Tanzer explores roots of Jewish-Christian difference in Goldstein Lectures

03-08-2010 by

Geoff Ashmun

If Christians and Jews share many of the same foundational biblical texts, why does misunderstanding about their respective traditions persist? Dr. Sarah Tanzer, Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism at McCormick Theological Seminary, addresses this and related questions in the two-part Goldstein Lectures, hosted at Morningside College, 7 p.m., March 18, and at Temple Beth Shalom, 7 p.m., March 19, in Sioux City, Iowa.

An internationally recognized scholar whose work ranges from the Dead Sea Scrolls to Sexuality and the Bible, Tanzer will begin the endowed lectureship at the college with her address, “Do the Stereotypes Still Hold: Christian Universalism and Jewish Particularism?” Tanzer will take up traditional stereotypes of Christianity as inclusive and Judaism as exclusive, exploring their origins, their relationship to certain socio-historical issues, as well as different understandings of “election” and “salvation” in these two traditions.

Tanzer’s second lecture, “Christians and Jews Reading the Same Texts Differently: Creation as a Case in Point” examines the creation stories in Genesis 1-3 and how very different understandings of human nature and covenantal responsibilities sow the seeds for difference and even conflict.

“How each tradition understands human nature makes for very different messianic figures,” Tanzer says. “While the ‘The Fall’ originated in Judaism, it was abandoned early on, whereas it became foundational to Christianity and its concept of a ‘savior.’ It’s important that Jews and Christians are aware of where their traditions diverge, so that they are not walking into misunderstandings.”

For more information on the Goldstein Lectures, visit www.morningside.edu. A full biography of Dr. Sarah Tanzer is available at www.mccormick.edu/instructor/sarah-tanzer