The "Judeo-Christian" Tradition

I never used the term "Judeo-Christian tradition," because I find the idea rather silly. It wasn't until I came across this article, written by Shaul Magid, that it occurred to me that it's also rather offensive:
In the postwar period, when "Judeo-Christian tradition" came into vogue as a term, many Jews were not entirely happy with this new embrace of their tradition by secular society. Some, still wary of a lurking anti-Semitism, claimed the very notion of a "Jewish-Christian tradition" had, and has, sinister intentions. The strongest case against the term was made by the Jewish theologian Arthur Cohen in a series of essays collected in his book The Myth of the Judeo-Christian Tradition (New York: Harper & Row, 1957). Cohen argues that the term Judeo-Christian, consciously or not, swallows Judaism whole, undermining its distinctiveness and robbing it of the very rich texture of its tradition. He notes that the idea was invented by German Protestants "to come to terms with the Jewish factor in Christian civilization... We can learn much from the history of Jewish-Christian relations, but one thing we cannot make of it is a discourse of community, fellowship, and understanding. How, then, do we make of it a tradition?" (xiii).

For Cohen the "Judeo" in the Judeo-Christian Tradition (what he calls a myth) is an ostensibly conciliatory gesture of tolerance that masks an attempt to finally, and permanently, undermine Jewish distinctiveness by making Judaism simply a part of Christianity.
You can read the whole article here.



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