Boston College, a Roman Catholic school with about 1 percent of its student body Jewish, has launched a program this year that will allow students to minor in Jewish studies.
Although many Catholic universities have endowed chairs in Jewish studies and academic centers that study Jewish-Catholic relations, Boston College officials believe the university is one of the first Catholic universities to start a minor in Jewish studies.
“The program responds to the post-Vatican II efforts on the part of the Catholic Church to integrate Jewish studies into Catholic university curricula,” Dwayne Carpenter, a professor of Romance languages and co-director of the program, told The Boston Globe.
“But Jewish studies has now moved from its traditional place in Catholic institutions, which is a minor place in the theology department where courses on the Hebrew Scripture have been taught, to a program that is much more expansive,” Carpenter said.
With about 70 percent of its 8,900 undergraduates identifying themselves as Catholic, professors at the Jesuit university expect the majority of the students and many of the teachers in the new Jewish Studies Program will be Christian.
To minor in Jewish studies, Boston College students will be required to take at least six courses in at least three different departments. More than a dozen faculty members from nine departments are participating, offering courses ranging from theology to history and music.
Boston College faculty told the Globe they did not seek advice or sponsorship from the Jewish community because they wanted to make it clear that the venture would be academic, not advocacy.
— Associated Press
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