February 6, 2006


Catholic Colleges Give Jewish Programs a Lift (Jeri Zeder, January 20, 2006, The Forward)

A cross balances atop the spire of Lyons Hall on Boston College's campus. But a hint of a Jewish presence — a small Israeli flag — is visible through one window of the Gothic-influenced building. That's the office of Maxim Shrayer, chair of the Slavic and Eastern languages department — which is also the home of Boston College's new Jewish studies program.

Boston College, a Catholic institution, is starting up a minor in Jewish studies. Georgetown University and the University of Scranton are doing the same. All three schools are run by the Jesuits, a Catholic order devoted to social justice, intellectual inquiry and rigorous education, both religious and secular. The schools are not the first Catholic colleges to offer minors in Jewish studies; the University of San Francisco started one 20 years ago, which it recently abandoned, and Fairfield University's minor is 12 years old and counting. However, this new wave of minor programs points to a reassessment about Jewish studies' place in the academic regime of Catholic universities.

Jewish studies have been gaining ground at Catholic colleges since the Second Vatican Council declared a new relationship between the Church and the Jewish people in 1965. [...]

Why would a Catholic school set up a Jewish studies program?

"It is part of the aspiration of Catholic colleges to be great colleges," Fisher told the Forward. "Excellent colleges have Jewish studies; you can't teach Western civilization without it."

Because Salvation is from the Jews.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 6, 2006 6:49 AM

Besides BC is in a Jewish neighborhood.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 7, 2006 12:34 AM

I wonder if B.C. has Catholic studies anymore.

Posted by: jdkelly at February 7, 2006 9:27 AM