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The Promise [Paperback]

By Jean Marie Lustiger (Author), Rebecca H. Balinski (Translator) & Richard Malone (Translator)
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Item description for The Promise by Jean Marie Lustiger, Rebecca H. Balinski & Richard Malone...

If Christians want to be faithful to Christ, how should they understand Jews? Because of their faith in the crucified Messiah, the Christian nations are indebted to Israel. Yet they have largely marginalized and even rejected God's chosen people. In this volume Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger reflects on a number of subjects and concerns common to both Christians and Jews - the Ten Commandments, fulfillment of biblical prophecy, Christian anti-Semitism, and more.

Publishers Description
Because of their faith in the crucified Messiah, the Christian nations are indebted to Israel. Yet they have largely marginalized and even rejected God's chosen people. In this volume Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger reflects on a number of subjects and concerns common to both Christians and Jews ? the Ten Commandments, fulfillment of biblical prophecy, Christian anti-Semitism, and more.

As a Jewish-born Roman Catholic priest, Cardinal Lustiger has a unique viewpoint. He became Archbishop of Paris and a cardinal while remaining keenly aware of his indelible Jewish identity and of the vital Jewish roots of Christianity. Aware that his reflections may be controversial ? possibly offending Jewish and Christian readers alike ? he nonetheless boldly shares his perspectives in The Promise, hoping that readers will see him as speaking and writing in good faith, in the service of the Word of God given for the happiness and salvation of all.

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Promise by Jean Marie Lustiger, Rebecca H. Balinski & Richard Malone has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Commonweal - 01/18/2008 page 30

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   177
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.82" Width: 6.89" Height: 0.2"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2007
ISBN  0802807712  
ISBN13  9780802807717  

Availability  2 units.
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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Promise?

Jews, Catholics and the Work Ahead  Mar 5, 2010
First, let me say that I found this book a bit of a challenge intellectually. It was definittely not written for the average layperson. Perhaps this is my own personal shortcoming, but I sometimes find the writing of those up higher in the hierarchy harder to understand and digest. I often feel that they have a deeper knowledge and understanding of the truths of the faith, which they know intuitively on a very personal and profound level, and can therefore onyl deliver their teachings at a level that requires much reading, background, reflection and understanding. Again, maybe that's just me.

Anyway, what I derived from Cardinal Lustiger's book is that Christians, and Catholics in particular, need to be re-introduced to the meaning of Israel, Judaism and Jews in the histroy of salvation. As the chosen people from whom the Old Testament came, and from whom Jesus sprung, in accordance with the plan of salvation, Jews and Israel are a critical component of salvation history. Christ himself stood in for Israel in his passion, as the loving, faithful and surrendered Son of God. Anti-semitism is therefore not just un-Christian but anti-Christian, analogous to some form of fatricide, as we deride our elder brothers, as John Paul II referred to the Jews, who needed to precede us and undertake all the work necessary before we could become inheritors of "The Promise".

This book definitely requires rereading and reflection to absorb all that it contains, and there is definitely more than what I summarized above. Then again, the book is a compilation of reflections given by Cardinal Lustiger at a retreat and some conferences, so perhaps they are better absorbed in a tempo more akin to those circumstances.

The Promise  Jun 20, 2009
This profoundly enlightening work by a Catholic Cardinal (Archbishop of Paris, France who died in 2007) born into Judaism, who never stopped seeing himself as a Jew, should be read by every believing Jew and Christian. Cardial Lustiger asserted that through faith in Christ and the gift of the Spirit, the pagans have access to the plenitude of holiness promised to Israel. This holiness reveals the holiness of God; it is the sign in this world of His joy and of the hope of a new world. This is the whole meaning of the Covenant with its precepts and commandments. 'Be holy, for I the Lord am holy" (Leviticus 20:26; 1 Peter 1:16), "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48)" He suggests that perhaps the current rejection of Christianity signifies a lack of faithfulness to ancient Israel by Christians. He states "One of the possible sources of the present crisis of faith in the West is that the God being challenged is nothing other than the god of the pagans disguised as the God of the Christians. Could it be that Christians in the Western world are now paying the price for a too shallow and rapid conversion?"
amen to the promise  May 18, 2008
Lustiger's book is a stimulating theological read related to Christianity's understanding of the Election of Israel. Non-Jewish Christians (Lustiger's Pagan-Christians) participate (not supplant or replace) in the Covenant of Israel through the Messiah of Israel, Jesus. For non-Jews to accept/follow Jesus' offer of salvation and participation in the Covenant of Israel as non-Jews, a prerequisite is to affirm the Election of Israel and see their own Election/Salvation as an extension of the Election of Israel. Lustiger offers many beautiful new ways to read passages in Matthew. Like Stuart's excellent review above, I've found this a most important book with an very unique voice.
A Book Provoking Ongoing Self-Examination  Jan 2, 2008
Aaron Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger (1926-2007), a child of Polish-born secularized Jewish parents, was raised in Paris, and fled with his family to the south of France (Orléans) during WW II. Tragically, his mother returned to Paris to take care of business affairs, was betrayed by her maid, and deported to Auschwitz where she was murdered. Lustiger came across a Protestant Bible as a young adolescent, and in August of his 14th year became a convert, which conversion his father unsuccessfully sought to have reversed. His sister also converted. Lustiger and his father were reconciled in the 1970's, and then Bishop Lustiger made arrangements for the Jewish funeral of his father. He was Archbishop Emeritus of Paris, and throughout his life stood faithfully as a witness to Jewish suffering, the elect status of the Jewish people, and to Christ, the crucified. In religiously liberal France he was known as an excellent communicator, and like close friend John Paul II, modern in his style and traditional in his convictions. He was considered by some to be a logical successor to John Paul, but he demurred for reasons of health.

This compilation brings together a collection of meditations on the Gospel of Matthew delivered to a group of French contemplative nuns, supplemented by a few brief addresses delivered in the 1990's to various Jewish audiences. Throughout, Lustiger demonstrates an unflinching and consistent conviction that Israel is the Elect people of God and that Jesus is first and foremost their Savior and Redeemer, Furthermore, without exception, he refers to Gentiles, even Gentile Christians as "pagans," underscoring that Christian access to the grace of God is always via God's prior and continuing mercy to Israel. In this book, he explores the ways in which both Israel and the Church need each other, the contours of their respective and collective missions, and ways the attitudes of each community toward the other must change if they are to fulfill their destiny and responsibility to God and to humankind.

In Chapter One, "Jesus and the Law," he argues against seeing the Jews and their law as superseded by another code and another people. Jesus is presented as exemplifying and ratifying Torah obedience. God is seens as enabling us to walk in the obedience of Christ, patterned after the Law, and facilitated by the Spirit. Chapter Two, ""The Ten Words," shows how God himself exemplifies the righteous requirements of the Ten Words. Chapter Three, "Prophecy Concerning the Life of Jesus," examines the Matthean nativity story and the corporate solidarity of Jesus and Israel.

Chapter Four, "Prophecy of the Life of the Disciples of Jesus," continues considering the second chapter of Matthew, seeing uit as foreshadowing the mission of Christ, the Church, and the final judgment, as well as the unity between those who suffer for the Kingdom of God, (including faithful Israel) and the kingdom of God and Christ. Matthew two also underlies Chapter Five, "The Passion of Christ Throughout History," which considers how the Church rejects Christ a whenever it rejects or persecutes Israel, highlighting the solidarity between the sufferings of Israel and those of Messiah.

In Chapter Six, "In Him, All God's Promises Are Fulfilled," he demonstrates how in Jesus, the Kingdom of God is a present reality among us, bt in a secret form, not yet fully and triumphantly manifest. Through the gift of the Spirit, Jesus' eschatological foreshadowing of Israel's blessed future is communicated to us. Our foretaste of the age to come is a foretaste of Israel's prophetic destiny--obedience to Torah, fullness of the Spirit, resurrection of the dead, and regathering of God's people--all signs borrowed from Ezekiel 36-37.

Chapter Seven, "The Hope of Israel," examines the third chapter of Matthew, again countering supersessionism by presenting Yeshua the Messiah as Israel's hope. The Older Testament is not invalidated by his coming but extended to the pagans through New Testament and Christ, and this is a grace immersed in sufferings now, with glories to follow. We live between the already and the not yet, just as Jesus was not yet glorified. The passion of Christ reveals both the measure of our sin and the scope of our forgiveness: we could not bear the knowledge of our sin otherwise. We can then go on in the Holy Spirit, willing to suffer for his name's sake. Chapter Eight, "Christ's Passion Reveals the Sin of All" explores the mystery of Messiah: Why was "necessary" that the Messiah had to die? In the account of Christ's passion we see representatives of every class of humankind, all demonstrated to be in need of the fruits of his passion. In Christ we se the character and dpth of our sin. Through this same passion, we are enabled to live a new life in union with Christ through his outpoured Spirit.

Chapter Nine, "Jesus Crucified, the Messiah of Israel: Salvation for All," shows how the salvation Christian pagans receive is a participation in the election of Israel. For both Israel and the Church this should result in holy living. Israel and the Church are meant to have a reciprocal relationship. Chapter Ten, "Access Thorugh Christ to All the Riches of Israel," considers what are the riudcghes accessible to the pagan nations through the cross of Christ? Among these he names these include access to Israel's history, her Law, her Scripture, her prayer life and festivals, her land, the Kingdom of God, the redemption and repentance. It seems that for Lustiger, these are already the possession of Israel apart from explicit Yeshua faith. Chapter Ten, "Facing Israel--The Nations' Examination of Conscience," shows how the Church and the nations are responsible for anti-Seminitism and must repent by reaffirming the unique and elect status of Israel, while allowing Israel to be who sshe is befoe God, and self-defined. Perhaps then the wound between Israel and the Church will begin to heal. Lustiger hopes for the rebirh of what was lost in the early centuries, a Churchfrom among the Circumcision.

The final four small chapters consist of brief addresses given to Jewish audiences. Chapter Twelve, "Israel and the Gentiles," speaks of how Israel must transcend merely national concerns because its election is not for itself alone. Chapter Thirteen, "From Jules Isaac to John Paul II, " examines the contribution of the latter, the heroic reopening of dialogue after 2000 years, post-Auschwitz. The recovery of memory which Auschwitz sought to obliterate, the need for Christians and Jews to continue to find eaqch other and their reciprocal destinies across the table of the Bible, which neither of them ultimately defines, but which defines them both Chapter Fourteen, "What Can Jews and Christians Hope for When They Meet?," shows how Jews remain "other" and "strangers" in the midst of the earth, yet may discover deep commonality with Christians. Through dialogue, both Jews and Christians may and should come to better understand themselves in ways they could not otherwise access. This renewed dialogue promises an unforeseen and salutary fecundity. The chapter is a treasure trove, suggesting concepts germane to my research including: destiny, reciprocity, convergences, discernment, dialogue,
commonality, breakthroughs, elder/younger brothers, partnership, mutual recognition, legacy/common patrimony. Chapter Fifteen, "What Do Christian-Jewish Encounters Mean as Civilizations Clash?" explores the interwoven/converging destines of Israel and the Church through considering five questions: (1) What do Jews and Christians have in common that may justify their getting closer to each other, and becoming allies?; (2) As jews and Christians acknowledge what they have in common, wil their respecgtive characteristics and identities be threatened by such comanionship?; (3) Does this common principle mean anthing for humankind as a whole? (4) Do both Jews and Christians become better able, when tey get together, to carry out their specific mission with regard to the rest of humankind?' and (5) Finally, if such caring for the world does not reflect any ambition to conquer or dominate, how can this universalism express itself completely?

Lustiger handles these enormous questions with seemingly effortless grace. He states clearly that God's call upopn Jews and Christians preludes their failing to dialogue and work together. The world needs Jews and CHrstians to do this, and God commands it

The book spans nearly thirty years of the author's life while exhibiting unwavering unity. What strikes me most is his unabashed confidence in the election of Israel, and how the Church's destiny is derivative from and contingent upon Israel inheriting what the Father promised. This she does through God's grace in Christ. Such a perspective is exceedingly hard to find elsewhere.

Having read it carefully, still I need to step back and ponder this book for quite some time. At first blush he seems to accord to Israel more of a free pass than seems warranted. However, before rejecting his perspective, one must note that he sees Jesus from within Jewish space, rather than as an outside option which Israel must either accept or reject. Jesus remains for Lustiger ever and always the Messiah of Israel, and only therefore the Savior of the nations. To say the least, this is not a view foreign to the Bible, although it is indeed foreign to many who claim the Bible as their authority. Lustiger challenges me to reexamine my communal location as I contemplate the mystery of Israel and of God's grace in Messiah, for so much hangs upon that social location.

This is a small book requiring of all of us a big look not only at itself, but also at the issues it considers, and most of all, at our own presuppositions and social location and how thse influence, or even determine our theological perspectives and conclusions.

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