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Junior Scholars Research Grants

Center for Christian-Jewish Learning

The Center for Christian-Jewish Learning Junior Scholars Research Grants support Boston College junior scholars (defined as undergraduate and graduate students) pursuing research that is of value to the field of Christian-Jewish relations. Recipients must engage in scholarship under the guidance of a faculty member.

Grants may support recipients' production of articles, book sections or chapters, conference presentations, digital materials, translations, or other scholarly resources.

Research grants are one-time awards of $1,000. Up to five research grants are awarded each academic year and each summer. Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis.

Please click here for application details and instructions.


Rosemary Chandler, a junior from the College of A&S and a recipient of a Junior Scholars Research Grant, presented her research on the portrayal of Judaism and the Old Testament in Christian artwork dating from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance as part of the BC Talks scholarship forum.

2017 Winners

Hayyim Rothman, Boston College Philosophy Ph.D. Candidate
Rothman developed a research paper titled "The Jewish Inheritors of Tolstoy: Judah-Leyb Don-Yahiya, Abraham-Judah Heyn, and Nathan Hofshi." His research examined the shared idea of "loving one's neighbor as oneself," a principle that has its theological origins in Jewish scripture. His study contributes generally to the field of Christian-Jewish relations by "elaborating on an instance of meaningful and productive theological collaboration whereby the real depth of the biblical teaching is collectively articulated." He also sees his scholarship as "a contribution to Jewish political theology, emphasizing an anti-authoritarian and universalist message which is sorely needed in our increasingly reactionary times."
Paper available here.

2016 Winners

Stephen Rugg, Boston College S.T.L. Student
Rugg undertook a research project as part of his thesis, titled "The Apostle Paul's Prophetic Self-Preservation." His research reframes Paul's self-understanding as a prophet. The reframing captures Paul's "community concern, heraldic activity, dramatic imitation of Christ, and apostolicity, while presenting Paul's continuity with Jewish categories of religious experience and ministry in a more holistic manner." His research aims call for "a more engaged Christian self-understanding of continuity with early Judaism(s)" and offer "an opportunity for Jewish-Christian discussions of Paul to find renewed common ground" as well as a "more accurate and fruitful understanding of our differences."
Thesis available here.

Justin Ilboudo, S.J., Boston College S.T.L. Student
Ilboudo undertook a study of the law of retaliation as it is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and as apprehended in the Jewish law: "What is the meaning of the law of retaliation in the Hebrew Bible and how has this law been implemented?" He hopes his research will "give a review of interpretations that do not apprehend the law of retaliation literally and therefore help to escape from a literal understanding of the passage of the Gospel according to Matthew" which will help "update available resources on the issue." His research aims to help Christians, "specifically those who are interested in the study of the Bible and the Christian ministers who do not have chances, during their formation, to know and to study Jewish law."
Paper available here.

Samantha Fazekas, Boston College Philosophy M.A. Student
Fazekas will develop a research paper on symbolic reconciliation as a means of coming to terms with history. Her scholarly purpose is twofold: first, to compare the German model of coming to terms with history to the American process of coming to terms with history; and second, to analyze both processes in conjunction with the reconciliation efforts of the Catholic Church in order to foster the Christian-Jewish dialogue. The aim of her project is to assess the efficacy of symbolic reconciliation by examining previous and recent reconciliation efforts.

2015 Winners

David Clint Burnett, Boston College Ph.D. Theology Student
Burnett participated in an archaeological survey of cities in Greece and Turkey related to the Pauline mission as well as an archaelogical dig on an ancient synagoguge. He gained an archaeological perspective on Jewish and Christian relations in antiquity and hands-on experience at an excavation site, firsthand knowledge of how to interpret archaeological remains, and an understanding of how archaeology should shape our understanding of the tetimony of literary sources. Burnett now better understands the Jewish roots of Christianity, the Apostle Paul, and the burgeoning Christian movement--"a necessity for developing the mutual respect and enrichment of Jewish and Christian relations that we so desire today."
Paper available here.

Zachary Dehm, Boston College M.T.S. Student
Dehm undertook as part of his M.T.S. thesis a research project titled "The Role of Division in the Shaping of Nostra Aetate: A Study of how Local Politics Influence Universal Teaching." His project examined how political questions outside of the Church influenced the Second Vatican Council through the individual bishops as heads of dioceses throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East and particularly in how they came into tension with desires to improve the relationship between Roman Catholicism and Judaism in the shaping of Nostra Aetate. He hopes his project "tries to understand the shaping of Nostra Aetate through the lens of how the bishops as heads of their churches taught as a college" as well as contributes "to the important discussion about what it means for the universal Church and how its hierarchy teaches when local churches disagree." He hopes his project "will provide greater context for the growing relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the Jewish community worldwide."

2014 Winners

Jeong Cheol Ha, Boston College Th.M. Student
Ha's research project will "challenge the traditional, supersessionist readings of Luke-Acts" and demonstrate that Luke actually holds a "profound appreciation for Judaism." He hopes that such an understanding "can contribute to continued Jewish-Christian dialogue and aid Christians to better understand the origins of their faith."

Rev. Jeong Mun Heo, Boston College Th.M. Student
Rev. Heo developed a research paper examining the similarities among the images and activities of personified Wisdom in early Jewish sources and Jesus in the Gospels. He intends his scholarship to highlight convergent positions of the Jewish and Christian faiths and further understanding and respect between the two faiths.
Paper available here.

Grainne McEvoy, Ph.D. (2014, Boston College, History)
Dr. McEvoy expanded on her doctoral research which focused primarily on American Catholic social thought and immigration policy in the period referred to as the Restriction Era, 1917-1965. She examines more deeply the position taken by Protestant and Jewish organizations on immigration policy and reform. Her scholarship interrogates the interfaith nature of the religious critique of U.S. immigration policy in the 20th century.
Working paper available here.

2013 Winners

Peter Cajka, Boston College Ph.D. History Student
Cajka wrote a research paper focused on the role Christian-Jewish relations played in the post-World War II reconstruction of conscience. His research explains "why the idea of conscience as a dignified force that obeyed external legal codes lost out to an interpretation of the conscience in the late 1960s as an internal guide individuals followed only after prolonged discernment." His research shows that Christian and Jewish thinkers of the time were "recasting religion and morality in America."
Paper available here.

2012 Winners

James Daryn Henry, Boston College Ph.D. Theology Student
Henry developed a publishable article and public presentation based on a constructive development from the Christian perspective of the theology of Israel, particularly through engagement with the work of the contemporary theologian Robert Jenson. He states, "The fundamental problem with which this study wrestles is: how can the Christian Community, and the intellectual reflection on its life--theology--understand itself in relation to the continuing Jewish Community in a way that both promotes 'mutually enriching relationships' in their self-understanding together as People of God, and that remains faithful to the distinctiveness of each confession?"
Article available here.

Cristina Richie, Boston College Th.M. Student and entering Ph.D. Theology Student
Richie created resources for classroom or church lessons on Jewish-Christian bioethics that can be adopted and adapted for colleges and high schools, churches, and adult educational opportunities--including religion, bioethics, ethics, and health courses. She explains, "Recent Jewish-Christian ecumenical endeavors of collaboration have by and large sought to establish theologically consonant ground in order to facilitate peaceful dialogue and a fruitful alliance. In inter-religious dialogue, bioethics has been in the background as national and international political policies and reconciliation from the atrocities of World War II take the foreground."
Resources: Abortion. Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Contraception. Documents. Ethical Theory. Eugenics. Euthanasia. Organ Donation. Theology.

2011-2012 Academic Year Winners

Susan Legere, Ph.D. (2012, Boston College, Sociology)
Legere presented her dissertation Narratives of Injustice: Measuring the Impact of Witness Testimony in the Classroom at "The Future of Holocaust Testimonies," an international conference and workshop in Akko, Israel. Her research generates "much-needed empirical data on survivor testimony and its ability to shape attitudes, broaden world view, and possibly influence behavior."

Matthew Mohorovich, Boston College Philosophy Ph.D. Student
Mohorovich traveled to Sarajevo and interviewed members of the Jewish community who were present during the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s and played an active role in relief efforts. He explains that when we look at Bosnia's history, "we do not see the sort of history we might expect--one marked and stained by clashes, but instead see one that has been characterized by centuries of inter-religious solidarity, perseverance, and openness to 'the other'--the stranger,' 'the foreigner.'"

Iulia Padeanu, Boston College Senior
Padeanu traveled to Romania to interview and record the testimonies of Romanians, both Jewish and Christians, of their experience in the Holocaust. She explains, "Much of the history written during the Communist era ignored the anti-Semitic policies of WWII," and so the "importance of living memory cannot be overestimated. Soon, students of history will not be able to get the opportunity to speak to those that were alive during WWII." She presented her research on the Romanian Holocaust at the BC Talks lecture series.
Article available here.


Susan Legere, Ph.D., ninth from the left in the photograph above, presented her dissertation research at "The Future of Holocaust Testimonies" conference in Akko, Israel.


Steven Candido, Boston College Senior
Candido traveled to Berlin to conduct research for his history thesis "Youth is Not an Excuse: A Study of Young German Resisters in Nazi Germany." His thesis focuses on the non-Jewish youth resisters during the Holocaust. He explains, "It is a vastly understudied field that deserves more research and recognition, especially in the quest for improving Jewish-Christian relations."
Abstract. Thesis Cover Page. Final Thesis.

Rosemary Chandler, Boston College Junior
Chandler will develop a publishable article "The Downfall of Synagoga: A Study of the Dynamic Allegory in Italian Renaissance Art." She will combine her interests in European artwork and Jewish studies to research a "lesser studied subject of Italian Renaissance art: Judaism and the 'Jewish' Old Testament, and what depictions of this subject matter reveal about Christian attitudes towards Judaism and the position of Jews in Italian society."

Caitlyn Duehren, Boston College M.T.S. Student
Duehren developed an article that addresses a gap in feminist Jewish-Christian theology. Her research focuses on the place of women in Second Temple Period Judaism, recovering movements or tendencies within Judaism that were "liberative in nature, upon which Jesus, the Jew, likely drew." Duehren explains that exploring this is "an attempt to move beyond the dualistic Jesus verses Judaism, which is denigrating to both Judaism and Jesus." She states, "I hope to bring together Christian and Jewish feminist theology and eradicate the inauthentic proclivity towards anti-Judaism often found in Christian feminism."
Article available here.

Nicholas Wagner, Boston College M.T.S. Student
Wagner developed a historical and literary analysis of Pauline texts as well as other relevant primary sources. His article aims at "exploring both Paul's Hellenism and how, if at all, it influenced anti-Judaism for early Christ-believers." He intends his research "to provide a fuller understanding of the historical realities facing Jews and Christ-believers in the first century" as well as "aid contemporary scholarship in demystifying Paul's anti-Jewishness."
Article available here.


Matthew Kruger, Boston College Theology Ph.D. Student
Kruger developed an article, "Fear, Love, and the Law: The Spiritual Nature of Judaism and Christianity in Aquinas and Bonaventure." Kruger hopes to address the dearth of research on the subject, stating "Filling in this void is essential to filling out the picture of the medieval Christian perspective towards the Jewish religion."
Article available here.

Jeffrey C. Witt, Boston College Philosophy Ph.D. Candidate
Witt designed a detailed course syllabus on "Jewish and Christian Medieval Approaches to Philosophy of Religion." He explains, "There are few resources for how to approach medieval Jewish-Christian relations and intellectual debates from the perspective of a mainstream philosophy course... I hope to provide other philosophers with an example of how they might incorporate both Christian and Jewish sources in their courses in a more extensive way."
Syllabus available here.