Christianity Without the Cross?

Publishing an article that intensely criticizes an aspect of Christianity was a stretch for us here at Tikkun. Although we consider this magazine to be interfaith as well as Jewish—and have many Christian readers and writers—the idea of taking on something as sacred to the Christian world as the cross gave us pause. The last thing we want to do is convey disrespect to the Christian community and its complex internal debates. On the other hand, having already gotten ourselves into a huge amount of trouble by criticizing something sacred to many American Jews—namely Israel and its army—we thought it reasonable to take seriously our interfaith status by allowing a writer to take on a very controversial issue in the Christian world.

We welcome sharp criticisms and alternative readings of the history discussed here. Please remember, however, that our decision to publish the following article—in fact our decision to publish any article in Tikkun—is not an endorsement of the position articulated within it. Our positions are stated in our editorials. For me, this debate resonates with the issues I explored in my book Jewish Renewal, where I sought to understand elements of Torah that seem to ontologize cruelty into an aspect of God (for example, God’s command to sacrifice Isaac). I’d like to invite our readers to consider how the concerns about violence discussed here by Lawrence Swaim, Kavin Rowe, and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza (as well as by Gary Dorrien in his review on page 57) may be applicable to Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, as well.

If you are an NSP member or a subscriber to Tikkun, you can read an expanded version of Swaim’s piece at Also, don’t miss out on the rest of the debate, which is available only online! For contributions from James Cone, John Conger, Matthew Fox, Barbara Darling, Mary Darling, and Paul Smith, visit We welcome your feedback:



The web versions of our print articles are now hosted by Duke University Press. Click here for a PDF version of this intro page.

(To return to the Fall 2012 Table of Contents,  click here.)

tags: Christianity, Rethinking Religion   
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