“Speak Truth,” or “Dabru Emet” in Hebrew, “was followed up by ‘A Sacred Obligation: A Christian Statement on Jews and Judaism,’ ” Levine points out.
“This is a season of rapprochement,” says Alan Brill, chair of Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University, in South Orange, New Jersey. This increased dialogue has been fueled in part by information from recent archeological findings, including the Dead Sea scrolls dating back to 1947, finally working its way into mainstream Jewish and Christian scholarship, points out Professor Brill.
There have been pivotal, historic moments, such as the decision of the Second Vatican Council – the three-year gathering (1962-65) to address the Catholic Church’s relationship to the modern world – to officially absolve the Jewish people for any responsibility for the death of Jesus, as well as Christian expressions of support for the state of Israel. These moves have paved the way for greater shared respect for mutual history as well as different traditions. “It is an exciting time,” Brill adds.
Christian scholars share an interest in understanding Jesus in the context of history, says Silviu Bunta, assistant professor of religious studies at the Catholic University of Dayton in Ohio, who says there is a growing convergence of the current Jewish and Christian understanding of Jesus.