Common to both Judaism and Christianity is a heightened engagement with time within liturgical practice, in which collective religious memory and anticipation come together to create a unique sense of time. Exploring the nebulous realms of religious experience and the sense of time, Remembering the Future charts the ways that the experience of time is shaped by the traditions of Judaism and Christianity and experienced within their ritual practices.
Through comparative explorations of traditional Jewish and Christian understandings of time, contemporary oral testimonies, and discussions of the work of select twentieth-century Jewish and Christian thinkers, this book maps the temporal landscapes of the religious imagination. Maintaining that the sense of time is integral to Jewish and Christian religious experience, Remembering the Future makes a notable contribution to interreligious studies and liturgical studies. It sheds light on essential aspects of religious experience and finds that the intimacy of the experience of time grants it the capacity to communicate across religious boundaries, subtly transgressing obstacles to interreligious understanding.
Dr. Emma O'Donnell is a postdoctoral fellow at Lund University and a visiting researcher at the Swedish Theological Institute in Jerusalem, where she conducts research within the project Theologies of Religion in Jerusalem. She holds a PhD in comparative theology from Boston College, with a focus in the comparative study of Judaism and Christianity. She was a 2014-2015 visiting scholar of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning and a 2011 fellow with the CrossCurrents Research Colloquium. Additionally, she has taught at Boston College and Emmanuel College.
With this book Emma O'Donnell establishes herself as a valued partner in the conversation that is comparative theology. The work is valuable not only for her comprehensive treatment of the scholarship on time and liturgy in Judaism and Christianity and her adroit handling of methodological issues, but also for the real people that she brings into the mix. The experience of time is a most important issue in liturgical studies, and O'Donnell's work is an important contribution to our understanding of how they relate to one another.
John F. Baldovin, SJ, Professor of Historical and Liturgical Theology, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
O'Donnell's path-breaking volume successfully presents a compelling and nuanced explanation of liturgical time as it is experienced both similarly and also differently by Catholic and Jewish worshipers. Mobilizing a rich and interdisciplinary range of theoretical perspectives, she deftly weaves together insights from the liturgical theologies of these two traditions, ritual studies, comparative theology, and more. Applying these to her own field work, she broadens and deepens our understanding of the purpose of the anamnetic memories of past and future constructed by regular participation in liturgical life. Readers of all religions will find themselves not only enlightened but also motivated to reflect on their own prayer practices.
Ruth Langer, Rabbi, PhD Professor of Jewish Studies and Comparative Theology Associate Director, Center for Christian-Jewish Learning Boston College
"In this excellent book, Emma O'Donnell considers the experience of time in the ritual contexts of Jewish and Christian liturgy. Convinced as she is that religiously formed experience of time is part and parcel of both Jewish and Christian faith, O'Donnell embarks on a journey exploring the subjective realm of experience in both liturgical traditions. This detailed comparative and empirical research contributes not only to the domain of liturgical theology but also to the fields of comparative theology and interreligious studies. O'Donnell's understanding of liturgy as a site for interreligious learning especially will be welcomed by scholars interested in the ritual dimension of interreligious encounters."
Marianne Moyaert, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
"An excellent contribution to the contemporary liturgical-theological discussion focused on the recovery of eschatological imagination."
Anglican Theological Review
"This book--both scholarly and highly personal--analyzes how the practice of liturgy redefines and enriches the experience of time in its spiritual dimensions. Emma O'Donnell performs a feat that few can equal, bringing together Jewish and Christian practices and understandings so that both sides can feel that she has their own interests and sympathies at heart. Strong on both theology and critical theory, this book draws particularly on sensitive interviews with those deeply engaged in the liturgical lives of their respective communities. The spirit of Vatican II is alive and well in this remarkable book, which must be read and meditated on as a prolegomenon to liturgical studies in a comparative setting."
Theodore A. Perry, PhD Emeritus Professor of Hebrew Bible and Comparative Literature University of Connecticut