After Vatican II, the Roman Catholic Church began a process of stripping away anti-Jewish sentiments within its theological culture. One question that has arisen and received very scant attention regards the theological significance of the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 – and the attendant nakba, the plight of the Palestinian people. Some American evangelical Christians have developed a theology around the state of Israel, associating themselves with Zionism. Some Christian groups have developed a theology around the suffering of the Palestinian people and demand resistance to Zionism.
This unique collection of essays from leading Catholic theologians from the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, England, and the Middle East reflect on the theological status of the land of Israel. These essays represent an exhaustive range of views. None avoid the new Catholic theology regarding the Jewish people. Some contributors see this as leading towards a positive theological affirmation of the state of Israel, while distancing themselves from Christian Zionists. All contributors are committed to rights of the Palestinian people. Some affirm the need for strong diplomatic and political support for Israel along with equal support for Palestinians, arguing that this is as far as the Church can go. Others argue that the Church’s
emerging theology represents the guilt conscience of Europe at the cost of the Palestinian people. None deny the right of Jews to live in the land.
Two Jewish scholars respond to the essays creating an atmosphere of genuine interfaith dialogue which serves Catholics to think further through these issues.
"The importance of this volume lies in its engagement of an open and current theological question, in breadth and depth from multiple perspectives. The authors are all recognized experts in the field of Catholic-Jewish studies. The breadth of the study comes from the multiple contexts which the authors faithfully represent. I am not aware of another volume which brings such competent and diverse voices together. The question is significant, and the contribution of the volume will be significant."~Very Reverend Thomas A. Baima, Provost, University of St. Mary on the Lake, IL
"Shapiro and D‘Costa have edited an important theological work exploring the directions of Catholic theology toward the Holy Land. Seeking to move beyond the older anti-Jewish theologies that condemned Jews to be wanderers without a country to an acceptance of the legitimate claim of Jews to live in the land of Israel, the book offers a broad spectrum of authors from those celebrating Jewish life in the land of Israel as theologically significant and an important next step in Jewish -Catholic dialogue to those who argue that from a Catholic perspective living in the Holy Land cannot come at the expense of the Palestinians or to create a culture of war. With comprehensive erudition, the essays mine Catholic sources from patristics to Aquinas to modern thought, and they especially plumbs recent statements of the Catholic Church. This book needs to be read by everyone involved in contemporary Jewish-Catholic dialogue and belongs in every interfaith library."~Alan Brill, Seton Hall University
"This impressive collection of essays will help readers both to grasp the central issues and to glimpse paths along which resolutions for what have proven to be almost intractably divisive disagreements might eventually be found. Principally Catholic in its orientation, but it does not neglect Jewish or Muslim Palestinian viewpoints. An enormously significant contribution to Catholic theology and religious dialogue."~Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, OP, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
"With its wide range of perspectives, this book marks an extraordinary first step toward resolving the most important question for contemporary Jewish-Catholic dialogue. Highly recommended!"~Matthew Levering, author of Engaging the Doctrine of Israel: A Christian Israelology in Dialogue with Ongoing Judaism
"This truly remarkable book confronts head-on a topic quite conspicuously absent from Catholic thinking about the Jews and Judaism since Vatican II: the land. The excellent essays gathered here offer far more questions than answers, and identify deep disagreements—first of all among Catholics themselves—about how to understand the relationship of the Jewish people and Jewish faith to the land God gave to Abraham and to the modern state of Israel. But these disagreements must be faced if the Church is to think through, and live out, her commitment to the irrevocable gifts and call of God."~Bruce D. Marshall, Southern Methodist University
" Contemporary Responses to the People, Land, and State of Israel is to be welcomed as an important addition to Jewish-Catholic dialogue, especially on one of its most complicated issues. The fact that the Catholic authors here are both conversant with the Jewish tradition, and they are in touch with some of the leading Jewish theologians dealing with the same issues vi-a-vis the Catholic tradition, makes this book indispensable for the continuation of the dialogue itself."~David Novak, University of Tornoto