College of Arts & Sciences

Department of Theology and Religious Studies

News and Events


Professor Cunningham Elected President of the ICCJ
(September 2014)

Professor Philip A. Cunningham was elected president of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) at its conference last month in Buenos Aires. The ICCJ is an umbrella organization of 38 Jewish-Christian dialogue organizations engaged in the renewal of Jewish-Christian relations. Professor Cunningham directs SJU's Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations. He is recognized internationally as an expert in Jewish-Christian relations and interreligious dialogue. He is the author or editor of numerous books and articles on the topic. Most recently, he co-edited the acclaimed research project and book, Christ Jesus and the Jewish People Today: New Explorations of Theological Interrelationships. He will serve a three-year term as the ICCJ's president. This is a wonderful honor and an important recognition of Professor Cunningham's efforts on behalf of Jewish-Christian relations over the years.

 

Reception to Honor Dr. Yazicioglu on the Publication of Her New Book
(March 2014)

The Department of Theology and Religious Studies will host a reception in honor of Dr. Isra Yazicioglu on the publication of her new book, Understanding the Qurʾanic Miracle Stories in the Modern Age (see below). The reception will begin at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 26th, in the Clifford Board Room on the 2nd floor of Bellarmine Hall.

 

The God Who Is Beauty: Beauty as a Divine Name in Thomas Aquinas and Dionysius the Areopagite

Dr. Sammon Publishes New Book on Beauty and Theology
(March 2014)

What is beauty, and what does it have to do with Christian theology? In the sixth century, Dionysius the Areopagite declared beauty to be a name for God. This approach to beauty had a profound influence on Christian thought in the Middle Ages and manifests itself strongly in the work of Thomas Aquinas. In The God Who Is Beauty: Beauty as a Divine Name in Thomas Aquinas and Dionysius the Areopagite (Pickwick Publications), Dr. Brendan Sammon examines both the historical development of beauty's appropriation as a name for God in Dionysius and Thomas, and the various contours of what it means. William Desmond, a leading philosopher in both American and Europe, calls the book "engaging, lucid, insightful . . . an admirable debut by Sammon with a significant contribution to the field of theological aesthetics."

 

Understanding the Qurʾanic Miracle Stories in the Modern Age

Dr. Yazicioglu Publishes New Book on Miracle Stories in the Qur'an
(March 2014)

The Qurʾan contains many miracle stories, including several familiar to Christians: Moses’s staff turning into a serpent, Mary’s conceiving Jesus as a virgin. In Understanding the Qurʾanic Miracle Stories in the Modern Age (Pennsylvania State University Press), Dr. Isra Yazicioglu explores a fascinating medieval Muslim debate over miracles and connects its insights with important turning points in Western thought and with contemporary Qurʾanic interpretation. According to Omid Safi, a prominent scholar and professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, "Yazicioglu's work serves as a useful reminder of how intellectual trends in each era have shaped our interaction with divine revelation in a way that is timeless—and also timely."

 

Dr. Wells Wins Teaching Award
(March 2014)

Last month, Dr. Bruce Wells was inducted into the Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit honor society and was selected to receive this academic year's teaching award from the local SJU chapter.

 

Dr. Andrews Awarded Major Fellowship for Research on East Asian Religion
(November 2013)

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC), an independent, nonprofit international organization founded in 1923 and based in Brooklyn, New York, has awarded Dr. Susan Andrews a Postdoctoral Fellowship for Transregional Research on Inter-Asian Contexts and Connections. The fellowship provides nearly $70,000 in funding for Dr. Andrews' project, "Replicating Replicas: The Creation of the Pan-Asian Mount Wutai Cult in Pre-Fourteenth Century China, Korea, and Japan." The project will contribute to the understanding of the connections between seemingly distant locales in East Asia through a careful study of the ways that Wutai narratives and practices were preserved, transformed, and used to new ends in China, Korea, and Japan. The award will allow Dr. Andrews to participate in workshops and conferences in Turkey, China, Belgium, and Austria over the next year.

 

Professor Cunningham Wins Peace and Dialogue Award
(November 2013)

The Dialogue Forum and Peace Islands Institute recently awarded Professor Phil Cunningham its Peace and Dialogue Award for promoting interfaith understanding.

 

The Nativist Movement in America

Dr. Oxx Publishes New Book on Religious Conflict in 19th-Century America
(September 2013)

Ever heard of the Bible Riots in Philadelphia? Well, now's your chance to learn about them. As part of Routledge's series, Critical Moments in American History, Katie Oxx's new book looks at key events in the anti-Catholic movement of the mid-1800s. The book is The Nativist Movement in America: Religious Conflict in the Nineteenth Century, published this past spring (2013). It explores and contextualizes events such as the burning of a convent in Massachusetts, the Philadelphia Bible Riots, and the theft of the so-called Pope's Stone in Washington D.C. The riots took place in 1844 in the neighborhoods of Kensington and Southwark. Dr. Oxx's book contains a number of records and other documents from that time and has its own Web site with additional resources.

 

Professor Madges Wins Prestigious Book Prize
(August 2013)

William Madges, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, is the editor of Vatican II: 50 Personal Stories, published by Orbis Books in July 2012. The book received second place for the category, 50th Anniversary of Vatican II, in the 2013 book awards from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada. The CPA remarked: “What an interesting and absorbing book! It tells the story of Vatican II through the revelatory experiences and personal assessment of distinguished Catholic and non-Catholic authors. Covering a wide scope of topics, this book is a treasure trove of valuable insights.” Congratulations to Professor Madges!

Vatican II: 50 Personal Stories