My Name is Great Among the Nations: A D’Var Torah on Parshat Toldot
9 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 3, 2016
This talk takes as its main text one of the most remarkable passages in the Hebrew Bible, at Malachi 1:11: “For, from where the sun rises to where it sets, My name is honored among the nations, and everywhere incense and pure oblation are offered to My name; for My name is honored among the nations – said Adonai Tzevaot.” The apparently universalistic message inscribed in these words provokes a host of questions in the theology of religious pluralism. The most obvious is whether nations and religious traditions “from where the sun rises to where it sets” are actually worshipping the “same God.” This talk argues, however, that the question of whether different faiths worship the “same God” is, at the end of the day, not particularly useful or interesting. More vital is whether we can see the God to whom we pray in the worship of others. Or, more to the point, whether we can learn about God from the differences we see in the worship of others. Appreciating other religions is not only important for the sake of mutual respect, though that is vital as well, but also and most deeply for the sake of our understanding of God – the God who yearns for relationship and is infinitely and mysteriously capable of finding it.
Keywords: Toldot, Malachi, Religious Pluralism, Theology, Judaism, Hebrew Bible, Christianity, Nicholas of Cusa, Trinity, Bali, Balinese Hinduism
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