cover image Forging a Common Future: Catholic, Judaic, and Protestant Relations

Forging a Common Future: Catholic, Judaic, and Protestant Relations

Bruce Chilton. Pilgrim Press, $14.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-8298-1170-4

Edited volumes are, at their worst, disparate and eclectic collections through which readers rummage in search of pearls of great wisdom. Not so for this slim and readable trio of essays by Jewish rabbi and theologian Neusner, Catholic sociologist and priest Greeley, Bard College religion professor Chilton and University of Rochester religion professor Green, whose distinct voices speak and scold in good faith and humor. Part One looks to the past relationships of Judaism and Christianity and ponders certain historical ""mistakes""; for example, what shape would contemporary Judaism and Christianity take if Christianity had remained a private sectarian religion, an ""underdog,"" as it were. Part Two moves from the mistakes of the past to the future of the relationship between these two religions. Although each writer's style has its own peculiarities, each is attuned to the nuances of the other's arguments: Greeley's broad brush is tempered by Chilton's historical miniaturism, which is re-interpreted by Neusner's exacting midrash. All three writers speak from their respective traditions: Greeley touts ritual and story as the shared common ground between the religions; Chilton focuses on the plural and historically diverse paths that each religion takes toward the truth; and Neusner emphasizes the joining of reason and revelation through Talmud (for Jews) and Logos (for Christians). Green's final essay adds a comprehensive perspective to the conversation, but its too-shiny optimism about the similarities of Judaism, Catholicism and Protestantism, rather than the differences, acts to stop the conversation initiated by Neusner, Chilton and Greeley. (Apr.)