Center for Christian-Jewish Learning Symposium Explores 'The Passion'

Center for Christian-Jewish Learning Symposium Explores 'The Passion'

The Center for Christian-Jewish Learning will hold a three-part symposium series beginning this Sunday that explores the depiction of the death of Jesus throughout history, and how Christian-Jewish relations have been influenced as a result.

An interdisciplinary group of Boston College faculty members will be the featured speakers in the "Portraying the Passion" sessions, which will be held from 2-4:30 p.m. in the Heights Room of the Lower Campus Dining Hall on Jan. 25, Feb. 1 and Feb. 8.

As the symposium organizers note, the death of Jesus has been a major theme in the visual arts, music, writing, drama, worship - and, more recently, in motion pictures - and some of these artworks have generated animosity toward Jews. The BC faculty members will discuss historical and interreligious complexities of the Gospel passion narratives, portrayals in various media of the passion over the centuries, and current Roman Catholic teaching.

Center for Christian-Jewish Learning Executive Director Philip Cunningham will speak at this Sunday's symposium, "The Gospels, Christian Theologies of Judaism and Anti-Semitism."

At the Feb. 1 session, "Presentations of the Passion in Christian History," four faculty members will survey how reflection on the death of Jesus shaped Christian artistic and religious expression in a variety of media: Prof. Pamela Berger (Fine Arts) on visual arts; part-time faculty member Rev. Raymond Helmick, SJ (Theology) on music; Fine Arts department chairman Prof. John Michalczyk on passion plays; and Cunningham on popular piety.

Michalczyk will be the featured speaker at the final session, "The Cross and the Camera," which focuses on The Passion and its depiction in 20th-century cinema.

More details are available through the center's World Wide Web site, at


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