The Center for Christian-Jewish Learning is devoted to the multifaceted development and implementation of new relationships between Christians and Jews that are based, not merely on toleration, but on full respect and mutual enrichment. The building of new, positive relationships between Christians and Jews requires sustained collaborative research. Under the Center's auspices, scholars and thinkers representing diverse Christian and Jewish perspectives engage in intense and ongoing study of all aspects of our related yet distinct traditions of faith and culture.

Contact

Center for Christian-Jewish Learning
Boston College
Stokes Hall N405
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

cjlearning@bc.edu

617-552-4495

To join the Center's listserv, please send an email to cjlearning@bc.edu.

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Mission

The Center for Christian-Jewish Learning is devoted to the multifaceted development and implementation of new relationships between Christians and Jews that are based not merely on toleration but on full respect and mutual enrichment. This defining purpose flows from the Mission of Boston College and responds to the vision expressed in Roman Catholic documents ever since the Second Vatican Council.

The building of new, positive relationships between Jews and Christians requires sustained collaborative academic research. Therefore, under the Center's auspices scholars and thinkers representing diverse Jewish and Christian perspectives engage in intense and ongoing study of all aspects of our related yet distinct traditions of faith and culture. 

Educationally, we are committed to the goal that "Jews and Judaism should not occupy an occasional and marginal place in [Christian religious education]: their presence there is essential and should be organically integrated" (Notes, 2).  We are convinced that Jews and Christians enrich and deepen their respective identities by joint educational endeavors. The Center is thus dedicated to conducting educational research and to offering programs, both in the university and the wider community, in which Christians and Jews explore their traditions together. 

In short, the Center applies the scholarly resources of a Catholic university to the task of encouraging mutual knowledge between Christians and Jews at every level (Notes, 27).

[Notes = Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Notes on the Correct Way to Present Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Teaching in the Roman Catholic Church (1985).]

Disclaimer: The Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College maintains this website as part of its mission to promote news, resources, documentation, and information in service of establishing mutually enriching relationships between Christians and Jews.

The opinions contained on this website represent the views of their specific authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning or of the Board of Trustees of Boston College.

Historical & Theological Background

In the past two millennia, the relationship between Judaism and Christianity has been predominantly hostile. Social and religious pressures induced early Church leaders to develop anti-Jewish teachings that shaped Christian thought until the twentieth century. Several religious claims contributed to a theology known today as supersessionism - because "the Jews" had crucified Jesus, their "Old Covenant" had ended; Jews were doomed to homeless wandering; and the Church had superseded Judaism as God's Chosen People.  Jews reacted to this with distaste, distrust and a polemic of their own. Over the centuries, the two traditions came to define themselves in opposition to each other and urged avoidance of members of the other community.

Medieval Antisemitism Art

The yellow badge Jews were forced to wear can be seen in this illustration from an English manuscript “Expulsion of the Jews” (14th century).

After the year 1000, in various times and places, Jews in Europe experienced more intense oppression at the hands of the Christian majority. This included periodic outbursts of local violence and murder against Jewish communities, the requirement to wear identifying badges or clothing, prohibitions from owning land, compulsory attendance at Christian sermons urging baptism, coerced participation in public disputation with Christian preachers, forced expulsion from various regions, confinement within walled ghettoes, and accusations of defiling consecrated communion wafers or of using the blood of murdered Christian children to make Passover matzah.

Thus marginalized in European society, Jews became easy targets of the racist regimes that arose in more recent times.

The 1939-1945 Nazi genocide of Jews in the heart of "Christian" Europe spurred the widespread examination of Christian teachings on Jews and Judaism.

Rabbi Abraham Heschel and Cardinal Augustin Bea

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel meeting with Cardinal Augustin Bea, who was highly influential at the Vatican II Council in the drafting of "Nostra Aetate" which repudiated antisemitism.

Most Christian communities have rejected supersessionism and condemned antisemitism, but must now dismantle the effects of their prolonged influence and implement theologies and practices that affirm Jewish covenantal life with God. Jews have generally welcomed these initiatives, but are also challenged to interact with new and unfamiliar positive Christian statements in a pluralistic world that itself challenges Jewish identity and continuity. 

The twin tasks of rethinking the theological relationships between Jews and Christians and of transforming long-standing negative attitudes toward one another requires theologians, scholars in all disciplines, educators, and religious leaders of both traditions to engage in intense dialogue across a range of issues. Our Center is committed to these endeavors.

Scholarship

  • The Corcoran Visiting Chair in Christian-Jewish Relations
Corcoran Visiting Chair
   
  • The Kraft Family Professorship
 
  • Invitational conferences for Christian and Jewish scholars to develop fresh perspectives on the Christian and Jewish relationship.
 
  • Courses in which Jews and Christians study their own traditions with students
    from the other, related tradition, and guided by teams of Jewish and Christian professors. These can be used for major, minor, and concentration
    options on the undergraduate and graduate levels.
        Center Courses       
           
                         
  • Publication of the peer-review journal Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations.
Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations
  • A Student Internship Program, which support Boston College students' understanding and participation in Jewish-Christian relations.
Student Internship Program
  • Sponsorship of theological, interdisciplinary, and educational research in collaboration with other universities and research centers, nationally and internationally.
 


Programs

  • Lectures by leading scholars in the field of Jewish-Christian studies and relations, including the Center’s Annual John Paul II Lecture.
Annual John Paul II Lecture
  • A Jewish-Christian Lecture Series with regular presentations by guest speakers to enrich and encourage dialogue among faculty and students.
Jewish-Christian Lecture Series
  • Collaborative programming with regional institutions and religious bodies to promote Christian and Jewish amity in various contexts.
 
  • Interdisciplinary faculty and student seminars on religious resources to combat social injustices
 
  • A video library with links to streaming videos of past Center programs and to lectures by Center staff.
        Video Library        


 

Endowment

Center operations are funded by a permanent endowment. The establishing grant for this endowment was given by John M. Corcoran, Boston College Class of 1948. Having long seen the need for better understanding between Christians and Jews, Mr. Corcoran donated more than $5 million to ensure that the Center's work of deepening the renewal in Christian-Jewish relations will proceed with full vigor.

John M. Corcoran Obituary

In addition, we are grateful for major gifts to the Center's endowment from Samuel J. and Geraldine Bohn Gerson, Mr. and Mrs. John Fisher, and Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth R. Levine.

Persons interested in assisting the Center in reaching its endowment goal are encouraged to contact us.

Archives

Staff

The activities of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning are guided by Rabbi Dr. Ruth Langer, Professor of Jewish Studies and Interim Director of the Center, and Dr. Camille Fitzpatrick Markey, Center Associate Director.

Ruth Langer

Ruth Langer

Interim Center Director
Professor of Jewish Studies
Theology Department
Email: ruth.langer@bc.edu 
Phone: 617-552-8492
Office: Stokes Hall N411

Personal Faculty Website

Markey

Camille Fitzpatrick Markey

Center Associate Director
Email: camille.markey@bc.edu
Phone: 617-552-4495
Office: Stokes Hall N405