26 November 2019

The Church of England and Judaism

BEFORE I heard the news that Chief Rabbi Mirvis had intervened in our General Election Campaign, I had written the following piece, and scheduled it to appear on Thursday. And also a piece on Chief Rabbi Mirvis, scheduled to appear on December 4, which will now appear tomorrow. Again, it will  have no changes from my original draft. 

I have brought these two pieces forward, unchanged.

The Church of England has recently published a report upon relations between Christians and Jews, with the title God's Unfailing Word. I do not intend to say a lot about this book; since I am no longer in Full Communon with the See of Canterbury, it might not be appropriate for me to do so. Later, I will criticise the reaction to it of Chief Rabbi Mirvis. For the time being, I express a general opinion that this Report is measured, intelligent, and scholarly. Indeed, far more so than the corresponding Vatican document (The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable, Decemer 2015).

For today, I draw attention to the following paragraph, with which I totally agree.
"Pharisees continue to be invoked in Christian teaching and preaching as characterised by a devotion to the detail of human religious tradition at odds with true reverence for the word of God and love of one's human neighbour. Not only is this a caricature that would be questioned by contemporary historical scholarship, it is also deeply hurtful to many Jews who number the Pharisaic teachers among those who maintained the tradition of the Torah by which they live today.".

Indeed. Well said. And a prime example of this attitude is Pope Francis, who rants against "Pharisees". He has also written,  and has spoken, with gross discourtesy as well as painful inaccuracy, in contempt of the Torah. I give chapter and verse for these observations in Luther and his Progeny (Angelico Press, 2017, ISBN 978-1-62138-254-6, pages 247 and following). As well as in off-the-cuff remarks, PF has done this in a "Magisterial" document, his "Bull of Indiction" for his "Year of Mercy".

I wonder if the writers of this Anglican Report realised that they were criticising PF!


Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"Pharisees continue to be invoked in Christian teaching and preaching"

May one presume some of their then concerns were somewhat modified after they rejected the Messianity of Jesus?

I don't think many Jews this day would subscribe to the Korban pilpul described in a place in the Gospels.

Also, I think this as well as other details would suggest, Our Lord had some beef with the Hillel school of pragmaticism. One which unfortunately did not end back then.

Frederick Jones said...

Without the Pharisees there might not have been any tradition for Our Lord to invoke, indeed they "sit in Moses' seat".

John Patrick said...

Nothing to do with Judaism, but Father you might be interested in this post by Canadian Catholic blogger David Warren also a former Anglican:

Rick said...

This is very interesting. How does “Woe to you Pharisees, hypocrites,” fit into the discussion? Jesus multiple sayings against the Pharisees can’t simply be ignored. I’m genuinely interested in understanding your take on this question. I do think though that PF is simply throwing the term at people who disagree with him and has nothing to do with Phariseeism.

Marco da Vinha said...

Rick, remember context is everything. We must look at what is going on when Our Lord weighs these accusations against the Pharisees. We must remember than many of the initial "converts" to Christianity (I say "converts" because Christianity is Judaism fulfilled) were Pharisees. And also, if we check historical records, we find rabbis who accused their fellow Pharisees of the same that Our Lord does.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

" How does “Woe to you Pharisees, hypocrites,” fit into the discussion? Jesus multiple sayings against the Pharisees can’t simply be ignored."

Have you perhaps noted, His criticism is rarely if ever one of over rubricism?