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Jewish-Christian Relations: Amy Jill Levine

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  • Gordon Raynal
    To all, Background info: AJ Levine (NT scholar from Vanderbilt and an Orthodox Jews, for those who do not know her) is here locally at an event sponsored by
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 30, 2008
      To all,

      Background info:

      AJ Levine (NT scholar from Vanderbilt and an Orthodox Jews, for those
      who do not know her) is here locally at an event sponsored by the
      Humanities Council (whose support is from the local Temple (Reform),
      the large downtown churches (Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist,
      Episcopalian are officially signed on as sponsors) and the area
      colleges/ universities.) This is the first annual lecture series on
      Faith and Culture and the theme you see in the subject line. For
      those around the world, upstate South Carolina is at the very heart
      of the Bible Belt and we live amidst scads of Biblical
      Fundamentalists/ Literalists. The Baptist church involved in this
      effort is the one large Progressive one.

      Point of the note:
      1. In her speech to introduce understanding Jesus for interfaith
      dialogue she began with the story of Rabbi Hillel being asked to sum
      the Torah for an enquirer and the parallel summation that Jesus
      gave... namely what is ever called the Golden Rule. Her second key
      was Shema and Leviticus 19:18 (Love of God, neighbor, self). And her
      third point was that the Lord's Prayer is a very fine Jewish prayer.
      How nice to hear that a shared aphorism (wisdom words) is the place
      to start!

      2. For all present at the Temple (the site of the first two
      lectures) she noted especially for the Jews, (and this is from
      orality): "If Jews like to claim Einstein, Marx (both Karl and
      Groucho), Sammy Davis, Jr. and Adam Sandler, then we also ought to
      claim Jesus." Wonderful line!

      The local Temple has a Torah scroll from rescued from Poland with the
      original Nazi documentation tag with it. What a profound contrast
      that provided for this event and how absolutely lovely to be in a
      place where wisdom and humor can be shared. Besides our sometimes
      testy argumentation, I write this to celebrate that serious,
      cooperative scholarship ***really matters****.

      Gordon Raynal
      Inman, SC
    • gbdawson
      Gordon, I d like to add two things: First, Dr. Levine will also be speaking in Baltimore at Goucher College on September 11 at 7:30, sponsored by the Institute
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 31, 2008
        Gordon, I'd like to add two things:

        First, Dr. Levine will also be speaking in Baltimore at Goucher
        College on September 11 at 7:30, sponsored by the Institute for
        Christian and Jewish Studies, giving a lecture with the title:
        Hearing the Parables Through Jewish Ears: Good Samaritans, Bad
        Lawyers, and Challenging Teachings.

        Link: http://www.icjs.org/what/manekin2008.html

        She is always a great speaker!

        And second, one of the more sober anecdotes she relates about living
        in the Bible belt is her experience--twice!--of being asked by white-
        haired, genteel Protestant ladies where she had her horns removed.

        So I couldn't agree with you more at how important this kind of
        education and dialogue is.

        Gail Dawson
        Northern Virginia Community College
      • Gordon Raynal
        ... Hi Gail, The next two lectures were excellent as well. The second was on Jewish and Christian use of the TANAK & OT (and she prefers to use the term TANAK
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 31, 2008
          On Aug 31, 2008, at 5:41 PM, gbdawson wrote:

          > Gordon, I'd like to add two things:
          >
          > First, Dr. Levine will also be speaking in Baltimore at Goucher
          > College on September 11 at 7:30, sponsored by the Institute for
          > Christian and Jewish Studies, giving a lecture with the title:
          > Hearing the Parables Through Jewish Ears: Good Samaritans, Bad
          > Lawyers, and Challenging Teachings.
          >
          > Link: http://www.icjs.org/what/manekin2008.html
          >
          > She is always a great speaker!
          >
          > And second, one of the more sober anecdotes she relates about living
          > in the Bible belt is her experience--twice!--of being asked by white-
          > haired, genteel Protestant ladies where she had her horns removed.
          >
          > So I couldn't agree with you more at how important this kind of
          > education and dialogue is.
          >
          > Gail Dawson
          > Northern Virginia Community College

          Hi Gail,

          The next two lectures were excellent as well. The second was on
          Jewish and Christian use of the TANAK & OT (and she prefers to use
          the term TANAK and OT respectively for each community, versus a
          generic "Hebrew Scriptures") and the third was rather similar to the
          one you site above for Baltimore. Here she did not relate that story
          of Protestant ladies, but rather of being confronted by a Nazi Skin
          head in a public lecture who insisted Jesus was an Aryan. She noted
          that incidents of anti-Judaism/ anti-Semitism are on the rise in some
          places around the world and so the need for such as this sort of
          conversation only gets more important.

          Just on another related note, it was grand to hear the common
          parlance at the Sabbath service (by her and the Rabbi) and again in
          the first Saturday session at the Temple, and then again at the 3rd
          lecture at the branch University of South Carolina lecture hall of
          the midrashic story telling traditions and the very common use of the
          term "Sage" in reference to the interpreters of the heritage. In
          context this term doesn't raise thoughts of some kind of guru figure,
          but rather one who interprets the tradition to enliven and refresh
          it. Dr. Levine did not use this in relationship to HJ, but I thought
          that usage so nicely connected to how it has been talked about by
          those of us who want to insist that the center to understanding
          Jesus, the man, is in his wisdom words. And I mention this here
          because I really think it does provide a nice term for interfaith
          dialogue. Again, she started this all off by comparing Rabbi Hillel
          (one who is also referred to by that term, "sage") and Jesus. Far
          from being "an odd term," I think it is clearly fitting, especially
          for this dialogue.

          Thanks for chiming in!

          Gordon Raynal
          Inman, SC
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