These pages list past Institute programs and its directors' presentations elsewhere. Streaming videos are available for many recent events.
Tuesday, January 8, 2019 at 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Campion Student Center: Doyle Banquet Hall North
From Monday, January 7 through Thursday, January 10, 2019, the Institute welcomed twenty scholars from eight countries to study together major issues in Christian-Jewish relations. Participants heard and discussed papers on topics that included identity and borders, fulfillment, Jewish and Christian missions, Christology, covenant, the Apostle Paul, and the connections between Christian-Jewish relations and global religious pluralism.
On Tuesday evening, an open session of the conference provided an experience of its deliberations in a “fishbowl” format. Dr. Gavin D’Costa from the University of Bristol, U.K. presented his paper, “Catholic Theology and the Promise of the Land as Part of the Jewish Covenant.” Dr. Amy-Jill Levine from Vanderbilt University responded, followed by a general discussion among all the conference participants and the audience. This was an unusual opportunity for intensive theological dialogue and reflection.
Monday, November 12, 2018 at 7:00-8:30 p.m.
It is often claimed that Judaism and Christianity stand in a unique relationship with each other because of their special historical and theological connections, which is not true of the relationship of Christianity with other religions. The presentation critically examines the validity of this claim and explores the theological possibility of attributing a “special” relationship between God and other religions and the desirability of applying the same process and patterns of the Jewish-Christian dialogue to the interreligious dialogue between Christianity and all religions.
Dr. Peter C. Phan is the inaugural holder of the Ignacio Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University. He holds three earned doctorates and three honorary doctorates. He is the author/editor of 30 books and author of 300 essays and book reviews. His latest book is The Joy of Religious Pluralism. A Personal Journey (Orbis Books, 2017).
In the wake of the murders of eleven worshipers at the Tree of Life – Or Simchat Synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018, the SJU and local communities gathered at the sculpture of “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time” for prayer.
The Institute also issued a statement “Dialogue is the Only Way.”
Episode 40 of the podcast comes to you with Steve Okey’s conversation with Philip Cunningham of Saint Joseph’s University. Prof. Cunningham was visiting Saint Leo to give a presentation on “Moving Toward Mutuality? Challenges in Catholic-Jewish Relations.” He was also named the 14th recipient of the Saint Leo Center for Catholic Jewish Studies’ Eternal Light Award, in recognition of his significant contributions to Catholic-Jewish relations. In this episode, Prof. Cunningham speaks about his early research into how Christian religious education material represented and misrepresented Judaism, on rethinking the Good Friday liturgy in light of anti-Semitism, and how Jewish-Christian dialogue might enable one to think more deeply about Christology. This episode was recorded on October 25th, two days before the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue.
Click HERE for the podcast.
Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Large Lapsley Room, Haub Executive Center in McShain Hall
Dr. Paula Fredriksen, the Aurelio Professor of Scripture emerita at Boston University, has since 2009 been Distinguished Visiting Professor of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she also holds honorary doctorates from Iona College (USA), Lund University (Sweden), and Hebrew University (Israel). She has published widely on the social and intellectual history of ancient Christianity, and on pagan-Jewish-Christian relations in the Roman Empire. Author of Augustine on Romans (1982) and From Jesus to Christ (1988; 2000), her Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, won a 1999 National Jewish Book Award. More recently, she has explored the development of Christian anti-Judaism, and Augustine’s singular response to it, in Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism (2010); and has investigated the shifting conceptions of God and of humanity in Sin: The Early History of an Idea (2012). Her latest two studies, Paul: The Pagans’ Apostle (2017), and When Christians Were Jews: The First Generation (2018), place the Jesus-movement’s Jewish messianic message within the wider world of ancient Mediterranean culture, politics, and power.
Sculptor Joshua Koffman
From the first concept ideas, to historical research, to preliminary sketches, to drapery studies and evolving clay iterations, to casting, installation, and dedication, sculptor Joshua Koffman describes the process of designing and creating SJU’s historic artwork, “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time.” Co-sponsored by the Department of Art and the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations, art students and other guests learn from the award-winning artist the steps that are necessary to develop a large public sculpture.
…Welcoming Rabbi Abraham Skorka
Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 5 – 6 p.m.
Doyle Banquet Hall, Campion Student Center [Campus Map]
On Sunday, September 27, 2015, Pope Francis came to Saint Joseph’s University to view the original sculpture “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time,” which had been dedicated only two days earlier. His longtime partner in interreligious dialogue, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, had delivered the keynote address at the dedication ceremony and greeted his friend when he arrived on the SJU campus.
This annual commemoration of this historic moment will be particularly special this year because the SJU community will welcome Rabbi Skorka as a visiting University Professor. He will offer brief remarks about the significance of the sculpture for the university’s 2018-2019 academic theme: “Community Engagement.” The ceremony will be followed by an informal reception at which the campus community can welcome and meet Rabbi Skorka.
Come and learn the story behind this remarkable event and its importance to the mission of Saint Joseph’s University.
Monday, April 16, 2018 at 7:00-8:30 p.m.
North Lounge, Campion Student Center
Among Christian communities, the Catholic Church is unique in that its central organization, the Holy See, is internationally recognized as a “state” with its own ambassadorial corps. Thus, its relation to the modern State of Israel has both theological and diplomatic aspects. This presentation will focus especially on the religious challenges raised for the Vatican by the 1948 founding of the State of Israel and for its relations with Jews around the world.
Dr. Philip A. Cunningham is Professor of Theology and Director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of SJU. He is the author of Seeking Shalom: The Journey to Right Relationship between Catholics and Jews and of the forthcoming article, “Toward a Catholic Theology of the Centrality of the Land of Israel for Jewish Covenantal Life.”
Monday, March 19, 2018 at 7:00-8:30 p.m
Large Lapsley Room, Haub Executive Center
in McShain Hall [Campus Map]
For several decades, mainline Protestant churches have struggled to cultivate a strong Jewish-Christian relationship while also addressing the suffering caused by the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This program explores the tensions these diverse goals have generated both within Protestant churches and in their engagement with Jewish communities.
Rev. Dr. Peter A. Pettit, ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is Associate Professor of Religion Studies at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, where he also directs its Institute for Christian-Jewish Understanding. He was the Project Co-director of New Paths: Christians Engaging Israel, a joint initiative of Muhlenberg College and the Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem, and is co-director of Interfaith Partners 4 Peace.
Monday, February 19, 2018 at 7:00-8:30 p.m
Large Lapsley Room, Haub Executive Center
in McShain Hall [Campus Map]
Few know of the diversity of views within the conservative / evangelical Christian community or its long history of interest in the religious significance of the land of Israel. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, many evangelical Christians, in addition to political activism, have been deeply involved in thinking about the theological significance for Christians of the existence of a Jewish nation-state. This presentation will guide us through the varieties of Evangelical perspectives.
Rev. Dr. Gerald R. McDermott is the Anglican Professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. He is the author, co-author, or editor of many books, including The New Christian Zionism: Fresh Perspectives on Israel and the Land, and Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently about the People and the Land.