UK Christian Bookshops Directory: Christian Book Reviews: Women's Voices
Women's Voices Women's Voices
New Perspectives for the Christian-Jewish Dialogue

Helen Fry, Rachel Montagu and Lynne Scholefield
ISBN 0334029864 (9780334029861)
SCM-Canterbury Press, 2005

Category: Doctrine and Theology

As someone who rarely feels entirely at ease in all-female company, I approached the concept of 'women's dialogue' with a mixture of curiosity and trepidation. To my surprise and delight, this new volume edited by Fry, Montagu and Scholefield turns out to be a real treasure and a genuinely new contribution to the field of Christian/Jewish relations.

The papers arise from regular meetings of Christian and Jewish scholars under the title of the 'Kent House Group', accepting the hospitality of the late Rabbi Dr Albert Friedlander and his wife Evelyn. A glance at the contents page includes headings which one might have expected, such as a conversation on Mary Magdalene, Life Cycles or Women Prophets. However, there are also chapters dealing with broader issues, such as Pilgrimage and The Eucharist, and narratives like The Rape of Dinah, where the richness and creativity of the scholarship on offer are particularly stimulating.

Readers more experienced in issues of Christian/Jewish relations may find some chapters, such as that on the Holocaust, less able to offer much in the way of genuinely fresh perspectives in the space available. Others may find themselves wanting to engage in the dialogue too with alternative perspectives. However, both of these comments should encourage readers of all experience or none to engage with the material from their own positions.

Contributors come from a variety of Christian and Jewish traditions and experiences, but each is willing to engage in genuinely frank and open dialogue. Essentially, the texts and narratives covered here are all difficult; the issues are not avoided but engaged head-on.

This is a book by women, but it is not exclusively for women. It is a very significant contribution to Christian/Jewish dialogue, providing fresh insights and stimulating further considerations.

Jane Clements, May 2005

Jane Clements is the Deputy Director of CCJ, the Council of Christians and Jews.

Review Previously Published by Common Ground, the Journal of the Council of Christians and Jews. Reused here by kind permission.

SCM-Canterbury Press

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