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Reviewed by:
  • Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and Interreligious Hermeneutics: Ways of Seeing the Religious Other ed. by Emma Polyakov O'Donnell
  • Zev Garber
Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and Interreligious Hermeneutics: Ways of Seeing the Religious Other. Edited by Emma Polyakov O'Donnell. Series: Currents of Encounter 58. Leiden and Boston, MA: Brill Rodopi, 2018. Pp. 193. $57.00, paper.

A sane approach to this perplexing dilemma of Jew and Muslim disparity and hatred requires a full understanding of how this stereotyping originated, developed, and intensified. In pursuit of this objective, Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and Interreligious Hermeneutics is distinguished by a dual accomplishment. First, the editor and contributors provide respectable research in fact-gathering and interpretation of the major and not- so- major patterns of perception (brokers, shakers, and events) that can lead to Antisemitism and Islamophobia. Second, it argues that interreligious hermeneutics lay the groundwork and methodology to confront the age-old historic-religio-philosophic conceptions and misconceptions of Jews and Muslims, including their culture, history, politics, ideology and issues, movements and organizations, events, and self- understanding as a peoplehood and a religion.

Academic papers presented at an international conference, sponsored by the Centre for Theology at Lund University, devoted to negative and positive views of Jews and Muslims and the role played by venues of supersessionist Christian theologies sponsored by the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies at Lund University (December 4–6, 2016) are parsed by the editor (who was also the conference moderator) into three parts. Part One asserts that innovative interreligious hermeneutics is the key to maintaining historic breakthroughs between the Abrahamic faiths and sustaining ceaseless ongoing Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations in the future (C. Cornille, M. Moyaert). Part Two analyszes case studies depicting falsehoods related to Jews as a peoplehood (Antisemitism), religion/theology (anti-Judaism), and historic homeland (anti-Zionism) (R. C. Zachman, R. Cohen, H. Bachner). Part Three depicts research into contemporary expressions of fear or suspicion of Islam expressed in Swedish media, American editorial cartoons, and satire (D. Abdelhady and G. F. Malmberg, P. Gottschalk, J. Otterbeck). Finally, the Epilogue by J. Carroll references Holocaust historicity to combat Christian replacement theology and to restore Jesus theologically as the eternal Jew to douse the fires ignited by the misremembered Christ.

The introduction provides a short overview of the book's intent of rereading, reinterpreting, and reconstructing group-affiliated ideology in seeking [End Page 456] affinity between Jew and Muslim by planting seeds of empathy and mutual respect. Oddly, claims of Israel-Palestine nationalisms is the contributing factor to the deeply seeded and felt conflict resulting in fratricidal war between two kindred peoples. One must affirm that Israeli and Palestinian can live and prosper in a social milieu conceived in mutual respect and abhorrence of terrorism. How can we establish the proper facts about Palestinian and Jewish nationalisms without propagandist slandering, revisionist ideologues and ideology, and street thumping? We suggest self-criticism, interpersonal dialogue, and study; also, observe the totality of a group's behavior and not only doctrinal, popular, and journalistic teachings and writings. James Carroll reduces self and other and projects "together" cemented with his epilogue/book- ending clarion call, "Love your neighbor" (Lev. 19:18, Mt. 22:39, Mk. 12:1, Lk. 10:27b), thrice written, suggesting trinitarian association and halacha permanence. This is commendable, but the commanding verse reads, "Love your neighbor as yourself," that is to say, self-love/understanding/knowledge and reflective criticism are scripturally mandated before bridging the divide with others.

Zev Garber
Los Angeles Valley College Valley Glen, CA


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