Chris­tians & Jews in Dia­logue: Learn­ing in the Pres­ence of the Other

Mary C. Boys; Sara S. Lee
  • Review
By – November 7, 2011

Mid­way through their book, Mary Boys and Sara Lee state the key premise of their work in the field of inter-faith dia­logue: Inter-reli­gious learn­ing aims to go deep­er by fos­ter­ing rela­tion­ships among par­tic­i­pants, and with key texts, prac­tices and beliefs of the other’s tra­di­tion.” These edu­ca­tors have devel­oped a pro­gram that goes beyond teach­ing tol­er­ance, that is, the abil­i­ty to accept the oth­er” with­in soci­ety. They believe that for true dia­logue to hap­pen, both sides need to under­stand the other’s reli­gious per­spec­tive by study­ing texts of both Chris­t­ian and Jew­ish traditions. 

With­in a struc­tured study group Jews and Chris­tians can exam­ine the sources of each other’s beliefs, the his­tor­i­cal devel­op­ment of their respec­tive tra­di­tions, and the ori­gins of con­flict between Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty. This dia­logue must be accom­pa­nied by a will­ing­ness of the par­tic­i­pants to let go of past prej­u­dices and opin­ions and be open to a new under­stand­ing not only of the oth­er, but of them­selves as well. 

The book is both a his­to­ry of how each of the authors came to be ded­i­cat­ed to their faiths, Mary Boys as a Catholic and Sara Lee as a Jew, and, through their per­son­al friend­ship and com­mit­ment to reli­gious edu­ca­tion, how they came to devel­op a new pro­gram for com­mu­ni­ty inter-faith learn­ing. Those who are inter­est­ed or involved in inter-faith dia­logue would find this book to be a use­ful guide in revi­tal­iz­ing their syn­a­gogues’ efforts to speak to and with Chris­tians and Muslims.

Bar­bara Andrews holds a Mas­ters in Jew­ish Stud­ies from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go, has been an adult Jew­ish edu­ca­tion instruc­tor, and works in the cor­po­rate world as a pro­fes­sion­al adult educator.

Discussion Questions