The Paris Statement and the Judeo-Christian Legacy

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43 Responses

  1. Moshe Holender says:

    It is their Christianity which is faux-Christianity, a friendly and cheerful Christianity neutered of its vile anti-Semitic heritage by no other force than the humanist ideals of the Renaissance. Historically authentic Christianity incubated the murderous excesses of the Crusades and vomited the Jews out of Spain and Portugal. True Christianity birthed a low and disgusting man named Martin Luther and authentic Christians ghettoized Jews and harassed them at every turn. Modern, tolerant Europe was created by a falsified Christianity, a mongrel of real Christianity bred with humanism and the secular (or perhaps Jewish) ideals of tolerance. I, for one, say “Long live fake Christianity and let the real one lie dead, forgotten and looked down upon by modern Europe.”

    • dr. bill says:

      it is a bit untoward to label a particular generation’s Christianity as real or fake. The Christianity of the gospels (ala Daniel Boyarin) may have looked entirely different from that of the crusades or luther or pope francis. our interaction with christians and moslems have varied across history. all of us want to be judged by our better angels. in any case, i am reminded of RYYW ztl’s letters to the late Prof. Atlas, published by prof. shapiro, and in particular by a footnote attributed to prof. Blidstein’s recollection of his conversation with Rav ztl. i would be last person to equivocate on the torture and annihilation of jews by christians; but to characterize its current manifestation as fake is a wholly other story.

      my fear is that europe will wake up to its impending disaster with consequences that may include not just positive elements to say the least.

      kudos to rabbi Adlerstein and let’s pray/hope for the best.

      • Thank you, Dr. Bill, for doing my work for me. Let me take it to the next, important step. One of the most serious mistakes that frum Jews make about Christians is the rather innocent one of believing that they think like we do. By this I mean that if a frum Jew is taken aback by a few lines in a Rishon that run entirely counter to his sense of propriety, he struggles to find some way of resolving the tension. If he can’t find one, he shelves it, hoping one day to achieve better insight. What a ben Torah will NOT do is shrug his shoulders and say, “No big deal. He was a product of his times. It was understandable back them. Today, we’ve evolved to a better place, and we dissociate ourselves from that kind of thinking.” We have a mesorah about the greatness of previous generations, and the greater comprehension that was available closer to the Revelatio at Sinai. (See, especially Derashos HaRan on this.) Jews assume that Christians react, or should react, the same way. If you show them what earlier, revered sources held, you can prove that they are inconsistent of hypocritical in holding the opposite in the same of authentic Christianity. That leads to the understandable reaction of Moshe H above. But it is a mistake. Christians have no trouble at all seeing their faith evolve, and examining the background and times of an author for reasons they might have written in a certain way. When those times and circumstances change, they have little trouble in completely dissociating themselves from what people wrote earlier. Thus, it is not uncommon for Jews to point to the horrific anti-Semitic rants of Church fathers, particularly John Chrysostom. Pointing a finger at them, they shout out, “Gotcha! This stuff is really, really old! Don’t tell me that Christianity is about love. Here is proof that authentic Christianity is anything but.” Would they try this in the presence of a thinking Christian, they would be surprised by the response, which would go something like this: “Gimme a break. No serious Christian has taken that seriously in X centuries. That’s just not what we are about today.” They would not see this as inconsistent at all.

        • DF says:

          ” By this I mean that if a frum Jew is taken aback by a few lines in a Rishon….what a ben Torah will NOT do…”

          Since you are ostensibly making a claim on behalf of all religious Jews, of which I am one, I must respectfully be moche and register disagreement. (Had you limited that claim to the Torah, or even, to a lesser degree, the Talmud, החרשתי.) Not for this thread, but a point worthy of discussion in a separate post.

          • I make the claim on behalf of no one but myself. We can leave it to readers to decide on the accuracy of the claim. That claim did not state what is a mandated or acceptable reaction. It claimed what yeshiva-trained bnei Torah are prepared to do. My sense is that the overwhelming majority would not deal with the tension by looking for historical, contextual explanations, but would first labor long and weary to find some deeper insight into the meaning of the passage. Whether they would be prepared, if they could not find some satisfactory explanation after a long search for one, in the historical context is indeed “a point worthy of discussion in a separate post.”

          • Alex says:

            A good example is הקזת דם.
            The scientific thinking in earlier times was that diseases were caused by an excess of blood.
            If any doctor would propose this as a cure-all today they would likely be thrown out of the AMA.
            But this does not diminish the greatness of the Rishonim who wrote practical halachos applicable to he prevailing thinking of the day.

          • One could point as well to non-halachic areas where time offers a perspective that was not available to the Rishonim. The recent Daf Yomi sugya is an interesting case in point. Many have tried addressing the gemara’s rejection of calculating the arrival date of the Messiah with the many who did just that. One of the earliest to deal with it is the Ramban in Sefer HaGeulah, 4th section (pg. 290 in the Chavel edition). Early chachamim, he says, knew that the coming of Moshiach was a long way off. They frowned on the calculation, because knowing how distant it was would demoralize people. But today, in the 12th century, we clearly are at the end of days, so there is no harm done by the calculations. Nine centuries and a Holocaust later, most of us think differently about whether the End can or should be calculated from the relevant texts.

          • dr. bill says:

            as you know i strongly disagree. academics read to understand a view based on earlier sources and overall context; bnei ha’yeshivah read those who came later for their insight. even academics find the yeshivah method useful or even essential. however, that sense is not reciprocal.

            one point to ponder. often understanding the academic view might help a posek in deciding how the past and current contexts differ or appreciate a slightly nuanced disagreement with his rabbeim. in my area of expertise, those who are unaware of a particular rishon/achron’s assumption about science spend wasteful time trying to square a POV. What should be derived is his halakhic insights GIVEN the science as he assumed it to be OR, more speculatively, what he might have said given current science. when, as happens on occasion, a different set of assumptions about the reality, are not recognized, you can get remarkably creative solutions that solve a non-existent problem. impact can be unfortunate, bein le’chumrah u’bein le’kula.

        • Mycroft says:

          Our relationships with both Christianity and Islam have been complex.
          As a factual basis I believe that there is at least as high a percentage of Christians who will not go away from thinking that we don’t like as there are Jews who won’t disassociate themselves from words that might appear to current world as archaic,wrong etc.

          • Not sure how you could even venture a guess. In any event, they are still not comparable. Jews and Christians absorb principles of faith in different ways. Jewish notions are much more tied in to a considerable number of texts, many of which can be quite specific when taken literally. I think that is what you are referring to. Christians, on the other hand, are much more likely to form their theological notions through what they hear from pastors, parents, etc. When those individuals gradually change their perspectives, you get a real possibility of changing the attitudes of lots of followers.

        • Raymond says:

          Fascinating. I had never thought of it that way. In my many conversations with Christians online, they never seemed to be impressed by, or even react at all to, my citing such Jewish theologians as the Rambam. About the only reaction I get from them when I do this, is to discount it as being the man-made portion of Judaism, which they categorically reject. I have found this quite ironic, since their religion is entirely man-made, but I have to say that I have consistently found their depth of thoughtfulness on these subjects to be frustratingly lacking. Ironically, they might very well wear this superficiality of thought as a kind of badge of honor, feeling that the more irrational their beliefs, the stronger it shows their faith to be. All I can say at this point is that I am eternally grateful for having been born and raised a traditional Jew.

          • mycroft says:

            Rabbi Adlerstein.
            I just reviewed some basic Pew data and sadly Jews are much less likely than Christians in US to accept basic tenets of their religion.
            Unlike you I doubt that many Jews develop their fundamental beliefs of faith by what they learn in Daf Yomi learning Perek Chelek of Sanhedrin with meforshim. I also have doubts that many Jews have read Kuzari, the Rambam, Rav Hasdai Crescas and Rav Yoseph Albo. I am not as optimistic as you that they are.
            I suspect that most frumJews receive their beliefs from parents ,Rebeeim, and Rabbis.
            Note the Rav in a letter advocated that musmachim should at least be exposed to leading ideas of our classical scholars and RIETS I believe has offered such a course that is taken by at least some musmachim during the smicha program. If other Yeshiva students are much better informed of our classic sources I would be happy to be corrected.

          • mycroft says:

            Raymond:
            You state “you find it quite ironic,since their religion is entirely man-made”
            Precisely the reason for not having theological dialogue with other religions. It would cause sinat chinam. We believe in Torah misinai, we dont believe in the basic faith assumptions of Islam or Christianity. We obviously dont believe that they are divine. A believer in their religion believes that their religion is based on Gods word as much as we believe ours is based on revelation from God. An issue of faith not of reason

        • Bob Miller says:

          Some evolve and others devolve. Do we know in general what’s in their hearts?

          • Do we “know” what is in anyone’s heart? We can only come to trust our assessments. Mine, for what they are worth, is that indeed there are many, many Christians today with pro-Jewish attitudes that you can take to the bank

        • Shades of Gray says:

          “We have a mesorah about the greatness of previous generations”

          On the level of Chazal, R. Soloveitchik spoke about ” find[ing] fault with chachmei chazal”.

          I think its obvious that not all types of contextualization are the same, since they don’t all involve “finding fault” with Chazal . Indeed when discussing John Chrysostom back in 2007,(” Feldman’s Folly (Part One)”) R. Adlersein wrote ” the disparaging remarks – if in fact directed against Yeshu – must be understood in the context of struggle between mainstream Judaism and early Jewish-Christians… for a variety of reasons if we were writing material on Yeshu anew, we would not use the same words today.”

          (I don’t have a precise recall of the discussion, but I remember asking a rosh yeshiva who was known for his knowledge of history about the Gemera in Peschaim(49b) stating that one may “kill an Am Haaretz even on a Yom Kippur that falls out on Shabbos” . Notwithstanding the Maharsha who says that the Gemara is metaphorical, I was still puzzled by it. I think part of the conversation was about understanding the type of Am Haaretz(not merely an unlearned person),or political philosophy of Am Aratzus that existed in the times of Chazal in relation to this Gemara and whether such a philosophy of Am Aratzus still exists today in any form. The Gemara itself(Berachos 47b) has a disagreement about the definition of an Am Haaretz in general(which I didn’t mention at the time).

        • Moshe H says:

          Rabbi Adlerstein, thank you for your insightful response. I will take your point regarding the way Christians regard the consistency of their own religion. I still think the anti-Semitism inherent in Christianity, with its roots in the New Testament, has only disappeared in a big way over the last, say, 40 years. This is as you reminisce in your own original post about the “Irish Catholics in [your] neighborhood”. And again, as you sort of hedge in your piece, “millions of Christians have changed, **at least for the moment**, their attitudes towards Jews”. Could this trend reverse with some sort of move toward “revivalism”? Possibly. They can reject certain words of the Church fathers but perhaps not so easily the words of Revelation, “I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars–I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.” or Matthew’s heartwarming Woes to the Pharisees, including, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape the sentence of hell?”
          Just sayin’. I do wonder how they read those passages now that I think about it. Maybe they rationalize it was only “those Jews” (Chazal!) but not “today’s Jews”. Doesn’t exactly make me feel warm and fuzzy.

          • Well taken. But if you met those (and there are millions of them!) who put Jews and Judaism on a pedestal, who pledge their lives in defense of Jews, and if you spent hours with them learning of the depth of their convictions, you would feel warm and fuzzy as well

        • nt says:

          I recommend George Orwell’s essay on the topic: Essay No. 24 in As I Please

    • Charlie Hall says:

      The Renaissance Humanists were mostly believing Christians. But the real breakthrough for Jews in Europe (and America) came from two sources: (1) Streams of Protestant Christianity that were not anti-Semitic (see Oliver Cromwell HaRasha welcoming Jews into England), and (2) The Enlightenment, some of whose leaders were believing Christians but many of whom were hostile to traditional Christianity.

      I object to a non-Christian saying what “real” Christianity is or should believe or practice. That is for Christians to decide.

      • My Christian friends argue the opposite. Enlightenment Christians weren’t really. They were Deists, and they despised the Christianity of Biblical “myths” and demands that were not rationally attractive. And guess who they explicitly blamed for introducing non-rational elements into the Divine service? Hint: It wasn’t Peleg Yerushalayim)

      • Mycroft says:

        Agreed. Especially in terms of Enlightenment. A person who believes that you have rejected their God which is their most essential part of their lives intrinsically has a more negative attitude towards you. The basic ideal of the Enlightenment was tolerance which is good for Jews. That of course does not mean that No leaders were anti-Semitic. But in general US for example with no organized religion more tolerant to Jews than other countries.

  2. DF says:

    Agreed fully with the substance. My only quibble is that the post gives the appearance of being tentative or timorous, by apologia like “[the document] is anything but hysterical” or references to “sharp tongued radio hosts.” Why would we think it would be hysterical, and why even mention sharp tongued hosts, whoever they are? Likewise, referring to Dr Scruton as a “conservative philosopher”, which has the effect of pigeonholing him, rather than simply as “philosopher.”

    I have no doubt these were intentional. They simply reflect the depth liberal tropes have penetrated into the mediums of discourse, so much so that even conservative opinions are accompanied by what are, in effect, disclaimers. But conservatism need not apologize for itself or disassociate itself from anybody. Our friends on the left don’t apologize for their fringe elements. Their writers don’t think of themselves or refer to themselves in a limited fashion, as “liberal columnists” or the like, which can be dismissed as partisan; they think of themselves as the default, as if theirs was the normal position, and the burden is on everyone else to defend their point of view. We need to do the same. The conservative worldview is robust, and so it should be communicated. Confidence can be discerned, and it breeds success.

  3. Weaver says:

    Great article, as usual.
    Roger Scruton is great – I have been following him over a few years through his columns, interviews, and occasionally, his books. “The Face of God: The Gifford Lectures” is especially good. (If the Abarbanel were writing today, he would no doubt be tempted to sneak it into his peirush on Chumash!)

  4. Raymond says:

    I am reminded of an incident I heard about involving the Chovetz Chaim. He had quite a distance to travel, so he took a stagecoach to his destination. However, when the driver passed a church, he did not cross himself, commenting that Christianity is nonsense. In response, the Chovetz Chaim left the stagecoach, explaining that he cannot trust a person who does not believe in G-d. I have long found this story to be quite extraordinary. Here was the saintly Chovetz Chaim, whom nobody could mistake for anything but a Chareidi Jew, and there he was in Poland, a land where Christians have historically caused endless suffering to our fellow Jews, and all in the name of their false G-d, and yet, the Chovetz Chaim recognized that regardless of the many flaws of Christianity, that to simply get rid of it altogether is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. In fact, if my understanding is correct, the Rambam many centuries earlier expressed something very similar, when he said Christians have the most chance among the non-Jews of coming around to seeing the real truth of things, meaning seeing things from a Torah perspective, in their case because at least they profess to putting high value in our Torah. Again, they do so with glaring mistakes, yet better to strive for a goal imperfectly, than to reject that goal altogether.

    So yes, the flaws of Christianity, both in how they have treated us in the past over in Europe, as well as in their theology, is undeniably problematic. I personally oppose, for example, having Christian churches standing in Israel, because it is my belief that Christians violate the Noachide law against idolatry. However, if one puts aside the theological issues long enough to at least temporary focus on the political, on social policy, one comes to realize that there is actually very little difference in, say, the social issues, between Christians and Jews. Just to quickly cite two examples of what I mean, both of those religions strongly oppose almost all abortions done in this country, and both of our religions support at least in principle the death penalty for convicted murderers.

    And finally, perhaps the greatest two reasons of all to be open to welcoming Christians at arm’s length, are the two greatest gifts they have given us, namely America and Israel, for nowhere have we Jews ever had it so good as we do right here in America, and as for Israel, while the Divine Hand in having it back our hands is unmistakable, it seems that G-d has decided to perform these miracles through Christians such as Arthur Balfour, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and now Donald Trump. We therefore need to bed be thankful to our fellow Christians, even if for no other reason than that having gratitude is a great way to build one’s moral character. It also is an almost flawless way to combat depression.

  5. Bruce Rosenstock says:

    Great post and excellent discussion. One thing Judaism has no share in when speaking of Western Civilization is the Shoah. The question of Christianity’s share in it has vexed some of it’s greatest theologians, from Niebuhr to Krister Stendahl. These theologians acknowledge the deep roots of the Shoah in Christianity and seek to think through a non-supersessionist Christianity where Jews play as significant role in salvation history (positive) as Christ. It is not enough for Christians to see the State of Israel as part of the divine plan of salvation. In fact, this only repeats the oldest tropes of anti-Judaism in Christianity. After the Shoah, Christianity must re-examine it’s theology, down to it’s roots in Paul and the Gospels.

    • A good place to learn about how that theology might look is in two wonderful works by Gerald McDermott. The longer work is called The New Christian Zionism. If you want a quicker read, he did a more consumer-friendly version in Israel Matters. They both reject supersessionism, carve out a significant space for Jews, Judaism and Israel from a Christian standpoint – and do all of this without recourse to dispensationalism, which is rejected by so many evangelicals.

    • Charlie Hall says:

      Three Christian groups have re-examined their theology in recent decades: Two are American Protestant churches, the United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church. The other is the Roman Catholic Church (in the parson of Pope Francis). They all have made definitive doctrinal statements rejecting supercessionism (all using almost identical language). But I am not aware of any others. (Have there been any?) The largest Protestant Church in the US, the Southern Baptist Convention, still spends millions targeting Jews to Christianity and a decade or so ago one of its leaders actually accused Catholic leaders of anti-Semitism for refusing to go along with such. I have met many converts from Christianity whose families are convinced that they are headed for Hell.

      It should be noted that the United Church of Christ may have changed its theology but it also has endorsed BDS.

      • That last line is all-important. I believe that it reinforces what I stated earlier. Protestants (davka!) absorb more of their theology from their local pastor than from “official” doctrinal position papers (sometimes called “confessions.”)

        I would go much further. To the best of my knowledge, virtually all of the liberal so-called Mainline Protestant denominations embarked on programs of bridge-building with Jews after the Holocaust. Yet, the same churches have ALL at least entertained motions at large conventions to embrace anti-Israel positions and actions. The first to vote for divestment (and you should have known this 🙂 ) were the Presbyterians. And no matter what they have said in the past, supersessionism is breathing down their necks, as their Palestinian partners push for a return to it as part of their faith. Several of the mainlines (or at least committees within them) have embraced the infamous Kairos document, which is saturated with supersessionism, even if the word is not explicitly used

        • lacosta says:

          seems like this is a critical area, since [as i read palestinian hasbara ], there is a tenor there to say that it’s a busha v’cherpa for them that the land where jesus lived is being depleted of xtians and it’s the zionist fault for colonizing the xtian holy cities . it then doesnt help in this regard when wild jewish natives vandalize/attack churches and clerics in Israel

    • Susan says:

      I’ve noticed that much of the assigning the blame for the Shoah to Christian doctrine and attitudes to Jews is made by atheists, trying to deflect the blame from the Darwinian roots of racism to their favourite religious archenemy, Christianity.
      Anti-semitism is famous for its ability to metamorphosize according to the current outlook or “ideology” – against rich Jews or poor, communist or capitalist, isolationist or assimilationist. The impetus for the Shoah was definitely not Christian, and while Christianity provided the excuse for the Christian anti-semites, so Darwinism supplied the ideology for the atheist anti-semites.
      And while the stories of monasteries trying to hold on to Jewish children left there, it would also be interesting to compare how many atheistic non-Jews saved Jews at that time as opposed to Christians.

  6. Steve Brizel says:

    Excellent article. It is always helpful be aware that word, especially in theology, count.

  7. ben dov says:

    “Something else has changed. A growing, powerful, toxic antipathy to absolutes.”

    I question this. There is antipathy to the absolutes of religion, which is then replaced by the absolutes of secular leftism.

    • dr. bill says:

      you’re quite right. in one of the best mussar/hashkafa shiurim ever, in 1966 (on yu torah as “aspiring to kedusha”) RAS ztl gave a dramatic shiur that began with – “nature abhors a vacuum.” i can still repeat many sections accurately.

  8. David Ohsie says:

    “Not platitudes about mutual respect, love, and tolerance, but key assumptions about the nature of Man, his relationship with G-d, and the existence of both a macrocosm and microcosm designed by a benevolent Creator rather than by randomness. These are no small items.”

    With all due respect, IMO, these few sentences doom the project to failure.

    You want people to consider more seriously (among other things) 1) the threat of radical Islam and 2) the debilitating effects on children of the fall in marriage rates and the rise of single-parenthood by choice and multi-partner fertility by choice.

    But then you condition that on the rejection of Darwinism and gay rights. That alone loses you a growing majority of the population that cuts (unevenly) across ideological lines.

    Let me suggest another way:

    “We understand that traditional sexual mores resulted in the persecution of gays. And we understand that some (but not all) scientific progress was only possible by rejecting the previously held dogma that was sometimes rooted in religion.

    “But to say that all principles rooted or aligned with religion are rotten is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The abolition of slavery was in large part a Christian endeavor. Martin Luther King Jr. drew on Christian theology in his fight for Black civil rights.

    “Religion supports marriage for ideological reasons, but you can support it for empirical reasons. The tolerance and encouragement for children outside of marriage and with multiple partners has been devastating to the poorer segments of our population. Radical Islam does not share the the western values of democracy and equal rights…

    I’m not talented or knowledgeable enough to finish this off right now, but I think that this is the right approach.

    • 1) Not so sure that the signatories of the Paris Statement meant anything substantially different – although I know that Roger Scruton would not sound as tentative and limited about the positive role of religion in the past, present and future.
      2) I have to disagree with much of your primary thesis. It takes direct aim at the beloved mentor of many of us – Yogi Berra – who first said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” I can’t imagine that they expected to turn the tide on the perilous state of religious belief in Europe, and even in the US for that matter. (See the recent Pew finding that a majority of Americans now believe that you do not need belief in G-d to be moral.) What I imagine they hope to do is energize the shrinking but still sizable minority of Westerners who are not at home with where the West is heading, and need to better understand why. I’m not sure why those of us committed to the Torah’s vision of a future world united in its sincere and deep recognition of HKBH and His role (didn’t we keep asking for that in the Shemonah Esreh of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) would reach negatively to and attempt to keep people engaged with G-d and the Bible. I firmly believe that more of us ought to be doing the same.
      3) They are not “conditioning” anything on a rejection of Darwinism and gay marriage. They are pushing a product, to be sure, that will ask adherents to think more carefully about both. They will likely fail in regard to gay marriage and life-style, at least at the moment. (No one knows what tomorrow will bring. The current avalanche of lawsuits and decisions against religion suggests that religion’s opponents view it as a more powerful force than its followers! The opponents will not rest until religion is completely decoupled from public life, and made thoroughly deplorable in the public mind. Apparently, they fear that it may rise again from the grave to torment them, like some old horror movies.) Not so sure that they will fail in regard to evolution, at least in the US. Many Americans (some for the right reasons, more for the wrong ones) have reservations about it. According to Pew 34% of Americans reject evolution altogether; another 25% believe in a form of evolution that was guided by G-d.

      • mycroft says:

        More important question than do Americans believe that one needs belief in God to be moral is whether those who claim to be believers in God are more moral than those who don’t.
        Re Americans who reject evolution altogether-there are certainly a decent percentage of Americans who reject scientific analysis when it is not in their best interests to accept scientific analysis. Why that is so is an interesting question.

  9. Charlie Hall says:

    Looking at history, I cannot agree that there is a “Judeo-Christian heritage”. The religions were separate and distinct even before the destruction of the Temple. And for most of the history of Christianity, we were at odds with one another in a very big way. Rare was the Christian leader — of any generation in any century — who was at all positive towards Jews. (One such rarity was George Washington, whose leadership in the colonial Church of England has gone almost unnoticed given his many other huge accomplishments.) Tolerance for Jews in modern Europe and America was largely the result of Enlightenment philosophy, not traditional Christianity. While the Nazis were not Christian, Christians aligned themselves with Nazis in a very big way throughout Europe. Few American Christian leaders stepped up to the plate to oppose the Nazis, either, and Popes Pius XI and Pius XII were at best passive and at worst actual enablers. In the 1960s, Catholic bishops from the Middle East were the only significant opposition to *Nostra Aetate* at Vatican II, and even today Christians in Lebanon have enabled Hezbollah to take effective control of that country.

    While it is great that we do have some real Christian supporters today, it is far too recent to call it a “heritage”.

    • I will have to disagree. True, if one looks for signs of working together, Dr. Hall is correct: we didn’t see any of that till very, very recently. But that is not what most of us mean by the Judeo-Christian heritage. We mean a set of assumptions introduced to the world by Judaism, and carried forth into the Western word largely by the influence and power of Christianity. The fact that Christians hated and persecuted us for two millennia cannot change their debt to Judaism, nor change the fact that Western civ looks different from other forms largely because of certain values that were introduced by Hebrew Scripture. Many/most of those values are now being challenged, rejected, fought against. Some Christians (and Jews) recognize that because of the kulturkampf, Jews and Christians should become allies in proclaiming and reinforcing those values

      • Mycroft says:

        The following is specifically based on what is not what ought. Western worlds ideas and ways of belief are inherited more from the Greeks than from our Bblical tradition.
        The influence of Judaism on the world according to most historians is minimal, The influence s based on either Christian or Islamic spreading of their ideas. Almost no one of the non Jewish world is interested in what we believe in – Torah shebalpeh.
        We all hope that that will change very soon as we pray for three ties a day in alienu.
        Meanwhile Judeo- Christian heritage is a term used for the same reason why the majority culture refers to Chanukah so often compared to our more important holidays.

  10. Charlie Hall says:

    I think that in the interests of full disclosure and transparency I should out myself. I grew up Christian, seventh generation (at least) American Presbyterian, and briefly served as a Deacon. I converted to Judaism in my 40s. I should add that the number of anti-Semitic sermons that I personally have heard in churches is zero. Baruch HaShem.

  11. Charlie Hall says:

    I think that in the interests of full disclosure and transparency I should out myself. I grew up Christian, seventh generation (at least) American Presbyterian, and briefly served as a Deacon. I converted to Judaism in my 40s. I should add that the number of anti-Semitic sermons that I personally have heard in churches is zero. Baruch HaShem.

  12. nt says:

    Kudos to R’ Adlerstein for a very necessary correction. When the Jewish roots of Christianity are ignored, Jews are accused of undermining Christian culture. This happens all the time on the “alt-right.” In his Notes on Nationalism, George Orwell writes “Antisemitism comes more naturally to people of Conservative tendency, who suspect the Jews of weakening national morale and diluting the national culture.”

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