The mission of the Saint Leo University Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies (CCJS) is to build mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation among Jews, Catholics, and all people of good will by providing opportunities for interfaith education and dialogue.
Inspired by Nostra Aetate, a declaration by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) that provided a new and positive framework for the Catholic Church's relationship with the Jewish people, CCJS facilitates theological study and dialogue among Christians and Jews at the scholarly level, in the classroom, and in the local community.
The center was established in 1998 through the joint efforts of Saint Leo, the American Jewish Committee, and several principal founders, including Rabbi A. James Rudin, senior interreligious advisor to the American Jewish Committee; Dr. Arthur F. Kirk Jr., president emeritus of Saint Leo University, Bishop Emeritus John J. Nevins, the Diocese of Venice; and Bishop Emeritus Robert Lynch, the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Given Florida's growing and diverse population, these leaders recognized the need in the state for an academic center devoted to the biblical and theological study of Catholic-Jewish relations and interreligious dialogue, as emphasized by the Second Vatican Council.
CCJS remains the only academic center of its kind in the Southeast.
About the Director
Dr. Tapie is Assistant Professor of Theology and Director of the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Saint Leo University, Saint Leo, Florida. His teaching and research interests are in comparative theology, moral theology, and the thought of Thomas Aquinas. From 2012-2014, Dr. Tapie was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology at The Catholic University of America and was appointed a research fellow at CUA's Institute for Interreligious Study and Dialogue. He has also taught at Georgetown University and Loyola University Maryland.
As director of the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, Dr. Tapie oversees the center’s research fellow program, guest lecturer programs, and interreligious dialogue initiatives. Additionally, Dr. Tapie participates in interreligious dialogues, academic consultations on Jewish-Catholic relations, and has lectured in a variety of national and international contexts. In 2016, Dr. Tapie was appointed to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust.
Dr. Tapie is the author of Aquinas on Israel and the Church: The Question of Supersessionism in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas (Pickwick/Wipf & Stock, 2014), which was the focus of a special session at the 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies (May 12, 2016). He is also co-editor, with Daniel McClain, of Reading Scripture as a Political Act: Essays on the Theopolitical Interpretation of the Bible(Fortress Press, 2015). He has published journal articles in Studies in Christian Jewish-Relations, Journal of Moral Theology, Jaarboek (the Journal of the Aquinas Institute of Utrecht, the Netherlands), and Restoration Quarterly.
Dr. Tapie is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Christian Ethics, the Catholic Theological Society of America, the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations, and the Society for Scriptural Reasoning.
Faculty of the Center
Dr. Eugene Fisher, Distinguished Professor of Theology
Dr. Fisher earned his doctorate in 1976 at New York University in Hebrew Culture and Education, his dissertation entitled, "'The Treatment of Jews and Judaism in Current Roman Catholic Teaching." Dr. Fisher was appointed as the specialist in Catholic-Jewish Relations for the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) in May of 1977, a post in which served until 2007. In 1981 he was named Consultor to the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, serving in that capacity for 25 years. He has lectured widely throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. In 1995, a book he co-edited with Rabbi Leon Klenicki, John Paul II, Spiritual Pilgrimage: Texts on Jews and Judaism (Crossroad) won the National Jewish Book Award in the Jewish-Christian Relations category.
He has published or edited some 20 books and over 250 articles in the field of Jewish-Christian relations, including: The Jewish Roots of Christian Liturgy, ed. (Paulist, 1990); Interwoven Destinies: Jews and Christians through the Ages, ed. (Paulist/Stimulus, 1992); Faith Without Prejudice: Rebuilding Christian Attitudes Toward Judaism (Crossroad, 1993); Visions of the Other: Jewish and Christian Theologians Assess the Dialogue, ed. (Paulist/Stimulus, 1994); A Prophet of Our Time: An Anthology of the Writings of Rabbi Marc H. Tannenbaum, ed. with Judith H. Banki (Fordham University Press, 2002). He also co-edited with Leon Klenicki the newly published The Saint for Shalom: How Pope John Paul II Transformed Catholic-Jewish Relations (Crossroad, 2011) and edited the forthcoming Memoria Futuri: Catholic-Jewish Dialogue Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow; Texts and Addresses of Cardinal William H. Keeler (Paulist/Stimulus, 2012).
Rabbi James Rudin, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Religion and Judaica
Rabbi Rudin holds honorary doctorates from Saint Leo University, Saint Martin’s University, and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute for Religion. In 1968 he began his career as a member of the American Jewish Committee senior professional staff where he served as Director of the Interreligious Affairs Department. He is currently the AJC’s Senior Interreligious Adviser and a member of the organization’s Board of Governors.
A former chairman of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, Rabbi Rudin participated in eleven meetings with Saint Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. He was a guest of honor at the 1994 Vatican Concert that commemorated the Shoah. In April 2008 he was chosen by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops to respond to Pope Benedict XVI’s address to Jewish leaders in Washington, DC. Rabbi Rudin is the author or editor of seventeen books and since 1991 has written commentaries for Religion News Service. His latest book, is Pillar of Fire: A Biography of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, published in 2015 by Texas Tech University Press.
Dr. Marc Pugliese, Assistant Professor of Theology
Dr. Pugliese’s work focuses upon comparative theology with attention to the Christian tradition and South Asian (Indian) religions, especially Advaita Vedanta (Hinduism). Dr. Pugliese is the co-editor of the volume Teaching Interreligious Encounters for the American Academy of Religion’s Teaching Religious Studies series, published by Oxford University Press.
Rabbi A. James Rudin
Distinguished Visiting Professor of Religion and Judaica, Saint Leo University
Dr. Eugene Fisher
Distinguished Professor of Theology, Saint Leo University
Dr. Peter Ochs
Edgar M. Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies, the University of Virginia
Dr. John Borelli
Special Assistant to the President for Catholic Identity and Dialogue, Georgetown University
Dr. Pim Valkenberg
Ordinary Professor of Religion and Culture and director of the Institute for Interreligious Study and Dialogue, The Catholic University of America
Dr. Marianne Moyaert
Professor, Free University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands), and Visiting lecturer in Postholocaust Theology/Jodendom en christendom at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven (Belgium)
Dr. Phillip Cunningham
Professor of Theology and Director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations, Saint Joseph’s University
Rabbi Dr. Alan Brill
Cooperman/Ross Endowed Chair for Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University
Dr. Kevin Hughes
Associate Professor of Theology and Chair of the Humanities Department, Villanova University
Dr. Devorah Schoenfeld
Associate Professor of Theology, Loyola University Chicago