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Jewish-Christian Relations in Postwar Britain

BISA Lunchtime Webinar

Event Information

12th May, 2022
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Gavin Schaffer, University of Birmingham
Free seminar for scholars: please contact bisa@bbk.ac.uk for further information
Antisemitism, Christianity, Holocaust, Judaism, National Socialism/ Nazism
Germany, UK
20th century
Anglican Church, Christians, Council for Christians and Jews (CCJ), Deicide, Jews, Messianic Judaism, Muslims, Nostra aetate, Operation Judaism

In the postwar period, Jewish-Christian relations have been characterised by an increase in dialogue and mutual respect, and a spirit of post-Holocaust contrition on behalf of church leaders.  In this atmosphere, the Catholic Church’s Nostra Aetate declaration of 1965, among other similar Church statements, set out new terms for Jewish-Christian engagement.  In Britain, the Council of Christians and Jews, established in 1942, led educational and community work to build bridges between the two faiths. 

In this talk, Professor Schaffer considers this postwar atmosphere as an example of interfaith relations, focusing on residual tensions and challenges, specifically on Jewish suspicions concerning Christian evangelism.  In particular, he will explore Jewish fears about the growth of Messianic Judaism, and the community’s responses to what it perceived as increasing and threatening missionary activity in this period. 

Gavin Schaffer is Professor of Modern British History at the University of Birmingham.  He is the author of Racial Science and British Society (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and The Vision of a Nation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).  He is currently writing a postwar history of the British Jewish community. 

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