The Paradox of Judaism

“Judaism embodies a unique paradox that has distinguished it from polytheism on the one hand and the great universal monotheisms, Christianity and Islam, on the other. Its God is universal: the creator of the universe, author and sovereign of all human life. But its covenant is particular: one people set among the nations, whose vocation is not to convert the world to its cause, but to be true to itself and to God. That juxtaposition of universality and particularity was to cause a tension between Israel and others, and within Israel itself, that has lasted to this day.”

Crisis and Covenant, p. 250