The Center For Christian-Jewish Learning
is pleased to announce that on April 29, 2008 the Office of the Provost of Boston College announced the appointment of
JAMES BERNAUER, SJ
to the position of
DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR CHRISTIAN-JEWISH LEARNING
Fr. Bernauer was born in and grew up in New York City where he was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Terence Cooke in 1975. Currently he is Professor of Philosophy at Boston College where he began teaching in 1980. His doctorate is from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and he possesses additional graduate degrees in philosophy and theology from St. Louis University, Woodstock College, and Union Theological Seminary. His published works include studies on French philosopher Michel Foucault, the thought of Hannah Arendt, and various topics in Holocaust studies. Some of his philosophical writings have been translated into several European languages as well as Japanese and Turkish. He has lived for extended periods in France, Germany, Italy and Israel where in 1990 he spent three months at Jerusalem's Ecumenical Institute (Tantur). His current research is devoted to two major concerns: a study of the spiritual and moral formation of German Catholics prior to the rise of National Socialism; and the investigation of the historical encounters between Jews and Jesuits. He was an original member of the "Jesuits in Jewish-Christian Dialogue," an association established by the Jesuit Order in 1998. Last Spring he received grants to work at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem where he began an investigation of the lives of the twelve Jesuits who have been honored by the State of Israel as "Righteous Among the Nations" for their activities in assisting Jews during the Holocaust. His most recent publication is "A Catholic Conversation with Hannah Arendt" in Friends on the Way: Jesuits Encounter Contemporary Judaism.
In accepting the appointment Professor Bernauer stated:
Mr. John Corcoran made an extraordinary contribution to Boston College and its service to inter-faith dialogue when he endowed our Center for Jewish-Christian Learning. It is a great privilege for me to join Rabbi Ruth Langer and Sister Audrey Doetzel at the Center and I am eager to continue the joyful work of deepening the understanding and friendship between Jews and Christians. We all look forward to the Autumn Semester when we will host our first occupant of the Corcoran Visiting Chair in Christian-Jewish Relations, Political Science Professor Raymond Cohen of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. As a member of the Philosophy Department, I hope to expand the participation of other departments and students in that ongoing learning to which the Center is dedicated.
As a member of the Society of Jesus, I will be particularly devoted to engaging the international network of Jesuits in the activities of the Center. Inter-religious dialogue is a defining feature of today's Jesuit mission and, thus, of the spiritual identity of Boston College. Judaism and the Jewish people have given Christianity the most profound blessings and I believe that the current conversation between Christians and Jews is among the most important spiritual events in religious history. While their differences must be acknowledged and celebrated, may our dialogues glorify the One God whom we worship. May they be a blessing for other religious faiths and for all of humanity!