These pages list past Institute programs and its directors' presentations elsewhere. Streaming videos are available for many recent events.
The Dynamics of Religious Pluralism in a Changing World
The Philadelphia, United States, and International Contexts
July 10-13, 2016
Sunday, July 10, 2016 at 4 p.m.
The Chapel of Saint Joseph – Michael J. Smith, S.J. Memorial (campus map)
David N. Saperstein is the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. He was confirmed by the Senate on December 12, 2014, and was sworn in and assumed his duties on January 6, 2015. The Ambassador at Large is, by law, a principal advisor to the President and Secretary of State and serves as the United States’ chief diplomat on issues of religious freedom worldwide. He also heads the Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. The President also has designated Ambassador Saperstein to carry out the duties in the Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act of 2014.
Ambassador Saperstein previously served for 40 years as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), overseeing the national social justice programming for the largest segment of American Jewry. A rabbi and an attorney, for 35 years Saperstein taught seminars in First Amendment Church-State Law and in Jewish Law at Georgetown University Law Center.
A prolific writer and speaker, Ambassador Saperstein has appeared on numerous television news and talk shows. His articles have been published in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the “Harvard Law Review.” His latest book is Jewish Dimensions of Social Justice: Tough Moral Choices of Our Time.
A detailed schedule of the full conference can be downloaded HERE.
The ICCJ serves as the umbrella organization of forty national Jewish-Christian dialogue organisations in over thirty nations around the world. Through its annual conferences and other consultations the ICCJ offers a platform where people of different religious backgrounds examine current issues across national and religious boundaries, enabling face-to-face exchanges of experience and expertise. The international headquarters of the ICCJ are located in Heppenheim, Germany in the house where the great Jewish thinker Martin Buber lived until Nazi persecution forced him to flee.
The CCJR is an association of nearly forty centers and institutes in the United States and Canada devoted to enhancing mutual understanding between Jews and Christians. It is the ICCJ’s national member organization for the United States. The CCJR publishes Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations in collaboration with Boston College’s Center for Christian-Jewish Learning. The Council also maintains Dialogika, an English language supersite for resources and research in Christian-Jewish relations in partnership with the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
“The Christian Majority in the United States: Tolerance, Intolerance, and Competition”
- Dr. David M. Krueger, independent scholar
- Dr. Kate Oxx, Saint Joseph’s University
- Dr. Terry Rey, Temple University
- Dr. David Watt, Temple University
“The Jewish Experience of the American Experiment”
- Dr. Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University
“The Muslim Experience of the American Experiment”
- Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, Manhattan College
“International Perspectives on Religious Pluralism: Challenges, Limits, and Possibilities”
- Liliane Apotheker (France)
- Dr. Pavol Bargar (Czech Republic)
- Rabbi Shmuel Szteinhendler (Chile)
- Rev. Dr. Michael Trainor (Australia)
- Dr. Deborah Weissman (Israel)
Special Plenary: “The Understanding of Paul’s Theology and Christian Anti-Judaism”
- Dr. E. P. Sanders, Duke University, emeritus
- Rev. Dick Pruiksma, Protestant Church in the Netherlands
- Dr. Adele Reinhartz, University of Ottowa; Visiting Professor, Boston College
Concluding Plenary: “Reflections on the Conference”
- Rev. Dr. John Crossin
- Rev. Friedhelm Pieper
- Rabbi David Straus
A Conversation on the Newest Statements about the Christian-Jewish Relationship
Including the first theological statement by the Catholic Church in 30 years
February 24, 2016 at 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Doyle Banquet Hall South, Campion Student Center
At the end of 2015, three significant statements from the Vatican, the French Jewish community, and a group of Orthodox rabbis were issued on the relationship between Christians and Jews. The Institute has invited some leading scholars to SJU for a consultation to study these texts, many of whom will join in a public conversation about these fascinating documents. The texts are available at the bottom of the webpage found HERE.
Speaking about the documents for the public evening program:
- Rabbi Dr. Ruth Langer
- Dr. Elena Procario-Foley
- Rabbi Dr. David Sandmel
- Rabbi Dr. David Berger; Rabbi Noam Marans, Rev. Dr. John T. Pawlikowski; Rev. Dr. Peter A. Pettit; Rabbi Dr. Ruth Sandberg; and Dr. Matthew Tapie.
Note: The consultation resulted in the publication of several articles on the 2015 Vatican document. For more information
Dr. Galit Hasan-Rokem
Tuesday, December 1, 2015 | 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Haub Executive Suite, McShain Hall – 5th Floor [campus map]
Co-sponsored with the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
The “wandering Jew”—doomed, according to legend, to roam the world until the end of days—was a powerful creation of the medieval imagination. As a derogatory image, it represented the idea that God had cursed Jews for their unbelief. However, the wanderer existed not only in the Christian mind but also, albeit differently, in Jewish folklore, art, and literature.
As we celebrate this year the 1965 Second Vatican Council declaration Nostra Aetate (which rejected the notion of the cursed and wandering Jew), Galit Hasan-Rokem unravels this multidimensional tradition that evolved over centuries of creative contact between Jews and Christians.
Galit Hasan-Rokem is a distinguished professor of folklore and Hebrew literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Author of many scholarly works including Web of Life: Folklore and Midrash in Rabbinic Literature and Tales of the Neighborhood: Jewish Narrative Dialogues in Late Antiquity, she is also a translator and poet, with several collections published in Hebrew.
Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn
Wednesday, November 4, 2015 | 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Haub Executive Suite, McShain Hall – 5th Floor [campus map]
Fifty years after the revolution begun by Nostra Aetate, Judaism is still challenged to develop an accurate sympathetic understanding of the Christianity, while the Church has yet to come to grips with the Jewish people’s return to Zion and the particularity of the Jewish people’s covenant with God. How can we make a start on these important challenges?
Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn is academic director of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Israel, and co-director of CJCUC’s Institute of Theological Inquiry. He has published more than 40 scholarly and popular essays on Jewish-Christian relations, Israel, and Jewish ethics, which have been translated into Hebrew, German, Spanish and Italian. He is the author or editor of several books including, The Jewish Connection to the Land of Israel, Jewish Theology and World Religions, Covenant and Hope: Christian and Jewish Reflections, and Ploughshares into Swords: Jewish and Christian Reflections on Religion and Violence.
Sunday, October 11, 2015 | 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Haub Executive Suite, McShain Hall – 5th Floor
The Christian Scholars Group on Christian-Jewish Relations is an ecumenical think tank that formed in 1969. Its fall 2015 meeting will be hosted by the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations. The CSG is preparing a statement from an ecumenical Christian perspective on the historic significance of Nostra Aetate‘s 50th jubilee, which will be made public at this event. Join us as the CSG editors, Dr. Peter A. Pettit and Dr. Elena Procario-Foley discuss the meaning of the Declaration for the wider Christian world and the challenges for the Christian-Jewish relationship in the future. A response will be given by Rabbi Dr. Ruth Sandberg, director of the Jewish Christian Studies program at Gratz College.
The fall of 2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions. Formally promulgated on October 28, 1965, it was the revolutionary document that made possible a new relationship of respect between Catholics and Jews. All our fall programs honor this historic milestone. All are free and open to the public. [Right: a Second Vatican Council session in St. Peter’s Basilica.]
Two prominent scholars will discuss important changes that have taken place in the relationship between Catholics and Jews at The University of Scranton’s Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute lecture on Thursday, May 7. David Berger, Ph.D., Ruth and I. Lewis Gordon Professor of Jewish History and dean at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University in New York City; and Philip A. Cunningham, Ph.D., professor of theology and director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, will discuss “The Church and the Jews, Fifty Years After Vatican II.”
Dr. Berger, author of “The Jewish-Christian Debate in the High Middle Ages,” which was awarded the John Nicholas Brown Prize by the Medieval Academy of America, has written many articles on medieval Jewish history, Jewish-Christian relations, antisemitism, contemporary Judaism and the intellectual history of the Jews. His articles on Jewish-Christian relations have been collected in “Persecution, Polemic and Dialogue: Essays in Jewish-Christian Relations” and those on intellectual history have been collected in “Cultures in Collision and Conversation: Essays in the Intellectual History of the Jews.” Cochair of the Academic Advisory Committee of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, Dr. Berger is a fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research and a member of the Council of the World Union of Jewish Studies.
Dr. Cunningham, who serves as president of the International Council of Christians and Jews and as secretary-treasurer of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR), has been a member of the Advisory Committee on Catholic-Jewish Relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is also webmaster of the CCJR’s online resource supersite called Dialogika. Interested in biblical studies, religious education and theologies of Christian-Jewish relations, Dr. Cunningham is the author of several book and articles on these subjects. His most recent book, “Seeking Shalom: The Journey to Right Relationship between Catholics and Jews,” will be published later this year. His previous book, “Christ Jesus and the Jewish People Today: New Explorations of Theological Interrelationships,” received wide praise.
Tuesdays, April 14, 21, and 28, 2015 | 7-9 p.m.
Facilitated by Profs. Philip A. Cunningham and Adam Gregerman
Haub Executive Suite, Large Lapsley Room, McShain Hall
For historical, theological, and political reasons, the subjects of the Land and State of Israel prompt intense and sometimes difficult conversations between Jews and Christians. Join us for a three-part series of interfaith dialogues in which we explore constructive ways of approaching these vitally important topics. We will consider diverse viewpoints on the subject both between and within our communities and the challenges they pose to interreligious relations.
The 2015 series is connected to a five-year research project funded primarily by the International Council of Christians and Jews with additional support from several universities, including the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University. During the three sessions, we will:
- “Field test” a process to promote a sympathetic reading of documents that one might not be inclined to be sympathetic toward;
- Hear documents on their own terms and identify their presuppositions, assumptions, approaches, fears, and concerns;
- Appreciate diverse range of approaches between and within religious communities, especially in terms of using sacred or authoritative texts;
- Become more aware of our own presuppositions, assumptions, approaches, fears, and concerns
- Help develop means for interreligious conversations to occur that lead to understanding.
Mary C. Boys and Sara S. Lee
How can members of different faith traditions dialogue with openness and respect? How can they confront the painful conflicts in their history and overcome theological misconceptions and even learn from each other? For more than twenty-five years, Professors Mary C. Boys and Sara S. Lee have explored ways that Catholics and Jews can overcome mistrust and misunderstandings through a process of “Interreligious Learning,” which they have studied and developed. This entails not simply learning about the other from within one’s own faith community, but rather engaging in specific learning activities with members of the other faith—learning in the presence of the other. Drawing upon examples from their own experiences, they will lay out a framework for engaging the religious other in depth.
Mary C. Boys, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, is Dean of Academic Affairs and the Skinner and McAlpin Professor of Practical Theology at Union Theological Seminary, New York City. She is the author of several books, including Jewish-Christian Dialogue: One Woman’s Experience; Has God Only One Blessing? Judaism as a Source of Christian Self-Understanding; and, most recently, Redeeming Our Sacred Story: The Death of Jesus and Relations between Jews and Christians. She and Sara S. Lee wrote Christians and Jews in Dialogue: Learning in the Presence of the Other.
Sara S. Lee is the emeritus director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. Recipient of the Samuel Rothberg Prize in Jewish Education for Hebrew University in Jerusalem and of the Pras HaNasi, the President of Israel’s Award for Distinguished Leadership of Jewish Education in the Diaspora, she is also past president of the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education. She edited Communities of Learning: A Vision for the Jewish Future and co-edited Congregation of Learners and Touching the Future: Mentoring and the Jewish Professional.