Reason, science, enlightenment, progress, and all other bywords of modern civilization that we believe distinguish us from our medieval predecessors have not succeeded in overcoming a way of thinking about Jews that extends back to the first Christian centuries” (J. Cohen, p. 119). “Preaching should be liberated from the inherited biases and ideologies of the tradition, including those that found their way into the Scriptures” (Allen and Williamson, p. xxiii). Unfortunately, despite such cautions, Gospel stories, canonized as the “Word of God,” till the ground for ideologues to maim and kill. “There has never been an evil cause in the world that has not become more evil if it has been possible to argue it on biblical grounds” (Stendahl, p. 205).

On the issue of curbing Gospel antisemitism, some Christian clerics insist that the “historical integrity” of the Gospels cannot be challenged, and Gospel antisemitism should only be corrected by “explanation rather than by modification of the text” (Van Wahlde, p. 83). That is, one must somehow present an unprejudiced view of Jews to Christians without questioning Gospel reliability. Among authors who discuss elements of this issue: Beck 1985; Crossan; A. T. Davies; Eckardt; Fisher; Fredriksen 2002; C. Klein; Nicholls; Parkes; Ruether; Swidler.

Because of the many differences in beliefs, customs, and practices (see, for example, Note #11), it seems illusory to search for common religious ground between Judaism and Christianity. That is, although conciliatory proposals have been offered (Littell 1990, p.18) that Gentile Christianity is only a spiritual form of Judaism, and Christians are only variants of Jews, such claims disguise essential difference. Must one be bearer of a shared religion and ethnicity to deserve respect? Since God is the symbol of an entity that (in the absence of other information) humans use to make sense of their particular realities (Hendriksen, p. 174), we can expect different divine attributes to be ascribed to God by different theologies. Must all God symbols be of only one kind? Must the adversities of the past continue to dominate the present? Gaston (p. 67): “As long as Judaism is understood as a kind of Christian heresy to be combatted, there will never be an end to Christian antisemitism.

If Christians are serious in allowing Judaism to coexist with them as a Biblically based religion, dominant Christianity must allow Jews to deny “canonized” anti-Jewish mythology without rancor. The dilemma for Christian leaders and theologians then becomes “A Christian Church with an antisemitic New Testament is abominable, but a Christian Church without a New Testament is inconceivable” (Gaston, p. 48). Although overtly changing the New Testament may seem intolerable to religious Christians, can Christians conceive and teach a non-antisemitic Testament? Can its antisemitic stories be contradicted without questioning their authority?

The basic issue remains: Is there any way of maintaining religious and ethnic differences peacefully other than mutual tolerance? Since claimed “truth” for any theological notion cannot be tested (Note #11.b), there are no trustworthy grounds for any religious organization to impose its doctrines on others, nor is there any sign that such intolerance benefits human society. For those who believe in God, we can paraphrase Pawlikowski’s message (1979, p. 165): “Communion with God should involve peaceful communion with the rest of the human family.”