Judaism Does Not Equal Israel: the Rebirth of the Jewish Prophetic

26 posts / 0 new
Last post
Brendan Stone
Judaism Does Not Equal Israel: the Rebirth of the Jewish Prophetic

Does Judaism Equal Israel?

A Jewish Theologian Speaks Out

Marc H. Ellis, the renowned Jewish liberation theologian and Director of the Centre for American and Jewish Studies at Baylor University in Texas, will speak on themes in connection with his newly-published book Judaism Does Not Equal Israel: the Rebirth of the Jewish Prophetic

Responding panel:
Mervyn Russell, Ecumenical Honorary Assistant, St. Jude's Anglican Church in Oakville
Ted Schmidt, Editor of New Catholic Times, a pan-Canadian online Catholic newspaper
Anisa Mirza, McMaster Muslims for Peace and Justice
Ronnee Jaeger, founder of Machsom Watch (Checkpoint Watch)

Thursday, November 12, 7:30 p.m., McMaster University, Health Sciences
Centre, Room 1A6

Map: http://tinyurl.com/MarcEllisEventMap

Sponsored by Independent Jewish Voices, McMaster Muslims for Peace and Justice
Endorsed by Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War

Contact: David Cohen (Independent Jewish Voices)
(905)-577-1029

Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War
November Events page
http://www.hamiltoncoalitiontostopthewar.ca/Events.htm

 

Brendan Stone

Please note that the event is also endorsed by CUPE 3906.

Star Spangled C...

Interesting that a "renowned" "Jewish theologian" received his PhD (in history, not theology) from Marquette, a Catholic school (which has never distinguished itself as a center of Jewish thought), went on to teach at Maryknoll School of Theology, another Catholic school (though not accredited as a research university and which no longer exists) and now resides at a Baptist institution in Texas where he directs the "School of Jewish Studies" of which he is the sole faculty member. Interesting, indeed, that such a "renowned" "Jewish theologian" seems to have little in the way of Jewish education, no affiliation with mainstream Jewish institutions and can't seem to get an endorsement for his views from any legitimate Jewish theologian.

Caissa

What does "liberation theology" mean in the Jewish tradition. I'm familiar with the term in Christian theology but not in Jewish theology. Could anyone enlighten me on this issue?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Caissa wrote:
What does "liberation theology" mean in the Jewish tradition. I'm familiar with the term in Christian theology but not in Jewish theology. Could anyone enlighten me on this issue?

 

I imagine it's the same thing, eg: knowing God and doing justice.

Star Spangled C...

Except this guy bases it on the "prophetic tradition". I wonder if he's ever read the books of the prophets ("Nevi'im"). Yeah, there's some stuff in tehre about justice (mainly "Isaiah") but there's also a lot of stuff expressly endorsin war, even advocating massacring a group of people known as the Amalekites.

See this choice line from the Book of Samuel: "Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." (1 Sam. 15:2-3).

"

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Yes, but I was responding to Caissa's question, and not with regard to the other guy.Smile

Brendan Stone

It's interesting that Ellis' liberation theology background was brought up. I just interviewed David Cohen from Independent Jewish Voices on that subject and others in regard to Ellis' tour:

 

http://soundclick.com/share?songid=8311967

Caissa

Thanks, Brendan. Great interview.

SSC, I wouldn't place "histories" like 1 Sam. in the prophetic tradition. MLK was fond of Amos on this issue.

RosaL

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:

Except this guy bases it on the "prophetic tradition". I wonder if he's ever read the books of the prophets ("Nevi'im"). Yeah, there's some stuff in tehre about justice (mainly "Isaiah") but there's also a lot of stuff expressly endorsin war, even advocating massacring a group of people known as the Amalekites.

 

"Some stuff"? There's a whole lot of stuff! And not just in Isaiah or even mainly in Isaiah! 

I agree, though, that the guy's Jewish credentials look pretty weak. 

Unionist

RosaL wrote:
I also agree that the guy's Jewish credentials look pretty weak. 

Ok, I'll bite - what in Yahweh's name do you mean by that? How do you judge "Jewish credentials"? You mean he has to teach in some Jewish religious institution?? I have extensive Jewish education - in Torah, Tanach, and Talmud - and I'm an atheist working-class type. How do you rate my "Jewish credentials"?

Don't mean to pile on you, RosaL, but we are responsible for our statements, so reply please.

 

RosaL

Unionist wrote:

RosaL wrote:
I also agree that the guy's Jewish credentials look pretty weak. 

Ok, I'll bite - what in Yahweh's name do you mean by that? How do you judge "Jewish credentials"? You mean he has to teach in some Jewish religious institution?? I have extensive Jewish education - in Torah, Tanach, and Talmud - and I'm an atheist working-class type. How do you rate my "Jewish credentials"?

Don't mean to pile on you, RosaL, but we are responsible for our statements, so reply please.

 

I meant (I should have been clearer) that his credentials as a "Jewish theologian" seemed weak. I based this statement on what, apparently, is his history of education and teaching exclusively in Christian institutions. (It just seems a little odd.)

I rate your "Jewish credentials" very highly and you're probably the first person I'd ask if I was looking for information. 

 

 

Star Spangled C...

Unionist, I assume you don't go around calling yourself a "Jewish theologian" and if you did, I doubt anyone else would call you a "renowned" one.

In terms of "Jewish credentials", I would say that having smicha (rabbinical ordination) would be a start. I think if you asked msot people to name some "renowned jewish theologians", they'd mainly come up with Rabbis like Moshe Feinstein or Yosef Eliashiv who have actually studied in yeshiva for many years instead of majoring in history at a Catholic college. I'm not sure Ellis would even be capable of reading a daf of gemara.

Even if someone were to go outside of teh "yeshiva" stream for a more "academic" stream, I would assume that a "renowned" Jewish theologian would probably prefer to to go to, say, Yeshiva University in New York or Brandeis outside of Boston, which would be the top Jewish studies schools in the country (Yale is another good one) and located where there are actually Jewish students. I can't imagine anyone particlarly "renowned" in Jewish theology choosing to go to a Baptist university in rural Texas that probably doesn't have enough jews to make a minyan and leading a department of one.

Caissa

I think listening to the interview might lead one to render a different conclusion re. Ellis credentials.

 

Star Spangled C...

RosaL wrote:

"Some stuff"? There's a whole lot of stuff! And not just in Isaiah or even mainly in Isaiah! 

I agree, though, that the guy's Jewish credentials look pretty weak. 

Yeah, there's a lot of stuff about justice. Also, lots of stuff about war. And about animal sacrifices. And a lot of other things. I think plenty of people without much comprehensive knowledge of the Bible picking a few quotes they like and using it to justify their own beleifs and preferences. So, there are a lot of conservatives who know nothing of the Bible have memorized a line from Leviticus about men not lying with men as they do with women and then there are some progressives who positively love to trot out the line "tzedek tzedek tirdof" (justice, justice shall you pursue) as if it were a trump card and represented the entirety of jewish thought.

RosaL

Caissa wrote:

I think listening to the interview might lead one to render a different conclusion re. Ellis credentials.

 

I'll listen to it. It's an interesting topic - not the guy's credentials but the prophets of Israel.  

Star Spangled C...

Listening to this MP3 right now. Does Ellis actually appear in the interview or just the guy from that Jewish fringe group?

Caissa

You mean Independent Jewish Voices, don't you SSC?

RosaL

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:

Yeah, there's a lot of stuff about justice. Also, lots of stuff about war. And about animal sacrifices. And a lot of other things. I think plenty of people without much comprehensive knowledge of the Bible picking a few quotes they like and using it to justify their own beleifs and preferences. So, there are a lot of conservatives who know nothing of the Bible have memorized a line from Leviticus about men not lying with men as they do with women and then there are some progressives who positively love to trot out the line "tzedek tzedek tirdof" (justice, justice shall you pursue) as if it were a trump card and represented the entirety of jewish thought.

 

Well, whatever the guy's "Jewish credentials" I'm sure he has a comprehensive knowledge of the Bible. (There's nothing wrong with his credentials as a theologian 'simpliciter'.) I'm sure he's aware of this "other material" (as am I). 

Star Spangled C...

Yes

vaudree

I think that "liberation theology" is like what we used to call the Social Gospel.  Does it have anything to do with the bund movement that inspired David Lewis and David Orlikow?

How popular is Independent Jewish Voices and what are their demographics?  I get the feeling that younger Jews are more abt to be part of IJV than B'nai Brith while it is the other way for older Jews.

 

Fringe tends to mean any group one doesn't belong to which promotes ideas opposite to the ones one believes.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:
Marc Ellis Lecture: Judaism Does Not Equal Israel: the Rebirth of the
Jewish Prophetic

Thursday, November 19, 2009, 7:30pm

University of Saskatchewan, Arts Building #146 (9 Campus Drive)

Marc H. Ellis is on a cross-Canada tour sponsored and coordinated by
Independent Jewish Voices of Canada.

He will be speaking on his latest book: Judaism Does Not Equal Israel:
the Rebirth of the Jewish Prophetic.

In this poignant, powerful volume, the influential Jewish thinker and
critic Marc H. Ellis takes on the hard moral questions about Jewish
support for the state of Israel. Reviewing the historical record of the
past sixty years and envisioning the prospects for a just and lasting
peace, Ellis makes an unyielding case-based on the most cherished Jewish
values-that the present policies of the Israeli state cannot reasonably
be defended. The future not only of Judaism but of Israel itself, he
argues, hinges on a fundamental shift in Israel's treatment of the
Palestinians and on a completely new direction in the peace process.

He also has a powerful message to Christians, urging them to break the
false "ecumenical deal" which post-Holocaust has required them to
unquestioningly support Israeli human rights abuses and violations of
international law out of fear of being called anti-Semitic. At a time
when critics of Israeli policies are silenced with the charge of
anti-Semitism, Ellis offers a prophetic Jewish alternative to the blind
acceptance of Zionism, demonstrating "great courage, integrity, and
insight," according to Noam Chomsky.

Sure to be the subject of fervent debate, Judaism Does Not Equal Israel
marks a major effort by a leading American Jewish thinker to make the
case that condemning current Israeli policies is fully consonant with
being a good Jew.

Local Co-Sponsors:
U of S Dean's Office, Arts and Sciences, Religious Studies, Sociology;
Fellowship for Reconciliation and Peace

About Marc H. Ellis:
Marc H. Ellis is a leading authority on contemporary Judaism and is
widely recognized as one of the most influential Jewish thinkers of his
generation. A University Professor of American and Jewish Studies and
the founding director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Baylor
University, he is the author of fifteen books and has written articles
published in the International Herald Tribune, Christian Century, and
Ha'aretz. Ellis regularly provides commentary and analysis on NPR and
the BBC and has been inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium
of Scholars at Morehouse College. He lives in Waco, Texas.

al-Qa'bong

Ellis will be speaking tomorrow night at the U of S.

Here are a few comments about Ellis that are featured on a handbill that's being distributed around campus:

  • Prof. Ellis takes on the hard moral questions about Jewish support for the state of Israel.
  • Dr. Ellis examines how Israel has replaced God and gutted the prophetic moral core of Judaism.

 

"Marc Ellis shows that the voice of prophecy has not been silenced in the Jewish community."  Desmond Tutu

"A man to be listened to with respect and admiration" Edward Said

"great courage, integrity and insight"  Noam Chomsky

 

George Victor

question: "I think that "liberation theology" is like what we used to call the Social Gospel.  Does it have anything to do with the bund movement that inspired David Lewis and David Orlikow?"

 

No. It first found popular expression in 1970s South and Central America, as I recall, and resulted in the killing of some Catholic activists priests there and was suppressed by Rome.

 

As Gregory Baum pointed out in Catholics and Canadian Socialism: Political Thought in the Thirties and Forties, Calvinist thought has tended to favour the ruling clique, Catholic thinking made room for unions and co-operatives...and in the 1970s, in some places, real militancy.

 

Just learned the other day, from a prof. in my undergraduate years, born in India, that liberation theology was brought by rogue Jesuits to those areas of India now facing native revolt. The uprisings against landowners among aboriginals are not just based on Maoist principles. Go figure.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:
No. It first found popular expression in 1970s South and Central America, as I recall, and resulted in the killing of some Catholic activists priests there and was suppressed by Rome.

 

Our Fr. Bob Ogle, an NDP MP in the 70s, was forced out of politics by the Vatican. He once told me about his work in Central America as I was helping him move campaign material from a provincial NDP committee room to his basement back in 1978.

George Victor

Yep. Baum said that Paul VI opened it up briefly in 1971, "permitting Catholics to belong to socialist parties as long as these are not identified with a materialistic ideology."  He examines the relationship of church and socialist in CCF days. And he explains how the church promoted workers' movements in Nova Scotia.