Professor Lawrence Schiffman, certainly the pre-eminent scholar in America on the subject of the Dead Sea Scrolls, will speak Wednesday morning on “Judaism and Christianity: How They Differ and Where They Parted.”
No matter what your concentration(s) in the Western Mystery Traditions may be, I think it is urgent to understand the history of the relationship of Judaism and Christianity. It’s not just a matter of knowing there would be no Christianity without Judaism; it really is crucial to have a working knowledge of the who, what, when, where, and why of how the two faiths connect and disconnect.
Click here to read a bit about Dr. Lawrence Schiffman.
I have no idea of what Professor Schiffman will say—and I do not expect a word on Western Hidden Wisdom and initiatic societies—but I imagine he will provide the factual background to explain away the ideas of what is called Christian Hebraism, that Renaissance period movement wherein Judaism was explored by Christian theologians for the purpose of better understanding Christianity. The findings of Christian Hebraism mostly were wrong and have been left behind, but it is to Christian Hebraism that I attribute the use today of Jewish thought (e.g. the mysticism of Kabbalah) in certain Christ-centered esoteric societies.
I had the pleasure of meeting Schiffman during my university days, interviewing him for a newspaper story on his role in Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship at New York University when the DSS finally were shared with scholars outside Israel nearly a quarter-century ago. Brilliant doesn’t satisfactorily describe him, and I’m very much looking forward to hearing him speak.
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