We should all feel a debt to Steven Englund for his profound, searching, and brutally honest reflection on the current state of the Catholic-Jewish dialogue. He is especially to be commended for showing the deficiencies of the various strategies of evasion and deflection to which many, including some in high ecclesiastical offices, have resorted in recent years.
[See all the essays included in "Getting Past Supersessionism: An Exchange on Catholic-Jewish Dialogue."]
Instead, Englund proposes that the Roman Catholic Church supersede its traditional supersessionism, putting Catholic-Jewish relations on a more secure footing than Nostra Aetate and kindred Vatican documents have provided. Theoretically, he might, of course, have gone in the opposite direction and affirmed that the traditional supersessionist theology remains valid but should not be interpreted to authorize any social or other prejudice against the Jews. That is, he might have said that gospel and church fulfill and thus replace Torah and the people Israel, but without implying that the failure of the Jews to see the matter this way is...
Jon D. Levenson is the Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard Divinity School and the author, most recently, of Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Princeton University Press).