Catholic-Jewish colloquium for religious educators

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Wed, 04/01/1992
End Date: 
Sat, 12/31/1994

"The Catholic-Jewish Colloquium: Education for Transformed Self-Understanding and Dialogue," facilitated by Mary Boys and Sara Lee, brought together a group of twenty-two educational leaders from both the Jewish and Catholic communities in the Northeast, to "study in the presence of the other." As the foundational document of the colloquium states: "religious pluralism compounds the difficult task of forming people in the identity of a particular religious tradition. A society without substantial historical or religious literacy tends to foster either of two tendencies: an intolerant fundamentalism or a religious indifference..... these responses to pluralism are neither healthy for society nor for religion. Rather... faith must both be grounded in the particularities of one's tradition and capable of engaging conversation across the boundaries of particularism." Moving from this perspective, Boys and Lee developed a process that allowed the colloquium participants to engage the rich and complex history of Jewish- Christian encounters in order to learn from the pain of that history in order and transform it into renewed self-understanding. Colloquium participants read a substantial list of texts in preparation for each meeting, and spent significant time in self-reflection. Some of the texts studied included: Cohen's From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, Dunn's The Partings of the Ways, Shanks' Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism, the U.S. Catholic Bishops' God's Mercy Endures Forever, Saperstein's Moments of Crisis in Jewish-Christian Relations, Flannery's The Anguish of the Jews, Boadt, Croner and Klenicki's Biblical Studies, and Thoma and Wyschgrod's Understanding Scripture. Towards the end of a three-year process, a participatory evaluation study affirmed the growing sense of the tremendous impact the colloquium experience engendered. Among other resources created for educators, a broad and substantive bibliography was developed, and an entire issue of the journal Religious Education was devoted to writing generated out of the study process. (MH)