May 09, 2014
Rabbi 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.