Respectful Disagreement: A Response to Raphael Jospe

Jolene S. Kellner, Menachem Kellner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter focuses on the rational and universalistic notion of metaphysical truth, which according to the authors' understandings of Maimonides and Jewish theology precludes accepting religious pluralism. Raphael Jospe's position consists of two claims: first, one can be a theological relativist (that is, a religious pluralist) without being an epistemological relativist; second, one can responsibly ground this position in normative Jewish sources. The chapter disputes these two claims and sketches out an alternative position: while not giving up on the idea that revelation teaches truth in some hard, exclusivist sense, putative addressees of revelation ought to be modest about how much of it they understand, and restrained in the claims they make on and about adherents of other religions. It argues that religious pluralism in a strong sense — that adherents of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam can each affirm the truth of the others' revelation — renders the notion of revelation, in any classic sense of the term, incoherent. There is nothing in Jospe's argument that refutes this claim. Rather, he argues that Jews, Christians, and Muslims can respect each other on the level of moral behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJewish Theology and World Religions
EditorsAlon Goshen-Gottstein, Eugene Korn
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherLiverpool University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781906764098
StatePublished - Apr 2012


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