A Traditional Quest: Essays in Honor of Louis Jacobs (JSOT by Daniel C. Cohn-Sherbok

By Daniel C. Cohn-Sherbok

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Extra info for A Traditional Quest: Essays in Honor of Louis Jacobs (JSOT Supplement)

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I believe Wyschogrod's unique Orthodox appreciation of conscience has a high moral purpose: to provide an Orthodox theological justification for allowing Christians to be Christians. He does this not by a relativism which would sacrifice the absoluteness of God's revelation but by carefully providing room for individual conscience within it. Consequently those who cannot read its message as others do may still claim the right to go their deviant way. Some years back, John Courtney Murray, the noted Roman Catholic theoretician of democracy, mounted a similar argument which Vatican Council II made official church teaching.

For progressives these humane, ethical considerations are generally decisive. But since this dispute arose, at least on the surface, in relation to Scripture, I wish to return now to the debate over our sacred texts. In principle, orthodoxies avow God's authorship of the explicit verbal form in which, all things being equal, we have Scripture. Thus, should we, reading it, be surprised that God stated what seems contrary to presently established fact, or that God enjoined or condoned what seems an inhumane act, then our understanding of it must be faulty.

18). Papazian commits the logical error we are here rejecting, if in an inverted way. He holds that Jews in denying the comparability of the Holocaust are advancing a moral claim and diminishing, if only by indirection, the 'misfortunes [that] befall another people'. That is, he too equates uniqueness with morality and again uniqueness with 'types' or 'degrees' of evil. Thus the Armenian tragedy can only be as evil as the Holocaust if the Holocaust is not unique. But if we KATZ Defining the Uniqueness of the Holocaust 45 Here I demur from Yehuda Bauer's contention that there: may be no difference between Holocaust and genocide for the victim of either.

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