Saturday, March 07, 2009

A new center for Judaic Studies - at Jerry Falwell's university

Jim West reports on the new Center for Judaic Studies at Liberty University, which was founded by Jerry Falwell. According to the Liberty Journal, Dr. Randall Price has just become the Executive Director of the new center. "In order for Christians to support Israel effectively, Price said, they need to understand both Jewish history and importance of the modern state of Israel in Biblical prophecy that God will fulfill. 'If we’re not supporting Israel, then we’re not … understanding [God’s] program as it unfolds in history. And in fact we’re probably on the wrong side of history because we’re not with God in the thing that matters most to Him,' Price said." (Emphasis mine) They're going to be raising money for an endowed chair and eventually want to establish a "separate School of Judaic Studies."

In no version of academic Judaic Studies that I'm aware of is the "importance of the modern state of Israel in Biblical prophecy" a legitimate subject of inquiry, except in analyses of contemporary evangelical theology of Israel. I suspect that Price and his cohort would receive a very cold reception if they propose papers on such a subject (except from an analytical perspective) at the annual meeting of the Association for Jewish Studies.

This is not a legitimate center for Judaic Studies - it is a sham, designed to deceive the students at Liberty University into thinking that they're really studying about Judaism. In actuality, they'll just be looking into a mirror of their own beliefs about Jews and Judaism.

I will be very curious to hear if they ever decide to hire a Jewish scholar of Jewish Studies to teach at this center (that is, one who has not already converted to evangelical Christianity).


  1. Would you be comfortable with a Messianic Jew teaching in your program?

  2. Yes. I teach at a secular institution where we don't care about the religion of our teachers. My concern would be with how good a teacher the person is, not with what his/her religion is. I would be comfortable with a person of any religion or no religion teaching courses in Jewish studies.