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Jewish Theology and World Religions$
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Alon Goshen-Gottstein and Eugene Korn

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764098

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764098.001.0001

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Towards a Jewish Theology of World Religions

Towards a Jewish Theology of World Religions

Framing the Issues

(p.1) Towards a Jewish Theology of World Religions
(p.iii) Jewish Theology and World Religions

Alon Goshen-Gottstein

Liverpool University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the broad range of issues that must be re-examined in order to construct a contemporary Jewish theology of world religions. Two interrelated conceptual foci underlie Jewish particularity: faith in revelation and faith in the election of the Jewish people. It is not simply the faith in one God that distinguishes Judaism from other world religions, for some of those others share that faith. Rather, differences arise with regard to how God reveals himself and which community receives his word and carries it through history to eschatological fulfilment. The theological challenge that any Jewish theology of world religions must meet is how to uphold faith in the Jewish particularity arising from these two core beliefs, with an openness that makes space for the spiritual and religious existence of others. This is not simply a conceptual or theological challenge, but also a cognitive and psychological one. These two doctrines shape not only Jewish faith but also a Jewish mentality that is often characterized by withdrawal and separation. The chapter then considers the legitimacy of other religious traditions, particularly Christianity and Islam; the problem of avodah zarah; and the challenge of safeguarding Jewish identity and continuity in the face of world religions.

Keywords:   Jewish theology, world religions, Jewish particularity, revelation, Jewish people, Judaism, Jewish faith, religious traditions, avodah zarah, Jewish identity

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