Deepening understanding between Jews and Catholics through shared study since 1967.
The Story of the Institute
In 1965, the Second Vatican Council called for Catholics and Jews to join in “biblical and theological inquiry … and friendly discussions.” Almost at once, the Jesuit community at Saint Joseph’s College founded the Institute – the first such response to the Council by an American Catholic institution of higher education. They believed that rapprochement between Jews and Catholics was integral to the Catholic and Jesuit identity of Saint Joseph's and defined the mission of the Institute as increasing knowledge and deepening understanding between the two communities.
Today, the Institute is directed by a Jewish professor and a Catholic professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. They regularly team-teach and partner nationally and globally to research Jewish and Christian reconciliation and reform. They promote opportunities for Christians and Jews to be study partners, teaching and learning about themselves and each other by studying and experiencing together texts, rituals, events, and places. This vision is enshrined in the original Joshua Koffman sculpture outside the university chapel, "Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time."
Dr. Jesper Svartvik shows that common Christian ideas about the death of Jesus are based on mistaken views of the role of Temple sacrifices in biblical Judaism, which led to an anti-Jewish theology. He offers a biblically-grounded theology of the cross, according to which God is making all things new.
In the recently published book, Nazis of Copley Square, Jesuit scholar Dr. Charles Gallagher provides a crucial missing chapter in the history of the American far right. The men of the Christian Front imagined themselves as crusaders fighting for the spiritual purification of the nation, under assault from godless communism. Gallagher chronicles the evolution of the front, the transatlantic cloak-and-dagger intelligence operations that subverted it, and the mainstream political and religious leaders who shielded the front’s activities from scrutiny.
Holy Week presents a unique opportunity for Catholics and Christians to reexamine their ongoing relationship with the Jewish community. Professor Philip Cunningham and Professor Adam Gregerman of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia share with producer Gina Christian how the post-Vatican II dialogue between the two faiths offers reasons for hope, and opportunities for more work to be done.
Dr. Cunningham is an advisory board member for this project of the Berlin-based publisher DeGruyter. He and Dr. Gregerman have also authored articles in it. View an introductory video to the project, which includes an interview with the Institute directors about co-writing one of the entries.
ENABLING DIALOGUE ABOUT THE LAND
The Institute was a university sponsor of a research project of the International Council of Christians and Jews, which led to the publication of a resource book for Jews and Christians on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by Paulist Press. Watch a video interview with the volume’s editors on ICCJ's YouTube channel.
by IJCR Professors
Cunningham and Gregerman: "The Import of To Do the Will—A Catholic and a Jewish Perspective"
in Ahrens, Greenberg, and Korn, eds., From Confrontation to Covenantal Partnership: Jews and Christians Reflect on the Orthodox Rabbinic Statement "To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven." Published by Urim Publications.
The Institute cosponsors with the CCJR a library of resources in Catholic-Jewish relations called Dialogika ("things of dialogue"). The library provides documents from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and interfaith bodies, educational resources and texts from the history of Catholic-Jewish relations.