Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Flow of History--An Exchange between Dean Barnett and the Kosher Hedgehog

Dean Barnett was kind enough approve posting of the following e-mail exchange between him and me, which followed his post earlier today at Hugh Hewitt.com:

From the Kosher Hedgehog to Dean Barnett:
Shalom Dean:
Here is my response to your Hugh Hewitt.com post, as posted at The Hedgehog Blog: http://hedgehogcentral.blogspot.com/2007/07/nostra-aetate.html. I also posted a comment to your post, #20. I love spirited debate, but I don’t know if I can ever forgive you—before Elul that is [note: Elul is the traditional season before the Days of Awe for Jews to reconcile and forgive offenses by others]--for throwing me into the same box as Abe Foxman.
Best regards,
Ralph B. Kostant

From Dean Barnett to the Kosher Hedgehog:
But you are in the same box. You're afraid of the same thing - Gentiles traveling back in time re their attitudes towards Jews. That's the heart of the matter.

From the Kosher Hedgehog to Dean Barnett:
And if that is the heart of the matter, I suppose that my differences with Mr. Foxman do become more of style than of substance.

Well enough, but do you believe there is no possibility of “Gentiles traveling back in time re their attitudes towards Jews?” If so, you view mankind from a liberal perspective, not a conservative one. It is liberalism, rather than conservatism, which believes that mankind always progresses, and that such a reactionary movement in Catholicism would now be impossible. Prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, no one would have predicted a reversion of significant numbers of Moslems to the doctrines of conquest of the early centuries of Islam. Prior to the rise of the Third Reich, many German Jews bet their lives and fortunes (and lost them) on the proposition that they had become fully integrated and valued citizens of Germany.

Dean, please do not belittle my position by suggesting that I am a paranoid who already hears the loud footsteps of the Inquisition or the Gestapo outside my door. I ask only that you recognize that history does not move in only one direction. Vatican II took place less than 50 years ago—that is not a long period of time in the history of a 2000 year old Church or a 3500 year old Am Yisrael. Until then many faithful Catholics believed and taught their children that all Jews were literally guilty of deicide, and acted accordingly.

The real test of whether my concerns are valid will be if, as Hugh’s caller advocated, the Church undertakes a reexamination of Nostra Aetate. If that occurs, hopefully even you will agree that a Jewish protest of that type of reactionary theology would be warranted, even if the crazies in Tehran, Gaza and Al Qaeda still pose a more serious threat. It is not unwarranted butting into someone else’s religion when Jewish lives are at stake. I would also suggest that when spokespersons such as David Allen White and Father Fessio publicly question whether there has been historic persecution of the Jews by the Church, one ought to consider whether that is an early warning sign of such a reactionary movement in the Church.

Shalom. Ralph B. Kostant

From Dean Barnett to the Kosher Hedgehog:
I'm not belittling your position, just disagreeing with it on the ground of significancy. History does travel in different directions, and it's taken nearly a century for the Islamic world to wind up at its current state of blind hatred for everything, but especially the Jews.


Anonymous DL said...

Does this thesis mean that liberal Jews might someday reverse history and return to the faith of their ancestors?

Having grown up in a US Catholic Church during the great depression, I still can hear the nuns teaching clearly that Christ died because of my/our sins -I never heard any of my Catholic friends or relatives mention the possibility that Jews were the real fault of Christ's death. To believe so would go against the core tenents of our belief - that we(sinners) were the reason Christ died. I, like many Catholic conservatives, have been a long time defender and admirer of the Jewish faith, which - I have been subjected too each Sunday in the readings of the Old Testament. We're on the same side friends.

Saturday, July 14, 2007 1:48:00 PM  

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