Letter: What Christians owe to Jews

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The Independent Online
What Christians owe to Jews

Sir: Andrew Brown's article (Faith & Reason, 1 March), attacking Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks's endorsement of the "Judaeo-Christian tradition", deserves to be challenged.

There are of course many differences between the two major faiths, but plenty of common elements, and essences of Hebrew religion are found in the New Testament - not least in the teachings of Jesus, and the Lord's Supper, which is based on the Passover celebrations.

The Exodus traditions of deliverance from oppression are fundamental to Judaism, early Christianity, and now liberation theology, which a lot of people (including the Vatican) don't much like because of the challenge to the status quo.

The Exodus stories were also fundamental to the English Civil War and the American Revolution - Christians who saw themselves as a New Israel. They also echo in the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a leading American Jew, when he noted that the Baptist minister

Martin Luther King Jr is a sign that God has not forsaken the United States of America. God has sent him to us. His presence is the hope of America. His mission is sacred, his leadership of supreme importance to every one of us ... I call upon every Jew to harken to his voice, to share his vision, to follow in his way. The whole future of America will depend upon the impact and the influence of Dr King.

That is the Judaeo-Christian tradition at its best.


Mansfield College