Jewish-Christian Relations: Amy Jill Levine
- To all,
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
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, 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.
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.
Northern Virginia Community College
- On Aug 31, 2008, at 5:41 PM, gbdawson wrote:
> Gordon, I'd like to add two things:Hi Gail,
> 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
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!
> The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
> To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-
> To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-
> List managers may be contacted directly at: crosstalk2-
> Yahoo! Groups Links