Catholic Biblical Association of America
Continuing Seminar on Biblical Issues in Christian-Jewish Relations
Liturgical Readings of the Passion Project
sixteen years, this ongoing seminar in the Catholic Biblical Association
has explored and discussed scriptural and hermeneutical issues that impact
relations between Christians and Jews and on the pastoral life of the
Its last three annual meetings have been devoted to a study of the liturgical proclamation of the Gospel passion narratives during Holy Week.
For most of Christian history, and especially after the late Middle Ages, the proclamation of the passion narratives provoked hostility and violence against Jews. They contain polemical and apologetic features about responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus that can potentially assume great destructive power when read in social contexts different from those in which they originated. Argumentative words written from a position of weakness can become a license for oppression when read form positions of dominance.
The Seminar studied each Gospel's narrative in turn. There were found to be great differences among the them in terms of their anti-Jewish potential, with Mark having little or none but with John posing great challenges in this regard.
It was decided to prepare sample lections using the principles listed on the right and detailed in an essay found below as exercises in how future lections from the passion narratives might be crafted so as to implement recent Catholic teachings about Jews and Judaism. It is hoped that this work might be of use to ecclesiastical authorities in the future.
The links below organize the work of this project of the Seminar.
by the Seminar in
Preparing Passion Lections
This essay details the nature of the problem, examines Catholic teaching on the subject, and explores how the current lectionary excerpts biblical readings.
Lections should seek to convey the theological insights of the particular biblical author. One way of discerning these insights is in comparing one author's presentation of the same events with another's. The four passion narratives offer an excellent opportunity for this. This chart outlines the passion narratives and may be useful in educational settings.
Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Mark
No editing of the present lection was seen to be needed.
Gospel of Luke
Gospel of John
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