Defending the Faith: Nineteenth Century American Jewish by George L. Berlin

By George L. Berlin

The United States supplied the Jews with a brand new type of old event. inside a mostly welcoming, legally equivalent society, a brand new and extra confident Jewish notion of Christianity would appear to were a common improvement. even though, traditionalists, corresponding to Isaac Leeser, emphasised the variations among the 2 religions, assuming an intruder stance in regards to American tradition. against this, Reformists pointed out the top beliefs of either Christianity and the USA with Judaism. They portrayed Jesus as a Jew who taught not anything contrasting Jewish trust. To the Reformers, Jews have been the american citizens par excellence.
This publication demonstrates that those Jewish writings on Christianity and Jesus should not an issue of curiosity a lot for his or her theological content material, yet extra importantly, for his or her exposition of the fight in the Jewish group to outline its dating to American tradition and society.

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Until that time in the future when the Christians would acknowledge the truth of Judaism, they were being used as God's instrument to inflict suffering on the Jews. This suffering was a necessary forerunner to Israel's eventual vindication and exaltation. Jews should therefore, understand and patiently bear Christian persecution for it was all part of God's plan. In the face of Christian hostility, Jews should always act with candor toward Christians and be ready to explain to them in a forthright manner why Jews had to remain loyal to their faith.

Instead of reluctance to engage in religious controversy with Christians, we find almost an eagerness to do so. Leeser filled the pages of the Occident with polemical articles by both Christian and Jewish spokesmen. He even granted that it would be all right for Jews to pay occasional visits to churches as long as they refrained from engaging in worship. Such visits would serve to familiarize Jews with Christian doctrines and arguments so that they could better defend Judaism, They would also demonstrate to Christians that Jews were not merely "blind believers" who were unwilling or afraid to hear the views of others.

The better treatment accorded to Jews in recent times did not mean that Christians had learned to love Jews. Rather, it had become unfashionable, in the modern world, to persecute people because of their religious beliefs. Men now tolerated each other, at least outwardly. There was, however, no certainty that the fashion would not change once again. Instead of viewing present Jewish liberty as the product of a drastic change in the history of mankind, Leeser thought it wiser to understand it simply as a gift from God.

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