THEO 40217 - Jews and Christians throughout History, Fall 2006
JEWS AND CHRISTIANS THROUGHOUT HISTORY
Professor Michael A. Signer, Rabbi
University of Notre Dame
Course Structure: One hour fifteen minute classes, two times a week
In the final days of the II Vatican Council the publication of Nostra Aetate (Declaration on non-Christian Religions) reversed a negative attitude of the Catholic Church toward Judaism and the Jewish people as well as toward Muslims and Hindus. This remarkable change promoted "dialogue" with Jews, and positive changes in the ways in which Judaism was presented in Liturgy and Catechesis. Reactions from the Jewish communities were diverse: from rejection to welcoming. Subsequent documents produced by the Vatican as well as Bishops’ Conferences have brought more Jews into dialogue with the Catholic Church.
This course will explore a number of issues which emerge from the history of Christian theology: How did a negative image of Judaism develop within Christianity? In what ways did these unfavorable teachings contribute toward violence against the Jews over the centuries? What is the relationship between Christian anti-Jewish teachings and Anti-Semitism? Is there any corresponding Jewish hostility towards Christians? In what ways have Jewish authors reacted to developments within the Christian tradition?
As we survey the past, we shall also want to explore the possibilities of a more constructive theological relationship between the two communities for the future. How can Jews and Christians develop religious responses to modernity? In what senses can a study of Judaism by Christians, or Christianity by Jews, help either community to understand itself better? How can Christians and Jews develop a theology of "the other" which is not triumphalist, but empathetic and based on love and justice?
This course was also cross-listed as MI 60410.