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Yoder’s Book Probes Jewish-Christian Rift

Posted on February 14th, 2007

It didn’t have to be!

Two world religions, Christianity and Judaism, didn’t have to split the way they did.

That’s the belief of the late Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder as outlined in his posthumously-published book, “The Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited.”

Eastern Mennonite University will examine Dr. Yoder’s assertions in a one-day seminar to be held Friday, Mar. 16, 2007.

John Howard YoderJohn Howard Yoder

“Yoder declares that for Jesus to be faithful to his ‘divine mandate,’ his coming did not need to mark the beginning of a new, ‘Christian’ religion,” said Ray C. Gingerich, professor emeritus of theology and ethics at EMU and planning coordinator.

“If Yoder, the most influential Anabaptist-Mennonite theologian of the past century, is correct, this book is destined to rank among his most significant theological works. It may well, within the coming decades, overshadow his ‘The Politics of Jesus’ in its significance for both local and global inter-religious peacebuilding,” Dr. Gingerich added.

“This gathering is designed to raise campus and community awareness and to stimulate a timely and much needed conversation around one of the most pressing inter-religious issues of today – How shall the Children of Abraham live together peacefully in the 21st century,” said Gingerich. “We hope this seminar will be a catalyst to organize more extended studies, stimulating our religious and political imaginations to work toward a more peaceful world.”

Keynote speakers for the conference are Peter Ochs, an Orthodox Jew and professor of Judaic studies at the University of Virginia, and Alain Epp Weaver, long-term Mennonite Central Committee representative in Palestine/Israel and specialist in Jewish-Christian dialogue.

In addition to the main input session, several special topics will be presented by EMU faculty members Nancy Heisey, Ted Grimsrud and Gingerich with ample opportunity for questions, open discussion and a “Where to from here?” closing.

The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. The main sessions will be held in Martin Chapel of the seminary building at EMU.

More information on the seminar is available by contacting Ray Gingerich at 540-432-4465.

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