, sabbath and Temple are rightly stressed. The Cathechism has not succeeded however in integrating these new insights into a coherent theology, which explains (...) the occurrence of elements of the theology of substitution next to affirmations of the lasting significance of Judaism within salvation history. Added to this there is a total lack of references to Judaism in history until today. The absence of the tragic events in the Middle Ages, of the persecution of the Jews, of anti-Judaism and antisemitism, of the Shoah and of the founding of the State of Israel, fosters the image of Judaism as no longer relevant after Biblical times. Earlier Vatican documents had stressed the importance of exactly these points for catechesis. After the evaluation of the Catechism's contents the article continues with evaluating its form. Two important elements within the Jewish idea of permanent education seem to be lacking in the Catechism: the connection between religion and daily life and the emphasis on differences of opinion as a fruitful means of educating religion. The connection between religion and daily life is prevented by the Catechism's exclusively theological language. In addition to that the Catechism is meant primarily for bishops. The Catechism itself admits that further 'adaptation' is needed in order to develop a genuine catechism. The Catechism's rather dogmatic and apodictic style does not invite to further discussion and to fruitful debate. However, nothing prevents believing Catholics to read the Catechism that way and to enrich Catholic tradition by 'adapting' and debating its contents. (shrink)