R.R. Reno concludes an article on Wyschogrod’s The Body of Faith, having the catchy title of The Carnal Reality of Revelation, with the admonishment:
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Christians believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead. It is our Easter faith, a conviction invested in the carnal realities of life, perhaps to a degree even greater than the Jewish doctrine of the election of Israel. After all, what could be more frightfully fleshly than the hungry worms awaiting us in the damp soil of our death-darkened graves? Where and how does this carnal reality make itself seen and felt in Christian piety and practice?
Wyscogrod didn’t answer this question for us, but he brought it into focus. The Jewish doctrine of carnal election draws a line through the body of humanity. There are Jews–and there are Gentiles. Christians have tended to recoil from this distinction as emblematic of what they imagine to be Jewish narrowness and legalism. As our little group read and discussed Wyschogrod, we felt this distinction, a distinction in the flesh, as a sobering challenge. Shouldn’t our life in Christ be as deeply stamped and carnally visible? It’s a question, perhaps the question, that the reality of Judaism should provoke Christians to ask themselves.