Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Pope and the Rabbi


I missed this in all the coverage. At Thursday evening's Interfaith meeting at the JPII cultural center, Pope Benedict met with an old interlocuter and long time correspondent, for the first time in person, Rabbi Jacob Neusner. (If you recall, the Pope devotes a chunk of his book, "Jesus of Nazareth" to analyzing what Rabbi Neusner wrote about his response to Jesus.)

I first saw this at Italian Vaticanista Sandro Magister's blog. L'Osservatore Romano did a piece on this today as well. (The text is at Magister's blog) I'll provide translations later, though it's quite possible we'll see this in one of Magister's "Chiesa Online" mailings.

Googling around, I found this blog that publishes an email from Rabbi Neusner about the meeting, including this bit:
The pope thanked me for my work, his English is excellent but was an effort, and when I told him he could talk to me in Italian, he had a big smile and looked relieved and relaxed. I proposed to him that we write a book together on the convergences of Judaism and Christianity in antiquity. A cardinal told me they would like to invite me to the Vatican, and I said that would be terrific.
Gosh! I hope they do work on such a book! Can you imagine?? (The pictures is from this blog as well)

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