Jewish-Catholic Theological Exchange

Dialogue and friendship with the children of Israel are part of the life of Jesus's disciples Pope Francis

Our Mission

​Since its founding in 1917, Providence College has actively promoted Catholic and Jewish engagement. Building on this history, the Jewish-Catholic Theological Exchange (JCTE) commi​ttee w​as establ​ished by the Theology Department in 2007 and has ​continued to extend opportunities for Jews and Christians to pursue “mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies, as​ well as of fraternal dialogues” (Nostra Aetate 4). Reflecting on the common spiritual heritage as well as the unique identities of Jews and Christians, our mission is to foster interreligious learning, understanding, and friendship.

The JCTE hosts major lectur​es, colloquia, and other initiatives on the Provide​nce College campus. These events provide a welcoming forum where members of the college join the broader Rhode Island community, to engage with local relig​ious leaders and nationally recognized experts to discuss themes of mutual theological interest. In continuity with Providence College’s long-standing tradition, the JCTE promotes interreligious understanding and dialogue in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate).​​​

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Recent Events

November 1, 2023

“Ungodly Statecraft: Figural Judaism and the Critique of Desacralized Politics in 16th- and 17th-Century Europe.”

Dr. Benny Bar-Lavi, Inaugural Scholar-in-Residence in Jewish Studies and Jewish-Christian Relations at Providence College, speaks about the deployment of “Jews” and “Judaism” as ideas in Catholic and Protestant political thought of the 16th and 17th centuries.

October 25, 2023

“Faith in Science: Catholic and Jewish Perspectives on Creation and the Cosmos.”

Br. Guy Consolmagno, S.J., Director of the Vatican Observatory, and Peter Saulson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Physics, Syracuse University, discuss the role of faith in their work as scientists, and the role of science in understanding faith. Annual Fay Rozovsky Lecture in Jewish-Catholic Dialogue.

July 20, 2023 

“An Assembly for the Sake of Heaven: The New Testament and the Providential Role of Christianity in the Thought of Rabbi Jacob Emden”

Providence College Scholar-in-Residence in Jewish Studies and Jewish-Christian Relations Dr. Benny Bar-Lavi discuses the thought of Rabbi Jacob Emden (1697-1776), one of the foremost Talmudic scholars of the 18th century, who argued that Christianity’s original intent had never been to supersede Judaism or persecute its adherents. Its true aim is to propagate scriptural monotheism among non-Jews while safeguarding Torah observance among Jews. Thus, Judaism and Christianity ought to be understood as providential allies destined to play distinct yet complementary roles in redemption, not as adversaries. This talk explores Emden’s perspective on Jewish Christian relations, primarily as it emerges from his remarkable interpretation of the New Testament and his analysis of Christianity’s providential role in history. Emden’s original (and, in a sense, radical) perspective foreshadowed recent developments in Jewish Christian relations.

November 17, 2022

Confronting Antisemitism Together: An Interfaith Discussion

Panelists discuss how antisemitism manifests itself today in America, including in Rhode Island, and how Catholics and Jews can confront antisemitism as partners.

Panelists: Rabbi Ron Fish (Anti-Defamation League), Stephanie Hague (Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island), Rev. John Pawlikowski, OSM (Catholic Theological Union)

March 23, 2022

Friendship and Emotions in the Hebrew Bible

The annual spring lecture of the Jewish-Catholic Theological Exchange (JCTE) was held virtually on Wednesday, March 23 at 6:00 pm. Professor Saul Olyan (Judaic Studies, Brown University) spoke on “Friendship and the Emotions in the Hebrew Bible” with a response by Professor Stephen A. Long of the PC Theology Department.

See more about our past events.​