German Catholic Scholar to Speak Sept. 21 on Importance of Jewish Views of Jesus

German Catholic theologian Michael Heinzmann will present the lecture "Jewish Views of Jesus: Their Significance for Christian Faith" at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, in James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall in the Anderson Student Center on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.

Michael Heinzmann

Michael Heinzmann

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, a joint enterprise of St. Thomas and St. John’s University, Collegeville.

“Throughout most of Christian history, Jesus was presented as standing apart from rather than within the world of pre-rabbinic Judaism and as offering Christianity as a replacement for Judaism,” said John Merkle, director of the Jay Phillips Center. “But since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) these traditional teachings have been repudiated in official documents of the Roman Catholic Church and some other Christian churches, in which the Jewishness of Jesus and the ongoing validity of Judaism have been affirmed.”

Heinzmann will explore views of Jesus held by several leading Jewish scholars who have played an important part in helping Christians understand Jesus within his first century Jewish context. He also will discuss the significance of these views for the understanding and practice of Christian faith.

Heinzmann is assistant professor of Jewish studies and religious studies at the University of Potsdam, a public university in the Berlin-Brandenburg region of Germany. He earned his doctorate at the Institute for Jewish Studies at the University of Vienna and also pursued advanced studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

A specialist in Jewish philosophical thought, Heinzmann has taught courses in rabbinic literature, Jewish history and culture, Jewish art and music, and Judaism in relation to both Christianity and Islam. He has numerous essays published in scholarly journals and books, and he is an active contributor to interfaith dialogue in Germany and beyond.