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Spiritual RadicalAbraham Joshua Heschel in America, 1940-1972$
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Edward K. Kaplan

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780300115406

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300115406.001.0001

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Confronting the Church (1961–1964)

Confronting the Church (1961–1964)

(p.238) 13 Confronting the Church (1961–1964)
Spiritual Radical

Edward K. Kaplan

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the years during which Heschel was achieving national prominence as a public intellectual. Simultaneously, he was also playing a largely confidential role in a great international drama. As the primary theological consultant to the American Jewish Committee (AJC), he represented the interests of the Jewish people to the Second Vatican Council, popularly known as Vatican II, the epoch-making conclave convened in 1962 by Pope John XXIII to update the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and to redefine its relationship with other forms of Christianity and with non-Christian religions, especially with Judaism. Heschel felt that his mission to the Vatican was his greatest opportunity to save Jewish lives, and he began the process in 1961 as he established a close working relationship with Augustin Cardinal Bea, to whom Pope John had entrusted the future declaration on the Jews.

Keywords:   public intellectual, theological consultant, American Jewish Committee, Second Vatican Council, Vatican II, Pope John XXIII

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