Jews, Southern Baptists Hold 1st Dialogue
LOUISVILLE (JTA) — The first
interfaith dialogue between Jewish
and Baptist scholars was held here
this week at the Southern . Baptist
Theological Seminary. The confer-
ence brought together 50 prominent
Baptist and Jewish theologians and
biblical scholars from all parts of
the United States.
It was sportsored jointly by the
Home Mission Board of the South-
' ern Baptist Convention and the in-1
terreligious affairs department of !
the American Jewish Committee.
The Southern Baptist Convention.
with more than 11.000.000 mem-
bers, is the largest non-Catholic de-
nomination in America.
Dr. Eric C. Rust, professor of
Christian apologetics at the
Seminary, said Tuesday that re-
ligious motivation is at the root
of most contemporary anti-Semi-
tism as it has been throughout
Dr. Rust, who spoke on the Jew
in Christian thought and practice,
said "Anti-Semitism as practiced
by so-called Christian civilization
is a manifestation of the pagan
depths in the humau soul. Even
when it has been superficially
He said the pogroms of Czarist
Russia and the Nazi Holocaust
"sprang from a seed which the
church itself sowed in the earls
days of history." He said the Ro-
man Church, in acknowledging its
guilt, "challenges all Christian
men to stand by its side."
In a companion paper deliv-
ered at the same session, Rabbi
Marc II. Tannenbaum, director
of the AJCommittee's interreligi-
ous affairs department, said that
the Nazi Holocaust and the mean-
ing of the state of Israel to the
Jewish people and to Judaism
were the "two decisive events
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Rabbi Tannebaum maintained services to the Lower East Side
that it was impossible to under- community in Manhattan.
stand Jews or Judaism without
understanding "the impact on
American Jews of the Arab-Israeli
War of June 1967."
He said Arab threats to destroy
Israel and annihilate its population
drew "a response of Jewish unity,
of Jewish solidarity and of a new
consciousness of independence in
fate and destiny that is literally
unprecedented in the last 2,000
years of Jewish history."
He said that response stemmed
in part "from a still deep psychic
reaction to the Nazi holocaust of
the 1930's," from a "preoccupation
with Christian silence in face of
Nazi barbarism" and from feel-
ings of gilt over the silence and
inadequacy of the Jewish response.
Rabbi Tannenbaum said the
fact that Israel became a haven
for the Jewish survivors of the
14 — Friday, August 22, 1969
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Holocaust was one reason for its
importance to Jews today. "An I
equally important fact is that
Israel is the only place in the
world where Jews have created,
out of the distinctive Jewish
ethos and their own intellectual,
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the own economic, military, poli-
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Dr. A. Jase Jones. area mission-
ary director for the Baptist Home
Mission Board said that "Christian
The philosophy is a bold attempt to merge the best
responsibility for anti-Semitism
ethical and esthetic traditions of the Jewish past with
and the participation by Christians !
the scientific integrity of the twentieth century.
in the persecution of Jews" were
contrary "to the love of Christ and
the gospel of a loving God."
Dr. Jones' paper on "Images
of the Jew in Southern Baptist Lit-;
erature•' followed a presentation !
by Prof. Leonard Dinnerstein, of :
Fairleigh Dickinson and Columbia
universities on "Jewish History in
the Southern United States."
Dr. Dinnerstein said that Jews
in the South have always pros-
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pered but socially they have never
been fully accepted and in times
Scotia at Nine Mile in Oak Park.
of crisis "frequently became the
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butt of prejudices and scorn." He
attributed their situation in part
for reservations — S49-5490
to Southern religious teachings and
stated that Southern Jews today --
live in fear of anti-Semitism.
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"They are continually looking
over their shoulders to see
what their Gentile neighbors are
doing, and are constantly anxi-
ous lest some Jew might of-
fend members of the dominant
group," Dr. Dinnerstein said.
Dr. Jones acknowledged that
some Baptist writers "make
statements that are examples of
those attitudes and expressions I
which can be considered anti-
Semitic or as contributing to the
creation and continuation of anti-
Semitic attitudes and emotions."
He stressed however, that in re-
cent years Baptitst articles and
books have sought to counter the
thrust of anti-Semitism "by creat-
ing a correct understanding of the
Jew and an appreciation of him."
Quoting from E. Luther Cope-
, land's "Christianity and World Re-
ligions," Dr. Jones stated, "The
Christian's primary responsibility
is to love the Jew."
In quotations from other works,
the Baptist leader noted that
I "Jews are no more guilty of
Jesus' death than non-Jews" and
added, "the so-called Christians
who have participated in the per-
secution of Jews did not represent
the spirit of Jesus or his teach-
Dr. Dinnerstein said "At present
the Jews are a dying breed in the
I South. Outside of Florida, not
only has the ratio of Jews to the
rest of the population been declin-
ing in every Southern state since
1937 but in six of them . . . the
total number of Jews is lower than
it had been in 1927."
Whatever liberates our spirit
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