The Pharisees as a Textbook Case: How the Pharisees Are Presented in Catholic Religion Textbooks

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Institute Co-Director Philip Cunningham offered this multimedia presentation during an international conference “Jesus and the Pharisees: An Interdisciplinary Reappraisal,” sponsored in Rome by the Pontifical Biblical Institute. This presentation summarizes the results of three content analyses of Catholic religion textbooks and one of Protestant textbooks in the United States over the past several decades in terms of their presentations of the Pharisees. These studies are supplemented with surveys of current textbook materials in the United States and Italy, and a parallel content analysis of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  The Italian texts were studied by Dr. Maria Brutti. The presentation examined the reasons why textbook treatments of the Pharisees and Jesus’ Jewish contemporaries are so challenging and concluded with concrete recommendations for improvement in the future.