Monthly Archives: October 2011

Spirituality:Law School

Another great entry in the freq.uenci.es: a collaborative genealogy of spirituality project is the entry Law School. If asked to situate spirituality, many tend to imagine a new age book shop or yoga studio-not law school. This essay cuts right to the correct cultural situations that generate spirituality by focusing on law school.

According to this entry, people in law school can feel repressed and needed something beyond and aspirational, something to give meaning to life. Spirituality offers the redemption and meaning in life. A spirituality that is not other worldly, but one that focuses on the real issues in life is most helpful, such as Evangelicals or Centrist Orthodoxy. One can now feel that one is practicing a religious approach to the legal career or religious advocacy. The religious conviction gives one a sense of that one’s work has a moral dimension.

To put it in broader and less urbane terms, If you gave someone a choice of becoming a doctor, lawyer or accountant, and they fell trapped by the choice. The acceptance of Centrist Orthodoxy transforms the life into one of meaning and moral order. If one finds law school a track of value-less careerism, cut-throat ethics, and dehumanizing tedium, then the leap into the halakhic covenental community conveys a sense of meaning to this activity. One’s moral sensitivity and community values come from one’s religious community. That personal need for evangelicalism or Centrism is spirituality. The author uses as his moral exemplar the progressive lawyer-theologian William Stingfellow (d. 1985) who showed how relgion makes a difference in one’s legal career. But for many this epiphany will just be pixie dust sprinkled over a value-less dehumanizing career, providing more solace than ethics.

It is worth noting that even though the article uses Christian and Pauline references, the author was associated with the Jewish law project at Cordozo.

Law School –Jeremy Kessler
When I began law school in 2008, both evangelicalism and law school attendance were on the rise in the United States. Though these trends generally got covered in different corners of the newspaper, I came to suspect a secret connection. A year or two at a fine American law school can leave the most hard-bitten among us longing for rebirth. St. Paul once wrote: “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” It will come as no surprise to even the most unbiblical law student that Paul was once an attorney himself. Law school can cramp, as stilted policy discussions and four-hour exams chock full of outlandish narratives of wrongdoing seem unequal to the pleasures and pain of being human. Who we are gets buried beneath what we do. Pressed upon by prescribed forms, the doubtful legal journeyman or woman longs to break on through, to speak in tongues, to be born again.

Thanks to Paul, law students can rely on a strong precedent should they have a change of heart. If my generation seems to have a particular passion for law school, that may disguise a deeper passion for conversion.

In the complaints of the soon-to-be-professional, there always remains a glimmer of expectancy: Perhaps I will be transformed. Perhaps the law is not the final form my life will take—it may only be the shaping flame. Such a wayfarer takes the bar and trusts in grace.

Betting on epiphany is an old American tradition.

William Stringfellow, a great American lawyer and theologian, offered plenty of ammunition to the spiritually-dissatisfied law student. Yet he also criticized the flight from reality that frequently accompanies frustration with legal drudgery

“Contemporary spirituality,” he explained, could only offer cheap escape from the here-and-now, not an alternative response to the human complexity with which legal systems must struggle. Where both legal education and contemporary spirituality went wrong, in his mind, was their idolization of personal efficacy at the expense of the true effectiveness of the Word of God.

Throughout his life, Stringfellow contrasted “legal” advocacy with “biblical” advocacy, and “contemporary” spirituality with “biblical” spirituality. Biblical advocacy and biblical spirituality were really one and the same thing—a form of politics that recognized God as the only legitimate actor on the world stage.

A new movement called “religious lawyering” is looking to bring something like Stringfellow’s biblical outlook to the halls of law schools and governments nationwide. The trans-denominational movement emerged in the 1990s, and there are now several professional organizations (such as the Christian Legal Society and the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists) and institutes at Pepperdine and Fordham Law Schools devoted to integrating individual faith with legal practice. No longer does Paul need to leave his career behind. Religious lawyers, however, are not missionaries; they do not seek to propagate religious observance through their legal work. Rather, they hope to bring the moral sensitivity they cherish in their faith traditions to the complex human relationships that structure their professional lives.

In the words of one of the movement’s eloquent defenders, the law professor Robert Vischer, “The concrete differences religious lawyering will make will tend to involve relational differences—i.e., seeing the client not simply as a source of predetermined legal instructions, but as a fellow human faced with circumstances brimming with moral significance.”
Although a legal education can serve the young crusader well, it is better at inducing spiritual crises than resolving them. Read the rest here.

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Spirituality: Enthusiasm and Schwarmer

Currently, there is a wonderful online project jointly run by the immanent frame and killing the Buddha, the former the leading religion in the social sciences blog and the latter one of the leading religious essay online journals. The project is called freq.uenci.es: a collaborative genealogy of spirituality. It is a patchwork of first thoughts on evaluating and contextualizing the current use of the word spirituality. It is quite urbane, educated, and subtle. The project will have 100 short essays; currently they are up to essay number forty. Many of them are quite good.

I will post about several of the essays. I will start with the essay enthusiasm by Harvard Divinity School Prof Amy Hollywood.
I start with this one because people have lost the distinction between enthusiasm and schwarmer and have lost the sense of the dangers of enthusiasm. It is especially important because of the current turn to ruah and enflaming emotions in day schools, youth movements, and year in Israel. A decade ago, at an Orthodox forum on spirituality the important plenary speaker (as well as many of the minor speakers) considered enthusiasm as benign, harmless, and able to be confined by the normative. I was sitting next to Walter Wurzburger and the two of us repeatedly asked our joint question: What of the dangers of enthusiasm? Hume, Kant, Hegel as well as Mendelssohn and Krokhmal took time out of their philosophy to discuss the dangers of enthusiasm. It was as if no one had ever heard of the dangers. In Hasidic literature, the Mittler rebbe distinguishes real devekut from hearing from afar – where one works oneself up emotionally.

Amy Hollywood in her essay enthusiasm returns to these questions as a background by which to understand contemporary spirituality.

In German, there are two words—three even. Enthusiasmus, like the English enthusiasm, is rooted in the Greek “en theos,” to have the god within, to be inspired by god or the gods. But Enthusiasmus was inadequate to contain the sixteenth-century German reformer Martin Luther’s rage against those who purported to receive direct divine inspiration. For them, he coined the term Schwärmer, from the verb schwärmen, to swarm, as in the swarming of bees.

To be a Schwärmer, most often translated as enthusiast or fanatic, was to be ungovernable by either human or God.

In his essay “Superstition and Enthusiasm” (1741), the philosopher David Hume argues that enthusiasm is a disorder of the imagination, “an unaccountable elevation and presumption, proceeding from prosperous success, from luxuriant health, from strong spirits, or from bold and confident disposition

In the “strong spirits” that gave rise to enthusiasm, Hume argued, the imagination is given free reign, giving rise to “raptures, transports, and surprising flights of fancy.” The enfettered person may eventually take leave of all of her faculties and attribute her own fancies “to the immediate inspiration of the Divine Being who is the object of devotion.”

It is just here that the danger of enthusiasm lies, for if left unchecked:
the inspired person comes to regard himself as the chief favorite of the Divinity; and when this frenzy once takes place, which is the summit of enthusiasm, every whimsy is consecrated: human reason, and even morality are rejected as fallacious guides: and the fanatic madman delivers himself over, blindly, and without reserve, to the supposed illapses of the spirit, and to inspirations from above.

All of this marks the negative light in which Hume, like most of his enlightened peers, saw claims to direct divine inspiration, prophetic states, or rapturous trances. To be an enthusiast was decidedly not a good thing.

Even those among the religious who claimed to experience God in some direct way carefully demarcated themselves from the enthusiasts–or at least from the wrong kind of enthusiasts. Hume’s contemporary, John Wesley, argued that if enthusiasm was taken to mean “a divine impulse or impression, superior to all the natural faculties,” which for a brief time suspends reason and the other senses, then: “both the Prophets of old, and the Apostles, were proper enthusiasts; being, at divers times, so filled with the Spirit, and so influenced by Him who dwelt in their hearts.”

But this, Wesley notes, is not what most of his contemporaries meant by enthusiasm. Instead, they meant by it a kind of madness, a specifically religious madness, in which the sound mind preserved by true religion was destroyed. The enthusiast, for Wesley, is the person who believes he has grace when he does not, or who understands herself to be a Christian when she is not.

Enthusiasm is a kind of self-deception against which Wesley must warn those to whom he preaches. For Wesley the criteria for distinguishing between what we might call true and false enthusiasm, or between true religion and enthusiasm, are themselves spiritual. They are available only to those who have experienced God in their hearts. In the words of the historian Ann Taves, for Wesley, “if one could not see the distinction, one by definition had not had the experience.”
This emphasis on spiritual knowledge and the sort of circular reasoning to which it seemed to give rise is precisely the kind of thing against which Hume and his enlightenment colleagues argued.

So Hume goes on to explain that although his “first reflection is, that religions, which partake of enthusiasm are, on their first rise, much more furious and violent than those which partake of superstition,” he goes on to argue that over time, such religions become “much more gentle and moderate.” In their boldness and resoluteness, enthusiasts refuse to be beholden to others—and in particular to priests. They have “contempt of forms, traditions, and authorities” that Hume seems positively to admire. The superstitious, on the other hand, in the intensity of their fearful melancholy, turn to others for guidance, giving themselves over willingly to the authority of priests and religious institutions.
Read the rest here.

At her academic homepage, she has an essay that looks like a prior chapter to the above essay since it asks the prior questions and answers using medieval texts. Moderns are looking for self and medieval contemplatives are looking to internalize the text.Those interested in Neo-hasidism are already committed to the individual over the internalization.

Running like a thread throughout all these debates—theological, antitheological, historical, philosophical, and those pursued in the interdisciplinary study of religion—lies the attempt to distinguish true from false, sincere from insincere, supernaturally from naturally caused religious or spiritual experience (the terms may differ, but the general point remains the same). With these distinctions comes the recurrent presumption that genuine religious experience is immediate, spontaneous, personal, and affective and, as such, potentially at odds with religious institutions and their texts, beliefs, and rituals. As a number of scholars of religion—as well as Christian theologians—have recently shown, the danger in these discussions is that they miss the ways in which, for many religious traditions, ancient texts, beliefs, and rituals do not replace experience as the vital center of spiritual life, but instead provide the means for engendering it.

Yet, for Benedict, as for Cassian on whose work he liberally drew, the intensity and authenticity of one’s feeling for God is enabled through communal, ritualized prayer, as well as through private reading and devotion (itself carefully regulated).9 Proper performance of “God’s work” in the liturgy requires that the monk not simply recite the Psalms. Instead, the monk was called on to feel what the psalmist felt, to learn to fear, desire, and love God in and through the words of the Psalms themselves. For Cassian, we know God, love God, and experience God when our experience and that of the Psalmist come together:

To many contemporary readers, however, there might still seem to be something profoundly different between medieval conceptions of spiritual experience and their own. Even among the growing number of Americans who understand certain kinds of practice—meditation, prayer, and devotional reading among them—as essential to their spiritual experience, there is a suspicion of the particular form such practices take within Christianity and other religious traditions. I suspect that what is at issue here is the association of experience itself, and spiritual experience in particular, with what, for lack of a better word, I will call individualism.

A series of common questions seem to underlie many people’s conception of spiritual experience. How am I to have my own experience of the divine? How can I experience the divine personally, and isn’t such a desire rendered impossible within the framework of institutions that direct my understanding and experience of God? What happens to that aspect of my experience that is irreducible to anyone else’s? On the one hand, many who consider themselves spiritual understand their spirituality in terms of an attunement with nature or spirit—something that is bigger than and lies beyond the boundaries of themselves. Yet, on the other hand, there is a keen desire for this experience to be one’s own. What the medieval monk or nun whose ritual performances I have described here strives to attain is an experience of God that is in conformity with that of the Psalmist and other scriptural authors. The experience must become one’s own, and Bernard insists on the continued specificity of the individual soul. Yet, at the same time, to be a true Christian is to share in a common experience of God. Read the rest here.

Cardinal Koch “Theological Questions and Perspectives in Jewish-Catholic Dialogue.”

His Eminence, Kurt Cardinal Koch, president of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews will be speaking this Sunday at Seton Hall University at 3:00- 5:00PM McNulty Amphitheater – Science Building.

The topic of his address is “Theological Questions and Perspectives in Jewish-Catholic Dialogue.” Last year, Cardinal Koch of Switzerland succeeded retiring Cardinal Walter Kasper to become the fourth president of the Commission. This is his first public statement in his new role. (He is giving the same talk in Europe in German three days beforehand.)

He was appointed in Dec 2010 and has spent ten months learning the ropes and now on Oct 30 2011 will be his very first major statement on Jewish -Christian relations. This is his first speech and first public statement. In Oct. 2010 as he was being vetted for the new position, he told a German paper that “The Jews are still the Chosen people” no explanation.

Consider this talk as reflecting official policy and the start of the new perspective that will be binding on Catholics, which will be integrated in their existing documents in the next revisions. On Monday Oct 31, he meets with the Rabbinical and Jewish organizational leadership in Manhattan. They will fill the newspapers with reactions and op-eds in early November.

Seton Hall University- This Sunday,3:00- 5:00PM McNulty Amphitheater – Science Building. If you are coming by Mass Transit, get off at the South Orange station.

Yeshayahu Leibowitz in the SEP

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) has a clear and useful introduction to the Orthodoxy of Yeshayahu Leibowitz written by Daniel Rynhold. The article was posted in March 2011, but I missed it when it came out. From the article one would not know that Leibowitz has written on philosophy of science and philosophy of medicine. However, it is a clear and concise presentation of his religiosity that integrates his early writings with his later interviews. If you could never grasp his views of God, faith, and revelation, then by the end of reading the entry you should have everything clear. Here are some selections- you can read the whole article here.

God
According to Leibowitz, the central idea of Jewish monotheism is the radical transcendence of God,
Following Maimonides’ negative theology, Leibowitz claims that we are unable to make any meaningful statements that purport to describe God. Any attempt to speak of God’s properties or characteristics transcend the limits of human thought and language.

For Leibowitz, the idea of radical transcendence, if taken seriously, implies that God cannot be “contained” within any reality that we encounter. Nature is nature, history is history—and if God is truly transcendent neither are God or are related to God in any direct sense. Thus, in a self-aware, if not self-deprecating moment, Leibowitz sets out his “heresy” (his description, not mine) thus: “God did not reveal himself in nature or in history.” (Yahadut, 240) Were things otherwise, then nature and history would be “Godly”—and thus would be perfect and worthy of worship themselves. There would be “no room for ‘the holy God’ who transcends natural reality, since then reality itself is divine and man himself is God” (Judaism, 25).

Faith
This historical account also melds with Leibowitz’s theological starting point. Given God’s transcendence, we know that the realm of natural or historical fact cannot be holy. Faith cannot therefore be “a conclusion a person may come to after pondering certain facts about the world,” and instead is “an evaluative decision that one makes, and, like all evaluations, it does not result from any information one has acquired, but is a commitment to which one binds himself.” (Judaism, 37, emphasis added). Jewish faith, therefore, rather than consisting of propositional beliefs concerning God upon which foundation halakhic observance is based, is instead founded upon the evaluative decision to commit to that very system of observance. For Leibowitz it is the mitzvoth themselves “which demarcate the realm of the sacred … [and] anything outside that realm lacks sanctity and is unworthy of religious adoration” (Judaism, 25).

Ordinarily one might assume that the commitment to the practice of the halakhic way of life is an independently specifiable mental act and certain statements that Leibowitz makes in his earlier writings, vestiges of which remain in some less careful later formulations, might appear to suggest this.[9] Yet for Leibowitz, faith is not an independently specifiable psychological state. Indeed he castigates those who “wish to distinguish a specific psychological-conceptual content of the religious consciousness from its concrete institutionalized embodiment” (Judaism, 38). Leibowitz will not allow us to pinpoint a particular psychological state that constitutes this commitment, and correlatively is highly critical of mystical approaches to Judaism that revolve around putative religious experiences. A religion devoted to halakhic practice “does not depend upon the incidence of religious experience” (Judaism, 13), which is a mere “embellishment” to halakhic practice. Indeed, “the aim of proximity to God is unattainable” (Judaism, 16).

“Halakhah is founded on faith, yet at the same time constitutes this faith. In other words, Judaism as a living religion creates the faith upon which it is founded. This is a logical paradox but not a religious paradox” (Judaism, 11).
Claim 1:
Faith is defined as, or constituted by halakhic practice
Claim 2:
Faith, defined as halakhic practice, is the basis of faith in the practice.

“I know of no ways to faith other than faith itself… . [It] cannot be taught. One can only present it in all its might and power” (Judaism, 37).
Yet as noted previously, Leibowitz cannot construe statements in the Torah regarding the event of revelation at Sinai as historical statements. So the problem remains of how a people could have been commanded and what exactly was “recognized” there if it is not the case that at some point in history the commandments were revealed by God.
At the very least we can say that at some point they made their incursion into history. But how? If not through some miraculous revelatory event—a possibility that Leibowitz excludes[11]—then it must have been through some form of human initiative. Thus, in parallel to the attribution of divinity to Scripture, as Sagi notes, “the system is made religiously meaningful by the believers’ perception of it as concerned with the worship of God,” while God collapses into a formal requirement of the system, “the supreme concept, uniting the system and endowing it with religious significance.” (Sagi 1997a, 213).

Leibowitz’s attempt to exclude God from history thus leaves him apparently unable to account for the divinity of the commandments in a manner that would render their performance acts of commitment to God in the ordinary sense. Indeed, when asked directly whether the statement “I believe in God” is meaningful, Leibowitz’s response was: “I do not understand these words if they are divorced from the obligations that derive from them … faith in God is not what I know about God, but what I know about my obligations to God” (Sihot, 97). Talk of divinity should not be understood cognitively but in terms of the normative demands it imposes. Even talk of the revelation at Sinai is to be construed along these lines—“The meaning of the revelation at Sinai is the recognition of the command that we have been commanded” (Emunah, 154)

Leibowitz writes: “That which cannot be said, is said by the religion of the Torah and the Mitzvoth,” (Yahadut, 343)—or at least by a commitment to them that cannot be given a specification independent of their practice. For Leibowitz, the realization that dawns with the rise of this commitment reveals that God cannot be spoken of as an entity who can be located in history or nature and that gives commandments over to a people in any conventional sense. Indeed, “the purpose of the mitzvoth is to educate man to recognize that knowing God and cleaving to him consist in the practice of these very precepts” (Judaism, 27).

Scripture

Thus he writes that “our source of information is science. To the extent that we possess any real knowledge it is by way of scientific cognition” (Judaism, 136). But, given God’s transcendence, there can be nothing holy about history or nature, or the information it provides. So were the Torah a history book or a scientific tract detailing the science of the universe—and it is of course often read as at least giving an account of the origins of the universe—“it would be difficult to see where [its] sacredness resided” (Judaism, 140). The Torah cannot be a holy book if it is teaching us information that is by (Leibowitz’s) definition profane.[7]

But this means that the prima facie factual assertions that we encounter must be read as nothing of the sort. The Torah is not a work of fact containing truths that we can obtain through standard epistemic procedures. It is rather, a sacred work, a work that is concerned with the realm of the religious.

In one sense, this hermeneutic serves Leibowitz well, allowing him to bypass textual objections to his anti-providential reading of the Torah by claiming that the apparent references to God’s role in nature or history are no longer to be understood factually, but rather as expressing something about the nature of our obligation to God. Similarly, stories of individuals are not to be mined for their historical content but for what they teach regarding the nature of religious obligation.

The Torah, qua Holy Scripture, cannot be read as a repository of historical fact. To read it “from the standpoint of religious faith,” is to read it for the demands it places upon us.

It does, however, raise the question of Leibowitz’s understanding of the divine status of the Torah. For, if we cannot speak of it being revealed by God in any historical sense, whence its divinity? Leibowitz, fully aware of the problem, maintains that it is the Oral Torah that establishes the divine status of the Written Torah.
Leibowitz maintains that “religiously and from a logical and causal standpoint the Oral Law, the Halakhah, is prior to the Written Teaching” (Judaism, 12), and thus it is the Oral Torah that grants divine status to the Written Torah:
“The decision about which books to accept as Scripture was not made behind the veil of mythology or pre-history, but took place in the full light of history and in the course of halakhic negotiation… . Scripture is one of the institutions of the religion of Israel” (Judaism, 12).

This, Leibowitz admits, yields an inescapably circular account whereby the divinity of the Written Torah is established by the Oral Torah, which only gains its own authority on the basis of the Written Torah that it is being used to support. More significantly Leibowitz emphasizes time and again that the Oral Torah is a human product. Thus we end up with human beings stipulating that the Written Torah is divine, a stipulation, however, that only has authority based upon the Written Torah’s own statements to the effect that one must follow the words of the human sages Reinforcing the circularity, this reading of the relevant verses in the Torah is itself an interpretation of the sages.
Read the Rest Here.

For those who want more articles about his religious thought- here.

Rabbi David Rosen’s Speech at Munich interfaith meeting

David Rosen, former Grand Rabbi of Ireland, was a member of the Permanent Bilateral Commission of the State of Israel and the Holy See that negotiated the establishment of full diplomatic normalization of relations between the two states. Now he is Director of the Department for Interreligious Affairs at American Jewish Association. He has participated to the International Prayer for Peace organized by the Sant’ Egidio community in Munich (September 11th-13th). Below the text of his intervention given on September 12th, 2011 in the framework of a discussion about “Jews and Christians, from Dialogue to Friendship”.

Rosen notes that the recent decades witnessed a Transformation in the Catholic-Jewish relationship : “nothing comparable in human history.” I turn your attention to the paragraph in bold where he seeks to create a theology of partnership between Christians and Jews in which the two faiths are joined and complementarity. He offers four possibilities: (1) A model of two covenants- Jewish communal and Christian individual; (2) A Jewish Kingdom of Heaven has not yet fully arrived, and a Christian view that the Kingdom is already rooted in the here and now; (3) Judaism as a constant admonition to Christianity regarding the dangers of triumphalism, while Christianity’s universalism serves as a warning against Jewish insular isolationism; (4)A Jewish reminder of difference against the Christian vision of universals. The sources for the complimentary nature of the two faiths is Philip Cunnnigham, A Story of Shalom, p. 59, where the positions are labeled as (1) Michael McGarry; (2) Paul van Buren; (3) Irving Greenberg.
Rabbi Rosen many times serves as speech writer or speech adviser for Israeli Chief Rabbis.So, be prepared for a chief rabbi to discuss the complementarity of Judaism and Christianity.

Transformation in the Catholic-Jewish relationship : “nothing comparable in human history.”

The transformation in the Catholic-Jewish relationship since the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council has been dramatic. Arguably there is nothing comparable in human history. A community that was once seen as condemned and rejected by God; guilty of deicide: enemies of God and in league with the Devil; is now seen by the Church , in the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II as “the dearly beloved elder brother of the Church, the people of the original Covenant never broken and never to be broken”.

Both Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have reiterated that the Church has a relationship with Judaism that is unique and incomparable to Christianity’s relationship with any other religion, because it embodies the Church’s very roots.

In addition to deepening this process, we face two great tasks. The more laborious but perhaps most essential one is to translate this transformation more extensively into the pews and grass roots; and even to some of the shepherds and hierarchy who sometimes still think and even teach and preach under the impact of the old “teaching of contempt”, or at least in its shadow. Indeed in terms of our history, this transformation is very new and we have almost two millennia of negative indoctrination to overcome. Aside from simple ignorance, replacement theology is still quite prevalent and often other extraneous factors such as the conflict in the Middle East are utilized to avoid or prevent effective integration of the new theological understanding into the minds and hearts of faithful Christians throughout the world. Moreover as Pope Benedict XVI and other prominent prelates and theologians have noted, the full theological implications of Nostra Aetate, have not yet been fully plumbed.

This leads me to the second challenge, which is to develop a serious theology of partnership between Christians and Jews and an understanding of the other’s complementarity. Efforts at doing so have already begun. These have included seeing Judaism and Christianity in a mutually complementary role in which the Jewish focus on the communal covenant with God and the Christian focus on the individual relationship with God, may serve humanity in parallel as well as balance one another. Others have seen the complementary relationship in that we both need to be reminded that the Kingdom of Heaven has not yet fully arrived, and yet at the same time to appreciate that that Kingdom is already rooted in the here and now. Another view of the mutual complementarity, portrays Judaism as a constant admonition to Christianity regarding the dangers of triumphalism, while Christianity’s universalistic character may serve an essential role for Judaism in warning against degeneration into insular isolationism.

As opposed to the underlying assumptions of the latter, there is a contention that it is actually Christianity’s universalism that is challenged by the modern culturally pluralistic reality. The communal autonomy that Judaism affirms, it is suggested, may serve more appropriately as a model for a multicultural society, while Christianity may provide a better response for individual alienation in the modern world. Read the full speech here.