These pages list past Institute programs and its directors' presentations elsewhere. Streaming videos are available for many recent events.

When Christians Were Jews

October 18, 2018

Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Large Lapsley Room, Haub Executive Center in McShain Hall

Video 

For centuries, both Christians and Jews have known that their two traditions shared important sacred scriptures. But they have also assumed that the two communities had been separate, even mutually hostile, since the mission of Jesus himself. Jesus was imagined as condemning the Judaism of his day; Paul was understood to be both a  rabid foe of Christianity and then, renouncing his native faith, Judaism’s fiercest critic while preaching a Law-free gospel to Gentiles. Recent scholarship, however, has upended this traditional construct. Both Jesus and Paul, say these scholars, remained faithful and Torah-observant Jews throughout their lives. More: inscriptions and various other evidence reveal that Christ-following Jews and Gentiles interacted closely and positively with synagogue Jews for centuries, throughout the Roman period, even long after Constantine. Join us as a leading expert and contributor to these recent scholarly developments explains this new emerging paradigm, and explore with us what this historical research might mean for relations between Christians and Jews today.

 

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.

Designing and Creating “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time”

October 18, 2018

Sculptor Joshua Koffman

Video 

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.

 

Engaging Community: Remembering the Visit of Pope Francis to Hawk Hill and …

September 27, 2018

…Welcoming Rabbi Abraham Skorka

Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 5 – 6 p.m.

Doyle Banquet Hall, Campion Student Center [Campus Map]

 

Pope Francis and Rabbi Skorka

Pope Francis and Rabbi Abraham Skorka: “Pope and Rabbi learning from one another.”

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.

The Catholic Church and Israel

April 16, 2018

Monday, April 16, 2018 at 7:00-8:30 p.m. 

North Lounge, Campion Student Center

Video

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.”

 

 

Mainline Protestant Churches and Israel

March 19, 2018

Monday, March 19, 2018 at 7:00-8:30 p.m

Large Lapsley Room, Haub Executive Center 
in McShain Hall [Campus Map]

Video

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.

 

Evangelical Protestantism and Israel

February 19, 2018

Monday, February 19, 2018 at 7:00-8:30 p.m

Large Lapsley Room, Haub Executive Center 
in McShain Hall [Campus Map]

Video

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.

Orthodox Jews and the Catholic Church

November 9, 2017

Exploring two groundbreaking Orthodox statements:

Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Video 

Large Lapsley Room, Haub Executive Center in McShain Hall [Campus Map]

 

In the past two years, Orthodox Jews have issued remarkable and unprecedented statements about their relations with the Catholic Church. “To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven” was composed by Orthodox Rabbis from Europe, Israel, and the United States, and “Between Jerusalem and Rome” was prepared by the Rabbinical Council of America, the Conference of European Rabbis, and the Israeli Rabbinate.

Join us as two leading rabbis involved in preparing these statements discuss their purposes, challenges, and importance. Free and open to the public; classes are welcome.

The two milestone Orthodox statements can be found below:

“To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven”

“Between Jerusalem and Rome”

Rabbi Mark Dratch is the Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America, a professional organization serving more than 1000 Orthodox Rabbis in the United States, Canada, Israel, and around the world. Rabbi Dratch is the founder of JSafe: The Jewish Institute Supporting an Abuse Free Environment, an organization addressing issues of domestic violence, child abuse, and institutional and professional improprieties in the Jewish community. He served as Instructor of Jewish Studies and Philosophy at the Isaac Breuer College of Yeshiva University from 2002-2012. Newsweek named him one of the Top 50 Rabbis in America in both 2010 and 2013.

Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn is the 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.

Jews and Lutherans after 500 Years

October 25, 2017

To mark the quincentenary of the Protestant Reformation:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Video 

Large Lapsley Room, Haub Executive Center in McShain Hall [Campus Map]

 

October 31, 1517, the date on which Martin Luther sent his famous “95 Theses” to the archbishop of Mainz, is generally considered to be the start of the Protestant Reformation. This epochal movement divided Western Christianity into competing – sometimes warring – factions, but what did it mean for European Jews? How did they fare as a vulnerable minority in Protestant countries as compared to Catholic ones? What were Luther’s attitudes toward Jews and what did later Lutherans teach about them before and after the Holocaust? What can Jews, Lutherans, and Catholics learn from each other today? Join us as an expert on these questions guides us through this history. Free and open to the public; classes are welcome.

Rev. Dr. Brooks Schramm is the Kraft Professor of Biblical Studies at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. His most recent book, Martin Luther, the Bible, and the Jewish People: A Reader (Fortress Press, 2012) was co-authored with his spouse, Kirsi Stjerna. He is currently working on Luther’s 1543 anti-Jewish treatise, On the Ineffable Name and On the Lineage of Christ. He serves as editor of Gettysburg Seminary’s scholarly journal Seminary Ridge Review. Professor Schramm’s scholarly interests also include the history of the Hebrew language, Jewish biblical interpretation, and biblical theology.

Share the Journey: Remembering the Visit of Pope Francis to Hawk Hill

September 27, 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 6-6:45 p.m.

Campion Student Center, North Doyle Banquet Hall

On September 27, 2017, the second anniversary of his visit to Hawk Hill, Pope Francis is launching a two-year global campaign to support our brothers and sisters who have fled their homes seeking a decent and safe life for their families. This campaign, “Share the Journey,” will help some of the most desperate of God’s children.  SJU’s mission “to be an inclusive and diverse community” complements the Pope’s venture. Therefore, the SJU community will support the pope’s effort, beginning with a brief ceremony to recall his visit to Hawk Hill and to hear his vision for the human family. Join us in Campion Center and then around the Synagoga and Ecclesia sculpture. Watch for different “Share the Journey” activities and initiatives throughout the year.

 

The Apostle Paul in the Jewish Imagination

September 26, 2017

Changing views of a foundational Christian figure:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Video

Large Lapsley Room, Haub Executive Center in McShain Hall [Campus Map]

 

Few Jews, historically speaking, have engaged with the writings of Paul, the first-century Jewish Apostle to the Gentiles. However, the modern period has witnessed burgeoning Jewish interest in this topic, reflecting profound concerns with his views about the nature of Jewish authenticity and relations between Jews and Christians. In exploring these issues, Jewish commentators have presented Paul in a number of apparently contradictory ways. He is seen as both contributing to and undermining interfaith harmony, both the founder of Christianity and a convert to it, both a Jew committed to Judaism and an apostate from Judaism, and both the chief architect of the religious foundations of Western thought and their destroyer. This lecture offers an overview of the ways in which Jews have engaged with this central figure of Christian tradition. Free and open to the public; classes are welcome.

Dr. Daniel Langton is Professor of Jewish History in the department of Religions and Theology at the University of Manchester, UK, where he is Co-director of its Centre for Jewish Studies. His major publications include: The Apostle Paul in the Jewish Imagination: A Study in Modern Jewish-Christian Relations (2010) and Claude Montefiore: His Life and Thought (2002), an intellectual biography of the founder of Anglo-Liberal Judaism. As an advisor to the archbishop of Canterbury’s Office of Inter Faith Relations, he authored Children of Zion: Jewish and Christian Perspectives on the Holy Land (2008). His recent research projects include Jewish engagement with Darwinian theory and with atheism.