Saint Joseph's University to Host Conference of the International Council of Christians and Jews

Rabbi David Saperstein, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom to Deliver Public Keynote

Newswise — The International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ), in cooperation with the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR), will hold its annual conference, “The Dynamics of Religious Pluralism in a Changing World: The Philadelphia, United States, and International Contexts,” at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, from July 10-13.

Scholars, experts and religious leaders from across the globe will speak on topics ranging from the Jewish and Muslim Experiences of the American Experiment to trends in higher education about Christian-Jewish Relations.

The conference will feature a public keynote address by Rabbi David Saperstein, United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom on “Interreligious Relations in the World Today. Rabbi Saperstein’s speech will be delivered on Sunday, July 10, 4-6 p.m.

Phillip A. Cunningham, Ph.D., professor of theology, director of SJU’s Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations (IJCR) and president of the ICCJ, describes the council as a network of organizations devoted to Christian-Jewish relations in over 30 countries.

“The Institute is honored to host this important international conference with these prominent organizations that share our mission of promoting understanding between Jews and Christians,” says Cunningham. “The meeting's central theme, the ‘American Experiment,’ offers insights into the complex experiences of religious pluralism, freedom and tolerance among Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities in the United States. We look forward to welcoming our guests to Philadelphia and to Saint Joseph's University.”

Adam Gregerman, Ph.D., assistant professor of religious studies and co-director of the IJCR, is eager to welcome the ICCJ and CCJR on campus.

“SJU has a long history of support for vital research and programming in Jewish-Catholic relations, and the conference will bring together leading scholars, practitioners, and over 100 attendees for a diverse range of events on campus and off,” says Gregerman.

The conference will also honor E.P. Sanders, Th.D., an influential figure in the study of the Apostle Paul, with an award for his outstanding contributions to Christian-Jewish relations.

Attendees also will view the original interfaith sculpture on campus by Joshua Koffman, “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time,” blessed by Pope Francis during his visit SJU last September.

“We’re especially excited to be meeting in Philadelphia, where participants will have a chance to learn about some of the distinctive American contributions in areas such as religious liberty and interreligious cooperation,” says Gregerman. “We’re also looking forward to welcoming members of local religious communities, including from my own Jewish community.”

Participants in the four plenary sessions, fifteen breakout sessions, and a special roundtable discussion will come from many countries including Pakistan, France, Chile, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, the Czech Republic, Australia, and Israel.

“Seeing the nature of interreligious relations in different countries with diverse histories and governments is an invaluable experience,” says Cunningham.

Kate Oxx, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology and religious studies at SJU, has organized a major plenary panel that will survey the history of “The Christian majority in the United States: Tolerance, Intolerance, and Competition.”

Gregerman will offer analyses of recent new documents in Christian-Jewish relations during a roundtable discussion and will join in a panel on “Understanding the Holocaust in a Multireligious World,” organized in cooperation with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Advance registration is required at

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