Rabbi discusses Jewish-Christian relations

May 09, 2014

Newburgh, NY -

Rabbi BrillRabbi Alan Brill, the Cooperman/Ross Endowed Chair of Jewish-Christian Studies for the Department of Religion at Seton Hall University, recently discussed “Jewish-Christian Relations Since Vatican II” at Mount Saint Mary College.

Rabbi Brill, an expert in interfaith theology, drew from his book “Many Nations under God: Judaism and other Religions.”

“Catholic-Jewish reconciliation, overcoming 2,000 years of anti-Semitism, is concrete proof of its value,” he said. “This revolution occurred in just the last 50 years, and it went a long way in healing…It is quite possibly the most important cultural achievement in America and Western Europe in the 20th century.”

Rabbi Brill explained that in 1947, a small group of Jews and Christians met for a reflection on how to eradicate anti-Semitism. This laid the groundwork for “The Declaration of the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions,” one of the documents of the second Vatican Council, conducted between 1962 and 1965. The document declared, in part, that Christianity has its origins in Judaism; Jews remain dear to God; and injustices inflicted on the Jewish people are to be condemned.

“From that point on, it moved very quickly,” he said. “In 50 years, people could barely remember beforehand.”

The lecture was sponsored by the Catholic and Dominican Institute at Mount Saint Mary College.

Established as an initiative in the college’s first five-year strategic plan, the institute promotes the Mount’s heritage of St. Dominic; advances the Dominican charism of study and service; provides a forum for discussion of contemporary ethical issues; and enhances Catholic and Jewish dialogue. Guided by the college’s vision and mission statement, the institute welcomes persons of varied faiths and acknowledges different religious traditions as essential to the college’s intellectual and spiritual life.

In addition to hosting an annual Thomas Aquinas Philosophy Workshop – this year focusing on “Aquinas and God” from June 6 through June 8 – the Catholic and Dominican Institute arranges lectures during the academic year. This previous talks have included Fr. Robert Christian, OP, discussing “Church of the Second Vatican Council: A Work Complete Yet Always in Progress,” Sr. Laurie Brink, OP, an associate professor of New Testament studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, examining the biblical foundations of the Dominican charism in “Fire in My Bones,” and Stephen Mansfield, author of “Killing Jesus,” viewing the death of Christ in a historical context.