Living in the same neighborhood with strictly observant Orthodox Jews, Johnson learned new insights about their religion and her own faith. Compellling and inspirational, her memoir of that special time reveals the original roots of Christianity in Judaism and challenges modern-day believers living in a casual culture to examine their own spiritual discipline.
The compelling, insightful, and challenging memoir of a Christian woman's exploration of her faith while living in community with strictly Orthodox Jews. As Maria Johnson explains: "I knew that Christianity is rooted deep in Judaism, but living in daily contact with a vital and vibrant Jewish life has been fascinating and transforming. I am and will remain a Christian, but I am a rather different Christian than I was before."
A Catholic and a professor of theology at the University of Scranton, Johnson
lives near a small community of ultra-Orthodox Jews. In this winsome volume,
she explores the ways friendships with her neighbors have subtly reshaped her
own Christian commitments. She finds the Jewish practice of reading Torah
alongside Talmudic commentary enjoyable and recognizes that she, too, likes to
study the Bible with "partners" be they the ancient church fathers or her
husband. In the Jewish dietary codes, Johnson finds a model of bodily
spirituality, a useful antidote to the Gnosticism that has historically
infected the church. Johnson isn't moved by every aspect of Jewish life;
while she shares the goal of imparting religious convictions to her children,
she worries that her neighbors' approach more or less cutting their children
off from wider American culture carries too great a cost. Still, she sees life
in her neighborhood as "elementary preparation for civilized participation in
the global village." At times, the book is thin her ruminations on Jewish
suffering are so brief as to seem glib, for example. But on the whole, this is
a welcome contribution to the literature of Jewish-Christian relations. (Nov.
7) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.