Discerning the Way, the first volume in Paul M. van Buren’s ambitious theological work A Theology of the Jewish Christian Reality, is intended to portray both Christianity and Judaism as legitimate ways to God. In the author’s view, Christianity has not superceded or replaced Judaism as a way to God. Instead, he sees the Jewish people as the elder siblings of the Christians, establishing the path that the latter should follow. He discusses how Christians and Jews should walk together along this path and considers the identity of Christians, as Gentiles who worship the God of Israel, in terms of the path they walk together with the Jews. He looks at theology as a conversation about God, which must recognize that Christians converse about the God of Israel. In this conversation, Christians are responsible to God and to the saints and to all of those who have walked the way. Van Buren examines the nature and attributes of God, the Bible and the Church, and the authority of the Bible in terms of the tradition of the God of Israel. He discusses the revelation of Christianity as a historical phenomenon and considers how the Christian redemption is related to Israel’s hope for creation.
The second volume, A Christian Theology of the People of Israel, attempts to establish a Christian theology of Israel. This is both difficult and necessary, according to van Buren, because Christianity has a long anti-Judaic tradition that culminated in the horrors of the Holocaust. It is also difficult because it is a theology of other people. Van Buren maintains that his theology cannot simply be a report of Jewish teaching nor can it be a Jewish theology. Instead, this theology should ask about the duty and the ability of the Christian Church to hear the testimony of the Jewish people to God.
(The entire section is 751 words.)