In the late 1990s, the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies (ICJS – now Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies) hosted the Jewish Scholars Project in Baltimore, Maryland. After several years of meeting, four interdenominational Jewish scholars published Dabru Emet (“Speak Truth”) as a full-page statement in The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, and other major newspapers and religious internet sites on September 10, 2000.
Consisting of eight claims, Dabru Emet is a Jewish statement on Christianity. The statement was signed by more than 170 rabbis and Jewish intellectuals (signatories grew to more than 220 over the following months), and generated both praise and criticism. In some ways, Dabru Emet served as a capstone to Jewish-Christian relations in the 20th century, and is a significant, as well as contested, moment in the fields of modern Jewish Thought, Jewish–Christian relations, and Interfaith / Interreligious Studies.
As an organization devoted to inquiry around religion and religious difference, ICJS welcomed robust debate around Dabru Emet when it was published 20 years ago. In that same spirit, ICJS has invited scholars and thinkers from around the world and across disciplines to revisit Dabru Emet in an online forum in partnership with American Religion, beginning January 2021.
- 9/7/2000: New dialogue between Jews, Christians (Philadelphia Inquirer)
- 9/8/2000: Leading Jewish Scholars Extend a Hand to Christians (The New York Times)
- 9/8/2000: Jewish-Christian relations focus of religious statement (The Baltimore Sun, picked up in The Seattle Times and elsewhere)
- 9/8/2000: Jewish Leaders Affirm Common Roots With Christians in Historic Statement (Religion News Service)
- 9/8/2000: After Years of Study: Historic Jewish Statement on Christians and Christianity (Jewish Post)
- 9/9/2000: Jewish Leaders in Rare Praise of Christianity (Sun-Sentinel)
- 9/14/2000: Statement by Dr. David Berger regarding the New York Times ad by Dabru Emet (Institute for Public Affairs of the Orthodox Union)
- 9/14/2000: Catholics and Jews show different faces toward interfaith dialogue (The Christian Science Monitor)
- 9/15/2000: Rabbis, scholars publish Jewish view of Christianity (The Jewish News of California)
- 9/2000: Talking to Christians (Rabbi Paul Golomb, Vassar Temple (Congregation Achim Yisrael))
- 9/2000: Yesterday’s News: The statement on Jews and Christians ignores the main point of contention–owning up to Christians’ failure during the Holocaust (beliefnet)
- 9/2000: Judaism Meets Christianity for the First Time — Again: A veteran of interfaith dialogue talks about what led to a historic statement on Jewish-Christian relations (beliefnet)
9/2000: COMMENTARY: Dabru Emet Is Misleading at Best, Dangerous at Worst (Religion News Service)
- 9/22/2000: Nazism: Not A Christian Phenomenon (Rabbi Bruce E. Kahn, Temple Shalom Sermons)
- 9/23/2000: Beliefs; Ten carefully worded paragraphs encourage Jews to consider a thoughtful response to changes in the relationship between Christianity and Judaism (The New York Times)
- 9/27/2000: Provocative reconciliation: A Jewish statement on Christianity (The Christian Century)
- 9/29/2000: “Dabru Emet:” A Jewish Statement About Christianity(Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance)
- 10/18/2000: Reaction to Dabru Emet from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
- 10/30/2000: Reaction to Dabru Emet from Service International de Documentation Judeo-Chretienne
- 10/31/2000: Reaction to Dabru Emet from Roman Catholic Bishops
- 11/1/2000: The Power of Words: A Catholic Response to Dabru Emet
- 11/2000: Respect Christians as Christians: Rabbis and Jewish Theologians on Christianity (Dialogue and Universalism)
- 11/21/2000: Reaction to Dabru Emet from the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of the General Assembly
- 2000: Reaction to Dabru Emet from “Relation and Encounter”
- 2/24/2001: Reaction to Dabru Emet from the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA
- 11/6/2001: “Dabru Emet”: Its Significance for the Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Address given by Rabbi David Rosen at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Dutch Council of Christians and Jews (OJEC) at Tilburg, The Netherlands)
- 12/2001: How Not to Conduct Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Commentary)
- 4/2002: Response: Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Commentary)
- 11/2009: The Agenda of Dabru Emet (Judaism and Christianity: New Directions for Dialogue and Understanding)
- 1/2018: Podcast: Jon Levenson on the Danger and Opportunity of Jewish-Christian Dialogue (The Tikvah Fund)
- 4/18/2002: The Two Key Documents of Jewish-Catholic Dialogue: Professor David Novak Views “Nostra Aetate” and “Dabru Emet” (zenit)
- 6/1/2002: An American Baptist Response to “Dabru Emet”
- 10/28/2002: Dabru Emet: Sic et Non (paper presented at Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations)
- 10/28/2002: Dabru Emet: Some Reservations about a Jewish Statement on Christians and Christianity (paper presented at Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations)
- 5/12/2003: Response of the European Lutheran Commission on the Church and the Jewish People
- 12/22/2011: For Jews and Christians, a holiday ‘season of rapprochement’ (The Christian Science Monitor)
- 7/6/2020: What Can Jews Learn From Christian Missionaries? (Tablet)
In the 20th and 21st centuries there have been several pivotal statements for interreligious relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The following timeline of statements helps to provide additional context for understanding Dabru Emet within this particular genre of interreligious engagement.
12/30/1947The 10 Points of SeelisburgProduced by the Christian participants at the Second conference of the newly formed International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ), this statement was one of the first following World War II in which Christians, with the advice and counsel of Jews, began to come to terms with the implications of the Shoa.
10/28/1965Nostra AetateA Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate (meaning "in our time") marks an important milestone in Roman Catholic teaching. This is this first declaration to focus on the relationship that Roman Catholics have with members of other faith traditions, including robust paragraphs on Judaism (§4) and Islam (§3).
12/31/1967"The Synagogue and the Christian People"A proposed declaration of the synagogue's view of Christian people. [From Samuel Sandmel, We Jews and You Christians: An Inquiry into Attitudes (Philadelphia/New York: J. B. Lippincott, 1967), 144-146.]
5/23/1973Christianity in Jewish TheologyIn 1968, Catholic bishops in France asked the chief Rabbi of France, Jacob Kaplan, for a description of Jewish thoughts on Christianity. A committee was formed, which produced six assertions, which applied equally to Christianity and Islam. Though submitted in 1973, this document was not formally debated by the French rabbinical assembly until 1978.
3/1/1993Jews and Christians in Search of a Common Religious Basis for Contributing Towards a Better WorldProduced by the Theology Committee of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ), this document contains both separate Jewish perspectives and Christian perspectives concerning mutual communication and cooperation, as well as a joint view of a common religious basis for Jews and Christians to work together for a better world..
3/2000The CCAR and The Rabbinical Assembly Recognize Bonds between the Jewish and Catholic CommunitiesUpon the historic moment of the first papal pilgrimage to the sovereign Jewish State, the "Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform) and The Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative), representing 3,000 rabbis, wish[ed] to recognize and acknowledge the growing bonds between the Jewish and Catholic communities [calling] upon our rabbinic constituents to engage in intensified dialogue and fellowship with our Roman Catholic neighbors."
9/10/2000Dabru EmetInterdenominational representatives of the Jewish Scholars Project published Dabru Emet (“Speak Truth”), a Jewish statement on Christianity consisting of eight claims as a full-page statement in The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, and other major newspapers and religious internet sites.
9/1/2002A Sacred Obligation: Rethinking Christian Faith in Relation to Judaism and the Jewish PeopleTen statements offered by the Christian Scholars Group on Christian-Jewish Relations for the consideration of fellow Christians in developing more adequate theologies of the church’s relationship to Judaism and the Jewish people.
10/13/2007A Common Word Between Us and YouAn open letter from leaders of the Islamic religion to leaders of the Christian religion calling for peace and working for common ground between the two religions.
- A new call to both Christian and Jewish communities around the world reflecting the need to refine the Ten Points of Seelisberg, consistent with the advances in interreligious dialogue since that groundbreaking document of 1947, this call contains 12 points – presented as goals, and addressed to Christians and Jews, and to Christian and Jewish communities together.
- The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC), based in Israel, is the first orthodox Jewish entity to engage in dialogue with the Christian world. CJCUC’s Founder Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin said, “This statement only represents the view of our center but should also be used as a catalyst for other orthodox Jews and Jewry worldwide to consider fostering relationships with Christian communities. Leaders within the mainline Christian denominational world as well as the non-denominational movements of Evangelical Christianity have sincerely become friends of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. It is vital that we strengthen our relationship with them. We are certain that through these relational dialogues we will find far more which unites us than divides us.”
- The "Declaration for the Upcoming Jubilee of Brotherhood" was signed by several prominent French Jewish leaders and intellectuals at the Collège des Bernardins in Paris, in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration Nostra Aetate.
- Orthodox Rabbinic Statement recognizing ways in which "Jews and Christians must work together as partners to address the moral challenges of our era."
- Fifty years after "Nostra aetate," these reflections aim at looking back with gratitude on all that has been achieved over the last decades in the Jewish–Catholic relationship, providing at the same time a new stimulus for the future. The text is not a magisterial document or doctrinal teaching of the Catholic Church, but is a reflection prepared by the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews on theological questions that developed since the Second Vatican Council, intended to be a starting point for further theological thought with a view to enriching and intensifying the theological dimension of Jewish–Catholic dialogue.
- The Shared Universal and the Respected Particular. Reflections on 50 Years of Nostra Aetate.
This declaration is an important contemporary Jewish Orthodox reflection on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity elaborated in the context of the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the declaration of Vatican II which transformed the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church towards other world religions, particularly with Judaism.