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This page last updated 10 December 2018  

Letters to AO

EVERY WEEK WE PUBLISH a selection of letters we receive in response to something you've read at Anglicans Online. Stop by and have a look at what other AO readers are thinking.

Alas, we cannot publish every letter we receive. And we won't publish letters that are anonymous, hateful, illiterate, or otherwise in our judgment do not benefit the readers of Anglicans Online. We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters. We edit letters to conform with standard AO house style for punctuation, but we do not change, for example, American spelling to conform to Canadian orthography. On occasion we'll gently edit letters that are too verbose in their original form. Email addresses are included when the authors give permission to do so.

If you'd like to respond to a letter whose author does not list an email, you can send your response to Anglicans Online and we'll forward it to the writer.

Letters from the week of 3 - 9 December 2018

Like all letters to the editor everywhere, these letters express the opinions of the writers and not Anglicans Online. We publish letters that we think will be of interest to our readers, whether we agree with them or not. If you'd like to write a letter of your own, click here.

There are often comments about our front-page letters on the Anglicans Online Facebook page. You might like to have a look.

Supersessionism and a Christmas classic

Your reflections on 'O Come, O Come Emmanuel' were posted shortly after an extensive Facebook conversation on the question of whether the lyrics are so supersessionist as to be an ongoing part of rigid Christian rejection of God's loving work through the Jewish people which has been a tragic and sinful part of Christian history. This link to alternative lyrics with a commentary on them is worth reading.

One participant in this conversation made reference to an article which argued that the lyrics are profoundly Jewish in origin and who invited pondering about what the implications might be for Christian usage. The reference is: J Allen Cabaniss, 'A Jewish Provenience of the Advent Antiphons?', The Jewish Quarterly Review (1975) 66.1: 39-56. The article can be accessed in the Jewish Quarterly Review archives.

I can accept that Israel is waiting in mournful exile until the Son of God appears only insofar as I rejoice in the fact that all Gentiles have been grafted into the vine that is Israel and that we are all waiting in mournful exile from the fulness of the Reign of God. That allows me to sing this hymn with joy and thanksgiving. We reject Jesus' people to our shame, whether actually or whether we merely imply it through the lyrics of treasured hymns.

Sister Diana Doncaster
Convent of the Transfiguration
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
3 December 2018

We agree wholeheartedly with your last paragraph and only speak of being in exile if we include all of the people of God who have been 'grafted into' Israel. - Ed.


We launched our 'Letters to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All published letters are in our archives.

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