Transforming Relations is a collection of original essays on the history of Jews and Christians in antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the modern era that honors the influential work of Michael A. Signer (1945-2009). Reflecting the breadth of Signer's research and pedagogical interests, the essays treat various aspects of the Jewish-Christian relationship through the centuries, from the divine law in antiquity to philosemitism in contemporary Christianity, from scriptural interpretation in the twelfth century to Christian Hebraism in the fifteenth, and from the presentation of Christianity in the Talmud and Midrashim to modern Christian understandings of Judaism. The essays are unified in their emphases on two principles that pervade Signer's own scholarly work: that the sacred texts shared by Jews and Christians serve simultaneously as a point of convergence and divergence for the two religious communities, and that modern practitioners of Judaism and Christianity must recognize and appreciate the other as part of a living tradition.
A fitting tribute to Signer's wide-ranging work, the volume aims to complement and continue his passionate and learned work of transforming relations between Jews and Christians. It will appeal to a broad readership, including historians of Judaism and Christianity, scholars of the Middle Ages, students of the history of biblical exegesis, and systematic theologians.
"Michael Signer, beloved scholar and rabbi, was a medievalist who spoke to contemporary concerns and a Jew who had close friendships with Christians. The scholarly depth of the essays in this volume and the range of issues the authors address are testimony to his significant legacy. This excellent book honors the memory of Rabbi Signer. It also will be a blessing to all who read it." --Mary C. Boys, S.N.J.M., Union Theological Seminary
"The Babylonian Talmud teaches Haval Ôal-dÕavdin ve-la mishtakhinÉ (Sanhedrin 111a), "Alas for the one who has been lost and cannot be replaced." Michael Signer's death leaves us all bereft, family and friends alike. This volume is a testament to Michael's breadth of scholarship and to his enduring legacy, and is a fitting tribute. Yehi zikhro barukh: "May Michael's memory be always for a blessing." --Robert A. Harris, Jewish Theological Seminary
"This superb collection of original essays is a most fitting tribute to the work of the late Rabbi Michael A. Signer (1945-2009). Michael's colleagues and students not only reflect on his legacy but also embody his very practice of a rigorous and collaborative scholarship that builds bridges of mutual understanding across the fractures of history and the realities of religious difference. With this volume, Michael's transformative work in Jewish-Christian relations continues." --Elizabeth Groppe, Xavier University