I’ve let a pair of posts that I meant to blog about lie a-mouldering for more than a month. They are (1.) a post by David Goldman about Jewish-Christian dialogue and (2.) James Poulos’ response. That this is a question of some special significance to me, as a Jew-by-blood having become Catholic, perhaps explains my hesitance in chiming in.
Goldman writes that the proper object of Jewish-Christian dialogue is not mere goodwill between historical enemies but an end to “the intolerable pain of the division of Israel.”
Poulos’ final line, which should be inscribed on the doorposts of every seminary in the world*, points to the eschatological nature of this reconciliation:
Christians looking for a way to fight back against the ‘purification’ of Christianity into a “celebration of an ethics of love” would be extremely well-served to reflect upon the inextricably and inescapably Jewish quality of their uncannily un-Jewish faith.
Properly incarnated Catholicism, in other words, is Jewish Catholicism. The less Schleiermacher, Hegel and Tillich we have in our Christendom, the more Jewish it will be. So, incarnation (unsurprisingly) brings about the eschatological unity of Israel and the Church.
This talk of “eschatological unity” has often and understandably been a source of anxiety for Jews. If all Jews converted as I did, after all, it would mean the end of the Jewish people as a people. A conversion of the Church towards the Jews is therefore as necessary as a conversion of the Jews towards Christ. The requisite conversion is away from every kind of generality — in our era, the generalized “ethic of love” — towards the incarnation of G-d in Jewish flesh, towards the particularity and thus the Jewishness of the faith, a Jewishness uncanny because it is underneath Christianity though not Christian, and furthermore neither diasporal nor Zionist but a precise inversion of the diaspora and a perfection of Zionism: where the Jews were scattered among the peoples, now all the various peoples are gathered into Zion. As Zechariah wrote:
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the L-RD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
What this eschatological Sukkot will look like I don’t know – and I doubt anyone can know in advance – nor do I know how to bring it about. I do think that Poulos’ exhortation is a good place for Christians to start.
*[in now way competing with or adding to the words of the Torah, which should also be thereinscribed, of course]