Minutes of Meeting

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November 14, 1999

Location: Alumni Hall, University of Dayton

Meeting Topic: Book of Daniel

Facilitator: Dr. Eric Friedland

Hosts: Eleanor & Harry Koenigsberg; Arthur & Judy Auster

PRESENT: Eileen Moorman, Acting Cochair; Arthur Auster, Judy Auster, Kenneth Bauman, Donna Bealer, Connie Breen, Bert Buby, April Collins, Phyllis Duckwall, Elisabeth (Blue) Fitzhugh, Shirley Flacks, Eric Friedland, Jerome Haney, Agnes Hannahs, Edith Holsinger, Bette Jasko, Bob Jasko, Sophie Kahn, Stephen Kahn, Jack Kelley, Eleanor Koenigsberg, Harry Koenigsberg, Barbara Levine, Eileen Moorman, Bev Price, Donald Ramsey, Anne Ringkamp, Harold Rubenstein, Sophie Rubenstein, Ken Rosenzweig, Dieter Walk, Suzie Walk, Rose Wendel, William Youngkin, David Zinner.

Eileen called the meeting to order at about 7:55 PM. She thanked the Koenigsbergs and the Austers for providing refreshments for the meeting. Eleanor delivered a prayer which was based on a poem from a pamphlet that she picked up at Rosh Hashanah services at Beth Tikvah Synagogue in Boca Raton, Florida. The rabbi of that synagogue is Jack Riemer, former rabbi of Beth Abraham Synagogue here in Dayton. The poem expressed the dream of putting an end to war and of people agreeing to never fight again. Next, Arthur delivered a prayer for the recovery of Cardinal John O'Connor who just had brain surgery. Judy and Arthur received a synagogue bulletin from Ohel Leah (Tent of Leah), an Orthodox synagogue in Hong Kong. One of the Auster's children is a member of that synagogue. The time was the onset of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) which is the season of teshuvah (repentance). The newsletter included greetings to the congregation from Cardinal O'Connor. He noted that the Jewish year of 5760 coincided with Christian celebration of the start of a new millennium. O'Connor said the Pope has called Catholics to declare a Jubilee Year. Traditionally, part of the Jubilee Year is the call for teshuvah (repentance). Cardinal O'Connor said that Ash Wednesday of this millennium year has been set aside for reflection of Catholics on the pain inflicted on Jews by Christians over the ages. Cardinal O'Connor expressed abject sorrow on behalf of any member of the Catholic Church (including himself) who may have harmed Jews in any way. He concluded his greeting with l'shanah tovah tikatevu (wishing you a good year).

Eileen then called on any people new to the Dialogue to introduce themselves. David Zinner and April Collins introduced themselves and said that they were former students of Eric. Ann Ringkamp introduced herself and said she is from Pennsylvania. Ken Bauman introduced himself, and so did his wife, Blue Fitzhugh.

Eric Friedland's Presentation

Bert Buby introduced Eric. He met Eric in 1973 at United Theological Seminary (UTS), and they have been great friends over the years.

Eric stated that his topic for the session is the Book of Daniel, which is a very significant book. First he clarified a few terms. Eschatology is the term meaning the study of what will occur at the end of time. It addresses the question, does history have a destination? Eschatology is a general term, while messianism and apocalyptic are subcategories of eschatology. Messianism is focused on the key figure presiding over the new age. The term apocalyptic is more complicated. Following are earmarks that help determine whether a writing is apocalyptic. Apocalyptic writings are often in the form of pseudepigraphs. A pseudepigraph is the term for a book with a name attributed to an ancient figure, whether or not that figure had any association with the book. Angels appear frequently in apocalyptic books, in contrast to the majority of the books of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures where angels do not appear that often. Also, apocalyptic books tend to use coded language. They are targeted at a "community of the faithful." An additional feature of apocalyptic books is that the fates of the righteous and wicked are sharply defined. Apocalyptic books tend to describe a cosmic upheaval. They often delineate what will happen to us when we die. Harold asked what is the meaning of the "end of time." In response, Eric noted the term, "end of time," has to do with whether there is a purpose or ultimate goal for the world. Sophie asked whether the end of time is a collective or individual thing. Eric said collective and individual descriptions are interwoven in writings on the end of time. Stephen asked how the false messiah fits in. Eric replied that when apocalyptic thought was popular, there was a difference of opinion about how the change would take place. Some said the change would be gradual. Others maintained that the present order was so corrupt that the events of the end time would be chaotic and revolutionary. From the 2nd century BCE to the first century CE, there was a lot of apocalyptic ferment. Shirley observed that she perceives there is a lot of apocalyptic discussion going on today. Eric said that he and Bert are planning to participate in a dialogue on this subject. Arthur asked Eric to expand on the notion of New Age Eschatology. Eric replied that this subject would be appropriate for discussion during the third session on the Millennium in January of 2000 which will be a dialogue.

Eric then directed the attention of the attendees to the Book of Daniel itself. He said that there will not be enough time to cover the whole book; instead, the discussion will center on the pivotal Chapter 7. But first, Eric surveyed the history of the time of the writing of the Book of Daniel.

History of the Period

The Book of Daniel is a reflection of the time in which it was written. The book portrays itself as if it was written during the Babylonian Exile in the 6th century BCE. At that time, the Temple had been destroyed, and a large section of the Jewish population was deported from the Land of Israel to Babylonia. This was quite a traumatic event for the Jewish people. The deported people were primarily the intelligentsia (the priesthood, the royal family, and, in general, the country's leaders). The Babylonians did this to prevent a revolt in Palestine. Actually, we know from scholarly analysis that the Book of Daniel was written in the 2nd Century BCE, around 165 BCE. Someone asked when did the Jewish people return from exile to the Land of Israel. Eric replied that the Jews began returning to Israel when the Persians took over the Babylonian empire, around 538 BCE. In the 4th century, Alexander the Great ushered in the Greek period by conquering a large part of the ancient world. After he died, his empire was divided up among four generals. One of the generals was named Ptolemy. Another was Seleucas. The city of Alexandria was the capital of the area controlled by Ptolemy. The northern part of the area was under Seleucus and was centered in Damascus. During this period, Israel enjoyed a lot of freedom. Israel was unique in that it was strategically situated between the Seleucid and the Ptolemaic empires. For part of the time, Israel was under the sway of the Ptolemaic empire. Later, Israel fell under the influence of the Seleucid empire. Both empires generally granted freedom so long as the inhabitants of the country paid their taxes. However, when the Romans became more powerful and thus a threat to the Seleucid Empire, the Seleucids decided they had to make the countries under their control toe the line. Antiochus Epiphanes (the 10th Seleucid king) was the head of the empire at that time. During this period, there was a pressure toward Hellenization in Israel. Antiochus Epiphanes forbade the Jews from observing the Jewish holidays and festivals. The Maccabean Revolt started when the pagan deity Zeus was installed in the Holy of Holies in the Temple. During this period too, there was a group of Jews called the Chasidim (pious ones). These people were practitioners of a very high level of piety. They exercised lovingkindness toward one another even if they would be hurt and mocked. Another principle of the Chasidim was to refrain from any military endeavor; they were pacifists.

Book of Daniel-Chapter 7

At this point, Eric had the attendees read from Chapter 7. Chapters 1-6 contain narrative, including examples of bravery, such as Daniel in the Lions' Den. Harold read about 5 verses and then Arthur continued reading another set of verses. Daniel had a dream of several sequential beasts. One was a lion which Eric noted is symbolic of the Babylonian Empire. Another beast was symbolic of the Median empire. The leopard is symbolic of the Persian Empire. The beast symbolizing the fourth empire is not specified except that we know it is ferocious, but it is the Greek Kingdom. All the empires share a barbaric nature. Ten horns symbolize the ten kings of the Seleucid dynasty. Don and Suzi each then continued reading five more verses. In verse 24 is the statement, "there came one like a son of man." Eric observed that son of man in Aramaic is Bar Enash. However, in both Hebrew (ben adam) and Aramaic (bar enash), the expression "son of man" simply means a human being. In the later apocalyptic tradition, this expression became very important. But in this period, it is simply an idiom for a human being. The symbolism suggests that the empires will be succeeded by a big kingdom that will have a human face. Dieter continued reading verses. Eric observed that the saints referred to in the last few verses of Chapter 7 are a code for the Chasidim. Arthur asked what is the root word of Chasidim. Eric replied that it is chesid-lovingkindness. Harry then read beginning in verse 23. Steve continued reading from verse 26 to the end of chapter 7.

Discussion of the Book of Daniel and Larger Issues

In response to a question, Eric said that the Maccabean Revolt occurred from 167 to 164 BCE. Eric said that, in another chapter of Daniel, there is another dream with a creature with different metals as the parts. Each metal represents a different kingdom. Eric asked for the response of the audience to what we have read. Elisabeth Fitzhugh asked how the Hellenists related to the Maccabeans. Eric replied that the dictate of Antiochus polarized the population into two camps. Bert commented that Eric has decoded the book. However this decoding must be done properly. With such texts, there are considerable opportunities for misinterpretations. David Zinner asked whether there is a historical Daniel from the ostensible earlier period. Eric replied that the author took some earlier stories and incorporated them in the Book of Daniel. Bill Youngkin suggested that the book is projected back because it is subversive literature. Eric said that part of the book was written in Aramaic and part in Hebrew. Eric said that it is the common view that by the time the Book of Daniel was written, the majority of the people were already speaking Aramaic and not Hebrew. However, later scholarship has shown this to be hogwash since the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in Hebrew. Eric speculated that the Book of Daniel may have been written partially in Aramaic in order to get a wider audience, since Aramaic was the international language of the Middle East at that time. However, the Book of Daniel was written partly in Hebrew in order to maintain consistency with the rest of the Bible. Arthur asked whether Aramaic is predominantly Persian. Eric replied no; Aramaic started out in Syria. Eileen concluded the formal discussion at 9:30 PM.

Announcements and Decisions

Eileen announced that the next meeting would be held at Shirley's house (see the directions to her house later in these minutes). It was decided that the January 9, 2000 meeting would be a dialogue of Eric, Bert and the Dialogue attendees about Eschatology and Millennialism.

Ken discussed three articles with the attendees. The first was an article in the Dayton Daily News on November 13, "Catholics, Lutherans make a Significant Breakthrough toward Reunification." The article reported an agreement negotiated in Augsburg, Germany, between Catholics and Lutherans that may lead to reunification of the two religions. The agreement focused on whether people are saved by grace or works or both. Ken asked the people in attendance how Jews should feel about the possible unification of the two major Christian religions that split up in the Reformation. Should Jews view this development positively or as a threat? Next, Ken referred to two articles that have a lot to do with the relations between Catholics and Jews. The first was a review in The Economist of the recently published biography of Pope Pius XII.1 The biography suggests that Pius XII, as pope and in prior positions, had close relations with the German Nazi government and remained silent when knowledge of the atrocities against the Jews began to emerge. The review reported that the tendency of the author of the biography to make exaggerated, even false, connections colors an otherwise fascinating book. The fact that Pius XII is in the early stages of being elevated to sainthood makes the issue of his behavior with respect to the Holocaust particularly important. The third article2 was in the magazine, Reform Judaism, and reported on troubling issues that continue to divide Catholics and Jews, including the controversy over the role of Pope Pius XII with respect to the Holocaust, the canonization of Edith Stein, and some negative reactions of Jews to the Vatican document on the Holocaust, We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah.

Report on The 16th National Workshop on Christian-Jewish Relations

The 16th National Workshop on Christian-Jewish Relations was held in Houston, Texas, from October 24 until October 27, 1999. The following Dayton Christian Jewish Dialogue members attended: Robin Smith, Shirley Flacks, Burt Buby, Eileen Moorman, Jerry and Lorraine Kotler, Jack Kelley, and Don Ramsey. Following are comments on the National Workshop by some of the attendees from Dayton.

Shirley found the keynote presentation by Cardinal Keeler to be disturbing. Cardinal Keeler was supposed to give a keynote address; however, he spent the entire time trying to exonerate Pope Pius XII. Shirley noted that she and Eileen viewed the keynote presentation quite differently. Rabbi Leon Klinecki also had questions about Pope Pius XII's role during World War II. When Rome was bombed by the Allies during World War II, Pope Pius XII decried the bombing, but he did nothing to decry the deporting of Jews to the concentration camps that was taking place at that time. The keynote presentation was the only negative thing that Shirley observed at the National Workshop. Shirley especially liked the presentation by Sister Mary Boys and Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, "Past and Future Readings of Scripture."

Don said that this was the first National Workshop that he has attended. He agreed with Shirley's positive assessment of the presentation by Sister Mary Boys and Dr. Amy-Jill Levine. He also said that Prof. Michael Wyschogrod provoked both Jews and Christians with his presentation, "Jewish Understandings of Christianity." Prof. Wyschogrod raised the interesting question, if the Cardinal of Paris who is ethnically Jewish were ritually observant, would the Church kick him out. Don also enjoyed the Bible study sessions. Don thought that the final speaker, a Baptist, was not as sensitive to Jewish concerns as he could have been. Shirley said the Baptist speaker used too many platitudes.

Jack said he is reading three books on Pope Pius XII. Cardinal Cassidy has said that three Jewish and three Catholic scholars will jointly look at the research data on Pius XII. Jack said the highlight of the Workshop was meeting Dr. Amy-Jill Levine. She delivered a phenomenal review of research on Jesus. Dr. Levine is a professor at Vanderbilt. Jack recommended a group of Dialogue members look through the National Workshop program materials for programming ideas.

Eileen said that she heard Cardinal Keeler in a different way than Shirley. She felt that he described the historical situation in which Pope Pius XII lived. Historically, he had little or no prestige with regard to his Papacy. Keeler said we need more detailed studies of Christian churches during the Holocaust. Eileen asked for a cooling off period from all the combative statements of Catholics and Jews in the Dialogue. Ken asked why Pius was picked out for beatification. Eileen replied that Pius XII brought Catholics back to reading the Scriptures during his papacy. Bert said that during World War II, the Chief Rabbi of Rome was a personal friend of Pope Pius XII. After the war, the Chief Rabbi made a positive statement about Pius' role during the Holocaust. Dave Zinner asked whether Jews should judge the Catholic Church for internal religious matters. Arthur replied that the Vatican had a Concordance with the Nazi German government which protected the sovereignty of the Vatican. Arthur feels the Pope decided that Hitler might win the war and decided to make a deal with him. Eileen replied that the Concordance actually came from a pope prior to Pius XII, and it was designed to protect the Vatican as an independent entity. Eileen commented on Dr. Levine's presentation. Dr. Levine said that Jews need to pay more attention to the Christian scriptures. She also said that we do not know enough about the community or the authors of the Christian scriptures. Mary Boys said in her presentation that friendship has changed Jews' and Christians' ways of viewing each other. Christians need to show Jesus's followers as followers of Judaism. Shirley said that Sister Mary Boys and Dr. Amy-Jill Levine stayed around after their presentation and contributed to the other sessions. Jack reported that there was a caucus on passion plays at the National Workshop.

Rose Wendel reported a recent prayer breakfast of interracial religious fellowship help by the Interfaith Ministers for Reconciliation. She found the prayer breakfast to be truly interrelegious, not just fundamentalist. It represented a whole new level of openness. The breakfast was held at Temple Israel. Steve said that the wartime role of Pope Pius XII is a valid topic for Dialogue discussion, and we should schedule some future meeting time to talk about it. Elisabeth asked why Dr. Amy-Jill Levine recommended that Jews study the Christian scriptures.

The meeting adjourned at about 10:15 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Ken Rosenzweig, Secretary

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1 "Fallible Man," The Economist, October 9-15, pp. 105-107.

John Cornwell, Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, (Viking, 1999).

2 Arthur Hertzberg, "The Catholic-Jewish Dispute That Won't Go Away," Reform Judaism, Winter, 1999, pp. 30-33, 90.