Fairfield University
| March 2015 | Fairfield University News Channel

“From Enemy to Brother: The Revolution in Catholic Teaching on the Jews” March 24

During Vatican II in 1965, the bishops proclaimed that God loves the Jewish people. Yet these words contradicted what the Catholic Church had taught about Jews for over a millennium. How was a revolution in teaching possible in a church that abhors change? 

Dr. John Connelly, associate professor of history at the University of California at Berkeley, will speak on the revolution in Catholic teachings on the Jews at the 9th Annual Lecture in Jewish-Christian Engagement next Tuesday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business. The free lecture is co-sponsored by the Center for Catholic Studies and the Carl & Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies.

Connelly believes that the revolution in the Church’s teachings about Jews came out of its encounter with the evil of Nazi racism. He notes, “The theologians who advised the bishops in the 1960s had vocally opposed Hitler in the 1930s. Many of them were converts from Judaism. Yet for them the Church's new teaching about Jews was not a revolution; it was a return to the ideas of the Jewish thinker Saul of Tarsus, known to Catholics as Saint Paul the Apostle.”

Connelly has taught the history of East Central Europe at the University of California at Berkeley since 1994. His most recent book is a study of the evolution of Catholic thinking on the Jewish people from 1933 to 1965, entitled From Enemy to Brother: The Revolution in Catholic Thinking on the Jews (Harvard, 2012), which was awarded the John Gilmary Shea Prize of the American Catholic Historical Association. 

He received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, a master’s in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Michigan, and a doctorate from Harvard University. An expanded version of his dissertation appeared as Captive University: The Sovietization of East German, Czech and Polish Higher Education (Chapel Hill, 2000), which won the 2001 George Beer Award of the American Historical Association. He also edited, with Michael Gruettner, Universities Under Dictatorship (State College, 2005).  Other work has appeared in Minerva, East European Politics and Societies, Geschichte und Gesellschaft, The Journal of Modern History, Slavic Review, The Nation, the London Review of Books, and Commonweal.

Last modified:  Wed, 18 Mar 2015 15:10:00 EDT

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