Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Teaching New Testament at a Synagogue

Recently the Dallas Morning News published an interesting story about a professor at SMU who was invited to teach a course on the New Testament at a local synagogue. Here is a small snippet from the article:

"We saw this as an opportunity to explore the common roots of Judaism and Christianity and for our members to gain a better understanding of what our neighbors believe," said Rachelle Weiss Crane, chairwoman of adult education for Temple Emanu-El, a Reform congregation in North Dallas.

"We forget how thoroughly Jewish Jesus was and how similar Jesus was to his Jewish contemporaries," Dr. [Mark] Chancey said. "I hope they see the Jewishness of early Christianity."

In light of the discussions being led by Joel Willits and David Miller, the article piqued my interests. I was left wanting to know more, which is good I guess. Dr. Chancey is quoted as saying the following: "Christianity didn't become a new religion until early Christians began reinterpreting ideas that were originally Jewish." I wish I could ask him exactly exactly what "reinterpreting" entailed, because Paul and Jesus are often said to have reinterpreted the tradition in which they live by scholars of differing stripes.

I applaud Dr. Chancey for accepting the invitation and I hope that his work will help tend to the wounds that Christians have given to Jews.

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