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November 07, 1980 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-11-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, November 1, 1980 13

Catholic Philosopher Heads Hebrew U. Department

By J. A. LEWIN

World Zionist Press Service

JERUSALEM — Marcel
Jacques Dubois, the newly
appointed chairman of the
department of philosophy at
Hebrew University brings
Christian intellectual sup-
port to Israel's struggle for
understanding in the non-
Jewish world.
With warm, genial
enthusiasm, the French
philosopher-priest and PhD
emphasizes the special rela-
tionship between the
Jewish people and the Land
of Israel, based on the eter-
al covenant with the first
ew, Abraham, giving this
land forever to the children
of Israel. Perhaps only a
serious student of Scrip-
tures can appreciate the
depth of this connection to
the Holy Land and its mean-
ing for Jews seeking their
place in the Divine plan, as
recognized by Christian
theologians.
Although his first alle-
giance is clearly to the
Catholic tradition into
which he was born, Fr.
Dubois exemplifies the
readiness of many indi-
vidual Christians to recon-
sider the historical rela-

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tionship, so often bitter and
cruelly oppressive, between
Christians and Jews, to
realize that both religions
come from one living source,
and to recognize that the
modern state of Israel, in
fact, fulfills biblical
prophecies of the return of
the exiles to their own land.
It is this willingness of
Christians to look at
Judaism from the
perspective of Jewish
history and aspirations
that Prof. Dubois finds
most hopeful in the fu-
ture of the Catholic
Church's relationship
with the state of Israel.
It is "singularly difficult
to appraise because of the
constant interplay of poli-
tics and religion," he writes
in a recent issue of "Chris-
tian News From Israel."
He points with hope to the
.creation in recent years of a
Vatican committee to meet
with Jewish leaders on an
annual basis. He also sup-
ports the report of a commit-
tee of French bishops which
calls on Catholics to "under-
stand that the origin of the
conflict in the Middle East
lies in a conflict between
two justices. It hopes for
peace in Jerusalem as the
augury of peace for all
men."
Prof. Dubois offers dip-
lomatic explanations for
why the Vatican has not yet
recognized the state of Is-
rael, but emphasizes that
the basic problem is
theologically accepting the
"significance of the cove-
nantal bond between the
Jewish people and the Land
as a factor of Jewish iden-
tity — one which goes much
deeper than purely political
Zionism."
Since 1974, Prof. Dubois
points out, the Vatican has
altered its earlier support
for the "international
guarantees" for the status of
Jerusalem. "The status of
Jerusalem is clearly, in real
and symbolic terms, the key
to equilibrium in the Middle
East — perhaps in the
entire world."
Prof. Dubois was born in
France in 1920. He received

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FR. DUBOIS

the Doctorate of Philosophy
in 1961 from the Rome
Angelicum. He came to the
Hebrew University as a
teaching fellow in 1968 and
has been a lecturer in phi-
losophy there since 1971.
Before agreeing to an
interview, he expressed his
reluctance to talk with
journalists, because of the
delicacy and depth of the
questions involved. "It will
take a great deal of time and
we need to be very patient in
order to find the answers,"
he said.
In terms of the relation-
ship between Christians
and Jews, Prof. Dubois
stated that it is necessary,
"on the Christian side to re-
pair some mistakes of the
past, and for both sides to
rediscover the history of
Salvation. There has been
too much emphasis in the
past on dualistic
categories," he said, which
do not give enough weight
to the common origins and
ultimate goal of both reli-
gions. •
Regarding the Vatican's
policy on Jerusalem, Fr.
Dubois stated that the cur-
rent agreement has been to
keep the situation open by
remaining silent on certain
issues. "Many people think
only in terms of economic
considerations and don't
pay enough attention to the
philosophical issues" in-
volved in Middle East poli-
tics. It is necessary for

Christians, said Fr. Dubois,
to recognize the link con-
necting Jewish people, the
Land of Israel and the Holy
Bible.
However, he emphasized,
this doesn't give Israelis the
unlimited right to do what-
ever they please in settling
the land. "If Christians had
respected the link between
the people and the land in
the past, they would now be
better able to give helpful
advice concerning the issue
of the rights of the Palesti-
nian Arabs."
"Israel is a paradoxical
state," said the Dominican
scholar, and although we
are forbidden by religion to
speculate on the future, for
we have no prophecy, we
may need to be purified and
united by a common trial,
and obliged to return to the
meaning of history. Ulti-
mately, he contends, "it is
the identity of Jesus that
both unites and divides us."
"The key," he repeated,
"is to link the Land of the
People and the People to the

Milosz Cited
by AJCommittee

NEW YORK — Czeslaw
Milosz, the Polish emigre
poet who has been an-
nounced as winner of the
1980 Nobel Prize for Litera-
ture, was hailed by the
Polish-Jewish Task Force of
the American Jewish
Committee.
In a message to Dr.
Milosz, now teaching Slavic
languages at the University
of California in Berkeley,
the AJCommittee said it
particularly appreciated his
efforts "in giving literary
expression to the Warsaw
Ghetto uprising in your
poem, 'Campo di Fiori,' and
your translation of the He-
brew Bible into Polish."
• • • • • • • fa • • • • •

be included the newly ap-
pointed chairman of the phi-
losophy department at the
Hebrew University.

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Book." From this process
will come the Redemption,
he says. The full meaning of
current events may not be
clear or fully comprehensi-
able to any of us, says Fr.
Dubois, and so we are
"called upon to sustain what
might be called the
dynamics of hope."
While the majority of
governments represented in
the United Nations seem
opposed to Israel's struggle
for survival, many seem-
ingly isolated individuals
around the world continue
to support the inalienable
right of Jews to live as free
human beings in their own
land. Among those who hold
up a candle of hope in the
encroaching darkness must



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