This Friendly Guide shows how Christianity began within Judaism. Jesus, born into Jewish culture of First Century Temple Judaism, lived and died as a Jew. Paul, who influenced the spread of what was to become Christianity was a Pharisee, and most of the New Testament was formed in a Jewish milieu. In time, and after the destruction of the Second Temple, two groups emerged. One became Rabbinic Judaism, the other Christianity.
Mary Reaburn discusses in depth how the relationship between the two groups was complex, tracing how over time Christianity became aligned with the political power of the Roman Empire, and how Jews, who did not have the advantage of this political alignment, often suffered marginalisation and discrimination. Christianity became the dominant culture throughout the world, this anti-Jewish attitude worsened over the centuries and culminated as all Jewish people were targeted for deliberate genocide by the Nazi regime. Initially in Germany and then in wider Christian Europe, the horror of the Holocaust, the Shoah, was inflicted on European Jews.
Since World War II the relationship has begun to improve. Many Churches have taken steps to develop closer relationships with Jews and Judaism. Jews have welcomed these changing relationships. The development of positive relations between Jews and Christians is important for both communities, as a sign that respect, understanding and co-operation can flourish between formerly conflicted peoples to make a better and more sustainable future for all.
A Friendly Guide to Jewish-Christian Relations is a must for all who wish to understand the history and be part of the future in the relationship between Jews and Christians.
Please note: This new work is in no way a comment on the present-day Israeli – Palestinian conflict. It was conceived and written before October 7th, 2023.
Mary Reaburn is a Sister of Our Lady of Sion; a group which gives expression to the Catholic Church's commitment to Jewish-Christian and Interfaith relationships. She studied at Monash University, London University and the University of Divinity and currently teaches at Yarra Theological Union (YTU). Mary is a member of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Council for Ecumenism and Religious Relations with Jews. She was involved for seven years in the Centre for Biblical Formation in Jerusalem (2007–2014).
Her deep understanding and expertise in scriptures and historical perspectives offer an essential guide to all aspects of Jewish-Christian relations. Here she offers a most valuable and necessary addition to the Friendly Guide series.