James Bernauer: ‘Golden Age’ for Christian-Jewish Relations

Center for Christian-Jewish Learning promotes interreligious dialogue, research

Source: The Boston College Chronicle, 4-28-11

“This is a veteran group of scholars engaged in understanding and encouraging Christian-Jewish dialogue. They have come out of the post-Holocaust and post-Vatican II eras. One of the real challenges is to pass this dialogue down to the younger generation.” — James Bernauer, SJ (Photo by Lee Pellegrini) As Kraft Family Professor James Bernauer, SJ, explains it, the study of Jewish-Christian relations has entered its Golden Age.

BC’s Center for Christian-Jewish Learning, which Fr. Bernauer directs, is playing a key role in the growing dialogue and body of scholarship in this area of study that draws on experts from multiple academic disciplines.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary year, the center has sponsored numerous events that have brought scholars from across the globe to campus to examine some of the most pressing issues in the field of Jewish-Christian relations — including last month’s conference “Are Jews and Christians Living in a Post-Polemical World? Toward a Comparison of Medieval and Modern Christian-Jewish Encounters.” An endowed visiting professorship has brought leading scholars to BC to teach, research and collaborate with their peers.

“We are becoming a real center for scholarly analysis,” said Fr. Bernauer. “What we are aiming for now is to combine both service to students with our service to the broader scholarly world.”

Through a series of new projects, the center has incorporated additional opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to participate in center activities and learn from leading scholars.

Fr. Bernauer says it is crucial for the field to encourage young students and scholars, lest this Golden Age succumb to a challenge posed by shifting demographics: many of the scholars who have led the field since the end of World War II are nearing their “golden years.”

“This is a veteran group of scholars engaged in understanding and encouraging Christian-Jewish dialogue,” says Bernauer. “They have come out of the post-Holocaust and post-Vatican II eras. One of the real challenges is to pass this dialogue down to the younger generation.”…READ MORE

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