Dr. Yoram Hazony, a prominent Jewish scholar in the fields of philosophy, theology, and political theory, has written a critical analysis of the recent Vatican document on Catholic-Jewish relations which was misrepresented and misinterpreted in a virtual media blitz.
The article, “What the Vatican Didn’t Say—And What It Did“, was published on the TorahMusings website. Hazony’s analysis needs to be read in full by those who are still under the false impression that the Vatican announced an historic and revolutionary policy change regarding the conversion of the Jews.
“Unfortunately, the newspapers did not have the story right. As is clear to anyone who actually reads the new Vatican document in question, the words “Catholics should not try to convert Jews” do not appear anywhere.”
Similar to Professor David Berger’s and Rabbi Sholom Gold’s recent citing of Rav J.B. Solovietchik’s concerns with regards to expectations to reciprocate or trade favors in theological discussions with Christians, Dr. Hazony expresses the following apprehension:
“Having read the Commission’s proposed affirmation of a unity between the Christian messiah and the Torah, I cannot escape the feeling that this equivalence is designed to permit some kind of syncretistic resolution of Jewish-Christian disagreements—one in which Christianity recognizes the redemptive potential of the Torah in exchange for one or another kind of Jewish acceptance of Jesus as a path to salvation.”
Dr. Hazony asks a key question regarding the “outrageous mistake” on the conversion issue:
“How could such an outrageous mistake have been made? A Catholic scholar with many years of experience in these matters wrote back ruefully: “Just the media making things up again.” I’m sure he has ample reason to react in this way. But you have to wonder whether they really could all have made up the same story without having had something to go on.”
JewishIsrael’s upcoming report will shed additional light on the PR mechanism behind the misleading Vatican headlines, as well as the linkage between the recent Vatican document on Jewish-Christian relations and the so-called “Orthodox Rabbinic Statement on Christianity”.