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Friday, 2 October 2015
On Not Being in Charge

The Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited,
John Howard Yoder, SCM Press, 2003, page 171

Michael G Cartwright and Peter Ochs have brought together a number of John Howard Yoder's essays, as he himself had suggested in 1996, filling in the gap - as it were - in some of his earlier writings to make good on a missing segment of his education.

The essay entitled 'On Not Being In Charge' discusses quietism and pacifism: what it means to have opinions but not to be in charge. Yoder points out that after Jeremiah, apart from the Ezra-Nehemiah period and the timer of the Maccabees, the Jewish people - although given larger or smaller amounts of autonomy - were not ultimately in charge of their own affairs. Yoder writes:

The Jewish settlers in Babylon (and in all other cities to which they were scattered of which we know less) did not accept 'not being in charge' as a lesser-evil strategy of mere survival, nor as a mere tactic, but as their mission. That experiment created the culturally unique traits which define 'Judaism' and thereby Christianity in turn.

Yoder sees great continuity between Judaism and early Christianity - almost a defining role. I'm going to consider Yoder's three significant marks of Diaspora Judiasm next.

Posted By Jonathan, 8:04am Comment Comments: 0