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Joseph Bonsirven, SJ: A Pioneer of a Theologian of Judaism before Vatican II

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a few biographical facts about the Jesuit priest Father Joseph Bonsirven. It describes his positive vision of Judaism in relation to Christian faith, and how he developed his new vision, while preserving the primacy of Christianity. After administering various pastoral duties, Joseph Bonsirven was drafted in 1914. He was made a prisoner of war in 1916. During this time, Benedict XV ordered him to teach dogmatic theology and Holy Scripture in an improvised seminary in the war prison camp of Munster, Germany. Between 1926 and 1928, Father Bonsirven published a column on contemporary Judaism in the journal Études. On the one hand, he takes a positive and personalized approach to the Jewish people and to Judaism. On the other hand, he feels obliged to disparage Israel, in order to safeguard the superiority of Christianity and the church. He never fully abandons the theology of substitution.

Keywords: Études; Benedict XV; Christianity; Father Joseph Bonsirven; Holy Scripture; Israel; Judaism



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