Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Prophet in Exile – an interview with radical Jewish theologian Marc H. Ellis

"Right now, BDS is more or less the only way forward and BDSers are right to strike hard. As an avenue for victory, though, I have my doubts. Let’s say that I am supportive and an agnostic."

My new interview with Marc Ellis is just published. A real insight into his life and work.

Read the interview at Patheos here

My review of his new book 'The Heartbeat of the Prophetic' is here.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The End of Jewish History? What makes radical theologian Marc H. Ellis too hot to handle?

I've just read 'The Heartbeat of the Prophetic', the latest book by the radical Jewish theologian Marc Ellis.

Ellis has, and still is, making a highly important contribution to modern Jewish thinking particularly on Israel/Palestine.

My review of 'Heartbeat' and thoughts about Ellis' career have just been published at Patheos

Here's an extract:

Are Jews across the world really tearing their communities apart over the question of Israel’s behaviour towards the Palestinians? Are things so bad that we face the demise of Judaism as we know it and the abandonment of the community by a disaffected generation fed up with the hypocrisy of it all?
There was a time when Marc H. Ellis was in favour with at least some parts of the Jewish religious and cultural establishment. I can tell by the fact that quotes from his writings can be found anthologised in the study sections of my prayers books.
But I doubt Ellis gets quite so many copyright requests these days. His views have become too hot to handle.
'Heartbeat of the Prophetic’ goes a long way to explaining why Ellis has fallen out of favour even within the liberal Jewish elite that once championed him following the publication of ‘Towards a Jewish Theology of Liberation’ nearly 30 years ago.

I will also be posting a new interview with Marc in the coming days.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Why Christians are finding it hard to boycott Israel (and 10 helpful rebuttals to their critics)

My new post is published at Patheos

Here's an extract:

BDS is going to be the battleground in the West where the rights and wrongs of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict will be fought out.

As Gandhi once said: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” We have certainly reached the “fight you stage”.

But if you are a Christian and you support boycotts against Israel, then you are in particular trouble. The opposition that will line up against you will be especially formidable. There’s a long way to go before you come anywhere near winning this By supporting BDS you will straight away place yourself well beyond what your local community and establishment hierarchy considers an acceptable form of protest.

Friends and relations will think you have become extreme in your outlook.

Vicars, priests and Bishops, who may be sympathetic to the cause of the Palestinians and even voice criticism of Israel from time to time, will decide that you have gone too far.

Very quickly you will be accused of being divisive, one-sided, morally inconsistent, naïve, anti-dialogue, anti-negotiations, and of course, anti-Semitic.

You will also be told that you are undermining decades of interfaith dialogue that has sought to repair and atone for centuries of anti-Jewish Church teaching that incited murder and mayhem across Christian Europe and paved the way for the Holocaust.

And there you were, thinking you were just standing up for someone else’s human and civil rights and applying the very ethical teaching you had been taught in Church since you were a child.