The Last Fortnight
The Centennial

Fackenheim's What Is Judaism.

Last week I completed a couple of books.

One was by the Jewish philosopher Emil Fackenheim entitled "What is Judaism?" I highly recommend the book. Fackenheim is introducing Judaism, particularly Judaism post-Holocaust and post-Israeli Statehood. It is an intriguing presentation, from which I learned a lot. I started the book back in the summer when I was preaching on Elijah and preparing a series on Galatians.

As I read, I found that many of my views on salvation and revelation and other doctrinal points are closer to Judaism than the Christian theology I grew up with. Maybe Christian theology has returned more to its Jewish roots in recent decades.

Of course there were still some differences. For example, my theology is very universalistic and evangelistic, whereas Judaism is more particularlistic and not driven to missions.

Fackenheim also helps to point out some of the absurdities of certain Christian views. For example, he tells the story of an Christian who tried to convert Eichmann before his execution. When the press asked this preacher if Eichmann converted he would be in heaven, the preacher said yes. Then asked whether the Jewish children Eichmann had had killed would be, the preacher said no. Fackenheim is rightly appalled and disgusted by such a theology. The story works as a reductio ad absurdum that the premises that give rise to it are clearly wrong.

Near the end he struggles with post-Holocaust Jews beliefs about God. There is a powerful phrase, "just as God is infinite so His pain is infinite, and this, were it to touch the world, would destory it."

Comments

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Curtis

the movie was incredibly overdramatic, which ended up underwhelming me.

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