Scholars Discuss Half-Century of Catholic-Jewish Relations at University Lecture

Apr 14, 2015

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.” The lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Pearn Auditorium of Brennan Hall on campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Spanning the years between 1962 and 1965, the Second Vatican Council (also known as Vatican II) came nearly a century after the original assembly of Roman Catholic religious leaders met to settle doctrinal issues. Vatican II is credited with opening the door for reconciliation with other Christian denominations and non-Christian faiths.

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.

Dr. Cunningham, a member of the Christian Scholars Group on Christian-Jewish Relations, contributed to its 2002 statement, “A Sacred Obligation: Rethinking Christian Faith in Relation to Judaism and the Jewish People.”

The Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute was created in 1979 through an endowment funded by the local Jewish community. The Institute fosters a better understanding and appreciation of Judaism, Israel and their histories. It supports visits to the University by Jewish scholars and writers, and supports library acquisitions, publications, faculty research travel and other scholarly endeavors. The work of the Institute was further enhanced by a $1 million gift from Harry Weinberg in 1990.

For further information, contact Marc Shapiro, Ph.D., professor of theology/religious studies at The University of Scranton, at 570-941-7956 or


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