Christian-Jewish Center Launches Partnership

Christian-Jewish Center Launches Partnership

The Center for Christian-Jewish Learning recently announced a partnership with two prominent religious educators, one of them a former Boston College faculty member, in developing a program that aims to further encourage positive relations between Christians and Jews.

Titled "Educating for Religious Particularism and Pluralism," the project will be a collaboration between the center and Sister Mary Boys, SNJM, a former faculty member at BC's Institute for Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry who is now Skinner and McAlpin Professor of Practical Theology at Union Theological Seminary, and Sara Lee, director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles.

According to the center's announcement, the purpose of the project is to "research, develop, and provide resources and implement processes by which Christians and Jews can...come to comprehend the particularities of their respective traditions in ways that encourage a pluralistic engagement with the other."

While Christians and Jews have made considerable recent progress in overcoming historical animosities and stereotypes concerning each other, according to the statement, further success requires a meaningful understanding of particularity, and an "approach to religious pluralism that is not syncretistic, absolutist, or relativist."

"This conceptual framework will enable Jews and Christians to move into a new phase of their rapprochement, a phase characterized by the growing realization that the encounter with each other is an intrinsic demand of each tradition's faith commitments."

Sister Boys and Lee have examined these and related issues through projects such as The Catholic-Jewish Colloquium (1992-1995), funded by the Lilly Endowment, and the initial stage of Educating for Religious Particularism and Pluralism (1997-2002), supported by a grant from the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith.

Their work as consultants and collaborators on educational studies and programs with the center will be funded by a grant from the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith, and later by the center itself.

More information is available through the center's World Wide Web site.

-Sean Smith


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