Judaism as seen through the lens of the Steward of Gondor


Stumbled across this post on Supersessionism as helpfully reinterpreted using imagery from the Lord of the Rings:

“Imagine a king went away on a journey and left [an emissary] a regent to govern in his stead. The regent is charged with reminding his people of the king’s wishes and keeping them expectant of his eventual return. The regent does his job well, but when the king finally does return, it is in a manner that no one expects, and most do not recognize him as the king at all. At that point, the king’s regent is, technically speaking, no longer necessary–no one needs to ask the regent about the king’s wishes because they can now ask the king directly–but since the regent is one of the few who knows the king’s true identity, he does continue to serve as a ‘witness’ to that fact, valuable to those who have come to trust the regent but are not yet convinced that this late-comer is truly their king.

Now as far as the regent continues to do his job well, he becomes in a sense ‘obsolete,’ for those who do listen to him and recognize their king no longer ‘need’ the regent, but he is not thereby ‘replaced’ by the king, for he is and always was the king’s agent. Thus, it is not a case of supersession, as when one king replaces another, for the king and his regent have always been in different categories. The regent always was a mere ‘witness’ to the king’s identity and purposes, so this is not some new change in his role after the king returns; it is rather the fulfillment of the role he was charged with from the beginning.”

This post is paired with a second one btw.

Read the full article here.

(I have a particular interest in this topic for purely aesthetic reasons – in addition to the more common inter-faith questions. We have a large window in the Cathedral in which the support beams create a giant Star of David that dominates the sanctuary. There have been requests to hang a cross in front of the window. I’m not opposed to focusing on the cross of Christ at all, but I’m concerned that if we don’t take care in the design and the installation we could unintentionally be signaling a form of supersessionism to which we don’t actually hold.)

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...