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God is faithful to God's people: the new theology of Israel in contemporary German Protestantism.

In November, 1990, at a conference at the Protestant Academy of Bad Boll, Rolf Rendtorff, chairperson of the Study Commission "Church and Judaism" of the Evangelical Church in Germany, assessed the relations of Christians and Jews in Germany following the Shoah. (1) In his talk, Rendtorff, a Hebrew Scriptures scholar who was soon to retire from the University of Heidelberg, critically reviewed forty years of church statements regarding Christian-Jewish dialogue. Concerned with the Christian side, Rendtorff stated that Christians cannot have dialogue without fundamental transformations of their identity and theology. Before these changes could occur, Christians had to overcome the theology of supersessionism, or replacement, which maintains that Israel by rejecting Christ has revoked its own chosenness, and the church had become the legitimate heir of the Jewish people. Rendtorff explained that this theology of replacement must not only be refuted because it supplied antisemitic ideology, (2) but it must also be contested because it did not recognize Israel as a lived faith. (3) Moreover, it made the chosenness of the church dependent on a simultaneous rejection of Israel. As one theological Festschrifi for a Lutheran missionary society stated in 1971: "The fact that the Jews consider themselves the people of God questions the very existence of the Church as God's people." "Yet," the Festschrift added emphatically, "there cannot be two people of God." (4)

Rendtorff struggled with Christian replacement theology because it boldly rejected the Jewish claim to be "people of God" in order to affirm the Christian claim of being "God's people." The Christian church had always understood "people of God" as an exclusivist term, and therefore the Jewish claim to be that "people" threatened its whole fabric. Sincere dialogue at eye level, Rendtorff pointed out, was impossible under this threat. Dialogue, he continued, cannot take place if Christians recognize Judaism as mere prelude to Christianity. Thus, according to Rendtorff, the church "has to overcome [its] thinking in opposites" and has to give up its theology of "antithetical logic." As a presupposition for dialogue, the church must acknowledge that its origins are not against Judaism but, rather, lie within Judaism. (5) Christians need to go back to reaffirming their Jewish foundations.

But, at Bad Boll, despite the many efforts by himself and others, Rendtorff was disheartened by the state of dialogue in Germany. To the scholar, not enough church leaders had stepped up to reject the old replacement theology. Instead, in the field of Christian-Jewish relations, Rendtorff perceived only small groups of interested Christians and a diminishing group of Jews who were frightened by the past and deeply concerned about the future. Accordingly, Rendtorff did not mince words when it came to a verdict. "One has to state clearly," he asserted in 1990, that "a dialogue between the Church and the Jews ... in light of the Shoah does not take place in Germany." (6)

Rendtorff's conclusion came at an awkward historical moment. In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, and only one month before Rendtorff's talk, on October 3, 1990, East Germany formally joined West Germany. Rendtorff thus gave his talk against the backdrop of recent German reunification and a temporary wave of national emotions. (7) In that situation, he did not realize how far the dialogue had indeed progressed and how dramatic and unprecedented the shift toward accepting Jews and Judaism had come since the Declaration of the Rhineland Synod of 1980. For that matter, while for a short time national passions were dominating public discourse, Rendtorff failed to realize that the dialogue for which he called was already underway and that German Protestantism had begun to develop a new theology of Israel.

This essay will examine the Christian-Jewish dialogue in today's Germany from a Protestant perspective. I will argue that, beginning with the Declaration of the Rhineland Synod of 1980, German Protestantism has undergone a revolutionary paradigm shift, such that it is no longer engaged in any sort of replacement theology. In the recent past, a great number of church synods and church leaders have instead publicly confessed the guilt of the Protestant churches in light of the Shoah and attested to God's faithfulness toward, and affirmed the continued chosenness of, God's people Israel. This shift has not only affected Protestant academic theology, but it has also left its deep imprint on the church's identity and on the wider Protestant community and its institutions. Whereas, in the past, common Christian teaching had provided the seedbed for anti-Judaism and Antisemitism, these days the German Protestant mainstream must be characterized by a widespread interest in the Jewish origins of Christianity and in Jewish faith and culture, by feelings of shame and horror over the Shoah, and by the belief in a general "theological attachment" of Christianity to Judaism.

I will proceed in two steps. I first closely examine contemporary Protestant church culture and provide a survey of some of the remarkable changes that have taken place. My survey, albeit brief, will demonstrate how the Christian- Jewish interrelatedness and its theological reflections are a central theme not only in academe but also in the teachings, the pedagogy, and the work of the Protestant churches in Germany. In this section, I will expand on Fredrick C. Holmgren's 2001 report on the new relations between Jews and Christians in Germany, as well as on Dagmar Pruin's more recent summary. Holmgren's publication is one of the most recent reports of its kind in the English language. (8) Although the American Holmgren recognized some positive changes in German Protestantism, he still considered the record of the churches to be tainted by their role in some of the most recent public debates on mission and forced labor during the Third Reich. Pruin's summary is written from a German perspective. (9) Whereas Holmgren followed a selected number of discourses and themes in the broader culture, Pruin pursued a more historical arrangement of the dialogue and emphasized a largely academic "Theology after Auschwitz" as its driving force.

However, the recent history of Christian-Jewish relations is more complex than Holmgren and Pruin are ready to admit. From a Protestant outlook, Christian-Jewish dialogue in Germany involves church bodies and organizations, academic theology, and a range of societal institutions, which together provide a thick cultural web of Christian-Jewish debate and discourse. Hence, it is necessary to show in more detail the rich institutional and cultural context in which all these debates took place and are still taking place.

In 1980, the Declaration of the Rhineland Synod, "Toward Renovation of the Relationship of Christians and Jews," was the first public statement by a regional Protestant church body in Germany aiming at the renewal of Christian Jewish relations. For the first time, a Protestant church publicly recognized Christian guilt and responsibility for the Shoah, affirmed the continued chosenness of the Jewish people as people of God, and further declared that, through Christ, the church is taken into the already existing and never-revoked covenant between God and God's people. In addition, the Rhineland Synod rejected any idea of Christian mission toward the conversion of Jews. (10) The Synod's Declaration initiated a broad and still ongoing process within the different Protestant church bodies throughout Germany. (11) In the meantime, several church bodies have made very similar public declarations or statements. Some of them even amended their constitution or bylaws in an effort newly to express the theological bond between the Christian church and the people of Israel.

In the second part of my essay, I attempt to grasp the depth of those institutional changes by contextualizing them within the synodical church system of German Protestantism, where the synod maintains the highest theological and governing authority. I will examine the language of a number of constitutional amendments, in order better to assess the seismic shift in the consciousness and identity of the Protestant churches in Germany.

Christian-Jewish Relations: Concerns despite Radical Change?

In "Jews and Christians in Germany: A New but Still Troubled Relationship," Holmgren a decade ago described the relationships between Jews and Christians in today's Germany. His account recognized the "radical change" of European and American Christians' attitudes toward Jews and Judaism. According to Holmgren, this change originated with Vatican II, causing a "revolution in theology and practice." The revolution, however, has "most dramatic visibility" in present-day Germany, (12) where the Christian communities had just firmly and publicly supported the Jewish community during a wave of antisemitic incidents in the 1990's. Holmgren presented three concrete examples of this radical change in attitude: the work and publications of the Study Commission "Church and Judaism" of the Evangelical Church in Germany, (13) the paradigm shift in Protestant and Catholic academic theology toward a strong affirmation of Jews and Judaism, (14) and the Societies for Christian-Jewish Cooperation, founded by Christian and Jewish citizens together with the American military government in the years after 1945. (15) Yet, to the American, those three examples were stained by the role the churches had played in recent public debates. The wide support of the Jewish community remained "that of a minority within the Christian church." (16) The relationship between Jews and Christians in Germany was "still somewhat troubled." (17)

For the Catholic Church, the beatification of Pope Pius IX, the canonization of Edith Stein, and the publication of the Vatican document Dominus Jesus stood in the way of better relations. On the Protestant side, Holmgren reported considerably on Georg Strecker, professor of Second Testament studies at the University of Gottingen, and his public defense of the idea of Christian mission to Jews, as well as the churches' involvement in the forced-labor programs of the Third Reich.

In practice, the idea of Judenmission had been obsolete for quite some time. As a first step, the synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany at Berlin- Weissensee in its "Statement on the Jewish Question" acknowledged in 1950 the Jewish origin of Christ as well as the continued validity of God's promise to God's chosen people of Israel. (18) Finally, the Declaration of the Rhineland Synod explicitly states "that the church may not express its witness toward the Jewish people as it does its mission to the peoples of the world." (19) But, after the fall of the Soviet Union in the late 1980's, Russian-Jewish immigrants moved to Germany, roughly tripling the number of Jews in Germany to a little over 100,000 today. Strecker's attempt to breathe new life into a dead doctrine must be understood in this context. His faculty colleagues were divided over his approach; Strecker was rather sharply criticized for an abbreviated reading of Romans 9- 11, his ignorance toward theological interpretations of the Shoah, and his disregard of the grievous asymmetry between Jews and Christians in contemporary Germany. (20)

Strecker passed away in 1994. If anything, the incident showed that some academic theologians had been out of touch with new, more inclusive trends within German Protestantism. By the early 1990's, only fundamentalists and some conservative academics at the end of their careers failed to distinguish between mission on the one side and dialogue and reciprocal witness on the other. In the third study on Christians and Jews, the Study Commission "Church and Judaism" tried to conclude the matter by unmistakably declaring that, after the Shoah, Christian mission to Jews no longer belongs to the work supported by the Evangelical Church in Germany and its member churches. (21)

Holmgren also, rightly, took issue with the involvement of the Catholic and Protestant churches in the Nazis' forced-labor programs, but his reporting was somewhat misleading when he wrote, "Until recently, the churches have kept their involvement in this programa secret." (22) There was no conscious act by the churches in Germany to hide their involvement in the forced-labor programs of the Nazis. Instead, there has been a sustained effort to investigate this subject carefully and to compensate those victims who are still alive. About 15,000 people worked in those forced-labor programs run by the Protestant churches and their organizations, and the churches have acknowledged shame and contemplated their guilt. Like other institutions during the Nazi period, church-related organizations were permeated by daily racism, and deviant behavior was strictly punished. However, the subject in itself is more complex than Holmgren made it seem to be. (23) On the Protestant side, much intellectual capital has been put into a thorough evaluation of it since Rendtorff gave his talk at Bad Boll. (24)

From Pathways to Radical Change

Like their American counterparts, German Protestant scholars have surveyed the state of dialogue and the relationships between Christians and Jews in contemporary Germany. Pruin, (25) for instance, alongside Birte Petersen, (26) divided her survey of the state of relationships and dialogue into different historical stages. In Pruin's assessment, the first stage included the period from the end of the war to the early 1960'S. (27) The second stage then was "launched" with the Workshop of Jews and Christians (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Juden und Christen) at the German Evangelical Kirchentag in Berlin in 1961. While the Kirchentag grew into a very significant event for German Protestantism--meeting every other year for several days, and attracting some 200,000 people, including a significant number of young people, to worship and to discuss current social, political, and cultural topics--the Workshop added a Jewish Lehrhaus as part of its program in 1987. (28) During this second stage, a number of church-run but lay- led organizations with a clear mission to public education and facilitation of public discourse, the Protestant Academies, created and shaped the dialogue. These academies organized the first encounters between contemporary Jewish and Christian witnesses in order to discuss openly issues of guilt and repentance. (29) From the start, the Protestant Academies provided the institutional backbone for crafting a new hermeneutics and a new theology in the evangelical approach toward Israel and the Jewish people. (30) Subsequently, the third stage of dialogue began with the Declaration of the Rhineland Synod in 1980, mentioned above. This stage is characterized by a series of statements by regional German church bodies that strongly impacted the churches' structures and institutions. Pruin, following Petersen, considered this third stage the "confessional stage." In accordance with Peter von der Osten-Sacken and Krister Stendahl, Pruin finally pleaded for a new stage of "disentanglement," during which a younger generation of Jews and Christians could learn to respect the other in his or her otherness. (31) For this new situation, theologians, pastors, and interested laity participating in Christian-Jewish dialogue now have access to a number of meticulous exegetical studies on several key texts and issues. (32)

The organizing center of Pruin's summary, however, is a "Theology after Auschwitz," moved forward by several prominent Jewish and Christian thinkers in the 1960's and 1970's and embedded in transatlantic, Jewish-Christian conversations. (33) For many German theologians, the Shoah became a complete turning point for all Jewish and Christian theology, and reflecting on God after the Shoah became a necessary element of it. Protestant theologians such as Friedrich-Wilhelm Marquardt, Martin Stohr, von der Osten-Sacken, and Berthold Klappert represent this new theological agenda. This construction is particularly reinforced by many of the younger German scholars who continue to probe the implications of a theology after the Shoah and its place in contemporary German culture and memory. (34)

In any event, what has most influenced the debate since the early 1990's was neither a single theological treatise nor exegetical inquiry but the three studies, "Christians and Jews," orchestrated by the Study Commission "Church and Judaism" of the Evangelical Church in Germany, chaired for many years by Rendtorff. (35) After a long series of consultations, and partly advised by their Jewish colleagues, the Study Commission published in 1975, 1991, and 2000 three studies that, from the beginning, carried great weight among pastors, church leaders, and laity. (36) The three studies also represent different stages of the debate within the Protestant churches in Germany.

The 1975 study, "Christians and Jews I," aimed at an assessment of mutual Jewish-Christian roots, the parting of ways of Jews and Christians in history, and a brief evaluation of different forms of Jewish life, as well as Jewish- Christian relations in Israel and Germany. The 1991 study, "Christians and Jews II: Toward a New Theological Orientation in Our Relation to Judaism," delivered, after a short history of dialogue in Germany since 1945, a theological reorientation toward Jewish life and theology. "Jesus-Messiah-Christ" and "Jews and Christians as God's people" were its central issues. The second study also briefly reviewed a number of public church declarations and concluded that a new theological consensus among the different regional church bodies had been reached. (37) The 2000 study, "Christians and Jews III: Steps toward a Renewal of Our Relation to Judaism," was directed at a thorough renewal of the relationship between church and Israel. God's covenant, continued chosenness, and future areas of dialogue and mutual action were sought out. The study also drew on a number of public church declarations as well as amended constitutions of some of the member churches of the Evangelical Church in Germany.

However, the transformations in German Protestantism go beyond the work of the Study Commission and the immensely important yet largely academic efforts toward a theology after the Shoah. Though theologians and new theological approaches are certainly the driving force behind many of these changes, the shift is not merely one of doctrine and biblical exegesis. For example, "What Everyone Needs to Know about Judaism," by the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany (Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands), represents the greater transformation of German Protestant culture. This brief treatment of Jewish history, faith, and traditions--as well as the relationships between Jews and Christians in contemporary Germany--started out as a collection of leaflets in the mid-1970's. It was first published in 1983 and is now available in a completely renewed 10th edition; it has sold over 100,000 copies. (38) Books, however, can only morph into bestsellers if they touch a public nerve and if their reception is no longer constrained to a small group of experts. Theological doctrine alone cannot account for the breadth of change in German Protestantism.

Instead, as indicated earlier, issues regarding the Christian-Jewish relationship have long reached the broad public, and the shift to affirming Jews and Judaism has affected all areas of church life and Protestant practice--for example, the curricula for religious education in German public schools or ideas about congregational pedagogy. These days, there exists an array of informed pedagogical materials for religious education that very sensitively connects the Jewish beginnings of Christianity with the history of anti-Judaism and the Shoah. (39) Also, there are Bible workshops in congregations wherein congregants discuss the theological roots of Antisemitism, as well as many local-church initiatives where parishioners are actively preserving the places in which their Jewish neighbors lived and worshiped before the Shoah. (40) Protestant churches even offer carefully reworded creeds for regular Sunday worship in which Israel's continued chosenness and Jesus' Jewish origin are accentuated, and the notion of the "people of God" is no longer used in an antithetical sense. (41)

There are now Study Groups of Christians and Jews in twenty of the twenty-two different regional Protestant church bodies. These groups are part of a Germany-wide conference, the Konferenz Landeskirchlicher Arbeitskreise Christen und Juden. The objectives of the Study Groups' efforts are outlined in a set of guidelines. In these guiding principles, the Jewish origins of the Christian faith are endorsed, and exploration and better understanding of the relationship between church and Israel are promoted. The guidelines call for regular encounters of Christians and Jews in and outside Germany. The conference strives both toward overcoming theological anti-Judaism in the church and its teachings and toward overcoming political Antisemitism in Germany. Finally, the guidelines of the conference affirm the support of the State of Israel and explicitly reject any mission to Jews. (42)

Some of the conference's regional study groups are enormously active. The group of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau, for instance, has its own publication series, offering well-thought-out practical materials for liturgy and education and for preserving the collective memory of Jewish life and history. The Germany-wide conference also recently published its suggestions for a complete renewal of the lectionary. The conference suggested raising the use of scripture from the Torah and the Ketuvim in Christian worship in order to overcome the traditional Christian emphasis on the Second Testament. In the conference's attempt to follow the Bible in a more comprehensive way, the authors of the new lectionary suggest shifting from a traditional tripartite readings structure (Hebrew Bible, Epistle, and Gospel readings) to a structure based on five different groups of readings (Torah, Neviim, Ketuvim, Gospel, and Epistles). (43)

Over the years, these changes in the concrete life and practice of the church have been accompanied by intensive theological and hermeneutical discussions. (44) In the area of homiletics, for instance, Christian Stablein has researched the cultural memory of the Shoah and its resonance in Protestant Sunday sermons and homiletical theory, (45) while Alexander Deeg has comparatively studied the Jewish Derashah and the Sunday sermon, its Christian equivalent. (46) Several of the younger theologians active in these debates have benefited from "Studying in Israel," a fully funded, year-long study program in Jerusalem, which the Evangelical Church in Germany has offered since 1978. (47) Finally, as one last example, the meaning of the tenth Sunday after the Holy Trinity, which is known to German Protestants as the Sunday of Israel (Israelsonntag), has been rigorously debated. While on this day former generations of pious Germans were reminded of their obligation to convert Jews, now the Israelsonntag has become an endorsement of the church's older Jewish sibling and a demonstration of Protestants' allegiance to the State of Israel. (48)

Taken together these modifications in the ecclesiastical discourse, the pedagogy, the liturgy, and the homiletics of the Protestant churches, as well as the new organizational cooperation between Jews and Christians, the broad public debates on mission and forced labor, and an academic "Theology after Auschwitz"- -all point toward a radical theological, institutional, and cultural change in German Protestantism. Though the voices of pastors and laity who still adhere to some sort of replacement theology are not completely muted, they are marginal compared to what existed in 1990. If Rendtorff were to assess the state of dialogue between Christians and Jews in Germany again, his verdict would certainly no longer be as pessimistic as it was at Bad Boll.

Public Church Statements and Constitutional Amendments

The transformative Declaration of the Rhineland Synod of 1980 was not a single incident but only the beginning of a swift wave of changes blowing through the Protestant churches in Germany. To date, eighteen autonomous member churches of the Evangelical Church in Germany have made similar public statements. (49) Beginning with the Evangelical-Reformed Church in Bavaria and Northwestern Germany in 1988, thirteen of them even amended their church constitution or bylaws. (50) All of these public declarations and amended constitutions seek to express God's faithfulness to Israel and emphasize the fact that Israel has never been rejected and that the covenant between God and Israel has never been broken.

Public church declarations and constitutional amendments are concrete expressions of the churches' identity and consciousness. They are both records of self-reflection after long periods of study, consultation, and review. However, public declarations and constitutional amendments are also different textual genres, which need to be distinguished. (51) Church declarations originate prior to any constitutional amendments, summarize new theological insights and interpretations, and offer comprehensive doctrinal reflection. Since the church is semper reformanda, always reforming and reexamining itself, public church declarations function as up-to-date theological expressions in order to guide the church and its members in the present and near future.

The enormous significance of church declarations and statements becomes even more obvious when considered within the context of the German synodical church system. For Protestants, synods are regularly meeting conventions that serve as councils to the church. (52) Synodical statements and declarations are of great importance to Protestant churches, since Protestants, unlike Catholics, refute the idea of the teaching authority of the Church (magisterium ecclesiae) if it confines the interpretation of scripture and tradition to an authoritative body of ordained and hierarchically organized theological experts. Instead, German Protestants have their synods, and it would be deeply misleading to think of synods merely as church parliaments. Although no one would deny that synod assemblies make policy decisions, and, sometimes, those assemblies might seem to act like secular political bodies, the notion of the synod certainly goes beyond group interests, coalition-building, and lobbying. According to Protestant theol-ogy, synods are congregations assembled for worship. Here, theologians and laypeople hold council together, in the presence of God's spirit, in order to make statements and decisions based on their interpretation of divine scripture and creed. In German Protestantism, despite existing differences between Lutheran and non-Lutheran traditions, the power of church governance and the authority in matters of church doctrine lie neither with the office of the bishop, as it does in the Episcopal Church, nor in the local congregation, as it does in parts of the Reformed church tradition. In the German Protestant church system, although there are church offices (Kirchenamter) as well as bishops or other presiding officers running the church year round, the synod remains the highest worldly authority on all ecclesiastical matters. (53) Consequently, the many synodical statements following the 1980 Rhineland Declaration are authoritative testimonials of self-reflection of the Protestant churches.

Church constitutions (Kirchenverfassungen or Kirchenordnungen) reach beyond those authoritative testimonials, utilizing whatever evangelical doctrine there is in order to shape the concrete organizational structures of the church. Whereas public church statements and declarations help to guide the church and its members theologically, constitutions obligate pastors, deacons, elders, and other representatives and members of the church to apply the basic constitutional tenets in their practice. Whereas statements and declarations aim at the wider culture and discourse, constitutional amendments mold the existing ecclesiastical structures. (54)

Since synods are not political parliaments but congregations assembled for worship, church constitutions cannot be amended by a simple majority or two- thirds of the vote, as would be required for any constitutional amendment in a modern political democracy. (55) To speak with a more or less unanimous voice, synods rely on the procedural instrument of a "great consent," or magnus consensus, instead. (56) However, this unanimous voice cannot be forced upon the delegates at the synod, and a magnus consensus is first of all the result of long periods of debate and consultation, which includes all congregations and representative organs of the church. The complete process to reach a great consent in order to amend a church constitution might take several years; in fact, it took the Church of the Rhineland sixteen years to move from its statement "Toward Renovation of the Relationship of Christians and Jews" to the amending of its constitution in 1996. (57)

Throughout the different Protestant churches in Germany, critics have argued that amending a church's constitution toward an affirmation of Jews and Judaism and toward a special bond that exists between Jews and Christians changes the creed and the confessional status of the church. This argument, however, has failed to gain ground. (58) It has been opined by the great majority of Protestants that the new amendments in German church constitutions affirming Jews and Judaism neither amend the ancient Christian creeds not amend the confessional status of a church. These constitutional amendments do, however, give new and binding interpretation of divine scripture and the creeds. Pastors and other representatives of the church are now mandated to follow this interpretation in their teaching and proclaiming of the Christian gospel.

The New Theology of Israel in Protestant Church Constitutions

It is before this background of the synodical Protestant church system that one has to comprehend the conclusions drawn in the third study on Christians and Jews by the Study Commission "Church and Judaism" in 2000. (59) Here, in regard to the outcome of its second study in 1991, seven constitutional amendments of different Protestant churches were reviewed and summarized. While drawing on the amendments of the Evangelical-Reformed Church (1988), the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (1991), the Evangelical Church of the Palatinate (1995), the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland (1996), the Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg (1996), the Pommeranian Evangelical Church (1997), and the Church of Lippe (1998), the Study Commission summed up the "consensus that has been reached so far" and identified five main themes in these amendments:

1. continued attachment of the church to the Jewish people ("Die bleibende Verbundenheit der Kirche mit dem judischen Volk");

2. continued chosenness of Israel ("Die bleibende Erwahlung Israels");

3. rejection of all forms of Antisemitism ("Die Absage an den Antisemitismus");

4. inclusion of the church in the already existing covenant between God and Israel ("Die These von der Hineinnahme in den Bund Israels"); and

5. mutual eschatological expectations ("Der Hinblick auf Gottes zukunftiges Handeln").

These five main themes are expressed in the concrete amendments in very different ways, however; for example, some churches emphasize the guilt of the church for the Shoah, while others do not speak to this issue at all. Some churches actively seek encounters and reconciliation, while others explicitly forego mentioning these aspects. Some churches speak about God's covenant with Israel, whereas others prefer the notion of God's promises to Israel. Some constitutional amendments, but not all, express hope for the coming of God's eschatological future. In any event, examining the language of these amendments makes clear that for the Protestant churches in Germany the old theology of substitution has finally become obsolete, and the old antithetical theology has been completely overcome. (60)

The first Protestant church body in Germany that amended its constitution was the Evangelical-Reformed Church in Bavaria and Northwestern Germany in 1988. Article 1 of that Church's constitution redefines the relationship between the church and Israel: "God has chosen Israel as his people and never rejected it. In Jesus Christ he included the church in his covenant. For that reason, it belongs to the church's nature and instruction, to seek encounter and reconciliation with the people of Israel." (61) This amendment argues that there is only one covenant of God, which the church joined after Israel. Since this one covenant is not explicitly specified as the covenant between God and Israel at Sinai or the covenant between God and Abraham or the covenant between God and Noah, there remains an unintended vagueness to the amendment.

The Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau in 1991 explicitly referred in its constitutional amendment to the guilt of the church after the Shoah. Here, it is not the theological Israel but the Jews who are chosen by the God of the Bible. Equally remarkable is the statement that the belief in Christ implies testimony for the Jews. In the future, it will be the constitutional duty of Christians in Hesse and Nassau to stand up for their Jewish neighbors: "Called to repentance from blindness and guilt, the church witnesses anew the continued chosenness of the Jews and God's covenant with them. The confession to Jesus Christ includes this testimony." (62)

The Evangelical Church of the Palatinate, in its constitutional amendment of 1995, takes a different theological approach. The amendment does not refer to the one covenant of God. Instead, it speaks of the "history of God's promises" with God's "first chosen" people of Israel. Additionally, the Church of the Palatinate publicly recognizes its situation post-Shoah and takes a clear stand against Antisemitism and anti-Judaism: "Through her Lord Jesus Christ the Church knows her inclusion to the history of God's promises with his first chosen people Israel--to the salvation of all [people]. Called to repentance, she seeks reconciliation with the Jewish people and opposes any form of hostility against Jews." (63)

The Evangelical Church in the Rhineland had already amended some of its bylaws in 1987, encouraging local congregations and regional synods to affirm the bond between the church and Israel and to seek dialogue on these lower organizational levels. The Church's 1996 constitutional amendment does not openly reject Antisemitism or anti-Judaism, as it did in the 1980 Declaration, nor does the amendment refer to the Shoah. Instead, the text is organized around the key biblical notion of "God's faithfulness." Drawing on Rev. 21:1 and Is. 65:17, the amendment of the Rhineland Church is also the first to interpret the Christian-Jewish relationship in eschatological perspective: "[The Church] witnesses the faithfulness of God who abides by the chosenness of his people Israel. Together with Israel, the Church hopes for a new heaven and a new earth." (64)

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Northern Elbland, in its constitutional amendment of 2002, emphasized the notion of God's faithfulness and God's covenant. The Church also maintained the importance of the Torah for its life and practice and the sharing of eschatological expectations with the people of Israel: "The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Northern Elbland witnesses the faithfulness of God, who abides by the covenant with his people of Israel. She is connected to the people of Israel in listening to God's Torah (Weisung) and in hoping for the coming of God's kingdom." (65)

The most detailed amendment comes from the Evangelical Church BerlinBrandenburg- Silesian Upper Lusatia's 2004 section 12 of part 1 of the basic articles of the constitution. In this amendment, an extension of the amendment of the Church Berlin-Brandenburg from 1996 before its merger with the Evangelical Church of the Silesian Upper Lusatia, a citation from Rom. 11:29 is woven into the text. The amendment also elaborates on the consequences of the Shoah and the guilt of the church. Like the Church of the Rhineland, the Church of Berlin-Brandenburg puts its relationship with Israel and the Jewish people into an eschatological context. Moreover, the 1996 amendment was the first that drew on the Torah for the practice and life of the church:
   The Church recognizes and remembers that God's promise for his
   people of Israel continues to be true. For God's gifts and his call
   are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). The Church pledges its sympathy
   [Anteilnahme] to the path of the Jewish people. Therefore she
   recognizes in her life and teachings the particular importance of
   her relationship with the Jewish people and she remembers her guilt
   [Mitschuld] for segregation and destruction of Jewish life. The
   Church stays connected with the Jewish people while listening to
   God's Torah [Weisung] and hoping for the realization of God's
   kingdom. (66)


Israel's continued chosenness, Christian witness for Jews in the light of the Shoah, one mutual covenant of Israel and the church, God's faithfulness to Israel, shared eschatological expectations, the importance of the Torah for the church's teaching, and the public confession of the church's guilt for the Shoah are very different theological notions, and all deserve further exploration and discussion. Though different in their theological approach, these amendments clearly show that the consciousness and identity of the Protestant church in present-day Germany is different from the church Rendtorff assessed at Bad Boll. Whereas he could not see any true Christian-Jewish dialogue in light of the Shoah, today the interrelatedness of the church and Israel shapes its very center. Not only has the broader public and academic discourse over the last thirty years dramatically changed, but it must also be asserted that, following the Shoah, Christian-Jewish dialogue in Germany has inspired an unprecedented alteration of the Protestant churches' foundational documents and teachings. In presentday German Protestantism, the Christian church is no longer considered the heir of the biblical Israel and the Jewish people. A major paradigm shift has, indeed, taken place.

How can we make sense of this latest period of dialogue and change? Is it an epoch or just an episode? In lieu of an answer, this essay closes with a thought by Hannah Arendt, who left Germany in 1933 and fled to the United States in 1941. In 1958, Arendt wrote: "The miracle that saves the world, the realm of human affairs, from its normal, 'natural' ruin is ultimately the fact of natality.... It is, in other words, the birth of new men and the new beginning, the action they are capable of by virtue of being born. Only the full experience of this capacity can bestow upon human affairs faith and hope." (67)

Perhaps this generation is, indeed, witnessing the miracle of birth.

(1) Rolf Rendtorff, "Ist Dialog moglich? Ansatze zum christlich-judischen Gesprach nach der Schoah," in Marcel Marcus, ed., Israel und Kirche heute: Beitrage zum christlich-judischen Dialog (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1991), pp. 123-134. Rendtorff has also written a brief history of Protestant-Jewish dialogue after 1945, Hat denn Gott sein Volk verstossen? Die evangelische Kirche und das Judentum seit 1945 (Munich: Kaiser, 1989). John S. Conway provides an English introduction to the topic in "The German Churches and the Jewish People since 1945," in Michael Curtis, ed., Antisemitism in the Contemporary World (Boulder, CO, and London: Westview, 1986), pp. 128-142. For a more recent account, see Wolfgang Kraus, ed., Juden und Christen: Perspektiven einer Annaherung (Gutersloh: Gutersloher Verlagshaus, 1997); Christina Kurth and Peter Schmid, eds., Das christlich-judische Gesprach: Standortbestimmungen (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2000); and Ursula Rudnik, Auf dem langen Weg zum Haus des Nachbarn: Positionen der evangelischen Kirche im christlich-judischen Gesprach seit 1945 und ihre Verortung in der Theologie (Hannover: Hora, 2004). Most of the documents of the Jewish-Christian encounter after 1945 can be found in Rolf Rendtorff and Hans-Hermann Henrix, eds., Die Kitchen und das Judentum: Dokumente yon 19451985, vol. 1, 2nd ed. (Paderbom: Bonifatius; and Munich: Kaiser, 1989); and Wolfgang Kraus and Hans-Hermann Henrix, eds., Die Kirchen und das Judentum: Dokumente yon 1986- 2000, vol. 2 (Paderborn: Bonifatius; and Munich: Kaiser, 2001).

(2) The term "supersessionism" is further problematized in Darrell Jodock, "Christians and Jews in the Context of World Religions," in Darrell Jodock, ed., Covenantal Conversations: Christians m Dialogue with Jews and Judaism (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2008), pp. 135-137.

(3) According to Rendtorff, this common Protestant theology does not show any "positive Wurdigung Israels als Israel, als judisches Volk" (Rendtorff, "Ist Dialog moglich?" p. 127).

(4) Rendtorff cites the Festschrift of the centennial of the Evangelical- Lutheran Association for Mission in Israel (Rendtorff, "Ist Dialog moglich?" p. 129).

(5) Rendtorff, "Ist Dialog moglich?" p. 132.

(6) Ibid., p. 125.

(7) A number of documents surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall and the process of German reunification are printed in Konrad H. Jarausch and Volker Gransow, eds., Uniting Germany: Documents and Debates 1944-1993 (Providence, RI, and Oxford, U.K.: Berghahn, 2004). A condensed account of the end of the German Democratic Republic and German reunification is given in Richard A. Leiby, The Unification of Germany, 1989-1990 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999).

(8) Fredrick C. Holmgren, "Jews and Christians in Germany: A New but Still Troubled Relationship," J.E.S. 38 (Spring-Summer, 2001): 298-315. The only other recent essay on the subject in English known to me is written by Wolfgang Kraus, a Second Testament scholar and prominent figure of the Christian-Jewish dialogue in Germany. In the third part of his essay, Kraus offers a short interpretation of some of the most important Second Testament texts at stake. See Wolfgang Kraus, "What Do We Want the Other to Teach about the Recent History of Protestant- Jewish Dialogue?" in David L. Coppola, ed., What Do We Want the Other to Teach about Us? Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Dialogues (Fairfield, CT: Sacred Heart University Press, 2006), pp. 209- 230.

(9) Dagmar Pruin, "Christlich-judischer Dialog sechzig Jahre nach der Shoah," in Dagmar Pruin, Rolf Schieder, and Johannes Zachhuber, eds., Religion and Politics in the United States and Germany (New Brunswick, NJ, and London: Transaction Publishers, 2007), pp. 117-135.

(10) Some context to the Declaration of the Rhineland Synod is provided in Bertold Klappert and Helmut Starck, eds., Umkehr und Erneuerung: Erlauterungen zum Synodalbeschluss der Rheinischen Landessynode 1980--"Zur Erneuerung des Verhaltnisses von Christen und Juden" (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1980); Heinz Kremers, "The First German Church Faces the Challenge of the Holocaust: A Report," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 450 (July, 1980): 190--201; and Conway, "German Churches and the Jewish People." The declaration is printed in Rendtorff and Henrix, Die Kirchen und das Judentum, pp. 593-596. For an E.T., see Synod of the Protestant Church of the Rhineland, "Toward Renovation of the Relationship of Christians and Jews," tr. Franklin H. Littell, J.E.S. 17 (Winter, 1980): 211- 212. For a reassessment after twenty-five years, see Katja Kriener and Johann Michael Schmidt, eds., "... um Seines Namens willen": Christen und Juden vor dem Einen Gott Israels--25 Jahre Synodalbeschluss der Evangelischen Kirche im Rheinland (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 2005).

(11) The Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland is a federation of twenty-two different and autonomous regional church bodies, which traditionally identify as Lutheran or Reformed or as United (Unionskirchen, churches that have merged their Lutheran and Reformed traditions and doctrine).

(12) See Holmgren, "Jews and Christians in Germany," pp. 298-299.

(13) Ibid., pp. 300-301.

(14) Ibid,, pp. 301-302. Holmgren lists a number of German scholars who dedicated their careers to a theology mindful of Christian-Jewish interrelatedness. Though some of these scholars are known in Anglo-American discourse, most of their works have not been translated into English. One exception, however, is Peter von der Osten-Sacken's Grundzuge einer Theologie im christlichjudischen Gesprach (1982), which has been translated; see Peter von der Osten-Sacken, Christian-Jewish Dialogue: Theological Foundations (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986). Short articles by von der Osten-Sacken and Berthold Klappert can be found in Michael A. Signer, Humanity at the Limit: The Impact of the Holocaust Experience on Jews and Christians (Bloomington and Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press, 2000), pp. 79-84 and 84-94. Some essays by FriedrichWilhelm Marquardt have recently been translated; see Friedrich-Wilhelm Marquardt, Theological Audacities: Selected Essays, ed. Andreas Pangritz and Paul S. Cung (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2010). For a critical contextualization of Marquardt's theological approach, see K. Hanna Holtschneider, German Protestants Remember the Holocaust: Theology and the Construction of Collective Memory (Munster: Lit, 2001), pp. 105-142.

(15) Holmgren, "Jews and Christians in Germany," pp. 302-303. In addition to the literature cited by Holmgren, see Christoph Munz and Rudolf W. Sirsch, eds., "Wenn nicht ich, wer? Wenn nicht jetzt, wann?" Zur gesellschaftspolitischen Bedeutung des deutschen Koordinierungsrates der Gesellschaften fur Christlich-Judische Zusammenarbeit (DKR) (Munster: Lit, 2004).

(16) Holmgren, "Jews and Christians in Germany," p. 314.

(17) Ibid., p. 315.

(18) Allan Brockway, Paul van Buren, Rolf Rendtorff, and Simon Schoon, eds., The Theology of the Churches and the Jewish People: Statements by the World Council of Churches and Its Member Churches (Geneva: WCC Publications, 1988), pp. 47-48.

(19) Littell, "Toward Renovation of the Relationship," p. 212.

(20) Peter von der Osten-Sacken, Katechismus und Siddur: Aufbruche mit Martin Luther und den Lehrern Israels, 2nd ed. (Berlin: Institut Kirche und Judentum, 1994), pp. 345- 348.

(21) In section 3 of the study, Die bleibende Erwahlung Israels und der Streit um die Judenmission ("The Continued Chosenness of Israel and the Conflict around the Mission to Jews"), the very first sentence reads: "Judenmission ... gehort heute nicht mehr zu den von der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland (EKD) und ihren Gliedkirchen betriebenen oder gar geforderten Arbeitsfeldern." The study group made this statement in reference to the Shoah as a call to Christians for complete repentance and as the ultimate climax of an almost 2,000-year-long false Christian attitude to Jews and Judaism; see Kirchenamt der E.K.D., ed., Christen und Juden III: Schritte der Erneuerung im Verhaltnis zum Judentum (Gutersloh: Gutersloher Verlagshaus, 2000), pp. 47 and 58-59. Moreover, the presiding bishop of the E.K.D., Prases Nikolaus Schneider, has personally represented this turnaround. Throughout his career, Schneider, who comes from the Rhineland Church, tirelessly reminded his flock that Israel will be saved on its own terms and not through the Christian church. In fact, Schneider will be awarded the Buber-Rosenzweig medal in 2012, the highest possible public recognition of someone's service for Christian-Jewish dialogue in Germany's civil society.

(22) Holmgren, "Jews and Christians in Germany," p. 309.

(23) The Nazis forced up to 12,000,000 people to labor, mainly in farming, mining, and war-related industries. Those "laborers" were employed to save on compensation for German workers. They supplied the labor force at home while most men were drafted into war, and concentration camps operated on the ideology of "extermination through labor." All of this was not in the public eye before the late 1980's, following a groundbreaking dissertation by historian Ulrich Herbert; see Ulrich Herbert, Hitler's Foreign Workers: Enforced Foreign Labor in Germany under the Third Reich (Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997). In 2010, the Jewish Museum of Berlin organized a comprehensive exhibition titled "Forced Labor: The Germans, the Forced Laborers, and the War." In June, 2011, the exhibition went on display in Moscow.

(24) See Jochen-Christoph Kaiser, ed., Zwangsarbeit in Kirche und Diakonie (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2005). Kaiser's book summarizes many of the regional studies prior to its publication.

(25) See note 9, above.

(26) Birte Petersen, Theologie nach Auschwitz? Judische und christliche Versuche einer Antwort, 3rd ed. (Berlin: lnstitut Kirche und Judentum, 2004). Petersen's prizewinning dissertation is perhaps still the most comprehensive treatment of the subject.

(27) For a historical examination of this stage, see Siegfried Hermle, Evangelische Kirche und Judentum---Stationen nach 1945 (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1990); and Matthew D. Hockenos, A Church Divided: German Protestants Confront the Nazi Past (Bloomington and Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004), pp. 135-170.

(28) Gabriele Kammerer, In die Haare, in die Arme, 40 Jahre Arbeitsgemeinschaft "Juden und Christen" beim Deutschen Evangelischen Kirchentag (Gutersloh: Gutersloher Verlagshaus, 2001). This book was reviewed by Katharina von Kellenbach in J.E.S. 38 (Winter, 2001): 113-114. Kammerer has also written an insightful short history of the Aktion Suhnezeichen Friedensdienste ("Action Reconciliation Service for Peace"), an organization founded in 1958 by Lothar Kreyssig, a member of the Confessing Church, who, after 1945, became head of the Evangelical Church of the Province Saxony. The Aktion Suhnezeichen has brought many young Germans to places in Israel, Poland, and elsewhere for social and other types of services. See Gabriele Kammerer, Aktion Suhnezeichen Friedensdienste: Aber man kann es einfach tun (Gottingen: Lamuv, 2008).

(29) Joachim Mehlhausen, "Die Wahmehmung von Schuld in der Geschichte: Ein Beitrag uber fruhe Stimmen in der Schulddiskussion nach 1945," in Joachim Mehlhausen, Vestigia Verbi: Aufsatze zur Geschichte der evangelischen Theologie (Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 1999), pp. 458--484.

(30) Martin Stohr, "Okumene, Christlich-Judische Gesellschaften, Akademien und Kirchentag: Zu den Anfangen des judisch-christlichen Dialogs," Evangelische Theologie, vol. 61, no. 4 (2001), pp.

290-301. For the Protestant Academies in general, see Franz Grubauer and Wolfgang Lenz, eds., Protestantisch--Weltoffen--Streitbar: Funfzehn Zeitzeichen anlasslich des 50jahrigen Jubilaums der Evangelischen Akademien in Deutschland (Bad Boll and Stolzenau: Weserdruckerei Oesselmann, 1999).

(31) Peter von der Osten-Sacken, "Das Geheimnis des anderen: Versuch einer Orientierung im christlich-judischen Verhaltnis," in Katja Kriener, Bernd Schroder, and Ernst M. Dorrfuss, eds., Lernen auf Zukunft hin: Einsichten des christlich-judischen Gesprachs--25 Jahre 'Studium m Israel' (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 2004), pp. 7-23. One fitting example for this new phase of debate is the collection of lectures held at the University of Hamburg in 2009. See Siegfried von Kortzfleisch, Wolfgang Grunberg, and Timm Schramm, eds., Wende-Zeit im Verhaltnis von Juden und Christen (Berlin: EBVerlag, 2009).

(32) Pruin emphasized attempts at a new interpretation of Romans 9-11. See Florian Wilk and J. Ross Wagner, eds., Between Gospel and Election: Explorations in the Interpretation of Romans 9-11 (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010). For Second Testament Christology, see Klaus Wengst, Jesus zwischen Juden und Christen (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1999). For ecclesiology, see Wolfgang Kraus, Das Volk Gottes: Zur Grundlegung der Ekklesiologie bei Paulus (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck 1996). For a Christian re-reading of the Torah, see Frank Crusemann, The Torah: Theology and Social History of Old Testament Law, tr. Alan W. Mahnke (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress 1996). New exegetical insights and interpretations are a crucial part of the discussion in Germany, but it would take an additional essay to do justice to the enormous amount of work in the area of biblical studies over the last thirty years.

(33) Pruin mentioned Richard L. Rubenstein, Emil Fackenheim, and Eliezer Berkovits, as well as Dorothee Solle, Jurgen Moltmann, and Johann Baptist Metz.

(34) Examples of a theology after the Shoah by the younger generation of German scholars are: Katharina von Kellenbach, Bjorn Krondorfer, and Norbert Reck, eds., Von Gott reden im Land der Tater: Theologische Stimmen der dritten Generation seit der Shoah (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2001); Bjorn Krondorfer, "Theological Innocence and Family History in the Land of Perpetrators: German Theologians after the Shoah," Harvard Theological Review 97 (January, 2004): 61-82; Britta Jungst, Auf der Seite des Todes das Leben: Auf dem Weg zu einer christlichfeministischen Theologie nach der Shoah (Gutersloh: Kaiser and Gutersloher Verlagshaus, 1996); Barbara U. Meyer, Christologie im Schatten der Shoah--im Lichte Israels: Studien zu Paul van Buren und Friedrich-Wilhelm Marquardt (Zurich: Theologischer Verlag, 2004); and Joachim von Soosten, "Gottes Versprechen und des Menschen Bitte: Glaubige Existenz nach Auschwitz," Berliner Theologische Zeitschrift, vol. 7 (1990), pp. 21-35. For a more Catholic contribution, see Manfred Gorg and Michael Langer, eds., Als Gott weinte:. Theologie nach Auschwitz (Regensburg: Friedrich Pustet, 1997). Manuel Goldmann's dissertation creatively employs Michael Wyschogrod's The Body of Faith: God in the People Israel (Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1983), in an attempt to work out different Christian and Jewish modes of tradition and thinking; see Manuel Goldmann, "Die grosse okumenische Frage ..."--Zur Strukturverschiedenheit christlicher und judischer Tradition und ihrer Relevanz fur die Begegnung der Kirche mit Israel (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1997).

(35) The Study Commission was a high-profile group of German theologians appointed by the Evangelical Church in Germany. Dagmar Pruin, in her essay, unfortunately, ignored the work of the Study Commission.

(36) All three studies are now republished in a single volume: Kirchenamt der E.K.D., ed., Christen und Juden I-III: Die Studien der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland, 1975-2000 (Gutersloh: Gutersloher Verlagshaus, 2002). The Study Commission also published a workbook for congregational use: Rolf Rendtorff, ed., Arbeitsbuch Christen und Juden: Zur Studie des Rates der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland (Gutersloh: Gutersloher Verlagshaus, 1979). Initiated by Rendtorff, the theological journal Kirche und Israel was founded in the context of the Study Commission to research and debate topics between Christianity and Judaism. It is a mutual endeavor by Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish theologians, which has been published bi-annually since 1986.

(37) See Holmgren, "Jews and Christians in Germany," pp. 300-301.

(38) Christina Kayales and Astrid Fiehland-van der Vegt, eds., Was jeder vom Judentum wissen muss (Gutersloh: Gutersloher Verlagshaus, 2007). Throughout the book's different editions, the editors asked increasingly for advice from Jewish theologians.

(39) For an earlier reflection on Judaism in curricula for Christian religious education, see Martin Stohr, ed., Judentum im christlichen Religionsunterricht (Frankfurt/Main: Haag und Herchen, 1983). For a more recent study, see Albrecht Lohrbacher, Helmut Ruppel, and Ingrid Schmidt, eds., Was Christen vom Judentum lernen konnen (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer 2006). For Christians, the church, and the Shoah, see Albrecht Lohrbacher, Helmut Ruppel, Ingrid Schmidt, and Jorg Thierfelder, eds., Schoa--Schweigen ist unmoglich: Erinnern, Lernen, Gedenken (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1999).

(40) See, e.g., Amt fur kirchliche Dienste der Evangelischen Kirche von Kurhessen-Waldeck, Lebendiges Erinnern: Orte und Initiativen der Erinnerung an judisches Leben in Kurhessen-Waldeck ("Living Memory: Places and Initiatives to Remember Jewish Life in Kurhesse- Waldeck") (Kassel: Evangelisches Medienzentrum, 2000); and Helmut Burmeister and Michael Dorhs, eds., Vertraut werden mit Fremden: Zeugnisse judischer Kultur im Stadtmuseum Hofgeismar (Hofgeismar: Zahnwetzer, 2000).

(41) See, e.g., Evangelisches Gesangbuch: Ausgabe fur die Evangelische Kirche von Kurhessen-Waldeck (Kassel: Evangelischer Medienverband, 1994), p. 58: "We believe in one God, who created heaven and earth and man in his image. He has chosen Israel, has given (Israel) the commandments and has raised its covenant as a blessing for all people. We believe in Jesus of Nazareth, descendent of David, son of Mary, Christ of God... "

(42) The conference runs its own website at www.klak.org.

(43) Konferenz Landeskirchlicher Arbeitskreise Christen und Juden, "Die ganze Bibel zu Wort kommen lassen: Ein neues Perikopenmodell," Begegnungen: Zeitschrift fur Kirche und Judentum (Sonderheft 2) 9 (2009).

(44) Alexander Deeg, Der Gottesdienst im christlich-judischen Dialog: Liturgische Anregungen, Spannungsfelder, Stolpersteine (Gotersloh: Gotersloher Verlagshaus, 2003); Alexander Deeg and Irene Mildenberger, eds., "... dass er euch auch erwahlet hat"--Liturgie feiern im Horizont des Judentums (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2006); Jan Hermelink and Bernd Schroder, eds., "Praktische Theologie angesichts des Judentums," Praktische Theologie (Themenheft), vol. 39 (2004), pp. 243-318.

(45) Christian Stablein, Predigen nach dem Holocaust: Das judische Gegenuber in der evangelischen Predigtlehre nach 1945 (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004).

(46) Alexander Deeg, Predigt und Derascha: Homiletische Textlekture im Dialog mit dem Judentum (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006). See also Alexander Deeg, Walter Homolka, and Heinz-Gunther Schottler, eds., Preaching in Judaism and Christianity: Encounters and Developments from Biblical Times to Modernity (Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 2008).

(47) During the program, theology students are introduced to rabbinical traditions and exegesis. See Kriener, Schroder, and Dorrfuss, Lernen auf Zukunft hin; and Martin Stohr, ed., Lernen in

Jerusalem--Lernen mit Israel: Anstosse zur Erneuerung in Theologie und Kirche (Berlin: Institut Kirche und Judentum, 1993).

(48) Evelina Volkmann, Vom Judensonntag zum Israelsonntag: Predigtarbeit im Horizont des christlich-judischen Gesprachs (Stuttgart: Calwer 2002); and Irene Mildenberger, Der Israelsonntag: Gedenktag der Zerstorung Israels (Berlin: Institut Kirche und Judentum, 2004).

(49) I am not aware of any public declarations, statements, or constitutional amendments by the Evangelical Church of Anhalt, the Evangelical Church of Bremen, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saxony, or the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Schaumburg-Lippe.

(50) The following churches have amended their constitution or bylaws: the Evangelical-Reformed Church in Bavaria and Northwestern Germany (1988), the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (1991), the Evangelical Church of the Palatinate (1995), the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland (1996), the Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg (1996), the Pommeranian Evangelical Church (1997), the Church of Lippe (1998), the Evangelical Church in Baden (2001), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg (2001), the North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church (2002), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brunswick (2005), the Evangelical Church of Westphalia (2005), and the Evangelical Church in Central Germany (2009). In addition, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria is very close to amending its constitution.

(51) See Johann Michael Schmidt, "Israel in synodalen Erklarungen und Kirchenordnungen," Evangelische Theologie, vol. 61, no. 4 (2001), pp. 282-289.

(52) For the notion and the functions of the synod in Protestantism, see Wolfgang Huber, "Synode und Konziliaritat: Uberlegungen zur Theologie der Synode," in Gerhard Rau, Hans- Richard Reuter, and Klaus Schlaich, eds., Das Recht der Kirche, vol. 3: Zur Praxis des Kirchenrechts (Gutersloh: Gutersloher, 1994), pp. 319-348; Joachim Mehlhausen, "Kirche und Israel," in Katja Kriener and Johann Michael Schmidt, eds., Gottes Treue--Hoffnung von Christen und Juden: Die Auseinandersetzung um die Erganzung des Grundartikels der Kirchenordnung der Evangelischen Kirche im Rheinland (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1998), pp. 250-268; and Reiner Preul, "Synode III/2: Neuzeit seit Schleiermacher," Theologische Realenzyklopadie, vol. 32 (2001), pp. 576-579.

(53) See Wilfried Harle, "Kirche VII: Dogmatisch," Theologische Realenzyklopadie, vol. 18 (1989), pp. 277-317; and Joachim Mehlhausen, "Presbyterial-synodale Kirchenverfassung," Theologische Realenzyklopadie, vol. 27 (1997), pp. 331-340.

(54) In order to understand the full meaning of those church constitutions, one has to go back to the time of the Protestant Reformation. In the Protestant territories, where the canon law had been abolished and episcopal and papal jurisdiction had become null and void, Kirchenordnungen helped to counterbalance the radical Anabaptists, who rejected the building of permanent structures and relied in their church practice on the immediate presence of the Holy Spirit. Today, church constitutions further define and specify the Protestant churches' confessional status (Bekenntnisstand), the authority of the different church offices and agencies, and all matters regarding the liturgy. It is within the preambles or opening articles of these constitutions, where statements concerning creed, confessional status, and the basic foundations of the church are made. For a further definition of the Kirchenordnungen, see Anneliese Sprengler-Ruppenthal, "Kirchenordnungen II: Evangelische," Theologische Realenzyklopadie, vol. 18 (1989), pp. 670-707; Michael Plathow, "Kirchenordnungen III: Praktisch-theologische," Theologische Realenzyklopadie, vol. 18 (1989), pp. 707-713; Peter Landau, "Kirchenverfassungen," Theologische Realenzyklopadie, vol. 19 (1990), pp. 110-165; and Dieter Kraus, ed., Evangelische Kirchenverfassungen in Deutschland: Textsammlung mit einer Einfuhrung (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2001).

(55) In Germany, as well as in the United States, both chambers of government have to provide a two-thirds vote for a constitutional amendment to pass.

(56) This instrument derived from the Reformation as well. Already the Augsburg Confession of 1530, one of the great confessions of the Reformation in Germany authored by Philipp Melanchthon, explained the new Christian doctrinal teachings of the now-Protestant estates. While doing so, the Augsburg Confession declared in its very first article that the churches on the Protestant territories indeed teach in "great consent." See article I of the Confessio Augustana (1530), in Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, eds., The Book of Concord (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2000), p. 37: "The churches among us teach with complete unanimity." In its Latin version the text reads: "Ecclesiae magno consensu apud nos docent" (Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch- lutherischen Kirche, 10th ed. [Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1986], p. 50).

(57) Mehlhausen, "Kirche und Israel," p. 257.

(58) A concise summary of this discussion is given by Dietrich Dehnen, "Kirchenverfassung und Kirchengesetz," in Gerhard Ran, Hans-Richard Reuter, and Klaus Schlaich, eds., Das Recht der Kirche, vol. 1: Zur Theorie des Kirchenrechts (Gtltersloh: Gutersloher Verlagshaus, 1997), pp. 448-473 (esp. pp. 453-456). See also Markus B. Buning, Bekenntnis und Kirchenverfassung (Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang, 2002); and Dietrich Keller, "Bekennende Abkehr vom Irrweg kirchlicher und theologischer Judenfeindschaft," Zeitschrift fur evangelisches Kirchenrecht, vol. 40, no. 4 (1995), pp. 385-417.

(59) Kirchenamt der E.KD., Christen und Juden III, pp. 9-12.

(60) In this last section of the essay, I draw on Hans-Joachim Barkenings, who provides some helpful commentary and institutional history to several amendments. See Hans- Joachim Barkenings, "Zur christlichen Neupositionierung im Verhaltnis und im Verhalten der Christen zu den Juden in Kirchenordnungen und Kirchenverfassungen nach 1980," in epd-Dokumentation Nr. 9/10: Bilanz und Perspektiven des christlich-judischen Dialogs (Frankfurt/Main: Gemeinschaftswerk der Evangelischen Publizistik, 2005), pp. 45-60. Constitutional amendments from before 2000 are also accessible in Kraus and Henrix, Die Kirchen und das Judentum, which also provides helpful introductions.

(61) See Barkenings, "Zur christlichen Neupositionierung," p. 49: "Gott hat Israel zu seinem Volk erwahlt und nie verworfen. Er hat in Jesus Christus die Kirche in seinen Bund hineingenommen. Deshalb gehort zu Wesen und Auftrag der Kirche, Begegnung und Versohnung mit dem Volk Israel zu suchen."

(62) Ibid.: "Aus Blindheit und Schuld zur Umkehr gerufen, bezeugt sie (die Kirche) neu die bleibende Erwahlung der Juden und Gottes Bund mit ihnen. Das Bekenntnis zu Jesus Christus schliesst dieses Zeugnis mit ein." See also Klaus-Dieter Grunwald, Karl-Heinz Kimmel et al., eds., Die Ordnung der Evangelischen Kirche in Hessen und Nassau: Kommentar (Frankfurt/Main: Spener, 1999), pp. 15-21.

(63) Barkenings, "Zur christlichen Neupositionierung," p. 50: "Durch ihren Herrn Jesus Christus weiss sie (die Kirche) sich hineingenommen in die Verheissungsgesehichte Gottes mit seinem ersterwahlten Volk Israel--zum Heil fur alle Menschen. Zur Umkehr gerufen, sucht sie Versohnung mit dem judischen Volk und tritt jeder Form von Judenfeindsehaft entgegen." For earlier discussions in the Palatinate, see Landeskirchenrat der Evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz, ed., Kirche und Israel: Eine Arbeitshilfe fur Gemeinden, Presbyterien und Bezirkssynoden im Bereich der Evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz zum Verhaltnis von Christen und Juden (Speyer: Evangelischer Presseverlag, 1988).

(64) Barkenings, "Zur christlichen Neupositionierung," p. 45: "Sie (die Kirche) bezeugt die Treue Gottes, der an der Erwahlung seines Volkes Israel festhalt. Mit Israel hofft sie auf einen neuen Himmel und eine neue Erde." For the process of amending the constitution of the Church in the Rhineland, see Kriener and Schmidt, Gottes Treue.

(65) Barkenings, "Zur christlichen Neupositionierung," p. 54: "Die Nordelbische Evangelisch Lutherische Kirche bezeugt die Treue Gottes, der an dem Bund mit seinem Volk Israel festhalt. Sie ist im Horen auf Gottes Weisung und in der Hoffnung auf die Vollendung der Gottesherrschaft mit dem Volk Israel verbunden."

(66) See "Grundordnung der Evangelischen Kirche Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz," in Alexander Strassmeir, ed., Das Recht der Evangelischen Kirche Berlin- Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz (Bielefeld: Bertelsmann, 2008), p. 4: "Sie (die Kirche) erkennt und erinnert daran, dass Gottes Verheissung fur sein Volk Israel gultig bleibt: Gottes Gaben und Berufung konnen ihn nicht gereuen. Sie weiss sich zur Anteilnahme am Weg des judischen Volkes verpflichtet. Deshalb misst sie in Leben und Lehre dem Verhaltnis zum judischen Volk besondere Bedeutung zu und erinnert an die Mitschuld der Kirche an der Ausgrenzung und Vernichtung judischen Lebens. Sie bleibt im Horen auf Gottes Weisung und in der Hoffnung auf die Vollendung der Gottesherrschaft mit dem judischen Volk verbunden." See also Barkenings, "Zur christlichen Neupositionierung," pp. 51-52.

(67) Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1958), p. 247.
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Author:Rosenhagen, Ulrich
Publication:Journal of Ecumenical Studies
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Sep 22, 2011
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