A ‘View Of Judaism in its Own Terms
Some historical reflections on Jewish Studies at HDS.
Blueprint for the Harvard Semitic Museum
By John Levenson
In one sense, Jewish Studies was central to Harvard College from its inception.
The ethos in which the institution was founded was that of Christian Hebraism in general and its English Protestant version in particular. Oxford and Cambridge had both instituted Regius Professorships of Hebrew as early as the 1540s. But Harvard went further, making the study of Hebrew a requirement of the undergraduate program—the only program it had, of course, until late in the eighteenth century. It is worth noting that, in line with the general character of Protestant Hebraism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Hebraic and Judaic interests of these Protestant intellectuals were not limited to the Hebrew Bible, or, as their tradition understood that collection, the Old Testament.1 (The difference is more than terminological.) Speaking of John Harvard’s bequest, a commencement orator around 1670 offered that Mr. Harvard, by endowing a college rather than a church, “followed Maimonides in considering the school superior to and more sacred than the synagogue.” Maimonides, of course, is the great philosopher, law codifier, and Jewish communal leader of the twelfth century. Here, the reference is to his codification of the halakhah (normative Talmudic law) that a synagogue can be made into a school for the study of Torah but not the reverse.2 Unfortunately, that involvement in the full range of post-biblical Hebraica has not always characterized Old Testament scholars at Harvard.
In the eighteenth century, the dominant figure in Harvard Hebraic studies was Judah Monis, who was “the first instructor on the Harvard faculty who taught nothing but Hebrew,” and who also authored the first Hebrew textbook published in North America.3 A European-trained Jewish scholar, Monis was required to convert to Christianity in order to assume his position on the faculty, which he occupied for nearly 40 years. At his baptism in Harvard Yard, he preached a sermon in which he sought to demonstrate that Jesus, and not the future figure of Jewish expectation, was the messiah4—given the occasion, a wise choice of subjects, if you ask me. The contrary thesis would surely have landed him in hotter water. Although doubts about Monis’s sincerity in converting have long been raised,5 I am certain that he was absolutely sincere in his desire for a Harvard professorship.
In 1763, three years after Monis’s retirement, a bequest from the Boston merchant Thomas Hancock (uncle of John Hancock) established a professorship at Harvard, in the words of the will, “to profess and teach the Oriental Languages, especially the Hebrew, in said College.” The legislation that the College passed on June 12, 1765, specified that the Hancock Professor of Hebrew and other Oriental Languages in Harvard College should teach not only Hebrew and Chaldee (meaning Aramaic), but also Samaritan, Syriac (that is, Christian Aramaic), and Arabic. (I assume “Samaritan” here refers to the Hebrew of the Samaritan Pentateuch.) The legislation also specified that the incumbent “shall declare himself to be of the Protestant Reformed religion, as it is now professed and practiced by the churches in New England.”6
“Great caution is necessary,” Spinoza wrote, “not to confuse the mind of the prophet or historian with the mind of the Holy Spirit and the truth of the matter.”
A large part of the enormous fortune the childless Thomas Hancock made, much of it reportedly through smuggling,7 eventually went to his nephew, the famous patriot, whom he had raised since the latter was 13 and who, I’m sure, was happy to claim the legacy by putting his John Hancock on the appropriate forms. Hancock’s bequest, with its requirement that the incumbents shall profess the Protestant Reformed religion and do so in the New England manner, looked backward rather than forward. For only a generation later, the Unitarians would emerge triumphant in the College and soon thereafter, in 1816, found the Divinity School. And at the same time, the discipline of biblical studies was undergoing a massive shift. Under the impact of the Enlightenment, scholars, especially in Germany, began to separate the historical study of the scriptural literature from the religiously normative study of the same material. Baruch (or Benedict) de Spinoza, a late seventeenth-century forerunner of this movement, put the conceptual issue memorably. “Great caution is necessary,” Spinoza wrote, “not to confuse the mind of the prophet or historian with the mind of the Holy Spirit and the truth of the matter.” Now the focus should lie, again in Spinoza’s words, on “the life, the conduct, the studies of the author of each book, who he was, what was the occasion, and the epoch of his writing, whom did he write for, and in what language [and] the fate of each book.”8 Precisely how these books, so interpreted, render the acts of God in the past, his will for the present, and his promises for the future is, to put it charitably, unclear. For Spinoza that was not a problem.
Hancock professors were fairly quick to shift to this new, historical-critical method. George Rapall Noyes, who held the chair from 1840 to 1868, was familiar with German scholarship and championed the new method. His successor, Edward James Young, Hancock Professor from 1869 to 1880, had devoted four years to study in Germany, one of them at Göttingen, where he was highly impressed with Heinrich Ewald, a pioneer of biblical criticism.9
Young’s successor, Crawford Howell Toy, seems to have been a fascinating figure. A Southern Baptist who had served in the Confederate army and studied in Berlin after the war, Professor Toy broke with his denomination over his use of the critical method and become a Unitarian.10 At Harvard, he broke new ground in developing in the College a Semitic Department, the forerunner of today’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.11 To help him with this, he pushed for the appointment of his former pupil at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, David G. Lyon, who had received his doctorate in Assyriology from the University of Leipzig. Together, Toy and Lyon launched efforts to explore Mesopotamia in search of long-lost Babylonian and Assyrian materials, and out of those efforts there eventually emerged the Semitic Museum. The building itself was erected in 1903 through the generosity of the banker, businessman, and Jewish communal leader Jacob Schiff. The cost was $80,000.12
With Lyon’s appointment—he eventually succeeded Toy in the Hancock chair—I think it is fair to say the emphasis in the study of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament shifted to the ancient Near East and away from theology. This shift corresponded with a number of momentous changes in American society in general and at Harvard in particular—the emergence of the research university and the decline of the church-related college; the influx to America of large numbers of non-Protestant and non-British immigrants; the challenge the latter eventually posed to the Brahmin aristocracy; and, of course, the recovery of large numbers of ancient Near Eastern documents and the decipherments of their languages that had been taking place since the early nineteenth century. But it is important to remember as well that Lyon was a graduate of a theological seminary and held, sequentially, two chairs in the Divinity School. And note the first of the animating motives for the new Semitic Department that he explicitly listed: “To enable students intending to become ministers to complete in college the Hebrew requirement for the B.D. degree [i.e., bachelor of divinity, the ministerial degree], and thus gain more time later for subjects of strictly theological character.”13
Leaving aside more recent figures, the most impressive scholar of Hebraica in the history of Harvard is surely George Foot Moore (1851–1931), who served as Professor of the History of Religion from 1902 to 1928. And a remarkably capacious concept of religion he had: the first book of his two-volume History of Religions (1920) treated China, Japan, Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, India, Persia, Greece, and Rome, and the second focused on Judaism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism (sic). Even granting the obvious fact that far less was known about most of those traditions then than now and that the methodological and theoretical frameworks were more limited, one cannot come away from Moore’s study unimpressed with the command of historical and textual detail it exhibits and the author’s eagerness to be fair to the religions on which he wrote. In a memoir of Moore published soon after his death, his colleague (and sometime dean) William Wallace Fenn observed that “it was often said that he could have taught any course in the curriculum of the Theology School, except those listed under Practical Theology and Social Ethics, quite as satisfactorily as the professor who actually offered it.”14 Personally, I am confident in the judgment that Fenn intended his comment to reflect on Moore rather than on his colleagues.
Moore came to his phenomenal Hebraic competence naturally. Fenn reports of his grandfather, the Reverend George Foot, that “largely by independent study, he mastered Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and French” and that, having taught his daughter (Moore’s mother) Hebrew, the two of them had read the Hebrew Bible through in the original seven times before she was married.15 Moore’s own formal education was strikingly short. Largely self-taught like his grandfather, he went into the pastorate after graduating Yale in two years and Union Theological Seminary in New York in one.
Into the pastorate but not out of scholarship. Serving a church in Zanesville, Ohio (1878–1883), he took up the study of rabbinic Hebrew with a local rabbi. His comments about the experience tell us much about both Moore himself and the type of study the two undertook:
It was an old-fashioned training. Its methods were doubtless of a kind which our pedagogical experts would regard as altogether obsolete; but it accomplished its end, which is, after all, the final test of the efficiency of a method. In one respect it differed widely from that of our schools; unsophisticated by educational psychology, the yeshiva-trained teacher, like his predecessors in the great age of classical learning in Western Europe, naively assumed that the object of studying a subject was to know it, not to acquire a certificate of having been through it. In that antiquated education the memory was systematically trained, not methodologically ruined.16
Moore pursued Modern Hebrew at the same time,17 something that to this day cannot be said of most scholars of the Hebrew Bible.
George Foot Moore became a leading figure in the scholarship of the Hebrew Bible, playing a major role in the importation of innovative German scholarship into the United States; his commentary on Judges (1895) is still considered a classic.18
But it is primarily in the realm of rabbinic Judaism that he left his mark. His three-volume study, Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era: The Age of the Tannaim (1927–1930), is an extraordinary accomplishment, though dated in important ways now. For our purposes, I would like instead to concentrate on “Christian Writers on Judaism,” a long essay that he published in Harvard Theological Review (of which he was a founding editor) in 1921.19 For reasons we shall see, it remains highly instructive.
The opening sentence tells it all: “Christian interest in Jewish literature has always been apologetic or polemic rather than historical.”20 Whereas in “early Christian apologetic . . . the controversial points were the interpretation and application of passages in the Old Testament” to Jesus, “the discussion in the Middle Ages . . . assumed a more learned character in the endeavor to demonstrate that Christian doctrines were supported by the authentic Jewish tradition . . . or by the mostly highly reputed Jewish interpreters.”21 (About this, Moore, perhaps with an eye to scholarship in his own day, dryly remarks, “Whatever its value otherwise, it had at least one good result—it led to a much more zealous and assiduous study of Judaism than any purely scientific interest would have inspired.”22) Later, in the age of the Reformation, Protestants endeavored to show “that on the issues in debate between Protestants and Catholics the Jews were on the Protestant side.” In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, however, “a broader interest in learning for its own sake as well as its uses prevailed . . . and led . . . to the creation of a great body of learned literature in every branch of Hebrew antiquities.”23
In the case of the revival of Christian study of Judaism in the nineteenth century, Moore writes, “the actuating motive was to find in it the milieu of early Christianity” and, more ominously, “to exhibit the system of Palestinian Jewish theology in the first three or four centuries of our era as the antithesis of Christian theology and religion as they were taught in certain contemporary German schools.”24 There thus emerged the notion that the Talmudic rabbis subscribed to an “abstract monotheism” by which they “exalted [God] out of this world, which, like an absentee proprietor, he administered henceforth by agents.” And thus there emerged as well the charge of “legalism,” which according to Moore, (writing, remember, in 1921) “for the last fifty years has become the very definition and the all-sufficient condemnation of Judaism.” Whereas before this, “Concretely Jewish observances are censured or ridiculed . . . ‘legalism’ as a system of religion, not to say as the essence of Judaism, no one seems to have discovered.”25
Whatever it was that first impelled the young Moore to study with that rabbi in Zanesville, by the time he had become a mature scholar his research compelled him to recognize that the reflexive anti-Judaism of the Christian community was in urgent need of correction.
Moore’s own motivation was different. As one scholar puts it, “Moore did not attempt to establish connections between Judaism and Christianity, but”—and this was really quite revolutionary for a Christian scholar—“to present a composite and constructive view of Judaism in its own terms.”26 Whatever it was that first impelled the young Moore to study with that rabbi in Zanesville, by the time he had become a mature scholar his research compelled him to recognize that the reflexive anti-Judaism of the Christian community was in urgent need of correction. As Fenn observes in his memoir, “Professor Moore . . . had come to believe that that popular conception of the Pharisees, although possibly true of some members of the sect, misrepresented them as a whole. He sometimes said to his friends: ‘If you and I had been living in Palestine in the first century of our era, we should have been Pharisees, I hope.’ ”27
Although Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era: The Age of the Tannaim remains an important compendium of rabbinic discussions, its assumptions are now, as mentioned, woefully out of date. For one thing, Moore failed to involve himself in sufficient depth in halakhah, or normative Jewish practice, the major focus of the Talmud and of much midrashic literature as well.28 For another, he attributed a historically problematic normativity to rabbinic Judaism and failed to reckon with the vitality of its antecedents and competitors (although, in fairness, before the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, this was a more understandable move). He also accepted attributions of statements to various figures uncritically, thus limiting the utility of his massive study to historians.29 Jacob Neusner was thus right when he wrote of Moore’s great study in 1980,“What is constructed is a static exercise in dogmatic theology.”30 But Neusner erred when he observed in the same piece, “Moore closed many doors; he opened none.”31 In fact, he opened the door to a fresh view of ancient Judaism for scores of Christian scholars—a “view of Judaism in its own terms.”
Not that every Christian scholar was willing to walk through it, as we shall see.
The attentive reader will have noticed one element that has so far been missing in these reflections on Jewish Studies at Harvard Divinity School: Jews. Around 1912 this was to change, when Lyon and Moore spotted a brilliant young undergraduate who had immigrated with his family from Lithuania (then under czarist Russia), eventually creating a position for him and helping, along with Harvard Law professor (and later Supreme Court justice) Felix Frankfurter, to raise the money to fund it.32 That young man, Harry Wolfson, was to serve on the Harvard faculty from 1915 to 1958. Although he remained grateful to the Divinity School—he had once lived in Divinity Hall—to the end of his career, and spoke warmly of the institution and of Moore in particular,33 with his appointment the center of Jewish Studies at Harvard shifted to the Semitic Department, forerunner of today’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC).
The shift was, in a sense, inevitable. As Isadore Twersky, Wolfson’s disciple and successor as Nathan Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy and the founding director of the Center for Jewish Studies, wrote in an appreciation of his teacher in 1976:
In the past—and that means up to very recent times—the study of Judaica was ancillary, secondary, fragmentary, or derivative. Jewish studies were sometimes referred to as service departments whose task was to help illumine an obscurity in Tacitus or Posidonius, a midrash in Jerome, a Hebrew allusion in Dante. . . . The establishment of the Littauer chair at Harvard for Harry Wolfson gave Judaica its own station on the frontiers of knowledge and pursuit of truth, and began to redress the lopsidedness or imbalance of quasi-Jewish studies.34
My sense, however, is that the importance of Jewish Studies’ having “its own station” was not well grasped in the Divinity School even as late as the time I arrived here (1988), and for quite an innocent reason: the major focus of faculty and students alike was on Christianity, and that meant that the farther the Jewish material was from intersecting with the church (especially with its two-testament Bible), the less relevance it seemed to have. Sometimes, it even appeared that the very existence of Jews and Judaism beyond antiquity was not altogether appreciated. I still remember that the catalogue cross-listed a NELC course called “Sources of Jewish History: 500–1750” in Area I, “Scripture and Interpretation”—this despite the fact that its earliest material dated to 650 years or so after the latest source in the Hebrew Bible!
Already in his essay of 1921, Moore had lamented the prominence of specialists in the New Testament among those with a penchant for commenting negatively about Judaism without, in the main, finding “it necessary to know anything about the rabbinical sources.” In a mode somewhat reminiscent of Twersky’s two generations later, he found intensely problematic the work of those whose “interest in Judaism also was not for its own sake, but for the light it might throw on the beginnings of Christianity.”35 It is hard to gainsay this judgment, or to pronounce it obsolete. But there is another side to the issue. Absent the focus on Christianity in general and the New Testament in particular, it is hard to see how most of those laboring under anti-Jewish stereotypes originating in Christianity (whether the individuals profess Christianity or not) will ever have occasion to confront their bias and to approach Jewish sources on their own terms. In that sense, paradoxically, a more religiously diverse and pluralistic academy can prove not less but more subject to the old misconceptions, since the latter have a life and a momentum of their own, quite independent of the ancient theological claims in which they took shape.
Fully 56 years after Moore published “Christian Writers on Judaism,” a New Testament scholar, only this time another American eager to correct the record, opened his own study by terming Moore’s essay “an article which should be required reading for any Christian scholar who writes about Judaism.”36 As E. P. Sanders went on to show in his now classic study, Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion, in the intervening decades many eminent New Testament scholars had failed to understand the import of Moore’s work and continued to trade in the old prejudicial stereotypes, sometimes even citing Moore against what he was, in fact, saying.37 Decades after Moore, even after the Holocaust, the old biases were alive and well.
To me, the pressing question is why. Why has the negative presentation of Judaism proven so powerful, so protean, and so tenacious?
To me, the pressing question is why. Why has the negative presentation of Judaism proven so powerful, so protean, and so tenacious?
One reason, I think, is that it intersects with social prejudice—theological anti-Judaism drawing energy from, and imparting energy to, social anti-Semitism. But another reason is that the old pattern presents a simple but enormously powerful psychological drama—the innocent and peace-loving Jesus murdered by his godless, hypocritical, and legalistic kinsmen. As for the perfidious malefactors themselves, they are rightfully scattered all over the world with no state of their own, surviving as involuntary witnesses to the truth of the gospel, as they “groan in grief over their lost kingdom and quake in fear under the sway of innumerable Christian peoples,” as Augustine had put it.38
The drama is so powerful, in fact, that, as Jonathan Sacks, now retired as Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth, put it, “it is a virus—and like a virus it mutates.” In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, “religious anti-Judaism,” the variety that we have been considering, “mutated into racial anti-Semitism,” best known for its role in Nazism and the Holocaust. But now what Sacks calls “the second great mutation of anti-Semitism in modern times” is underway, a mutation “from racial anti-Semitism to religious anti-Zionism.” The new strain, he writes, “uses all the mediaeval myths—the Blood Libel, poisoning of wells, killers of the Lord’s anointed, incarnation of evil—transposed into a new key and context,” with the state of Israel as the great malefactor.39 With the Jewish people no longer stateless, groaning in grief over their lost kingdom and quaking in fear under the sway of innumerable Christian peoples, the old evil is again loose in the world.
It is essential to understand that Sacks is not speaking of those who are critical of this or that Israeli policy, even sharply so. If he were, he would be accusing large segments of the Israeli populace and world Jewry alike. Helpful criteria for distinguishing criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism are given by Alan Dershowitz, now retired as Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. “So long as criticism is comparative, contextual, and fair,” Dershowitz writes, “it should be encouraged, not disparaged. But when the Jewish nation is the only one criticized for faults that are far worse among other nations, such criticism crosses the line from fair to foul, from acceptable to anti-Semitic.”40 Unfortunately, the long history of Christian anti-Semitism provides a rich and remarkably resilient resource for that singling out of the Jewish state for consistently and univocally negative judgments unreflective of the complexity of the historical facts.41
This latest mutation of anti-Semitism has indeed produced a virulent strain; only time will tell how hearty it is. Remarkably, another central figure in the history of Jewish Studies at Harvard Divinity School spotted the danger early on. Krister Stendahl, (1921–2008), an influential New Testament scholar who became dean of Harvard Divinity School (1968–1979) and, later, a Lutheran bishop, wrote in these pages in the wake of the Six-Day War (1967):
In the months and years to come, difficult political problems in the Middle East call for solutions. Christians both in the West and in the East will weigh the proposals differently. But all of us should watch out for the ways in which the ancient venom of Christian anti-semitism might enter in. A militarily victorious and politically strong Israel cannot count on half as much good will as a threatened Jewish people in danger of its second holocaust. The situation bears watching. . . . The present political situation may well unleash a type of Christian attitude which identifies Judaism and Israel with materialism and lack of compassion, devoid of the Christian spirit of love.42
But if the goal is to think comparatively and contextually and with fairness to the full range of facts, as Dershowitz recommends, then some small solace can be found in the history of scholarship on ancient Judaism and early Christianity since Moore, in which precisely that type of analysis has grown in strength (Stendahl’s own work is an example),43 and dramatically so in the decades since Sanders voiced his lament. As always, it will take far more than scholarship to counter large cultural and social forces, but, in the face of the new challenge, scholars should underestimate neither their own responsibilities nor the lessons embedded in the history of their own disciplines and the general enrichment that can come when Judaism has its own station and the study of it is pursued for its own sake.
A postscript: Although I have not intended these reflections as comprehensive and have necessarily omitted reference to several notable figures, I cannot close without mentioning one more. My own teacher, Frank Moore Cross (1921–2012), taught at Harvard Divinity School from 1957 until his retirement in 1992, holding the Hancock Professorship, by then in NELC, from 1958. Trained, like his father, as a Presbyterian minister, Cross presided over a genuinely nonconfessional program, which produced a large number of the most prominent Jewish figures in what is now the senior generation of Hebrew Bible scholars. Like Stendahl a great admirer and supporter of Jewish scholarship, he invited a number of prominent scholars from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to be visiting professors, including such influential figures as Moshe Goshen-Gottstein and Shemaryahu Talmon.
- This is also a tradition of immense historical importance to the emergence of ideas of religious tolerance in political thought, as brilliantly analyzed by Eric Nelson of Harvard’s Department of Government in The Hebrew Republic: Jewish Sources and the Transformation of European Political Thought (Harvard University Press, 2010).
- Samuel Eliot Morison, The Founding of Harvard College (Harvard University Press, 1935), 220–21. Morison thanks Harry A. Wolfson for tracking down the reference (Mishneh Torah, Tefillah 11:14).
- Robert H. Pfeiffer, “The Teaching of Hebrew in Colonial America,” Jewish Quarterly Review 45 (1955): 363–73, at 369.
- Lee M. Friedman, “Judah Monis: First Instructor in Hebrew at Harvard University,” Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society 22 (1914): 1–24, at 2–3.
- See Shalom Goldman, God’s Sacred Tongue: Hebrew and the American Imagination (University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 41–45.
- “Rules and Statutes of the Professorships in the University at Cambridge” (Metcalf and Company, 1846), 7–8.
- William T. Baxter, The House of Hancock: Business in Boston, 1724–1775 (Harvard University Press, 1945), esp. 55–56, 69–74, and 114–18.
- Baruch de Spinoza, A Theological-Political Tractate and Political Treatise (Dover Publications, 1951), 106 and 103. The Tractatus Theologico-Politicus was first published in 1670.
- www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/biographies/george-rapall-noyes. James de Normandie, “Memoir of Rev. Edward James Young, D.D.” in Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 44 (October 1910–June 1911): 529–42, at 531–32.
- D. G. Lyon, “Crawford Howell Toy,” Harvard Theological Review 13 (1920): 1–21.
- The name was changed in 1961 to Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures and then to its current name at some point in the early 1970s, when your humble—nay, overrated—scribe was a graduate student there.
- See David G. Lyon, “Semitic,” in The Development of Harvard University since the Inauguration of President Eliot, 1869–1929, ed. Samuel Eliot Morison (Harvard University Press, 1930), 231–40.
- Ibid., 235.
- Willam Wallace Fenn, “George Foot Moore: A Memoir,” Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 64 (February 1932): 3–11, at 3.
- Ibid., 5.
- Quoted in Leo W. Schwarz, Wolfson of Harvard: Portrait of a Scholar (Jewish Publication Society of America, 5738/1978), 38–39, with no indication of the source of Moore’s quote.
- Ibid., 39.
- Samuel A. Meier, “Moore, George Foot (15 October 1851–16 May 1931),” American National Biography (online version, 2000), www.anb.org.
- George Foot Moore, “Christian Writers on Judaism,” Harvard Theological Review 14 (1921): 197–254.
- Ibid., 197.
- Ibid., 250.
- Ibid., 202.
- Ibid., 251. On this last point, see Nelson, The Hebrew Republic.
- Moore, “Christian Writers on Judaism,” 251–52. On the latter point, Moore refers specifically to Ferdinand Weber but certainly sees the pattern as much more general.
- Ibid., 252.
- E. P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion (Fortress Press, 1977), 56.
- Fenn, “George Foot Moore,” 8.
- For a fine introduction to this important subject, see now Chaim Saiman, Halakhah: The Rabbinic Idea of Law (Library of Jewish Studies; Princeton University Press, 2018).
- A very useful new introduction to the Talmud and contemporary scholarly approaches to it is Barry Scott Wimpfheimer, The Talmud: A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books; Princeton University Press, 2018).
- Jacob Neusner, “ ‘Judaism’ after Moore: A Programmatic Statement,” Journal of Jewish Studies 31 (1980): 141–56, at 147. The whole article is a good discussion of what Neusner found inadequate in Moore’s procedures.
- Ibid., 142.
- Schwartz, Wolfson, 38–39, 49.
- Ibid., 171.
- Isadore Twersky, “Harry Austryn Wolfson, in Appreciation,” American Jewish Year Book 76 (1976): 99–111, at 107.
- Moore, “Christian Writers,” 241, n. 47. The second comment (on 241 itself) was made about Emil Schürer and Wilhelm Bousset.
- Sanders, Paul, 33.
- E.g., ibid., 55–56.
- Augustine, Contra Faustum 12:12.
- Jonathan Sacks, “A New Anti-Semitism,” Chesterton Review 30 (2004): 199–207, at 202–03. For more detail, in this case involving the revival of the adversus iudaeos tradition among liberal theologians in particular, see Adam Gregerman, “Old Wine in New Bottles: Liberation Theology and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 41 (2004): 313–40, esp. 333–39; idem, “Israel as the ‘Hermeneutical Jew’ in Protestant Statements on the Land and State of Israel: Four Presbyterian examples,” Israel Affairs 23 (2017): 773–93 (Gregerman is an alumnus of Harvard Divinity School); and Jonathan Rynhold, The Arab-Israeli Conflict in American Political Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2015), esp. 130–31. Of course, the religious and racial versions of anti-Semitism are hardly incompatible and can readily energize each other. On this, see Susannah Heschel, The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany (Princeton University Press, 2008). The same can be said as well for the relationship of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism.
- Alan Dershowitz, The Case for Israel (John Wiley & Sons, 2003), 1.
- For examples, see Gregerman, “Israel as the ‘Hermeneutical Jew.’ ” It is important to recognize that (1) a great many Christians have successfully rid themselves of the penchant to vilify or even demonize the Jews, and (2) one can be subject to that penchant without being a believing Christian.
- Krister Stendahl, “Judaism and Christianity II—After a Colloquium and a War,” Harvard Divinity Bulletin 1 (1967): 2–9, at 7. On the larger question of the range of Christian theological responses to the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, see, for example, Adam Gregerman, “Comparative Christian Hermeneutical Approaches to the Land Promises to Abraham,” CrossCurrents 64 (2014): 410–25.
- See especially Stendahl’s influential essay, “The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West,” Harvard Theological Review 56 (1963): 199–215, reprinted in Paul among Jews and Gentiles (Fortress Press, 1976), 78–96.
Jon D. Levenson is the Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at HDS. His many books include Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life (Yale University Press, 2006), which won a National Jewish Book Award, and The Love of God: Divine Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism (Princeton University Press, 2015).