|A book launch event in honor of “The Separation of Early Christianity from Judaism“, a book by Sr. Dr. Marianne Dacy (pictured), took place at ICCI’s Educational Center, in the presence of the author, on Monday, September 6, 2010. The event was co-sponsored by ICCI and The Congregation of Notre-Dame de Sion.
The following are excerpts from the introduction, greetings and remarks.
|Dr. Debbie Weissman, co-vice-chairperson of ICCI and President of ICCJ, spoke about the author and Sisters of Sion, the order of which she is a member:|
In a world torn and battered by inter-religious conflict, the Sisters of Sion represent an outstanding and impressive model of how religions and religious people can be forces for peace and intergroup cooperation and understanding. They also demonstrate the effective role that women play in peace-building.
The late Samuel Huntington wrote about the clash between civilizations. Other observers of the contemporary scene, however, have suggested that the real clash is within each civilization– a clash between the forces of extremism and those of moderation, tolerance, or, what might be called “religious humanism.” Awarding the Sisters of Sion the Nobel Peace Prize would give public recognition to the importance—indeed, necessity—of working across boundaries of difference in order that diverse peoples might live in peace. The fate of the twenty-first century, says Rabbi—Lord– Jonathan Sacks in the Dignity of Difference, may turn on whether the world’s religions can “make a space for those who are not its adherents, who sing a different song, hear different music, tell a different story.” The Sisters of Sion, working in some twenty-three countries, give witness to how we might make such spaces and be attuned to the stories and songs of others.
|Ms. Peta Pellach, Educational Director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute, spoke about Sr. Dacy’s life’s work:|
At the end of the parsha this week, we read that G’d says to Moses, ‘thou shalt see the land afar off; but thou shalt not go thither into the land which I give the children of Israel’. How painful this is. To be able to see the Land but not to be able to enter it. To stand at the edge of the precipice so that you can almost reach over and touch the other side but not quite.
From where I am at this point, it seems that Sr Marianne Dacy has entered her promised land. Her doctorate has given birth to a book. She is in Jerusalem to launch it. I won’t suggest that her life’s work is complete – but I can say that she has made an enduring contribution to the understanding between Jews and Christians. That is no mean achievement.
Moses is described as the most humble of all men. Marianne may well be described as the most humble of women. We won’t allow her humility to mask the depth of her scholarship and the enormity of her contribution in practical, not just theoretical or philosophical, terms. She works with commitment and determination for the cause of understanding and mutual respect.
Marianne, your work is tikkun olam – making the world the type of place into which the Divine Presence could come. Thank you for your contribution to the fulfillment of our dreams. Congratulations for crossing into the promised land. We look forward to your next milestone.
|Rabbi Raymond Apple, former rabbi of the Great Synagogue in Sydney, Australia, and member of the board of ICCI, reviewed the book:|
This book has been waiting in the wings for some years but is now set to throw some light on a highly charged and deeply important subject that concerns everyone interested in the history and nature of religion.
Jews and Christians, the groups that are most intrinsically involved in the story of the parting of the ways, share the same tendency to simplify a complex situation and to stereotype the parties and policies that were part of the story.
The Christians, for example, tend to talk about “The Jews” without recognising that the phrase means different things in different contexts.
The Jews tend to talk about “The Church” without noticing that Christianity is not a monolith and never has been.
Both retroject later developments to the time of the parting of the ways and fail to understand the changes and challenges of the time and of later centuries.
Marianne is not the first scholar to try to unravel the story, nor will she be the last – but she is good at what she does, and her work will help us all to handle the material.
Three Rs have marred the Christian-Jewish relationship or lack of it over the centuries – rejection, repudiation and repression.
The post-Holocaust Christian community has largely had the grace to embark upon repentance, and Marianne’s Sisters of Sion have made a seminal contribution to the movement.
There is now a need for three Hs – human concern for each other, historical scholarship that makes the air clearer, and hope that together we may make the world a better place. This book will help the hope along.