Public presentation on 'the Jewish Mary' Feb. 12 at Saint John’s

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January 29, 2014

Christine Athans

Sister M. Christine Athans, professor emerita at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, will present "In Quest of the Jewish Mary: The Mother of Jesus in History, Theology and Spirituality" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, in Room 264, Quadrangle Building, Saint John's University.

The presentation, sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, is free and open to the public.

"The rediscovery and new appreciation of the Jewishness of Jesus since the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) has led some Catholics to rethink how they perceive and understand Jesus' mother," Athans said. 

Drawing on her recently published book (Orbis Press) with the same title as her Saint John's presentation, Athans will consider what might have been Mary's experiences as a first-century Jewish woman, including her prayer life, and how this may serve as an inspiration for Christians today.

Athans' book will be available for purchase and signing at the lecture.

A member of the sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Athans taught church history, historical theology and spirituality at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity from 1984-2002.  She now is an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University and Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

Athans holds a Ph.D. in historical theology from Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, Calif., and has been involved in interfaith dialogue between Christians and Jews for more than four decades.

Since 2002, Athans has been active in the Catholic-Jewish Scholars Dialogue of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Chicago Board of Rabbis and the Jewish Federation, chairing that group from 2008-11.

Athans was one of four scholars on the A&E Network's "Biography" television production of "Mary of Nazareth" discussing the Jewishness of Mary. Her publications include the book "The Coughlin-Fahey Connection: Father Charles Father E. Coughlin, Father Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp. and Religious Anti-Semitism in the United States, 1938-1954" (Peter Lang Publishing, 1991).