Sacred Dissonance: The Blessing of Difference in Jewish-Christian Dialogue

by Anthony Le Donne / Larry Behrendt

(See larger photo)

Retail: $29.95
Size: 6 x 9 inches
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 320
Pub Date: December 2017
ISBN: 9781683070672
ISBN-13: 9781683070672
Item Number: 070672
Categories: Religion and Culture; Judaism

Product Description

Moving beyond the all-too-common shallow recognition of differences, Sacred Dissonance: The Blessing of Difference in Jewish- Christian Dialogue explores the essential distinctions between religious identities and the cultural boundaries between Jews and Christians. Co-authored by colleagues deeply committed to their respective faiths—one a Jewish lawyer, one a Christian New Testament scholar—this book stands in opposition to the notion that all religions are basically the same, an idea commonly put forward in many secular circles or among those who follow personally appointed folkways rather than traditional religions.

Through deeply introspective essays on topics as personal as neighborhood relations and hospitality, and as difficult and sweeping as the Holocaust, Sacred Dissonance challenges the notion that a passive and self-contained approach to religious distinction will bring about peaceful coexistence. In candid conversations between the authors, every section of Sacred Dissonance models the ways in which conversation can be the means of both addressing a difficult past and a challenging present. In the course of exploring the ways in which Jews and Christians can speak to one another, Le Donne and Behrendt show that Christianity can become a “pro-Jewish” religion, Judaism can become a “pro-Christian” religion, and communities of faith can open space for others, rather than turning them away, even without breaking down the differences between them.


“Honest conversations between Jews and Christians are as important now as any time in the past 2,000 years. Sacred Dissonance marks an important point in that sometimes difficult, sometimes joyous journey of mutual understanding, enhancement, and coexistence. In this book, we are privileged to read the conversations between two brave friends, one Jew and one Christian, who made themselves vulnerable to each other in the hard process of exploring the dissonances between their theological outlooks. The authors are masterful in their honest engagement, handling tough issues with critical poise and careful presentation. Here theological integrity is matched by an ethos of rhetorical integrity—a rare and exquisite accomplishment.”
Bruce W. Longenecker, Professor of Religion and W. W. Melton Chair at Baylor University and author of Hitler, Jesus, and Our Common Humanity

Sacred Dissonance marks an important step forward in Jewish-Christian discourse. The essays are candid and probing, the dialogues rigorous, insightful, and devoid of the platitudes so typical in interfaith encounters. Jews and Christians wishing to learn more about each other—and themselves—will enjoy the opportunity to eavesdrop on these rich conversations. I know I did.”
Rabbi Joshua D. Garroway, Associate Professor of Early Christianity & Second Commonwealth, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

“I love this book. Behrendt and Le Donne model for us Jewish-Christian dialogue at its best—witty, respectful, and full of substance. A wonderful contribution to the ongoing conversation between the two faiths, a conversation that I can hope will become increasingly commonplace.”
Pete Enns, Abram S. Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University and author of The Bible Tells Me So and The Sin of Certainty

Author Bios

Anthony Le Donne is the executive editor of the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus and the author of several books and articles. He is associate professor of New Testament at United Theological Seminary.

Larry Behrendt is a specialist in interreligious dialogue with specific emphasis on Jewish-Christian relations. His blog,, is uniquely devoted to this topic. Larry has degrees from the University of California and Georgetown University.