Explores various responses to the question, what is “Jewish” in modern Jewish thought? Through select readings, reflection, writing and discussion students will be introduced to the diversity of contemporary Jewish religious ritual, tradition and practice, philosophy (ethics in particular), art and aesthetics, social issues, thought, and the “space” in which Jewishness is located and expressed in Western culture. Learning experiences will prepare missional Christians to understand and appreciate Jewish thought and practice and to meaningfully engage, interact and dialogue with Jewish persons.
In our contemporary “spiritual and religious marketplace” it has been observed that there is not one but many Judaisms and that modern Jewish thought is diverse, often embraces pluralism, and can be difficult to define. “Jewish” thought can be religious, or cultural, or ethno-centric, or ethical/moral and values-based, or simply defined by what it is not (highly inclusive and tolerant of almost any philosophy except the claims of Jesus). This course equips students to engage our contemporary Jewish context with the claims of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in ways that are respectful and understanding of the range of modern Jewish identities and culture.
This course familiarizes learners with the range of thought in modern Jewish social situations.
Biblical foundations inform the approach to engaging modern Jewish communities as it is said in the Hebrew Bible, over 100 times, “I will be your God, you will be my people, and I will dwell in your midst.”
Evangelicals may be called to interact and engage in dialogue with a Jewish community for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Modern Jewish thought can be deeply spiritual, open to considering truths known to other religions and philosophies, and tolerant of differing, even competing ideas; therefore the missionally-minded Christian can approach the modern Jewish context with the plausible alternative of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Students will understand and appreciate how modern, contemporary Judaism is diverse, inclusive of a broad range of beliefs, and tolerant of most spiritual and religious paths except Evangelical Christianity, therefore its culture should be understood, respected and appreciated before engaging it.
Since we are dealing with a particular contemporary religious movement and it is understood that we may find ourselves engaging in missional-relational interactions among them, the outcomes of this course will be applied and practical.
Students prepared and equipped to engage the modern Jewish world should also seek to evidence an experience of the transformational grace of Jesus Christ, since modern Jewish thought is highly experiential.