These pages list past Institute programs and its directors' presentations elsewhere. Streaming videos are available for many recent events.
Jews and Christians Experiencing Exodus Together
Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
McShain Hall: Haub Conference Center, Large Maguire Room
The Passover Meal, the Seder, marks one of the major feasts on the Jewish calendar. Passover is also important for Christians since the story of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt is a principal element of many Christian observances, especially during Holy Week. The Seder meal is a wonderful way for Christians to have a direct experience of Jewish spiritual life, and for both communities to rededicate themselves to a world in which slavery and injustice are no more.
The Passover Seder at SJU is a full catered kosher meal. Participants will join in the prayers, songs, and celebration in as close to a traditionally Jewish form as possible.
Registration is required. A limited number of seats are available for a roughly equal number of Christians and Jews (others welcome, too!). Register soon: first come, first served!
A Spring Series Featuring Rabbi Abraham Skorka
Co-author with Pope Francis of On Heaven and Earth
Abraham Skorka is a rabbi, chemist, and writer. He served for over three decades as the Rector and professor of biblical and rabbinic literature at the Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano Marshall T. Meyer in Buenos Aires. He has published several books and articles in the field of biophysics and on Biblical and Talmudic research.
1. The Perils of Polarized Public Discourse
Monday, February 18, 2019; 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Response: Dr. James Caccamo is Associate Professor of Ethics and Department Chair. He specializes in the Ethics of Technology and Media and also in Catholic Social Teaching.
2. The Interreligious Complexities of the Abortion Debate
Monday, February 25, 2019; 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Response: Dr. Marvin J. H. Lee, Ph.D., is Bioethics Consultant, at SJU’s Institute of Clinical Bioethics and editor of The Journal of Healthcare Ethics & Administration. He specializes in Theological/Philosophical Bioethics and Clinical Bioethics.
3. Science and Religion: Contradictory or Complementary? VIDEO
Monday, March 4, 2019; 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Response: Dr. Gerard Jacobitz is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology. His interests include Phenomenology and Hermeneutics, and the Doctrine of God.
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.”