Dartmouth College theologian to present Christopher F. Mooney, S.J., lecture at Fairfield University


Dartmouth College professor Susannah Heschel, Ph.D., a noted scholar in Jewish Studies, will present the ninth annual Christopher F. Mooney, S.J., Lecture in Theology, Religion and Society on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m., at Fairfield University. Her talk, titled "From Rabbi to Aryan: The Political Uses of Jesus in Jewish-Christian Dialogue," will take place in the Kelley Theatre at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Dr. Heschel holds the Eli Black Chair in Jewish Studies and is an associate professor in Dartmouth's Department of Religion. She received her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989 and taught at Southern Methodist University and Case Western Reserve University before joining the faculty at Dartmouth in 1998. Her research interests include modern Jewish thought, feminist theology and German Protestantism.

Dr. Heschel is the author of several works on Jewish thought, including "Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus" (University of Chicago Press, 1998). She co-edited "Insider/Outsider: American Jews and Multiculturalism" (University of California Press, 1998) with David Biale and Michael Galchinsky.

A frequent lecturer in Germany, Dr. Heschel served as the Martin Buber Visiting Professor of Jewish Religious Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt and has edited a volume of essays on German churches and the Nazis. She is also the editor of the classic collection of essays, "On Being a Jewish Feminist" (Schocken Books, 1983).

In 1992, Dr. Heschel spoke on Judaism as part of a panel on religion and the environment at the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. She addressed Judaism and population ethics in 1994 at the U.N. Conference on Population and Development in Cairo.

In her Fairfield lecture, Dr. Heschel said she will discuss Jewish-Christian relations from the 19th century to the present and consider what the future may hold. Her talk will touch on her research on archival materials that she uncovered in the former East Germany. In 1997-98 she spent time writing a book about a group of Protestant theologians in Nazi Germany who sought to bring Christianity and National Socialism together by declaring Jesus an Aryan, eliminating the Old Testament from the Bible and running an anti-Semitic propaganda institute.

"I see that as a response both to the Nazis and to Jewish thinkers," she said.

The Christopher F. Mooney, S.J., lecture is an annual event sponsored by the Office of the Academic Vice President and the Department of Religious Studies. This year it is also being co-sponsored by the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies. The lecture honors Fr. Mooney, a former Fairfield University academic vice president who died in 1993. Fr. Mooney was the author of eight books, including "Teilhard de Chardin and the Mystery of Christ," (Collins and Harper & Row) which won the National Catholic Book Award in 1966, and "Public Virtue: Law and the Social Character of Religion" (University of Notre Dame Press), which won the 1987 national award of Alpha Sigma Nu. Before joining the Fairfield faculty, he was president of Woodstock College and was assistant dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Dr. Heschel said she looks forward to speaking at a Jesuit university. "I'm thrilled to have been asked and, seen in a historic perspective, it's momentus," she said.

Dr. Heschel's lecture is open to the public free of charge. For more information, call Fairfield University's Department of Religious Studies at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2130.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 2, 2002

Vol. 35, No. 69