Archive for March, 2013

The Unknown Sanctuary, Aime Palliere

March 25, 2013

Book review: The Unknown Sanctuary, Aimé Pallière (1868-1949)

(Translated from the French “Le sanctuaire inconnu” to English by Louise Waterman Wise, 1930)

Sometimes you read a book and you think everyone has to read it because of the truth it shares, a truth everyone has to know. Of course it are personal thoughts, but anyway, “The Unknown Sanctuary” is such a book. It has a timeless message for those who are occupied with the bothering of Christian faith together with the Jewish world. It is not a book to agree with everything. But it shares the truth for those who understand it.the-unknown-sanctuary

Aime Palliere made de such an impressive journey as a Catholic with a great religious spirit facing the truth of the Jews, that anyone with a sense of true feeling of the presence of God on mankind, must be moved on when reading his conversations with the respected rabbi Eliyahu Benamozegh. This rabbi guided him to embrace Noachism. Aime first tended to convert to Judaism but in the end remained non-Jewish.

I received a copy of his book from a friend of mine some years ago. I’ll put it here on this blog, but you can also download it at Archive.org.

Reading the book there were some interesting highlights for me which I would like to share.

Aime became acquainted with the salvation army. With respect to Catholicism he said:

“Protestantism on the contrary acknowledges no other rule than the gospel word itself, and is obliged to extract therefrom its constituent principles, and to subordinate to them the entire Christian life; also, to conclude from its premises what the final development of Christianity is to be. In fact, the majority of creeds which claim to derive from the Reformation of the XVIth Century, do not conform to this fundamental principle, and do not succeed in entirely eliminating the ecclesiastical element, because of the need of adaptation and the play of historic laws which are stronger than logic itself. It is quite evident on the whole that the personality of Jesus who is the centre, the soul of the Christian faith, cannot be rediscovered, except through tradition, that is to say through the Church. Thus it is that despite all things and by an inevitable inconsistency, Protestantism has not been able to separate Jesus wholly from his historic background, and thus it still keeps in step with the organized Church instead of relinquishing its followers to the direct and personal influence of the saving Messiah. It could only continue to exist as a religion, because it retained doctrinal teachings and common practices which form the necessary out- ward bond of an organization. It can then readily be conceived how great an interest the study of the Protestant principle presented to a Christian soul which tended toward the pure origins of its faith, and by a happy conjunction of circumstances I found myself in close relation with one of the most logical forms, and at the same time the most vital, of Protestantism, most liberated in any case from ecclesiastical organization, from theological teachings and from sacramental cults. Here the Christian soul found itself in the presence of the object of its faith, through suppression of all intermediaries. From this point of view the Salvation Army is certainly more Protestant than any Church of the Reformation.” (p.79-80) When years go by he saw the Salvation Army also was not the religion which would fill the gaps.

At some point he disconnected the person Jesus from his religious affection. “…but his [Jesus] personality itself, so imperfectly known to us, was no longer a vital and indispensable thing in my religious life.” (p.115). Why does he add: ‘so imperfectly known to us’? This I agree with, we don’t know Jesus as much as to get the true idea of him. And I can understand to question the Trinity doctrine, but to remove Jesus as the Messiah and the son of God? And yet he remained Catholic and took the eucharist? Here some question marks remained.

In his conversation with rabbi Benamozegh, dealing with the Noachide, Benamozegh replied: “Noachism is the true, the only eternal religion of the Gentiles, and that it has its foundation in common with Israel. It is nothing else than true Christianity, that is, what Christianity ought to be, what it some day will become. This, according to the Jews, is the true religion of the Messianic times.” (p.173-174)

Benamozegh discouraged Aime to convert and becoming part of “the Jewish priesthood” [of the world]. He encouraged him to be a Noachide. (p.175) For this he had “two important reasons, … The first is the desire to begin with you and in you this religious movement [Noachism] which will bring about the final evolution of Christianity. Following that, the profound conviction that I have that in the new attitude that you would take, you could be much more helpful to Judaism, than if you entered into its bosom, yes, much more helpful from without than from within. But when I say from without, it is a form of speech; in reality the layman, the Noachide is not outside of the Church, he is within the Church, he himself is the true Church.” (p.175-176)

Another correspondent in Germany, Rabbi Dr. Jacob of Dortmund gave following reply: “As to your friend who has been advised if he would serve the cause of Israel that he eventually become a rabbi, this is, of all ways, the least effective. We would have one Jew and one rabbi the more! A great thing! At the best, as a proselyte he could for the moment count on some curiosity. For him Christians would no longer exist, but would Jews exist to any greater extent? One more rabbi coming to join the little phalanx of those who, here and there, preach to a dozen Israelites on the superiority of Judaism and its Universal Mission, without ever having, note it well, converted a single soul to their doctrines!” (p.226)

So you see it will give thoughts to ponder. I will end with the following saying of Aime:

“Verily, Thou art a God that hidest Thyself, O God of Israel, the Savior; but behind the veil Thou wilt be found by the heart that loves Thee, by the soul that trusts in Thee.”

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