Post-Holocaust theology on a Christian kibbutz in Israel : Nes Ammim / Kathleen J. Rusnak.
The Holocaust and the rebirth of the State of Israel serve as a catalyst for Western Christian awareness of its seventeen centuries of contempt and persecution of the Jews and false testimony that Judaism is dead. This book tells the story of the theological and spiritual development of Nes Ammim, an ecumenical, international Christian settlement in Western Galilee, Israel, whose name is taken from Isaiah 11:10 and means "a sign of/for the nations;" of Christian repentance to the Jews, and for a witness to the Christian nations of a renewed Christian outlook towards Jews and Judaism. I visited Nes Ammim in order to locate and describe its post-Holocaust theology, as displayed through the settlement's theological reflections in the course of its development as a community. Judging by their actual practice of Christian repentance, I hypothesized that Nes Ammimers would articulate a non-supersessionist theology. I found, however, that they have not yet done so in a self-conscious way. My second hypothesis was that the theology of Nes Ammim would be articulated through the series of lectures given at the settlement by Jewish and Christian scholars on the Holocaust, the State of Israel, and Christology. I found the lectures of significant help in clarifying for me Nes Ammim's theological sources. I also found, however, that the lectures have not yet had a significant impact on the community's transformation of its articulation of a new Christian identity after the Holocaust. I concluded that, in order to locate Nes Ammim's theology, I would have to write it myself, articulating the beliefs I saw embedded in Nes Ammim practice and in the Nes Ammim lectures. In the process, I designed a method for relating the significant elements of each lecture to my own emergent theology, introducing the work of current post-Holocaust theologians and evaluating how it might connect to Nes Ammim's communal identity. Articulated in this manner, the theology of Nes Ammim introduces a new understanding and dimension of repentance that offers Christians a means of passing through the guilt of Christian complicity in the Holocaust to a new non-anti-Jewish Christology.
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