Rev. Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, the Duncalf-Villavaso Professor of Church History and Dean of Community Life at the Seminary of the Southwest, has been named the University’s Kraft Family Professor and Director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning, Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences Dean Gregory Kalscheur, S.J., has announced.
Fr. Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, who earned his Ph.D. in Theology from BC in 2005, is a recognized scholar in Christian-Jewish relations and comparative theology. In addition, he has taught and written widely on the history of Christianity and the Anglican tradition.
“I am delighted that Dan is returning to Boston College to serve as the Kraft Family Professor and Director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning,” Fr. Kalscheur said. “He is a leading scholar in the area of Jewish-Christian comparative theology, and, along with his strengths as a scholar, he brings experience as an academic leader and institution builder and a dynamic vision for the important role that the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning can play locally, nationally, and globally.”
An Episcopal priest, Fr. Joslyn-Siemiatkoski has been a faculty member at the Austin, Texas-based seminary since 2014 and was named the seminary’s Dean of Community Life in 2020. His previous faculty posts include Church Divinity School of the Pacific and the Graduate Theological Union.
“I am grateful and honored to have come full circle back to Boston College and to lead the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning which helped to form my own identity as a scholar,” Fr. Joslyn-Siemiatkoski said.
“The Center is the premier hub for Christian-Jewish relations – not only studying it, but promoting it – in North America,” he added. “It has an extensive network of other centers of Christian-Jewish relations to collaborate with and partnerships with institutions like the Holocaust Museum in Washington and Yad Vashem in Israel. It draws upon the deep commitment of the Roman Catholic Church to repair the relationship between Christianity and Judaism that the Second Vatican Council called upon the Church to do. I see the Center as a manifestation of BC’s commitment to that work as shown by its strong institutional support of the Center and how it has nurtured a whole cadre of donors to support it, particularly the Corcoran and the Kraft families.”
With a founding gift of $5 million from John M. Corcoran, ’48, BC established the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning in 2001 to promote new and mutually enriching relationships between Christians and Jews. Professor of Theology Ruth Langer has served as the center’s interim director since the 2020 retirement of former director James Bernauer, S.J., who also held the Kraft Family Professorship, established through a gift of Trustee Associate Robert Kraft and the late Myra Kraft.
Fr. Joslyn-Siemiatkoski said the work of the center and others like it has taken on greater significance amid rising reports in recent years of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. and other countries.
“We are at a moment where we need to be aware that progress is never a given, and relationships that foster a common good always need tending,” Fr. Joslyn-Siemiatkoski said. “Part of the work of the Center going forward is to look back on the many positive outcomes we have developed and look ahead to where we still need to be vigilant and engage in the work of education for the sake of our current and future generations.”
Fr. Joslyn-Siemiatkoski is the author of The More Torah, The More Life: A Christian Commentary on Mishnah Avot and Christian Memories of the Maccabean Martyrs (Fordham University Press, 2018) and Christian Memories of the Maccabean Martyrs (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).
His interest in how Christians and Jews interact grew out of his experiences with the two faiths as a child and friendships in high school.
“Jewish-Christian relations were never an abstract question for me,” he said. “It was real and immediate to care about this. For me, there has been a moral quality to these questions of Jewish-Christian relations. The Christian church has responsibility for its past for how it treated Jews. Once I sensed that, I feel I became accountable for it. It propelled me to find ways to resolve those issues.”
Ed Hayward | University Communications | May 2022