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Deadline: October 1, 2019

Beyond the Walls: Abraham Joshua Heschel and Edith Stein on the Significance of Empathy for Jewish-Christian Dialogue

Palmisano, Joseph


Joseph Palmisano offers an in-depth examination of the significance of empathy for Jewish-Christian understanding. Drawing on the writings of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–1972) and Edith Stein (1891–1942), he develops a phenomenological category of empathy defined as a way of "re-membering" oneself with the religious other. Palmisano follows Heschel's and Stein's philosophical theory and praxis through the unprecedented horrors of the Shoah, showing that Heschel's call to Christians for a return to God is an ecumenical call to humanity to embrace perceived others: a call to live life as a response to God's pathos. This call finds a prophetic answer in Edith Stein's witness of empathy when faced with the Shoah. Stein, a Catholic, creates a dialectical bridge with the Jewish "other," neither distancing herself nor denying her Jewish roots. Stein's simultaneously Jewish and Christian fidelity is a model for interreligious relations. It is also a challenge to Catholics to remember their religion's Jewish heritage through new categories of witnessing and belonging with others. Palmisano provides a critical contribution to the fostering of interreligious understanding, offering both a model of the ideal Jewish-Christian relationship in Heschel and Stein and criteria by which to evaluate contemporary initiatives and controversies concerning interreligious dialogue.

Additional Information

  • Hardback
  • 208 Pages
  • Published: October 2012
  • ISBN: 9780199925025
  • Series: Academy

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