Welcome to the

Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations

 

"... deepening understanding between Jews and Catholics through shared study since 1967."

The Story of the Institute

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In 1965, the Second Vatican Council called for Catholics and Jews to join in “biblical and theological inquiry … and friendly discussions.” Almost at once the Jesuit community at Saint Joseph’s College founded the Institute – the first such response to the Council by an American Catholic institution of higher education. They believed that rapprochement between Jews and Catholics was integral to the Catholic and Jesuit identity of Saint Joseph's and defined the mission of the Institute as increasing knowledge and deepening understanding between the two communities. Today, the Institute is directed by a Jewish professor and a Catholic professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. They regularly team-teach and partner nationally and globally to research Jewish and Christian reconciliation and reform. They promote opportunities for Christians and Jews to be study partners, teaching and learning about themselves and each other by studying and experiencing together texts, rituals, events, and places. This vision is enshrined in the original Joshua Koffman sculpture outside the university chapel, "Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time."

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Our Next Program

Latest Videos

Nazis of Copley Square: The Forgotten Story of the Christian Front, 1939-1945

Monday, February 7, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.   

In Philadelphia on July 14, 1939, “radio priest” Father Charles Coughlin appointed Mr. John F. Cassidy to lead his new "Christian Front" organization. FBI agents seized rifles, ammunition, and bombs from Cassidy's home 6 months later. The Front was charged with plotting to install a “temporary dictatorship” to wipe out Jewish and communist influence in the USA. The author of the new book, Nazis of Copley Square, Dr. Charles R. Gallagher, SJ, associate professor of history at Boston College, will show how the Front's antisemitism was inspired by Sunday sermons and lay leaders openly espousing fascist and Nazi beliefs.

It is not yet decided whether this program will be online or on campus.

The Bible and the Believer: How to Read the Bible Critically and Religiously

Drs. Marc Zvi Brettler, Peter Enns, and Mark Smith—respectively a Jew, a Protestant, and a Catholic—discuss whether subjecting the Bible to literary and historical analysis undermines or enhances religions and their interpretations of the Bible. They argue that the challenges such study raises for religious belief should be brought into conversation with religious traditions rather than dismissed.

Maxims for Mutuality: Principles for Catholic Theology, Education, and Preaching about Jews and Judaism

Coming soon: Dr. Philip Cunningham gave this keynote address at the annual meeting of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations. It outlines his forthcoming book, which proposes ten principles synthesizing Catholic insights that have arisen since the Second Vatican Council declaration Nostra Aetate in 1965. The ten maxims are available HERE.

International Collaborations

Encyclopedia of Jewish-Christian Relations

Dr. Cunningham is an advisory board member for this project of the Berlin-based publisher DeGruyter. He and Dr. Gregerman have also authored articles in it. Click on the title for an introductory video to the project, which includes an interview with the Institute directors about co-writing one of the entries.

Enabling Dialogue about the Land

The Institute was a university sponsor of a research project of the International Council of Christians and Jews, which recently led to the publication of a resource book for Jews and Christians on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Published by Paulist Press, click on the title for a video interview with the volume's editors and the Institute directors, who also contributed to the book.

Latest Essays by IJCR Professors

Cunningham and Gregerman:
"The Import of To Do the Will—A Catholic and a Jewish Perspective"
in Ahrens, Greenberg, and Korn, eds., From Confrontation to Covenantal Partnership: Jews and Christians Reflect on the Orthodox Rabbinic Statement "To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven" (click cover for book details).

For other publications by the IJCR directors click:

Cunningham                  Gregerman

Institute Memberships


The Institute is a founding member of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR), a network of centers and institutes in the United States and Canada. The Council publishes the peer-reviewed, open-access online journal Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations.

The Institute cosponsors with the CCJR a library of resources in C-J relations called Dialogika ("things of dialogue"). The library provides documents from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and interfaith bodies; educational resources; and texts from the history of C-J relations.

Consortium of Holocaust Educators (CHE) of Greater PhiladelphiaThe Institute is a member of the Consortium of Holocaust Educators of Greater Philadelphia, which fosters communication and cooperation among regional organizations engaged in Holocaust awareness and education.

Please support our mission!

The Institute's many programs are funded by gifts that support our work and through an endowment that honors the Institute's late director, the Rev. Donald G. Clifford, S.J., who directed its activities for over forty years. Please consider financially joining in our mission of deepening understanding between Jews and Catholics through joint study.

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