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Christenthum und Judenthum, von Dr. Gttstaf Dalman. 1898. 

I peel very guilty that this most remarkable pamphlet should not 
have been noticed in the Jewish Quaktekly Review at an earlier 
date. To say the truth, although Dr. Dalman's essay has been in my 
possession for more than a year, I did not read it till a few days ago. 
Having read it, I felt it my duty to give an account of it in these 

To call the pamphlet remarkable is smaller praise than it deserves. 
Dr. Dalman seems to be a rare exception among the Protestant 
theologians of Germany. To begin with, he is a first-class authority 
in Rabbinic. His scientific work has already been quoted with respect 
by Dr. Schechter as standing quite outside and above the ordinary 
productions of Christian scholars. He himself is perfectly alive to the 
faults and inadequacies of the much quoted Weber— the one universal 
authority among Protestant divines for all matters of Rabbinic 
theology. In the first part of his important book, Die Worte Jesu, he 
shows his mastery of the Talmudic material. He is far from repeating 
or believing in the ordinary platitudes about the burdensome law, 
the horrors of Nomismus and the miseries of the Rabbinic religion, 
so often assumed and dilated on by one self-complacent theologian 
after another. The unanswered castigation so justly inflicted by 
Mr. I. Abrahams upon the otherwise monumental work of Schiirei' 
would not in the least apply to him. He is an opponent with whom 
our best and wisest champions might be delighted to cross swords. 

Moreover, Dr. Dalman is not merely acquainted with Talmud and 
Midrash, but he is also familiar with modern Jewish literature. He 
knows the feelings and opinions of modern Jews, both of the orthodox 
and reform divisions. And yet this enlightened, unprejudiced, and 
well-informed man is an earnest evangelical Christian, convinced of 
the superiority and truth of his own creed, and while quite fair to 
the other side, an uncompromising exponent of what he believes to 
be its weakness and deficiencies. A truly remarkable combination. 


Dr. Dalman's short pamphlet of twenty-nine pages contains so 
much that is fair and true (whether absolutely or relatively) that 
I hope he will give some attention to the few corrections which 
I shall have to make. Let me now introduce the reader to the 
contents of his striking brochure. 

The pamphlet was originally a lecture delivered in Berlin before 
a Lutheran society. It was intended as a contribution to apologetics. 
Dr. Dalman says, in words which deserve careful consideration : — 

Apologieen verdienen nicht den scblechten Euf, in welchem sie 
heutzutage bei vielen stehen. Eine Religion, die damit zufrieden ist, 
dass sie existiert, und keine Thatigkeit nach aussen hin entfaltet — 
abwehrend, angreifend, erobernd — ware wert, vom Schauplatz abzutreten. 

In his opening paragraphs the author laments the wonderful 
ignorance of Judaism which Christians display. The religion which 
is nearest to Christianity is of all religions the most ignored and 
despised. It seems to be thought more worth while to study the 
fetish faith of the Bantus than the faith of the Jews. 

Dabei ist die Litteratur der judischen Religion in ihrem ganzen 
Umfang Christen ebenso zuganglieh wie Juden. Keine der nichtchrist- 
lichen Religionen ist leichter zu studieren. Wer nur eben wissen wollte, 
was gegenwartig die Religion der deutschen Juden aller Richtungen ist, 
kdnnte sogar aus deutschgeschriebenen Biichern sich hinreichend zuver- 
lassig unterrichten. 

Dr. Dalman then proceeds to make some valuable and penetrating 
remarks on Zionism (whose measure he has pretty accurately taken), 
and on anti-Semitism. The Jews will clearly remain in Western 
Europe : they will neither all go to Palestine, nor be driven out by 
force from their homes, as the more violent anti-Semites would 
desire. Hence Dr. Dalman thinks that there ought to be a better 
mutual understanding between Christian and Jew. On his side he 
desires to show what are the specific differences between the two 
religions and what are the specific treasures of his own faith. For the 
Jewish reader the occasion and object of Dr. Dalman's essay are of no 
particular moment. Its value lies in what he happens to say. But it 
is interesting to note that Dr. Dalman asks from the Jews the same 
candid and open pronouncements which he demands from his own side. 

Das offene und unverhullte Auftreten, welches vom Christenthum 
zu fordern ist, wiinschen wir aber auch vom Judenthum. Auf dem 
Grund gegenseitiger Achtung mit Vermeidung der Hereinziehung alles 
persOnlich Verletzenden muss die Auseinandersetzung erfolgen. 

Of course Dr. Dalman as a keen Evangelical who holds that " no 
other Church possesses fragments of truth which are wanting to his 
own " believes in proselytizing. But it must be honourably conducted. 


Die biirgerliche Gleichberechtigung beider Parteien erscheint mir als 
unentbehrliche Voraussetzung fur einen ehrenhaften Kampf. Der Kampf 
der russischen Kirche gegen das Judentum mit der Unterstutzung einer 
knechtenden Gesetzgebung, ihre Judenmission unter Polizeibedeckung, 
ist in Wirkliclikeit eine schmachvolle Niederlage fur das Christentum. 

Our author deplores the fact that the Jews have produced so little 
literature in which Christians can find profit and enlightenment. He 
alludes to the enormous work on the Old Testament which has been 
accomplished by Christian scholars during the last sixty or seventy 
years. This work has shown (according to our author it has been its 
Aufgabe or purpose) that the history of the Old Testament " culmi- 
nates" in Christ. The Jews, he says, have produced nothing of 
importance or value on this subject. 

Man sollte doch auf wissenschaftlichem Wege den Beweis fiihren, 
dass Christus das Ende des Gesetzes nicht ist. Wir wurden aus solchen 
Arbeiten ohne Zweifel fruchtbare Belehrung schOpfen und nutzliche 
Anregung gewinnen, Wahrheit und Wesen der gdttlichen Offenbarung 
noch klarer zu erkennen und gegen Zweifel sicher zu stellen. Von der 
im Traditionsglauben befangenen judischen Orthodoxie ist vielleicht hier 
wenig Erspriessliches zu erwarten. Aber die jiidische Reform sollte 
durch derartige Arbeit mehr als bisher erweisen, dass sie nicht nur 
aufzulosen und niederzureissen vermag, sondern auch zu sammeln und 
?u bauen. 

Here, Dr. Balman is unintentionally a little unfair. First of all, 
his contention that the modern Jews have produced nothing of 
importance upon the Old Testament is far too sweeping. Geiger's 
Ursprung und Uebersetzungen, Kalisch's great Commentary on the 
Pentateuch, and the works of Graetz, Castelli, Maybaum, and others, 
prove incontestably the exaggeration of Dr. Dalman's statement. Its 
measure of truth I admit and deplore. Yet when our author goes 
on to mix up with it a complaint that the Jews have furnished no 
scientific proof that " Christ is not the end of the Law," he seems to 
me to confound together two totally different things. It was not the 
business of Kalisch's Commentary on the Pentateuch to show that 
Christ was not the end of the Law, any more than it was Dillmann's 
business in his commentary to show that he was. The matter lies 
outside scientific exegesis, and I must deny that it has been or is the 
"Aufgabe " of Old Testament science to show that the history of the 
Old Testament does (or does not) " culminate in Christ " (in Christum 

On the other hand, a good scientific presentation of modern 
Judaism is, I admit, a desideratum. Its mere negative defence is less 
interesting, and requires constant revision. For in the sense in which 
to orthodox Christian theologians of a hundred years ago Christ was 


the "end" of the Law, he is no longer the "end" to theologians of the 
modern schools. In fact the kind of " end " which he is supposed to 
have been has frequently shifted ; in what precise sense Dr. Dalman 
supposes that he was the end, I am not wholly sure. 

It is at the close of p. 14 that Dr. Dalman proceeds to put the 
question on which the rest of his pamphlet depends. " What are 
the points of value which we Christians possess in our religion 
beyond the Jews, the defence of which is therefore our duty?" 

Was sind die Gtiter, welche wir Christen in unserer Religion vor den 
Juden voraus haben, deren Verteidigung somit uns obliegt ? 

It is in reply to this question that our author proceeds to clear 
away a number of " erroneous conceptions " as to the relation of 
Judaism and Christianity to one another. To begin with he discusses 
the frequent view that Jewish orthodoxy represents "faith," Jewish 
reform " unbelief," and that therefore Christianity is nearer to the 
former than to the latter. 

Dr. Dalman's remarks on this show fairness, knowledge, and a very 
surprising degree of accuracy. 

(1) Die jiidische Reform ist keine Reformation in unserem Sinno, aber 
ein an sich durchaus achtungswerter Versuch, dem Judentum durch 
Befreiung desselben aus seiner gesetzlichen und formalistischen Schale 
eine Gestalt zu geben, welche sich mit unserer von Wirkungen des 
Christentums durchzogenen Kulturwelt vertragt. 

(a) Orthodoxie und Reform sind, wenn auch in verschiedener Richtung, 
von dem, was uns als achter Glaube gilt, gleich weit entfernt. Sie nehmen 
deshalb zum Christentum, soweit sie es kennen — was oft sehr wenig der 
Fall ist — im Wesentlichen dieselbe Stellung ein. Die Achtungspradikate, 
welche das reformerische Judentum im Einklang mit manchen Namen- 
christen der Person Jesu gelegentlich zuerteilt, verhullen den wirklichen 
Thatbestand nur dem Unkundigen. 

These quotations are full of insight. Not less interesting are the 
remarks in which it is shown that Christianity and Judaism cannot 
be differentiated as New Testament and Old Testament respectively. 
Dr. Dalman holds that in neither of its two main forms is Judaism 
the religion of the Old Testament. 

Die Orthodoxie basiert auf der talmudischen Tradition der nachchrist- 
lichen Zeit und ist deshalb in vieler Beziehung jiingeren Urspmngs als 
das Christentum. Die Reform ist oder will sein die fortgeschrittenste 
Gestalt der judischen Religion ; sie sieht in der mittelalterlichen Religions- 
philosophie, weiterhin im Talmudismus fruhere Phasen der Entwicklungs- 
geschichte dieser Religion, deren Ende sie ist. Wie die Orthodoxie das 
Alte Testament nach der rabbinischen Tradition beurteilt, so macht die 
Reform im Grunde ihr eigenes judisch-religiSses Denken zum Masse des 
Alten Testaments. Somit steht im Christentum das Neue Testament fur 

VOL. XII. 3 


die Juden nicht dem Alten, wohl aber der talmudischen Tradition und 
dem modern-judischen Denken gegemiber. 

All this is perfectly accurate. My only doubt is as to the sense of 
the word "Ende " at the close of the second sentence. Jewish reform 
does not look upon itself as the absolute and final form of Judaism 
and of religion. That is one of the fundamental reasons why we object 
to the claims of orthodox Christianity. There is and there can be 
no such thing as finality in religion. An absolute religion is a human 
impossibility. Perhaps I may just incidentally add here that the real 
reason why Jews will never become Christians (except a few here and 
there) is connected with this very matter. Prom the old orthodox 
point of view the argument has broken down altogether. Every 
modern commentary admits that the Jews were perfectly right in 
maintaining that the stock passages in Genesis, in Isaiah, in the 
Psalms, do not refer to Christ. Every modern commentary admits 
that when the Law speaks of "eternal" statutes, it means what it 
says. If, on the other hand, the Old Testament iB looked at from 
the modern point of view, the case for orthodox Christianity is far 
worse. The Jew will not abandon the accuracy and the miracles of 
the Old Testament, and yet accept the miracles and the accuracy 
of the New. He may become a Unitarian ; he will never become 
a Lutheran, an Anglican, a Roman Catholic, or any other of the 
many opposing exponents of orthodox Christianity. But this is a 
digression, and has nothing to do with the value and excellence of 
Dr. Dalman's work. 

Just as the mere contrast of Old Testament and New Testament 
is misleading, so is it also inaccurate to describe Christianity as the 
religion of the other world, Judaism as the religion of this world. 
Dr. Dalman points out that by the time of Jesus the doctrine of the 
Resurrection had become a recognized dogma of ofBcial Judaism, 
which it has ever since remained, though it is now being largely 
supplanted by the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul. Our 
author, however, is not quite so accurate as usual when he says: — 

Doch goht daneben her eine unverkennbare diesseitige Tendenz der 
religiosen Anschauung. Die Sabbathsfeier der Orthodoxie hat zu einem 
wesentlichen Teile ihres Inhalts irdischen Genuss. Die Peier von Neujahr 
und VersOhnungstag, nach der Idee, welche das altglaubige Judenthum 
damit verbindet, st&rkt die Todesfurcht, statt sie zu mildern oder aufzu- 
heben. Aus Besorgnis in asketische Tendenzen zu geraten, vermag audi 
die Reform oft nicht, dem Jenseits die Betonung zu geben, welche nach 
seiner eigenen Theorie ihm zukame. 

Here the criticism on the observance of the Sabbath rests on a 
natural misapprehension. If Dr. Dalman will take the trouble to 


read Dr. Schechter's articles scattered through this Review, he will 
become better informed. The Jewish conception of the Sabbath is 
particularly difficult for an outsider fully to understand. The remark 
as to the effect of the New Year and the Day of Atonement is a great 
surprise to me. It is certainly the very first time I ever heard of such 
a thing, and I cannot but doubt the accuracy of the statement. Any 
member of the faith which has sent such thousands of Jews to death 
should recognize that Judaism, whatever errors it may contain, does 
at least produce among its votaries a readiness for martyrdom and 
for death. But our author's sly hit at Reform teaching is exceedingly 
ingenious and acute, and deserves to be most seriously taken to heart 
by those whom it may concern. 

Equally inaccurate, says our author, is the differentiation of 
Christianity and Judaism as the religion of Love and the religion 
of Hate. Dr. Dalman's statements on this point, his clear, sharp 
criticism of the Talmudic position, his frank avowal of the great 
advance in universalism made by modern Judaism, are all completely 

In unserem Jahrhundert hat wenigstens unser westeuropaisches 
Judentum unter dem Eindrucke der humanen ZeitstrOmung — und zwar 
in alien seinen Parteien — den Orundsatz der allgemeinen Menschenliebe 
ebenso nach innen wie nach aussen proklamiert. Das ist als ein bedeut- 
samer Portsehritt anzuerkennen. In diesem allgemeinen Prinzip stimmen 
Judentum und Christentum jetzt in der That uberein. 

On the other hand, there is an important difference observable 
between Judaism and Christianity in their attitude towards the out- 
cast and the sinner. To a considerable extent Dr. Dalman is right. 
I fear that he has not done me the honour to read any words of mine, 
but if he had, he would have found that two years before his lecture 
was published I had anticipated him on this very point. As a German, 
Dr. Dalman would rub his eyes in incredulous amazement at a Jew 
being made honorary president of a Protestant Theological Society ; 
yet this was the position which in the year 1895 I was appointed to 
fill in regard to the Theological Society of the University of Glasgow. 
We do these things in Britain. In my Presidential Address I ventured 
to ask which characteristics or qualities of the Higher Theism of 
to-day were specifically due to Judaism, and which to Christianity. 
I there said : — 

The yearning pity for the sinner and the outcast, the humility of the 
true saver of souls, who, while never ceasing to accentuate the horror of 
sin, bridges over and even annuls the moral chasm between the basest 
criminal and himself, have been delightful characteristics of both the 
two great branches of Christianity in their highest and purest forms 1 . 
1 J. Q. B., vol. VIII (January, 1896), p. 215. 


Here, then, I agree with Dr. Dalman that we have to learn from 
Jesus. But the lesson can be learnt without believing that Jesus was 
God, or that his body rose out of the tomb in which it had been 
buried. Moreover, and here Dr. Dalman has really something new 
to hear — the lesson is being learnt. Dr. Dalman says — 

Dem Judentum fehlt es nicht an Wohlthatigkeit, auch fiber den Kreis 
der Volksgenossen hinaus. Es hat aber nichts, was den christlichen 
Veranstaltungen zur Rettung der Verlorenen, was unserer inneren und 
ausseren Mission entsprache, und es kann derartiges nicht haben, weil 
es an Liebe fehlt. 

Whether it squares with our author's theories or not, this sentence 
is already inaccurate. The necessity has arisen for these institutions, 
and with the necessity the institutions are being founded. For 
instance, in England we have a society which is very well known 
to, and works in harmony with, Christian societies of a similar 
kind. In England, at any rate, this co-operation in humanitarian 
work seems perfectly natural and obvious. But the workers at this 
society, who, with their Christian brothers and sisters, attempt to 
rescue the fallen and to save those who may be tottering on the 
brink, are, and intend to remain, Jews. It is Judaism, teaching 
them the love of God and of man, which prompts them to deeds of 
pity and of love, and no other religious force whatever. And so with 
similar efforts which are, I believe, being made in other lands. 
Judaism is quite able to absorb the teaching of Jesus on this matter 
without believing, any more than he himself believed, in his co-sub- 
stantiality and co-eternity with the divine Father. It has, alas, 
become necessary to absorb it, and fair critics like Dr. Dalman, who 
remind us of remediable defects, are of great value in stimulating 
us onwards. It is quite true that there was a touch of asperity in 
Talmudic Judaism, a lack of sympathy and of love for the fallen and 
the outcast. Our own workers in England have heard it often said : 
"We Jewish girls have less chance of retrieving ourselves after one 
false step, because many Jewish parents are so harsh and unforgiv- 
ing." This must be changed. It must again and again be impressed 
upon the community that such parents are far more guilty in the 
eyes of man and of God than their unfortunate daughters. The 
sinner, too often more sinned against than sinning, must be sharply 
distinguished from her sin. For her sin there must be hate ; for her 
a conquering and redeeming love. 

Our author next proceeds to discuss the current descriptions of 
Judaism and of Christianity as the religion of works and the religion 
of faith. He is quite well acquainted with the vulgar Jewish concep- 
tion of Christianity as a religion the essence of which consists in 


a number of irrational dogmas, such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, 
and Justification by Faith. He well points out that the true evan- 
gelical faith can no more remain without works than it is possible for 
a child, who with his whole heart clings and yearns to his father, not 
to show to that father a loyal and active obedience. But when 
Dr. Dalman says that this evangelical faith is wanting to the Jews, 
it is really only a question of words. The Jewish faith in and love of 
God are just as vital and just as productive of pure life and holy 
deeds as the Christian faith in Christ and his Father. 

Dr. Dalman would seem to imply that the Jewish attitude towards 
sin is rather superficial. He describes it thus : " The Jew knows of 
divine forbearance towards human weakness, and he hopes for God's 
forgiveness of his sins. He holds that God, who created man as 
a sensuous being [i.e. liable to sin], must obviously (selbstverst&ndlich) 
be indulgent and ready to forgive." C'est son metier, as Heine said. 
I am not sure that Dr. Dalman has not quite correctly expressed the 
prevailing Jewish attitude. And it seems to me quite as consonant 
with the divine perfection as the cumbrous theory of divine forgive- 
ness invented by orthodox Christianity. Neither of us can ever know 
the ways of God, though haply after death we may learn whether the 
Jewish theory or Dr. Dalman's is less remote from reality. 

But it is curious that our usually so accurate and well-informed 
author should fall into the blunder of saying that the Jew hopes 
to be " saved '' by his own reason and power. 

Die Juden haben von der Gute der menschlichen Natur eine, wie sie 
glauben, berechtigte vorteilhaftere Meinung und sind uberzeugt, dass der 
Mensch sich selbst zu helfen vermoge. Aus eigener Vernunft und Kraft 
wollen sie selig werden. 

If this were true, where would be the necessity for God's forgiveness 
and indulgence ? Nor is this all. The Jew believes in God's gracious 
help on earth. " Create in us a new heart, Lord." " Lead us not 
into the power of sin." " Subdue our inclination that it may submit 
itself unto thee." " put it into our hearts to fulfil in love all the 
words of thy law." Are these the prayers of men who hold that by 
their own power and reason they can be " saved " ? 

This question of sin leads Dr. Dalman to his final assertion that the 
true difference between Jews and Christians is that the latter believe 
in the Son of God, who died for the sins of man, while the former do 
not. Nothing can be fairer than this. Equally accurate is our 
author's incidental remark that to say that the Jews believe in a 
future Messiah, whereas the Christians believe that he has already 
come, obscures an essential feature. For not only do many Jews no 
longer believe in a future Messiah at all, but the Messianic age has 


always been more important to Judaism than the Messiah's person 
and individuality. " The personal Messiah is no necessary element of 
the Jewish religion. 

Dr. Dalman makes the very odd statement that the Jews are not 
really able to do without a mediator after all. " For all Jews," he 
says, " Moses is a unique (einzigartiger) mediator between God and his 
people." I cannot understand this at all. It is utterly strange to 
me. Would it be so incomprehensible and so novel if there were any 
truth in it ? I can assure Dr. Dalman that Moses is in no sense what- 
ever the mediator between God and the Jew. What Jew when he 
prays to his " Father in heaven " ever thinks of Moses ? Why should 
he think of Moses? Moses can neither help nor hinder the com- 
munion of man with God. I feel confident that this is not only 
my belief, but the belief of every Jew. 

Finally, in a few candid and moderate words, Dr. Dalman discusses 
the value of Jewish Unitarianism. Here I will not follow him, as the 
subject is beyond the limits of a review. But I must protest against 
the following : — 

Dem Einzig-Einen des Judentums kann man wohl mit scheuer 
Ehrfurcht und mit Hingebung dienen. Aber ein Verhaltniss zu ihm wie 
das des Kindes zum Vater ist schwer denkbar. 

Well, this is just one of those assertions that can neither be proved 
or disproved — on paper. Those who best know Jewish life, literature, 
and history, will best realize its inaccuracy. Christian Unitarians as 
well as Jews will agree with me that one need not believe in the 
Incarnation or the Trinity in order to love God, in order to feel 
towards him the relation of child to father. These "not easily 
conceivable " statements are very dangerous. It is " not easily con- 
ceivable " that any religion which taught eternal punishment could 
also have taught the love of God, and yet we know that the two 
doctrines, apparently so inconsistent, have often gone hand in hand. 
Let Dr. Dalman then not suppose that because we do not conceive 
of God as he does, that therefore we do not love " our Father who is 
in Heaven." 

Dr. Dalman says that the argument has been used : " The God to 
whom man draws nigh without a mediator is surely the nearer," and 
he rebuts this argument by an appeal to facts. Among Christians, he 
says, those are not the most religious who place Christ's position 
lowest. And so in Judaism. Jewish religious literature, Jewish 
sermons, Jewish worship, give him the impression of coldness, empti- 
ness, desolation. That confirms his opinion : the nearer to Christ, 
the nearer to God. Against a subjective impression of this kind 
there is nothing to be said. But can the outsider accurately gauge 


the religious feelings of others ? Moreover, to make religious warmth 
(whether apparent or even real) a test of religious truth seems to me a 
very dangerous argument. A decorous congregation at a church might 
show less "warmth" than a Salvation Army Corps. But does that 
prove that the doctrine of the Salvation Army is truer ? Though I 
sit still and silent in synagogue, I am not prepared to say that I have 
less religious warmth than a worshipper at an old-fashioned Cheder. 
Or if he has more " warmth," I perhaps have more " truth." If some 
travellers are to be believed, the most " religious " people are neither 
Christians nor Jews. By "religious " they mean religious to the eye 
and ear. But this again is not a necessarily correct test of religious 
truth. Even if Christianity with its human God did produce greater 
religious warmth than Judaism in the best sense of the word, that is 
no convincing proof of its greater truth. Jewish monotheism may 
conceivably need a greater religious capacity for all its height and 
depth to be realized. Even if (which I must deny) it could be proved 
that the average man is more likely to feel God near with the belief 
in the Incarnation than without it, I cannot see that this would be 
any rigid proof of the Incarnation's truth. God brings men and 
women to him in divers ways and fashions ; he makes use of half 
lights and illusions and errors. Surely we must all admit that, each 
for our own ends and from a different basis. But to pursue this line 
of thought, fascinating though it be, would take too long and lead 
too far. 

Meanwhile, a Jewish reviewer cannot be too grateful for Dr. Dalman's 
essay. He cannot rate too highly his fairmindedness, impartiality, and 
friendly feeling. I wish he would come to England, and we would 
show him practically how Jews and Christians respect each other, 
and how they work together in common service for humanity and 
for God. 



Solomon and Solomonic Literature. By Moncure Daniel Conway. 
(Kegan Paul, Trench, & Co.) 

" Like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices " 
might have been adopted by Dr. Conway as a motto, describing the 
method pursued in his book. As he careers gaily from one book 
of the Old Testament to another, or to Gospels and Epistles, or 
to Zoroaster and the ZendAvesta, or to India, and Vishnu, and