Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You Can Believe in Anything You Want Except...

Steven at Canonist has a nice post about the differences between each movement's theology and what's a no-no for each one. The money quote is this: "An Orthodox Jew saying “the Torah is inspired by God” would most likely be characterized a heretic for his liberal views. This is a good example of how many Christians don’t understand just how right-wing Jewish theology is." I think he's right on.

He's also right on here:
3) No, you can’t believe Jesus is the Son of God in Conservative Judaism, though that has far less to do with Conservative Judaism stating a positive theological doctrine, than with the absolute negative in pretty much every major segment of Judaism declaring Jesus the big no-no. And this is probably a good statement of what mainstream Jewish belief means today: you can believe whatever you want, except for Jesus.
Though I'd probably amend that last sentence with this:
You Can Believe Anything You Want, Except for Jesus and go to Holocaust Denial Conferences.

That's a statement that would pretty much describe Judaism today. All three movements (I don't consider Reconstructionist a movement) have come out and publicly said that Jews for Jesus and the Neturei Karta (well specifically those who went to Tehran) are outside of the fold. If the CJLS and the Reform Movement practiced it today you can bet that the Neturei Karta would have been placed in Cherem. That would have been interesting. Oh well, maybe Joel Roth and reinstitute that.


leiba said...

I know that Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan didn't consider Reconstructionism a movement (and he was its founder!), yet why don't you? It's true that Reconstructionist Judaism is among the smallest of the four major streams of Judaism (and the least well understood)--as well as the only one to have originated in North America. What are your thoughts on this?

ADDeRabbi said...

i singled out those two groups as well in a recent post. j4j and nk sit together outside the camp.

Natan said...

Basically I think Reconstructionism isn't a movement for two reasons:

1. Size - because of it's size it's just a group of people deciding that Judaism can be reinvented.

2. It doesn't have the same framework of theology that the other three movements do. By it's own definition Reconstructionism can't be a movement.

I place Reconstructionism in the same camp as the Chaburah "Movement". Both are misnamed movements but have secured for themselves a place within Judaism.

At times if you changed Reconstructionism with Chabad or Carlebach it would sound very silly. Sure they've got their own shuls and a Rabbinical school, but that doesn't make them a separate movement.