Public Evening

Jacob’s Younger Brother

Christian-Jewish Relations after Vatican II

July 12, 2023, 19:00–21:00

Katholische Akademie Berlin

Image from the Cover: Jacob’s Younger Brother

Jacob’s Younger Brother – Christian-Jewish Relations after Vatican II

July 12, 2023, 19:00–21:00

With Karma Ben Johanan (Hebrew University in Jerusalem), Christian Rutishauser SJ (Central European Province of the Jesuits), Axel Töllner (Augustana Hochschule Neuendettelsau) and Elad Lapidot (University of Lille)

A new chapter in Jewish–Christian relations opened in the second half of the twentieth century when the Second Vatican Council exonerated Jews from the accusation of deicide and declared that the Jewish people had never been rejected by God. In a few carefully phrased statements, two millennia of deep hostility were swept into the trash heap of history. But what were the building blocks of this process of Jewish-Christian reconciliation and how was it made possible? What were the stakes involved in this process for Christians and for Jews? Did Jews and Christians come to agree on a common narrative, or there are still areas of friction, polemic, and mutual suspicion? 

Christian Rutishauser, Axel Töllner and Elad Lapidot discuss these questions with Karma Ben-Johanan around her new book, Jacob’s Younger Brother – Christian-Jewish Relations after Vatican II (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2022).

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Karma Ben Johanan

Karma Ben Johanan teaches at the Department for Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerudsalem. She completed her PhD in the  School of Historical Studies at Tel Aviv University. Subsequently, she was a Fulbright postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley and a postdoctoral fellow at the Polonsky Academy for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. In 2019, she was appointed the first chair of Jewish–Christian relations in the Faculty of Theology at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, where she served until the summer of 2022. Her first book, Jacob’s Younger Brother: Christian-Jewish Relations after Vatican II received the Dan David Prize – the world’s largest prize in history. It also won the Shazar Prize, the Polonsky Prize, and was a finalist of the National Jewish Book Award.

Elad Lapidot

Elad Lapidot is professor for Culture Studies at the University of Lille, France. He specializes in philosophy, Jewish thought and Talmud and was teaching at the University of Bern, Switzerland, the Humboldt Universität Berlin and the Freie Univeristät Berlin. His work is guided by questions concerning the relation between knowledge and politics. Among his publications: Jews Out of the Question. A Critique of Anti-Anti-Semitism (SUNY Press, 2020), Hebrew translation with introduction and commentary of Hegel’s Phänomenologie des Geistes, Vol. 1 (Resling, 2020), Heidegger and Jewish Thought. Difficult Others (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), and Être sans mot dire. La logique de Sein und Zeit (Zeta Books, 2010).

Christian Rutishauser SJ

Christian Rutishauser SJ, Delegate for Schools and Higher Education of the Central European Province of the Jesuits. Studies in Theology and Philosophy at Fribourg University followed by doctoral studies at Lucerne University with study visits at Hebrew University and Ratisbonne Centre, Jerusalem; program director at Lassalle-Haus Bad Schönbrunn, Centre for Spirituality, interreligious Dialogue, and Social Responsibility (Switzerland); lecturer for Jewish Studies and Jewish-Christian relations at Philosophische Hochschule Munich, Centre Cardinal Bea Gregoriana Rome, Deutsches Studienjahr Dormitio Jerusalem, Fribourg University Switzerland. Current member of the Swiss and German Episcopal Conference Commissions for the Dialogue with Judaism. Permanent Councillor of the Holy See for the religious relations with Judaism since 2014. Guiding study trips in Israel/Palestine on a regular bases. 2011 “On foot to Jerusalem” pilgrim project from Switzerland to Jerusalem. Recent publications include: Christsein im Angesicht des Judentums, Echter Würzburg 2008; The Human Condition and the Thought of Rabbi Joseph D. Soloveitchik, ktav Publishing House New Jersey 2013; Christlichen Glauben denken. Im Dialog mit der jüdischen Tradition, LIT-Verlag Wien 2016.

Axel Töllner

Axel Töllner, pastor, born 1968, is the representative for Christian-Jewish dialogue in the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Bavaria at the Institute for Christian-Jewish Studies and Relations at Augustana Divinity School Neuendettelsau. He studied Protestant theology and Jewish studies in Erlangen, Kiel and Jerusalem. In his doctoral thesis he dealt with the “Arierparagraph” and the Bavarian pastor families with Jewish ancestors in the “Third Reich”. With Wolfgang Kraus and Michael Tilly he co-edited “Das Neue Testament – jüdisch erklärt”.

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