Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations is the journal of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations and is published by the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College. The Journal publishes peer-reviewed scholarship on the history, theology, and contemporary realities of Jewish-Christian relations and reviews new materials in the field. The Journal also provides a vehicle for exchange of information, cooperation, and mutual enrichment in the field of Christian-Jewish studies and relations.


The library contains articles of Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations as of vol. 2(2007) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • Jewish Philosophical and Psychological Approaches to the Apostle Paul

    Langton, Daniel R. (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2011-04-15)
    The study of Jewish approaches to Paul has tended to focus on theological issues. For some Jewish thinkers, however, the apostle was of interest for reasons other than interfaith dialogue or religious polemic. The philosophers Baruch Spinoza, Lev Shestov and Jacob Taubes, and the psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Hanns Sachs, discovered in Paul’s writings support for their own ideological agenda. Each one, in his own way, offered a powerful critique of the place of religion in society. In terms of understanding Jewish-non-Jewish relations in the modern world, the study of how the Apostle to the Gentiles features in the works of these so-called marginal Jewish thinkers is a useful reminder of the complexity of Jewish identity.
  • Why Would Presbyterians Turn to a Catholic Document?

    Moses, Jay; Ficca, Dirk; Sawyer, Nanette; Cathey, Robert; Folan, Jill; Rains, Katie (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2016-03-16)
    No abstract is available.
  • Forging an Incarnational Theology Two Score Years after Nostra Aetate

    Svartvik, Jesper (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2011-04-15)
    Surveying how Christology is formulated in the wake of Nostra Aetate, this paper concentrates on three models: (1) The man became words, words, words; the quest for the historical Jesus has often emphasised the â allegedly unique â teachings of the Nazarene. Its main problem, however, is that the contemporaries of Jesus are no longer presented as his historical context but as his theological contrast. (2) The word became fleshwounds; due to Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ one single Greek word (Mk 15:15; fragellosas, i.e., ”after having flogged”) has been at the centre of the Christological discussion during 2004. His version of the medieval passion plays highlights its particular problems. Having first described the flaws of these two models, the paper will seek to explore how â two score years after the declaration Nostra Aetate â the Johannine statement that the Word became flesh could be helpfully articulated today.
  • A Covenantal Christology

    Cunningham, Philip A. (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2011-04-15)
    One of the major theological questions confronting the post-Nostra Aetate Church is how to relate the Christian conviction in the universal saving significance of Jesus Christ with the affirmation of the permanence of Israel’s covenanting with God. The meanings of covenant, salvation, and the Christ-event are all topics that must be considered. This paper proposes that covenant, understood in a theological and relational sense as a human sharing in God’s life, provides a useful Christological and soteriological perspective. Jesus, faithful son of Israel and Son of God, is presented as covenantally unifying in himself the sharing-in-life between God and Israel and also the essential relationality of God. The Triune God’s covenanting with Israel and the Church is seen as drawing humanity into an ever-deepening relationship with God through the Logos and in the Spirit, with both Israel and the Church having distinct duties in this relational process before God and the world.
  • A Holy Land Context for Nostra Aetate

    Neuhaus, sj, David M.; Khader, Jamal (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2011-04-15)
    This paper will focus on the Catholic Church in Israel’s experience of and reflections on Jewish-Christian dialogue after Nostra Aetate. The dialogue from this perspective is unique for reasons tied to the context of the dialogue. Firstly, of all the countries of the world, only in Israel are Christians a minority in a Jewish majority. Secondly, Catholics and Jews live in a state defined as Jewish. Thirdly, as most Catholics in Israel are Arabs, dialogue with Jews is also dialogue within the context of a national conflict, between Israelis and Palestinians. Religion has come to play an important role in this conflict. Fourthly, many Jews and Christians in Israel do not have their roots in the Western Christian world but rather in the Middle Eastern Muslim world, which cannot be ignored in the dialogue. All these factors make the interpretation and implementation of section 4 of Nostra Aetate and other guidelines on the dialogue particularly interesting. What perspectives on and challenges to the dialogue between Jews and Christians are discernible in the ongoing experience of the Israeli Jewish-Palestinian Christian dialogue today? Two appendices provide the full texts of recent documents from the Catholic Church in the region.
  • Philo as Origen’s Declared Model: Allegorical and Historical Exegesis of Scripture

    Ramelli, Ilaria L. E. (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2012-11-05)
    After on overview of Origen’s relations to Rabbinic exegesis, I turn to the relations between Origen and Hellenistic Judaism. I investigate how Philo and Origen use the instrument of allegory to read the Bible in the light of philosophy, but both of them react against a sheer allegorization of Scripture, which existed both in the Jewish allegorizers who preceded Philo and in ‘Gnostic’ Christian allegorizers. Even Philo and Origen, however, thought (unlike subsequent Rabbinic and Christian exegetes) that the Genesis account of creation had a special status and required to be interpreted not literally, but only allegorically. I argue for a Platonic influence on this conception and point out how Origen emphasized the Jewish antecedents to his own philosophical allegoresis of Scripture. For Origen, Philo the Jew was a much better exegete and theologian than the Christian “heretics” were.
  • Inclusive Quarantine: The Pathology and Performance of Jewish Existence in the Erlangen Opinion on the Aryan Paragraph

    Tafilowski, Ryan (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2016-01-13)
    The Erlangen Opinion on the Aryan Paragraph, co-authored by Lutheran theologians Paul Althaus and Werner Elert, has proven controversial. Scholars have typically interpreted the document’s recommendation regarding the place of Jewish Christians in the church according to an inclusion/exclusion binary model. However, the Erlangen Opinion actually reflects a dialectical theology of Jewish existence that Althaus had developed during the Weimar years. Following this dialectic of pathology and performance, Althaus envisions neither the total inclusion nor total inclusion of Jews in the German state church. Rather, he proposes an inclusive quarantine of Jewish persons, who represent both a mortal danger to and indispensable factor for all communities—both societal and ecclesial. By probing the logic of this important artifact of Protestant theology’s complicated relationship to National Socialist ideology, the article sheds light on the ambivalent nature of Christian anti-Judaism and antisemitism.
  • “Shalom, Shalom, Shalom Israel!” Jews and Judaism in Helmut Gollwitzer’s Life and Theology

    McMaken, W. Travis (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2015-04-09)
    This essay examines the place of Israel in the life and thought of Helmut Gollwitzer, an important German theologian of the mid-twentieth century. It examines his experiences with the Confessing Church struggle against the Nazi Reich, his solidarity with the Jewish people in the wake of the November 1938 pogrom, and his leadership in Jewish-Christian dialogue after the conclusion of the second world war. The essay ends with suggestions from Gollwitzer's example for Christians who engage in Jewish-Christian dialogue today.
  • Heschel’s View of Religious Diversity

    Kasimow, Harold (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2011-04-15)
    A number of prominent Christian theologians who have contemplated the issue of religious diversity speak of three major models for approaching it: exclusivist, inclusivist, and pluralist. Claiming that “diversity of religions is the will of God,” Abraham Joshua Heschel was certainly no exclusivist. But he also was neither a pluralist nor an inclusivist in the way these terms are commonly used by Christian theologians. Much like the Dalai Lama’s perspective on Buddhism vis-à -vis other religions, Heschel’s distinctive Jewish approach to religious diversity transcended the categories created by Christian scholars.
  • The Myth of the 'Law-Free' Paul Standing between Christians and Jews

    Nanos, Mark (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2011-04-21)
    Christians and Jews agree that the Apostle Paul did not observe Torah as a matter of faith, or in his daily life, except when he sought to evangelize among Jews who observed Torah. This perspective and the reasoning provided to explain it conceptualize the essential difference between Christianity and Judaism as revolving around Paul and his supposedly "Law-free Gospel," more so than around Jesus and his teachings. This understanding derives from the perception that Paul did not observe Jewish dietary norms, and that, moreover, he taught other Christ-followers not to observe them. This essay engages the primary texts on which this is based (Gal 2:11-15; 1 Cor 8—10; Rom 14—15) and finds that, contrary to the prevailing view, they show that Paul implicitly and even explicitly supported Jewish dietary norms among Christ-followers. The results challenge centuries of interpretation, with broad implications for Christian and Jewish portrayals of Paul and of the supposed foundations for differences that require and provide strategies of "othering" that continue to pose obstacles to progress in Christian-Jewish relations.
  • "And after the fire a soft murmuring sound ..." The Abiding Significance of Judaism for Christian Identity

    Rutishauser, Christian M. (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2011-04-15)
    Since the Second World War the pioneer phase of Jewish-Christian dialogue has achieved a relatively trusting relationship between both parties and major theological issues have been reflected on and dealt with. With the retirement of this generation of pioneers, while also reviewing history under the influence of the shock of the Shoah, we have to consider a change of paradigm at this time. First of all, a wider public should be involved in the dialogue in the hope of learning to fundamentally construct identity through dialogue. Learnings from the various phases of all of history should be kept in mind. Assuming an active relationship not only with Islam but also with any other interreligious dialogue is of paramount importance in a global world. On the concrete level, a redefinition of monotheism is needed in response to the associations being made between monotheism and violence. Further, the history of salvation has to be re-defined so that not only Jews and Christians are perceived as being in a generative relationship as “people of God” but so that the whole history of the world is perceived in a similar theological manner. A spirituality of action and an understanding of identity as co-constituted by the Other are valuable contributions of the Jewish-Christian dialogue to world culture.
  • Christ in the Works of Two Jewish Artists: When Art is Interreligious Dialogue

    Hayman, Marina S. (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2011-04-21)
    Painter Marc Chagall and sculptor Jacob Epstein, both of whom were from orthodox Jewish backgrounds, each created a number of works of Christ. Although in Epstein's case, and only later in his career, some of these works were commissioned, both Chagall's and Epstein's works of Christ were self-driven. Chagall described himself as having been "haunted" by the face of Christ in his early years and his several crucifixion paintings were of a Jesus who was not the Christ of Christian dogma, but a "Jewish Jesus" who summed up the suffering of the Jewish people. Epstein similarly created a Christ that was beyond the conventions of the time, through his predilection for using primitive forms in his work. During his life-time, many of Epstein's Christs were met with resistance, but the more visionary critics understood the importance of his work in freeing the image of Christ from the matrix of convention and opening new possibilities of theological perception and understanding. The work of both Chagall and Epstein, who were contemporaries, is examined in relation to Jewish modernism, a movement ongoing in their formative years and before, in which Jewish intellectuals, writers and artists were engaged in efforts to work-out the relationship of Judaism to Jesus and the surrounding Christian world. The atrocities of the Holocaust effectively ended this dialogue. The potential contributions of the thought and creative works of this pre-World War II interreligious interchange to contemporary Jewish-Christian dialogue are discussed.
  • Official Ecclesial Documents to Implement the Second Vatican Council on Relations with Jews: Study Them, Become Immersed in Them, and Put Them into Practice

    Cunningham, Philip A. (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2011-04-21)
    In the wake of recent tensions in Catholic Jewish relations in the United States, this article examines the implementation of the Second Vatican Council's decision "to evaluate and define in a new way the relationship between the Church and the faith of Israel," as Pope Benedict XVI has described it. Official documents of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and a body of papal teachings put forth by Pope John Paul have authoritatively delineated the direction according to which the Council is to be interpreted and put into practice. This trajectory of implementation has begun to articulate what could be called a "theology of shalom" concerning the Catholic Church's relationship to Judaism and the Jewish people, which includes a respect for Judaism's continuing covenantal life with God and a commitment to interreligious dialogue for the purpose of mutual understanding. However, this post-conciliar trajectory is challenged by Catholics who fear that the universal salvific mediation of Christ is being threatened. Advancing theological concepts that express a sort of "neo-supersessionist" devaluation of Judaism, these critiques necessarily disregard relevant papal and Vatican teaching. The article ends with an examination of the magisterial weight of the conciliar and post-conciliar implementing documents, concluding that their clear direction must be followed. As John Paul II declared, "It is only a question of studying them carefully, of immersing oneself in their teachings and of putting them into practice."
  • Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik''s ‘Confrontation’: A Reassessment

    Breger, Marshall J. (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2011-04-15)
    Responding to a recent symposium on Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik's 1964 article on the propriety of Christian-Jewish dialogue, this essay begins by assessing several arguments put forth by Soloveitchik. These include the incommensurability of religious faith, the risks interreligious dialogue presents to the Jewish minority, the dangers of syncretism, and the ability to separate neatly the sacred and the profane. The article then proceeds to discuss the nature of Catholic-Jewish today, and concludes with thoughts about the future of Christian and Jewish interaction.
  • "Can Catholicism Validate Jewish Biblical Interpretation?" -- A Reply to Jon D. Levenson

    Wansbrough, OSB, Henry (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2011-04-15)
    This article is a response to the article by Jon Levenson in volume 1 of Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations, which asked the question, "Can Catholicism Validate Jewish Biblical Interpretation?" The author, a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission during its work on the study, The Jewish People and Their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, engages some of Levenson's reservations about that work. Among the topics discussed are the authority of the study, the perils of religious relativism, and Paul's understanding of the Law in reference to Christ.
  • Luther, Lutherans, and Jews: Looking to the Second Five Hundred Years

    Pettit, Peter A. (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2018-06-12)
    The 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's birth, in 1983, prompted extensive historical and theological research regarding Luther's vitriolic pronouncements about Jews and Judaism. This, in turn, led many Lutheran church bodies to repudiate Luther's anti-Jewish invective. At the 500th anniversary of The 95 Theses, what tasks remain for Lutherans in dealing with the Reformer's legacy and fashioning a positive relationship with the Jewish people? The suggested tasks are a systematic re-formulation of Christian theology, recognizing the place of the land in the biblical promise to Israel, and reconciling with the Jewish people as a normal part of society. The last constitutes a "new Jewish question," this one put to Christians rather than Jews.
  • Structures of Violence and the Denigration of Law in Christian Thought

    Meyer, Barbara U. (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2018-03-22)
    This article examines three major patterns of violence in Christian theological thought traditions: supersessionism (the idea that Christianity replaced Judaism), realized eschatology (the presentation of a promised future of reconciliation as basically already present in the world today), and inclusivism (the Christian impulse to integrate others as a universalist aim). Previous scholars have examined these patterns separately, but they have not previously been discussed in a comprehensive effort to analyze Christian thinking habits of degrading others, in particular Judaism.The author's inquiry into structures of thought suggests methodologically that interreligious violence is a highly complex phenomenon that can actually be reduced or increased.  Indeed, much progress has been made in the last third of the twentieth century by mainstream churches to renounce supersessionism. But while the discourse with regard to realized eschatology and inclusivism still needs to be developed, one of the key findings here is that all three patterns entail a denigration of law, which in itself still remains at play in Christianity’s relation to Judaism but also in its relation to Islam.
  • Omnis observator legis mosaycae iustus est apud Deum: Robert Holcot’s Theology of the Jews

    Slotemaker, John T. (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2015-01-26)
    No abstract is available.
  • Reading Nostra Aetate in Reverse: A Different Way of Looking at the Relationships Among Religions

    Phan, Peter C. (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2016-03-16)
    No abstract is available.
  • “A Model of Christ”: Melito’s Re-Vision of Jewish Akedah Exegeses

    De Andrado, Paba Nidhani (Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, 2017-06-19)
    Several scholars have proposed that Melito, the second-century bishop of Sardis, manifests awareness of Jewish exegeses of Genesis 22 (or Akedah). This article investigates the extent and implications of Melito’s engagement with that Akedah tradition. The first part of this essay examines the Jewish exegetical strands that were in existence during Melito’s period. The second part analyzes Melito’s Fragments 9, 10 and 11, with reference to the Jewish exegeses. This article demonstrates the depth of Melito’s reliance on and response to the Akedah tradition, as he employs its motifs on Isaac, the ram and the Temple site. The Akedah tradition serves as a stimulus for Melito’s soteriological ideas, as he develops his perspectives on the sacrifice of Christ. The Fragments further reveal Melito’s complex attitude towards Judaism, marked by contact, tension and creativity.

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